Satu Rautaharju

Bollywood Bound

I sauntered into my unkempt studio apartment at 5 AM with the largest grin on my face and a few tears forming in the corners of my eyes.  I felt so full- of love, life, and happiness. 

It has been a very long time since I have worked on a production that sincerely left me so culturally sweetened and soulfully expanded.  I’d have to say, it was since I last worked in New York on a few theater productions before my intensive dramatic training began.  At the Triad Theater on 72nd and Broadway, I played the role of an Indian woman’s “heart” personified, dressed in traditional Indian clothing.  It was my first stage production after graduating college and moving to the Big Apple.  I was the smallest part in the play, but the most ethereal, and the most “Indian.”  It felt great to be recognized as one, and even better to play one.  These past few days I had an even stronger feeling of being culturally aware and full on the set of a Bollywood feature, my first.

Satu, Fernanda, and Nadia on set of "Punjabi Professional"

Satu Rautaharju, Fernanda, and Nadia on set of “Punjabi Professional”

I was cast as a professional dancer, also my first time hired solely as a dancer.  Dancing was actually my very first experience in the arts.  My mother enrolled me in ballet school at the age of 4 and I continued intensive ballet training for 8 years.  Due to a broken ankle at the age of 12, I stopped dancing and pursued music.  I was secretly glad I had to quit, because nothing intimidated me more than dancing in front of an audience.   I was also very shy as we had just moved to the Southern United States, from Canada, and I had a severe case of culture shock (despite everyone speaking the same language). 
As a child, few girls in ballet class were curious, “that’s a strong tan you’ve got.”  From that moment on (and never before) I became highly aware that I was different in this community and had to think of clever answers to questions I had never faced.  In North Carolina, you were either “Black” or “White.”  They had never seen me before, and it made it very difficult to be outgoing as a performer, and as a girl.  At least- until I became a young adult, then I started to own myself.
I picked up dance about 10 years later after the accident, in New York City, where I traveled to become a movie star, rock singer, TV host, and runway model.  I wanted to be EVERYTHING, and ignoring one passion means the rest would die.  I took up ballet, jazz, tap, bellydance, and Bhangra, ANYTHING to get in touch with my physical actor- and also my heritage.  I found in Bhangra/Bellydance a home for my heart and soul.  It was just for fun, but I never realised just how large a part of me was a dancer until working on this Bollywood film this past Memorial Day weekend.

I never considered myself a dancer.   I pursued acting full-strength, with TV hosting being something I “was good at,” and singing, a battle I overcame when I moved to Los Angeles in 2011.  Performing music was also my biggest fear, and I conquered that fear by playing at all the fabled legendary venues of LA.  Who knew it could be so easy to just do it?  It’s still very difficult for me, but I love performing- any chance I get.  Acting jobs are the smallest part of my career, despite it being the main focus and goal.  Everything leads somewhere.  And in Bollywood, if you don’t dance, sing, AND act, you are missing out!

I auditioned for this Bollywood film, I tried my best, and I was truly uncertain if I was going to be cast.  I knew in my heart that I did my best dancing possible, full of life and heart, because that’s what Bollywood is all about.   I remembered to smile with my WHOLE heart 🙂  Two days later, I found myself on set surrounded by some of the most amazing women I’ve ever met, dancing my heart away, 12 hours at a time.  It was painful, strenuous, difficult, and extremely challenging- but in the end graciously rewarding (and it looked SO good!).

I can’t wait for the film to release- apparently it’s going to be HUGE in India.  My mother always told me to go after the Bollywood films because I have “the look.”  I always scoffed at that because I wasn’t born there, I don’t know the language, and I am only half Indian.  I quickly learned that it doesn’t matter.  Because it’s in my BLOOD (and feet, arms, body, hands).  I hope to play more dancing roles in the future.  It’s hard work, but ultimately- from a performer standpoint- one of the most rewarding forms of artistic expression, ever.  I knew I would make it to Hollywood.  I never dreamed that I would make it to Bollywood, too!  This one is for you, Gramma Acclema and Grampa Ishmael.  I love you.

Satu (the “Finndian”)

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Being Type-Cast as Something Cool

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Asia Argento

Everyone always complains about being “type-cast” as an actor or actress, and I was even worried about that at a certain point.  Now I’m embracing it, because I’m being type-cast as something really cool.
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I have many idols, including Angelina Jolie, Asia Argento, Jodie Foster, Sigourney Weaver, and Rachel Weisz, to name a few.  All of these women are incredibly sexy, powerful, strong, and massively talented.  I would be liar if I said that I didn’t spend most of my adolescent life and early acting years molding my career and image after these women.  Why not?  They kick ass!  Lately it’s become clear to me who in the industry likes me, casts me, and how they see me.   In the beginning, I thought I was going to be type-cast as an Indian woman.  I’m up for playing anything, but it would be a waste if that was the only way Hollywood would ever see me.  I totally got it all wrong!   I’m getting called in and cast for a lot of strong, sexy, lesbian roles.  This is the precursor to strong, sexy, leading women in action films, so I am more than okay with this type-casting phenomenon.  I enjoy playing a lesbian.  I think it’s a gift for an actor to get a part that is so heavily labeled by society, especially if it’s not a label they identify with.  There is something very freeing about portraying someone with such a strong sense of self, it’s at once commanding and liberating.  With every character goes a lot of research, construction and creativity.  Oddly enough, whenever I play a lesbian, I become a woman that is more comfortable and confident with her self as a whole.  Someone who is unafraid of the world and what they think.  A big f*** you to anyone that stands in her way, shouting loudly, “This is who I am, and f*** you if you don’t like it.”  I have played these roles so much that I am starting to own that part of me, and I like it.  All women should never feel so oppressed that they can’t be slightly masculine or speak up for themselves when necessary.  Abandon all gender typing, and be what you want to be.

Bring it on, Hollywood!   You know where to find me 🙂

WATCH:
The Coalition on NETFLIX
The Coalition on iTunes

QUEEN GORYA: Exclusive Pilot Preview

Queen Gorya is GO FOR LAUNCH!
We are immensely excited to bring you our darling demon-child, Queen Gorya. This is just the beginning of a long run we hope to bring to the masses on a TV network or even more interesting, a major online content provider. Where would you like to watch Queen Gorya? Let us know! queengorya@gmail.com
It has been a thrill working on some of our character story lines.  I can’t wait to show you where Dorian, Jane, Terry, Gloria, and Steve end up…. season 1 is full of twists and turns. Our crowd-funding site will be up with a few weeks, just after Days of the Dead Con.  We hope you like it, and if you would like to see more- stay updated by following QUEEN GORYA:
http://www.queengorya.com
http://www.twitter.com/queengorya
http://www.facebook.com/queengorya
http://queengorya.tumblr.com

STAY TUNED MY FIENDS….

QUEEN GORYA My first TV Pilot!

I am currently in the depths of directing, producing, and starring in QUEEN GORYA (created and executive produced by Andrew Harrison), a supernatural dark comedy TV pilot.  I have never been happier and busier in my life!
Description:
“Legendary horror hostess, Queen Gorya, and her sidekick, Terry The Wolfman try to avoid becoming reality stars and members of an exclusive cult. 1/2 hour TV Series.”

ImageSatu as "Queen Gorya" and Steve J. Palmer as "Terry the Wolfman" on set of QUEEN GORYA
Satu as “Queen Gorya” and Steve J. Palmer as “Terry the Wolfman” on set of QUEEN GORYA

Things are going incredibly well.  I have never felt more confident about a project and this one is my baby.  Andrew Harrison (writer of the absurd comedic web series Polyester Dreams) is a very talented writer and it’s a thrill to be working with him.  It was one of those “stars aligned” type moments when I read the script back in November.  The timing could not be better.   Sinking my teeth into Queen Gorya has been a very intimidating and grueling process, with viciously splendid results.  This is the third project I have directed, and the 6th project I have produced.  I have to say I’m finding my niche in production quite clearly.  I really enjoy producing and directing!
We have completed production day 1, and it went flawlessly.  Knocking on wood six times a day doesn’t hurt.  We are using this footage to raise funds to produce the rest of the episode over the course of 3 shooting days.  I have no doubt that we will find faithful and loyal fans of this spook-tacular show.
Next week is all about setting up meetings to see where Queen Gorya will have a home for the next 5-6 seasons.  Onward and upward!

Peter Gabriel, Sean Penn, Kids in the Hall

Things are picking up steam, baby.

Fair Game (featuring yours truly in a scene with Sean Penn)  is opening in select cinemas Friday November 5th, 2010.  Naomi Watts has been a lean mean promoting machine across the country giving talks with the real Valerie Plame drumming up political intrigue and not to mention Oscar buzz for the film and cast.  I’ve been racking my brain coming up with a decent top ten Oscar film list this year, and so far only a handful make the grade.  I have high hopes for Fair Game, and I will be attending a screening on Monday!  This will be the first time seeing myself on the big screen in a long time.  I’ve come a long way.

This weekend I will be heading upstate to act in a Marival Productions/Red Rogue Media short film, “Curing Eve.”  I play an herbalist that may or may not have cured her sister’s fatal illness, but  I can’t say much more than that.  I’ve been dying to sink my teeth into a complex and interesting role, and here it is!  Very excited to be working with Rose Sanchez (director) and Lisa Rosenberg (Eve) for the second time.  It’s like family, and that’s how you make a great picture.

Other than a recent audition splurge for Othello, a new Rijav Joseph play (amazing playwright!), and revived Theresa Rebeck play (another favorite playwright), I have been writing the first few episodes of my brand new untitled sketch comedy web series.  It’s got a definite “Kids in the Hall” vibe (paying homage to the greats).  So far a great number of all star players have signed on to act and we are deep in pre-production glory.  First episode, “Peter Gabriel Contest Winners” will be webcast 11/11/ 2010.

Stay Tuned, Fanboys!

Your pal,
Satu Makeda

Satu Makeda

Satu Makeda photo by Jason Lee

 

New York Fashion Week, Backstage Magazine, and a Six-String Siren

It’s been a crazy few days.
Ever since I launched the website, steam has picked up three-fold.  I booked a fashion week show, got a feature in Backstage magazine, and booked a great gig on Royal Pains as the guitar player for a great band.
Life is swell…

I booked a gig modeling for a photoshop instructional textbook on color correction (finally! It had to be made for gals like me).  Thanks to photographer extraodinaire, Sasha Nialla.
.Satu from the Sasha Nialla shoot
Satu from the Sasha Nialla shoot

Kidear Youmans Fall Fiction Fashion Show was a riot.  Going off at the Gallery Bar in the east village, the place was packed and had tons of paparazzi. What a fantastic experience, all around!  I’d forgotten just how thrilling it is to walk down a runway.
Satu at Kidear Youmans Fall Fiction Fashion Show
Satu at Kidear Youmans Fall Fiction Fashion Show

This week I am featured on the “Backpage: The Working Actor by Jackie Apodaca” in BACKSTAGE Magazine.   I couldn’t be happier.  The article is about the age old question (for me, anyhow):   Should I anglicize my name to get more work?  Send comments and read the article here:http://www.backstage.com/bso/advice-the-working-actor/union-provisions-name-decisions-1004115086.story Satu in the Backstage Article
Satu in the Backstage Article

For the past two days (and two more next week) I have been performing as a guitar player in a band for USA’s hit medical dramedy “Royal Pains.”  It’s been a great experience so far, and the band and I are having a blast.  My top-secret alternate dream career is to be a raging guitar player for a prog-rock band.  This is pretty close to that wish, only it’s electro dance rock (Syracuse’s Ra Ra Riot).  Pictures coming soon.

I will be rounding out next week with a few meetings at some top modeling agencies here in New York…steam is definitely picking up.
Who knew?
Sincerely,
Satu

” Give me steam, baby!”–Peter Gabriel

Satu Rautaharju

Launch of PictureSatu.com, The Queen, and New Photos!

Hello and welcome to Satuniverse! the Blog for PictureSatu.com.   Here you will find updates on Ravenwood Bluff Productions and other mysterious projects created by or involved with me: Satu Rautaharju (actress, musician, director etc.).

Firstly,  my directorial debut is going to be screened in a cinema (remember those?) at the New Filmmakers Fest in January, 2011 here in New York City.  This is amazing.  It’s only been a few months but it feels great to get a response for my film.  It feels weird promoting it considering the subject nature (a satire on the dangers of social networking), so it’s nice to have some kind of promotion outside of the Internet realm.

Secondly- My new website is LIVE!  It’s got brand new video clips from my acting, directing, and hosting work, as well as ALL NEW photos by Kid Hoover in my model portfolio.  I’m very happy with it and it feels great to finally launch it.  3, 2, 1….

Satu Rautaharju

photo by Kid Hoover

And finally:  I am working on a law drama pilot called “The Queen Can Do No Wrong,” starring myself and Mara Lee Gilbert.  In the vein of Rizzoli and Isles but it centers around a law firm co-owned by two very competitive women, and very different unconventional women.  On top of that, I am also writing and acting in a comical web series with Ms. Mara Lee Gilbert that will debut it’s first skit at the end of September.

The Queen Can Do No Wrong (tv pilot)

The Queen Can Do No Wrong (tv pilot)

STAY TUNED!  Plenty of fresh projects coming your way…

Thanks for watching,

Satu
www.picturesatu.com