Frida Gustavsson: A Global Sensation
VIKINGS: VALHALLA is out and boy are we excited to share with you our Bello shoot with Frida Gustavsson! Starring as one of the leads on the series, what better way to kick off International Women’s Month than with this editorial! Frida spoke with us about her experience on set, what it is like being a female lead in a male-dominated industry, being International, and more! Truly passionate and great at what she does, Frida Gustavsson is a global sensation who is taking the industry by storm!
Why were you originally drawn to auditioning for VIKINGS: VALHALLA?
I was a huge fan of the original show, Vikings, and the prospect of continuing the saga about the viking era really intrigued me. What I especially was drawn to was the time where our show take place, namely the end of the viking epoch with the christening of Scandinavia and the tensions it created.
You play the female lead in the show. What was your experience like playing a female leading role in male-dominated world (both in the show and in the industry In general)?
It saddens and frustrates me that we still have to describe female characters in relation to a man in a far bigger extent that we ever do with men and their female counterparts. Female characters are usually so fractionalized and marginalized that their only purpose to the story is to be a romantic interest or a spouse/sister/mother to our protagonist. Luckily that was not the case on Vikings: Valhalla. What I love about both Freydis and the show is that she is active, she is a driving force behind the story and she is allowed to take up space.
Do you believe there is progress happening in the industry in regards to women and film/television?
I absolutely believe progress has been made but we have not yet reached the final destination. Every time complex women are allowed time on screen is a victory and an inspiration for what is to come yet sadly a reminder of how rare that is.
Can you please share with us one of your favorite scenes you filmed and why?
I loved all the scenes with Jarl Haakon and the Shieldmaidens. I found it so empowering sharing the stage with all of these incredible performers who all taught me so much. It was a joy to see strong women fighting together and lifting each other up, not being plotted against each other.
How do you prepare for your different roles? In what ways do you integrate some of who you are as Frida and the character you are playing?
The way that I work is that I always approach any character with a lot of personal insights; I tend to look at what makes us similar instead of different and start it all from there. The next step is developing the physicality and with Freydis that was so rewarding since I was allowed a, for me, pretty big physical transformation. History has, in my opinion, a way of teaching us how similar humans really are and always have been as well as how much of our dreams and wants transcend time – deep down I believe all we ever really want is to be loved, seen, respected and safe. That is a statement true both for Frida and Freydis.
How does Swedish TV differ from American TV? Please explain.
The sheer scale! Both in the size of the actual sets and the production but also the reach of the production upon release. Thankfully streaming services has opened the world in terms of availability to discover shows from countries all over the globe which hopefully can change this.
This being your first big role, what are you most excited about?
I am so incredibly proud and honored to be a part of this journey together with the entire Vikings: Valhalla family. It warms my heart immensely to see how the show is being received around the world and all the kind and positive messages we are all receiving. It feels like a magical first step onto a global arena and makes me so excited for what’s (hopefully) around the corner!
Please tell us more about who you are and what you hope to accomplish in your life. Have you found your purpose? Please explain.
I am a very invested person who fully throws myself into what I am inspired by and fall in love with; may it be a person, a book, a thought or a place on earth. I strive to meet every day with presence and honesty and to learn something from the world around me. I deeply love the nature and just surrounding myself in it, either the snowy mountains or the big open plains. I have always been enormously interested in the human experience; what makes us who we are, our little flaws and imperfections, our choices and dreams. I guess that is why I choose this craft – to get to spend my life trying to discover what makes us who we are.
Growing up, what was one of the biggest lessons you learned?
My grandmother has always been a huge inspiration for me. She is one of the youngest of thirteen siblings and grew up on a farm outside Stockholm in the 1940’s. She early on taught me the importance of honesty, hard work but mostly respect, she truly looks upon everyone she ever meets as equals and treat them with the most impressive sisterly love. I have always deeply respected, admired and tried my utmost to replicate that.
Where do you hope 2022 will take you?
Into new adventures both in my personal life and in my profession. I am so thrilled to begin a new journey with Valhalla and to see where the road takes me.
Talent FRIDA GUSTAVSSON @fridagustavsson
Photography TOMMY FLANAGAN @tommy_flanagan
Styling SERAFINI @serafini_official
Styling Assistant AMBRE MABUMA @ambremabuma
Hair KILEY FITZGERALD @bykileyfitz
Makeup LOREN CANBY @lorencanbymakeup
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Production @bellomediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites