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Gillian Zinser has been called actor, photographer, director, activist, and traveler. Although, a more accurate word to describe her is artist. She is motivated through feeling(s), of which she has plenty. When she’s not wandering around the world, documenting her adventures (using film, of course), she splits her time between the city of Angels and the one that never sleeps. Oh, and you can add self-published to the list of words to describe her. She recently published a photography book titled Psychogenic Fugue. All print sales are donated to My Friend’s Place, homeless youth shelter in Hollywood.

What was your first “professional” gig?

It was a guest star role working with Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson on a show called “Cupid.” I don’t even think my character had a name, I was just called ‘Beatnik Sexpot’ on the callsheet.

I had to urban dictionary “sexpot,” what a charming replacement for a character name. Moving on — we’ve established that you wear many hats: actor, photographer, director, etc. How do you do it all? And how do they all relate?

I think they’re all just different forms of the same need to express and create in order to make sense of things. Different feelings, experiences and stories call for different mediums …. Sometimes I find it easier to take photos of moments I can’t share with words and sometimes a static image can’t possibly convey the same thing that a moving picture can. Other times, it takes stepping out of my skin for a moment and into a character’s in order to share another experience.

And how did you get to a place where you are able to do all of these things you love so much?

I don’t know, I think we’re taught to pick one career and become the best at it but, I’ve always been so attracted to so many kinds of expressions that it never felt right to me to just try and stick to one thing. So I haven’t. I feel like the artists’ work is simply to help share and reflect the human experience and there’s a million ways to do that so, why create boundaries?

You split your time between L.A. and New York, is the West Coast really the best coast? What do you love and hate about both cities?

I love that California makes me slow down. And that New York doesn’t let me. What I don’t dig about L.A. is that there’s no seasonal change, which can slowly drive you crazy. But then again New York winters often get me daydreaming about that ocean, the mountains, road trips. So. Happy not to have to choose between the two.

You’re a bit of a wanderer. Where does your love for travel stem from? What does it do for you and your creative process?

I travel to keep myself awake, to keep curious, to learn about people, cultures, to better understand the human condition, to take me out of my ego and into the bigger picture. All of which only makes me a better creative/human.

I think it’s so important to not be afraid of letting go of the comfort, safety and stability in routine jobs and income—choosing the uncomfortable and unknown over the easy and expected. Not being afraid of being broke for a second. Or lost. Or having to start over again. To make it a priority to invest in experience, knowing that adventuring outside of your own little bubble can only make you better at whatever your work is.

We all need an outlet outside of our day to day to refuel, re-calibrate, inspire and keep us reaching. That’s what travel is for me.

You’re an advocate for film. For the non-photographers and filmmakers out there, what does film have that digital or smartphone cameras just don’t?

I love film for its fallibility and that it begs you to be thoughtful. With digital, you can just shoot a million frames and count on one being decent. But film is a much more meditative, precious form of creating. I also love that it doesn’t come with the instant gratification that we’re so used to.

What was the first camera you ever owned or shot with? What do you use now?

The Yashica T5 has always been my favorite but I also love the Canon AE and Olympus Stylus Epic for photos and my Canon Super 8 and Panasonic VHS camera for filming.

Was there an actor, director or photographer that has especially influenced you?

Oh, so many. Francesca Woodman, Éric Rohmer, Andrea Arnold, Agnès Varda, Chris Marker, Xavier Dolan, Mike Mills, Miranda July, Joe Swanberg, Robert Altman, Jacob Holdt, (William) Eggleston, Yasujirō Ozu, Sebastião Salgado, to name a few.

And as for your work, do you have any particular subjects you especially enjoy shooting and why?

I love trying to capture loose, fragmented portraits of places I travel.

You recently self-published Psychogenic Fugue. Tell us what the creative process was like. What does the title mean to you?

So a Psychogenic Fugue is defined as: a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by temporary amnesia for personal identity. The state can last days, months or longer and usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity — which, kinda sums up my 20’s (not in the literal sense of course). I feel like a lot of the photos I have taken up until now, were mostly I think, about escapism — running — not necessarily away from anything, just, the act of seeking, exploring, disappearing. The desperation and curiosity to let go of who you think you are and venturing into the unknown. So last year, I went through all the photos I had accumulated throughout the last decade and curated a little photo book of my favorites and that’s why I chose that title for the series.

If you could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What would be on the menu?

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. because he’s the best human to ever live. And I’d make handmade butternut squash ravioli. Or actually, maybe we’d just order in Thai. Less pressure.

What’s the one thing about you few people know?

I … speak french?

What do you like most about yourself? What do you like most in others?

I’m insatiably curious and never bored … honest … write a killer love letter … throw a mean dinner party.

As for others, same shit probably: humor, honesty, passion, curiosity, loyalty, thoughtfulness.

What motivates you in work or in life?

Feelings.

Share a guilty pleasure.

“New Girl”

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been writing a bunch of projects and am in preproduction for my next film I’m shooting end of this month.

Nice! Name three items in your closet most special to you.

I’m really not attached to much stuff anymore. I keep a stuffed animal named Binny in my closet that I’ve had since I was born though — does that count? He got moved there after a few too many people pointed out that it was like, pretty strange to sleep with a stuffed animal at my age…

Yes, Binny totally counts. And what advice would you give your younger self?

Start making things right now, don’t give a fuck and don’t stop and DON’T PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS.

What’s something you do when no one is watching?

Have full-blown conversations with my dog.

What keeps you up at night?

The crazy state of the world. What I wanna make next. But mostly just my dog snoring which kinda sounds like a wheezing panda.

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Two brand new outtakes with Gillian from her photoshoot for The Collab has been added straight to the gallery.

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Where do you live, what do you do?
I live in between New York and Venice Beach, I’m and actor and I make photos and films.

What excites you about the city you live in?
In New York the constant stimulation; In Venice the lack of stimulation.

What makes you happy?
Being on the road, helping people, traveling anywhere I’ve never been, cooking for someone, my animal buddy, dancing, waterparks, tacos, getting a roll of film back, getting letters in the mail, sending letters in the mail, coconuts, sweatpants.

What do you care about?
Doing my part in making this world a slightly more tolerable place for as many people as possible.

Tell us about your recent film project. What are the worst/best parts of directing vs. acting?
Best part about acting is getting to explore pieces of yourself you wouldn’t dare dig into without the excuse of a character and script. Worst part is probably all the time spent sitting in a trailer waiting to actually work. Best part about directing is having 110% of your brain working 24/7. Worst part is that it’s on you if the film is shit!

Who do you think is changing the game?
Elon Musk and whomever invented those period-proof panties of course.

What’s one small thing we can do to help others?
Throw a fun dinner party, ask everyone coming to bring something warm (an old coat, hat, scarf, gloves, socks) then donate that collection of goods to your local homeless shelter.

What do you want to do next?

Make more short films. Put out a book of all my favorite letters I’ve ever written. Travel to Croatia.

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Guys, here goes some really exciting updates! Firstly, absolutely newest and gorgeous photoshoot (as I’m still hoping for more pictures to come). Also, Gillian recently was pictured while out & about in Lower east side, Manhattan in NYC on August, 10. She’s looking endlessly wonderful =)

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Here goes really valuable amount of updates! While looking insanely stunning, Gillian has attended SUNO Fall/Winter 2016 Women’s Show in New York on February, 13.

Besides, I have uploaded a few unseen before beautiful portraits that were taken in 2011 and one photo from dinner in early 2015. Enjoy!

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x3 | SUNO Fall/Winter 2016 Women’s Show – 13 February 2016
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x1 | SUNO LA Dinner – 16 April 2015


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”I’m half German half New Yorker- born and raised in downtown DC. Mums a crazy beautiful painter and dads a brilliant architect. My folks were the coolest – super supportive and encouraging of exploring all forms of creative expression growing up.

I first fell in love with the idea of being a performer when my folks took me to see this play ‘THE FANTASTICKS’ off Broadway when i was 7. The first scene just really got me, the curtain came up and there was this young girl my age, rocking back and forth on the floor in prayer saying ‘please god, please! don’t let me be normal!’ over and over and over again it was so weirdly powerful to me in that moment as a kid and comforting to be reminded so simply that it was okay – cool, even – to be a weirdo and an outcast in such a uncomfortable and confusing chapter of youth when there was so much pressure to ”fit in” with the crowd which i never did. So anyways, i dug that moment so much and it just made me fall madly in love with the power a performance can have to inspire others. I think it was then that i knew i wanted to act and be a part of the storytelling business so i latched onto theater quite young, but didn’t pick up my first real film camera til after college, actually. i guess its a newer hobby.

At the moment i am curating an awesome art show in LA featuring a wild group of my favorite local artists and influencers, a photography project with kids from a homeless youth shelter in downtown LA, and putting together the first film i’m directing!

Fashion to me is just passing trends. I do appreciate style, style is someones unique sense of self and the way they share that with the world. Their voice and it goes so far beyond clothing but clothing is definitely a fun form of creativity to express oneself with.”

You can see new photoshoot with Gillian and her HANDWRITTEN interview in the gallery!

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x1 | HANDWRITTEN interview for The Collab


Don’t forget to check out new photoshoot in high quality with Gillian Zinser. One of my absolute favourite pictures, she looks insanely good!

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I have added in the gallery new high quality portait with Gillian Zinser and a few new outtakes from her old photoshoots. Be sure to check them out!

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Another surprise: exclusive and very stunning outtakes with Gillian Zinser have been uploaded in the gallery.

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I have added into gallery newest portrait with Gillian Zinser and Luke Grimes from the recent photoshoot. They both looks amazing!

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Newest photoshoot with Gillian Zinser have been uploaded in the gallery.

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I have added into gallery newest portrait with Gillian Zinser and her coyote from the recent photoshoot.

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I have added gorgeous portait with Gillian Zinser taken for Art Of Elysium.

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Actress, artist and devoted Somme Institute fan, Gillian Zinser, uses our Regimen for clear, glowing skin. We’re obsessed with her style (check out her recent feature on The Coveteur where she shares some of her vintage pieces and prized possessions like her hat collection) and her flawless beauty looks! Today she shares some of her best beauty tips and tricks with us.

“I’m absolutely sworn over – the products are BRILLIANT – my skin’s clearer and smoother in texture than any time I can remember before.”

What is your favorite Somme Institute product?

GZ: I especially love the Transport pads! My skin is really pale and sensitive but constantly congested, so it’s hard for me to find a gentle yet effective enough exfoliant. This product is the perfect balance for me.

What is your daily beauty routine in the AM/PM?

GZ: I wash my face and follow with a vitamin C serum and sunscreen in the am and wash, exfoliate and moisturize at night. I also drink a few ounces of aloe vera juice daily which really helps to keep my skin clear, and try not to wear makeup if I’m not working.

What are some of the best beauty tips and tricks you’ve learned?

GZ: Don’t over pluck, never pick, sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen, and keep hydrated with lots of water throughout the day!

We hear you love shopping in your mom’s closet. Any beauty tips that she has passed along to you as well?

GZ: keep it simple – less is more!

Any red carpet beauty looks that you’ve done?

GZ: I honestly never feel comfortable in a ton of makeup, so i tend to stick to a fresh, bare face with bright lips when I’m feeling fancy!

When do you feel the most beautiful?

GZ: When I’m creating!

You eat mostly whole, raw foods. What does a day of eating typically look like for you?

GZ: I’m a huge believer that we can balance our bodies, minds and moods through a simple, natural diet so i eat mostly whole, organic foods, juice a ton, and when I can i cook most of my meals at home, ‘The Esalen cookbook’ and ‘Superfoods Cookbook’ are two of my favorite sources for recipes.

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I have added into gallery newest & unseen before portraits with beautiful Gillian Zinser in high quality. Check them out!

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I have added a bunch of high qiality outtakes with Gillian from her Coveteur & ELLE collaboration. Enjoy!

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I have added new brilliant outtakes with Gillian Zinser from her InStyle Germany photoshoot. So beautiful!

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I have added new outtakes with Gillian Zinser from one of her old photoshoots, and also brand new snap from her new shoot. Check it out!

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I have added brand new outtakes with Gillian Zinser from her Institute magazine photoshoot. She looks adorable!

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