Check out our interview with stunning model, actress and ultra-marathon runner Eimanne El Zein.
While studying film production in University Eimanne fell into modeling when she was cast as “Miss March” in the Whistler Exposed Bikini Calendar. Since then, modeled for such brands as Lululemon, Fitbit, Wrangler Jeans and Jeep. While she found success in modeling, Eimanne still had the passion for acting and has trained in San Francisco, NY and LA.
Acting brought her recurring roles in BACK TO EARTH: INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE and PROJECT CHILD: ORIGINS as well as a lead role in the award winning short BROTHER’S KEEPER. In pre-production is her newest project for Instagram TV entitled ON YOUR KNEES explores faith and freedom through the eyes of a young Muslim woman.
A lifelong Vegan, Eimanne uses her platform to highlight conservation and sustainability. She is an ultra-marathon runner competing in 100-mile marathons as well participating in other extreme sports such as rock climbing and dog sledding.
Follow Eimanne @Eimanne
Hi EIMANNE, please tell us a little about you?
Hey! It’s so nice to be connecting with you. In a nutshell, I’m an actress, director, and model, living a life of filmmaking adventures accented by extreme sports and good books. I’m Lebanese-American and grew up all around the world. I first discovered my passion for filmmaking when I was living overseas and realized how connected stories can make us feel to each other, and that films were one of the most powerful ways to share those stories.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Vivacious, achiever, silly.
How did you get started into acting and modeling?
I started modeling when I was going to University in Canada. I never dreamed that I would be on the covers of magazines or even pursuing a modeling career. I was going to business school! But I knew that wasn’t the right fit for me either. When I was scouted to model and started making a living doing it, it gave me a glimpse at what might be possible for my life, that I didn’t have to settle for a standard kind of job. So I ended up pursuing what I had always really loved – acting! That was probably my first passion in life and it’s obviously still burning bright.
How has this changed your life?
My journey with acting has allowed me to learn so much about who I am and about human nature in general. Actors have to be so authentic and honest to be believable. They have to find the truth in every moment and situation. So if you don’t know your own truth, then you can’t know the characters either. It’s because of acting that I found myself pushing to grow past my comfort zone time and time again or stretching myself beyond limits that I thought I was capable of.
What is the best and worst part of being a model?
The best part about being a model is working with a new group of passionate people all the time. It’s the crew that makes the job awesome or not. Oftentimes it doesn’t even feel like work because everyone is just so happy to be seeing their visions come to life and I always feel lucky to be a part of that. The worst part is you feel like a prop. That actually doesn’t happen a lot, but every now and then you find yourself on a shoot where they just want you to be a clothes-hanger and that’s never suited me very well. It’s part of why I lean into acting more, there’s more opportunity to bring YOU and what makes you special, beyond a look.
Do you ever get nervous?
I get nervous all the time! I can definitely have an anxious personality type if I let my thoughts run away with me. You get nervous about whether or not the photographer likes you, if you’re going to butcher your line, or if the director cares for your choices in a scene. Usually though, if you’re being true to yourself and communicate openly, there’s nothing to get nervous about. It can be hard to have a whole shoot on your shoulders, people put a lot of time and money into bringing these things to life and then it’s your job to execute the vision. Things like breathing techniques and meditation help me to stay calm and focused in the moment.
The most important thing when you are shooting is?
It’s most important to have fun! Acting, even when it’s a tough or dramatic scene, should always have joy in it. We’re playing, it can’t be taken too seriously or else the life gets suffocated out of it.
What’s your advice for the newer models?
Don’t obsess over the work or after the pursuit of work. Keep living your life and the right jobs will come! It’s just like anything, the more you take care of yourself the more the world takes care of you.
Now talking about Social Media, can you share some tips for keeping your Instagram account interesting?
There are a lot of resources out there that would tell you to find your niche and stick to it on social media. And maybe that does help with new growth, but it’s never been the way I’ve found social media to be interesting. I’m into so many different things and I want my social pages to be a reflection of who I really am. So I say post what you find exciting on there and the right people will find you! You don’t want to be bored trying to fit into some box just to make your content easy to swallow. Be the biggest, fullest version of yourself, even online.
Tell us about your work in BACK TO EARTH: INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE and PROJECT CHILD: ORIGINS?
Those were great projects! I always love working on Sci-Fi roles because they are so out of this world and allow me to embrace a new level of imagination. Back to Earth was the first pilot I ever shot, my first on set trailer, and the first screening that I had at the TCL Theatre! We shot in beautiful New Mexico and I’m still good friends and big collaborators with a lot of the crew and producers from that. Project Child is another one that’s very close to my heart because it was one of the first roles I ever booked after moving to LA. I thought I totally failed that audition! I’m so grateful the producers thought otherwise because it was such a unique and creative project and again one of those ones where I’ve since become great friends with the producer and we’ve now shot many epic projects together.
How do you prepare for a role?
Preparing for a role for me can take on a lot of different shapes. It depends on the role and what it requires. When I shot “DIDA”, another project directed and produced by Robin Deeter, the creator of “Project Child”, I was playing someone with dissociative identity disorder. She had 5 different personalities that spoke 5 different languages! She was also a sleep agent spy… To really get into her head, I had to develop the backstory and uncover what trauma had created all the personalities. I did a lot of research on the condition as well as a lot of journaling in character. Then I take it off the page and start to explore physicality based on what I had discovered through my research and writing.
What other projects have you been part of?
I’ve been so lucky to be a part of many amazing projects! Most recently, another one that I’ve had a lot of fun working on, which is still in pre-production, is a feature film called “A Better Future” produced by Andrew Watters. I’m playing twins on opposite sides of the law! And because I’m playing an FBI agent, Andrew wanted everything to be authentic and realistic so he placed quite an emphasis on firearms training and combat training. I got to spend two weeks doing private training with Pat McNamara in North Carolina. Now I’m hooked! These are my dream roles, where I get to learn a new skill or push myself to expand into things I had never tried before.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
Sort of like I mentioned with the last question, I love the roles that challenge me – mentally or physically. Being an endurance athlete (I run 100 mile races), I just have the kind of mindset to do whatever it takes and determination to go the distance. So those roles where I get to fully express all the different parts of myself and use my body, those are my dream roles. It would be something like Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games, or pretty much anything Margot Robbie does, but especially her portrayal of Harley Quinn.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work has to be being a part of bringing someone else’s vision and dream to life. I love filmmaking because it’s the best example of “thoughts become things” that I know of. Someone somewhere has an idea, they write it down, they wrangle a village of people to get behind it, then suddenly you’re on set and living the idea, then it’s on film and on TV and millions of people are watching this new reality or world that you’ve created. Being a part of that process always makes me smile.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
I’m not sure I could look back and point to one “biggest failure”, but I’ve definitely picked up a lot of good lessons from things that didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. Not counting your chickens before they hatch is a good one. Which really comes down to expectations and attachments. It can be hard to do a project thinking “this is the one that’s going to get big” and then nothing ever comes of it or it doesn’t even finish getting made! I have to remind myself to take each day one at a time and to just bring my all in the moment, whatever step of the journey that may be. Then to not get too attached to any outcomes.
What’s your advice for the newer actresses?
Everyone says this these days, but create your own work! Don’t wait around for someone to give you a job, start writing stories that you find interesting and find easy ways to bring them to life. There are so many avenues for people to find your work and for you to share your artistry with the world, there are no excuses to not be acting if that’s really what you want to be doing.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
I’ve learned a lot about who I am, but more accurately, I’ve learned that I still have SO MUCH to learn. With every new discovery I make about myself or the world, I just realize that there is so much more still that I don’t know. Staying humble and keeping a “student mindset” is everything.
Now tell us about your experience as an ultra- marathon runner? That’s impressive! Congrats 🙂
Thank you! Running ultras is definitely a little crazy… But I love it and can’t imagine not doing it, a lot like acting! I get the same kind of “runner’s high” from both. There are so many highs and lows when you run 100 miles, it’s a really great analogy for life or for pursuing a career like acting.
How do you prepare for a very demanding competition like this?
A lot of training!! I do long runs between 15-30 miles 1-2 times a week. And I do double workouts involving a mix of pilates, strength training, cycling, and yoga in between. Sometimes it’s just about time on feet. Two years ago when I was training for my first 100, I went to Mt. Whitney area and ran a 30 mile race on Cinco De Mayo, then drove back to LA and partied all night dancing with my friends. I considered that training because I knew the 100 wouldn’t give me a chance to sleep or rest either!
How would your best friend describe you?
Hard working, positive, obsessed with cats…
What book should every entrepreneur read?
The Big Leap is a great one! And David Goggins “Can’t Hurt Me”. I’m almost through with that one, but it’s been very very motivating.
What’s next for EIMANNE EL ZEIN in 2021?
A lot of big things are happening for me in 2021! First, my short film, “Kismet” should be coming out. Then my series “On Your Knees” will be released. Both are super exciting projects and I hope will be making quite a splash!
What is your favorite healthy food?
Burritos! That’s healthy right?
And your favorite cheat food?
Also burritos… but no, actually probably anything chocolate.
How would you explain your fashion style?
I have a chameleon fashion style. I can be very laid back and casual, rocker and all black, or professional and lots of pinks!
What is your own definition of happiness?
Happiness to me is finding joy in the little things. It’s feeling supported and loved, by yourself first and then others around you.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Definitely David Bowie. He was so unique, truly a star man. I always thought that I would meet him someday.
Best advice ever given?
Drink more water.
Do you support any charity?
I do, but I’m kind of in between charities right now. I used to support an organization called “Teen Feed” that helped homeless youth in Seattle, but I’ve been searching for something local here in LA to volunteer and support.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In 5 years I hope to be doing something like Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Acting in my own show that was picked up by a network after I self developed it, writing something else, directing something else… Everything that I’m doing today, just on a larger scale with a bigger audience!
Favorite song? Why?
Currently it’s ZTFO by Big Sean. Because I need that kind of reminder in my life!
What do you think of Social Media?
Social media can be the biggest blessing or the biggest curse. It’s what you make of it! I definitely notice times when my mental health seems to be suffering because I’ve spent too many hours scrolling on instagram or I can’t get tiktok songs out of my head. But it’s also an amazing tool for connecting us and for sharing ideas and in that sense I love it.
Where we can follow you?
Book: East by Edith Pattou
Quote: “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper” – William Butler Yeats
Movie: The Hunt for the Wilder People
Tv Series: Rick and Morty
Favorite Food: Blueberry pancakes
Travel Destination: The mountains
Sports Team: Seattle, but I don’t really watch sports!
Photo & Credits
The Phoenix BTS from Anthony Bless Music video “Phoenix” photo by Colleen Allison
Photo & Credit Directing and cameo appearance in my new series “On Your Knees”