Lara Azzopardi: Spotlight on the local actress

26 October 2023

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With her magnetic presence, exceptional acting prowess and an unquenchable passion for the art, Lara Azzopardi has rapidly emerged as one of the most captivating and promising actresses of her generation. Known for her performance as Rose in the beloved series Iċ-Ċaqqufa which won her the coveted ‘Best female actress’ award in a leading role, Lara has also embodied a handful of other roles.

Here she talks to us about her rise to fame, her life on and off the screen and so much more.

You were brought up in the media industry. To what extent did this upbringing influence and inspire your acting career?

It definitely had a strong impact on my future. I wasn’t too keen though on fulfilling a full-time job in the industry, so I chose healthcare instead and kept the media work as a hobby because it gave me a lot of satisfaction and I used this time to unwind. My acting simply came along casually and it was unexpected.

Iċ-Ċaqqufa is back on Tokis with season 5. What do you think makes this production so appealing to audiences?

I believe it’s the authenticity of the story. The history and humanistic narrative make it very relatable.

In fact, you currently star in one of your most iconic roles. Can you tell us about your experience working on this series and what it means to you?

Rose is a very strong character, a woman who has changed my perception to the world. I grew up with her. She gave me the opportunity to experience many emotions, which in return left an impact on me. I have been wearing her shoes since 2013… we stopped for a long break but now we are back on Tokis. It feels surreal but also great to be back.

I am indeed very honored to be performing such a role, a role which gave me the honour to win ‘best female actress in 2017’ and a role which I will always cherish. Besides the fact that I will possibly always be referred to as Iċ-Ċaqqufa and that’s sweet!

A camera man shooting a movie

How has the character of Rose evolved over the years and what has it been like to interpret the same character for so long?

We see 3 women interpret the role. Her childhood, adolescence, university days and adulthood, which then gets complex. The story is very intriguing! I managed to adapt throughout the years, feeling her emotions, crying out her sadness, screaming her pain and loving her family. She has been through a lot and that was very tiring for me, at times I found it hard.

Her unfortunate turn of events did psychologically drain me, I must say. I was mentally prepared for everything that was planned by Pierre Portelli who kindly and wholeheartedly shared his plot with me and together with a super team we brought the script to life. The longevity of the acting period was extremely helpful to keep in character and evolve with her. I’m glad we all made it work.

Can you share some memorable moments or challenges you faced while filming Iċ-Ċaqqufa?

I feel every moment was memorable thanks to a positive team on set who worked very hard to strike a balance between deadlines, hard work and jokes so it was always fun. As for challenges, I had quite a few. In the past seasons, I was in touch with some women who experienced rape. It was then when I started to understand the pain and psychological effects of the trauma. I worked hard on evolving the character through real events and these women were kind enough to talk through their pain in order to help me act.

More recently, I was filming while I was pregnant and was struggling with smells to the extent that everything made me sick. Thinking about it also makes me cringe.

Then, for Season 5 I was back on set after I gave birth, so I look very different in many scenes – chubbier in some and thinner in others.

You have taken part in several other productions with leading roles in Ġizelle, Evanġelisti, Emilja and Game Over to name a few. Which has been your most memorable part to date aside of Rose in Iċ-Ċaqqufa?

I have a soft spot for Giżelle of course, as this was my first role.

Many may not know this, but you are actually a nurse by profession. Why did you choose nursing?

I was always fascinated by the hospital setting. I watched these types of series, I loved taking care of people and so I always had a special interest in the sector. Then my dad underwent a big operation when I was 16 and I spent long hours with him during his recovery. I knew that this was what I wanted to do.

Both acting and nursing are demanding professions and you do both. How do you maintain a work-life balance?
Truth is, I hardly do. I am very passionate about what I do, I don’t stop, so this doesn’t allow me to stick to a fixed timetable, but I am trying my best to improve.

Actress Lara Azzopardi

How do you stay motivated and continue to evolve as an actor as the industry changes and new opportunities arise?

I’m a film addict. I watch loads of movies and I’m a critic. I also follow some good acting Masterclasses which are always helpful. As for new roles, I think that I dedicate a lot of time on ‘observing people’ and study traits I can adopt in my new roles so I will be able to transform myself. I like to think about the character’s psychology in a holistic way and in this way I find it easier to understand the layers that add up to another individual.

What advice would you give to aspiring actors in Malta who are looking to make a name for themselves in the industry?
It entails time, dedication and empathy. Don’t do it for popularity but only for your own satisfaction and pride. Work with professionals and never stop learning. Attend workshops, be around different directors, ask questions and let loose. Explore yourself – the sky is the limit and the Art itself is very rewarding.

Beyond the set, are there any other creative pursuits or interests you’re passionate about?

Anything artistic! Music, singing, drawing, painting, film, directing, producing, presenting. Nature! Animals, farming and gardening.

So what’s next for you after Iċ-Ċaqqufa season 5?

I am hosting a tv discussion show right now which I am also co-producing with a team of super people. I plan to have a nice break from Drama so I can focus on other priorities, mainly my family.

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