Lately, young women of our country have been bombarded with disconcerting stories. From the Harvey Weinstein scandal to the Lori Loughlin scandal, young women are being portrayed in a negative manner. Stories of young women who were forced into victimhood at the mercy of others, or stories showing young women as too weak to accomplish success based on their own effort and merit. This article is the third of a three part series dedicated to showing the other side of the coin. Three Israeli women who demonstrate that with hard work, fierce dedication and omnipresent optimism any life goal may be attained.
Soraya Torrens is a model and actress, with prime roles in General Commander (2018), Hostages (2013) and Mossad 101 (2015).
- JF: You have a very unique story- being born and growing up in Brazil before moving to Israel and becoming an Israeli actress. Can you talk about this process you went through?
ST: Sure, actually I’ve never planned or even imagined that I would end up living in Israel and feeling at home here more than anywhere else. I used to travel around the world working as a model, then I fell in love with an Israeli guy in one of those trips. He went back to Israel, and then I also heard from some friends that I should go there. I contacted an agent from Tel Aviv and decided to go for it! I fell in love with the place straight away and I quickly could not see myself being somewhere else. My boyfriend and I are no longer together anymore, but I am very thankful to him for showing me the way to my true home where I live for the last 13 years already.
- JF: What similarities have you found between your time spent in Brazil and now the last 13 years that you have lived in Israel? ST: Both countries are very warm in many ways. The weather, the people, and the energy. Israelis know how to have fun and to enjoy life from the simple things and Brazilians are also like that so it can’t go wrong.
- JF: You portray strong women in your television roles- you have played a Mossad trainee who literally had to defend herself with physical force and played a mercenary businesswoman /lawyer involved in potential espionage schemes. Do you look for roles which demonstrate strong female characters? ST: Well, usually we (actors) go to many different kinds of auditions with various stories and characters. We have to be open to dive into all kinds of new worlds and ideas- but of course I wouldn’t do an audition for a character who doesn’t interest me! I personally love to do comedy as well so it varies. Specifically about Katarina from ‘Mossad101’ and Lidia from ‘Hostages’, I really connected to both of them for their strength and I did my best to be able to recreate this power that I saw in them. So yes, I do connect to strong female characters very much and I enjoy embodying them.
- JF: With your talent, you could pretty easily work as a model and actor in Paris, London, Rome, Milan or New York. So why does a woman who didn’t speak Hebrew move to a country like Israel where you have to deal with all the craziness of the Middle East? ST: I’ve lived in many places around the world and I love traveling, but Israel is my real home. I can’t really explain it, it’s a feeling. It just felt like the right place for me to be from the moment I landed here. There’s always some kind of craziness and downsides everywhere, but when you feel this is the place for you it doesn’t matter that much.
- JF: In the hit series Mossad 101- you play a female character who is actually from Brazil and who used to run a club and then moves to Israel. Talk about art imitating life! Then, you have an angry confrontation with another character who tries to use the fact you were not born in the country against you! How did that entire scenario come about? ST: No, actually the character was written way before they met me and later on I found out that the story of Katarina is actually real, but she had another name. We truly have a lot of things in common, and this definitely made me connect to her straight away.
- JF: It is very difficult for all olim/new immigrants to move to Israel and leave their families and the lives that they knew to head out into the unknown. That is a scary proposition for the majority of human beings. What gave you the fortitude and strength to embark on this adventure? ST: The part of being far from my family is the hardest for sure, because my family lives in Brazil so it’s quite far. I’m going to bring my mom to live here in Israel with me this year, so it will surely make things better. But traveling by myself and the decision to move for me never felt like some kind of courageous act- because what scares me the most is to stay always at the same place doing the same things! For me, changing and getting out of my comfort zone is something that teaches me a lot and makes me feel alive.
- JF: What do you love the most about living in Israel? The humus! (Just joking.! J) I love the people here and the feeling of unity that I see everywhere, the respect they have for family and for life in general. I love the food of course, the weather and the beaches. But more than all, I love the truth that you still can find here and that has become so rare in today’s world.
- JF: What is most frustrating about living in Israel? ST: The fact that we know that for so many years we are being attacked by other countries on a daily basis and that usually the news all over the world will not show this. Or when they do, they show it in a completely distorted way. I’ve also had many friends who deleted me from social media or offended me and my family because of my love for Israel and my choice of living here. There’s still a lot of ignorance in the world so it can be difficult sometimes to understand or accept certain things.
- JF: What are your short term goals (3-5 years) and your long term goals? ST: My short term goals would be having my family living here in Israel at least most of the time. I’ve had enough of having them far from me for so many years. I also want to keep focusing on my acting career, and to help teenagers to find a direction in life since I’m asked about it by many young girls and boys. My long term goal is to be happy doing what I love and being able to help other people have a better life.
- JF: What is the greatest lesson you have had to learn through your own personal experiences that you wish every female teenager could understand? ST: I know it may sound cliche, but I believe that self-love is the most important thing we can achieve in life before anything. It’s not an easy journey! I do have ups and downs sometimes, but once you are focused on what truly makes you happy and stop living to please everybody, you will make your inner world and the outside world a much better place.
- JF: You seem to be more interested in being a decent person, treating people with respect and enjoying your life than you do about doing whatever it takes to become famous around the world. Is this true, and if so why? ST: Because I think that life is too short to be worrying about where I’m going to get in life just so people will love and admire me. I want to be able to live a life where I feel fulfilled with myself for what I believe is best for me, surrounded with real people who love me for what I am and vice-versa. I believe that at the end of this crazy journey called life, what matters the most is how much love we shared and how peaceful we are.