In every good story, there’s something that moves you. Australian actor, Nathaniel Buzolic, best known for his roles on The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and Pretty Little Liars, is a testament to this. Where to begin with this gentleman, who is as talented as he is grounded? His inspirational life story speaks for itself and continues to write its own pages: from his acting to his campaigning against human slavery. On our visit to Los Angeles, we picked his brains about life, love and storytelling.
OG: Can you tell us a little about your road to acting and Hollywood dreams?
I’ve always had a passion for two things – storytelling and people. I’m fascinated with trying to understand what drives a soul to do great things or compels another to do the unthinkable; how those people see the world around them and are driven to create change.
My father left when I was two so I grew up in a single parent, low-income household. My mother is amazing! She did everything she could so that my brother and I wouldn’t miss out on anything. However, from early on, I had to work to help support my mum financially. My first job was in a video store, cleaning shelves after school. It was boring and the dust never seemed to end but this unwanted responsibility allowed me to watch movies while I cleaned those shelves. The Basketball Diaries starring Leonardo DiCaprio was the first film I remember watching. I was in awe of his storytelling ability and, soon enough, I had watched every film I could find him in. I think this was when I first wished to be an actor. So as my story goes, hard work and consistent persistence would see me finally make it to Hollywood some 15 years later. And my story continues…
OG: You’re a storyteller by nature, what is it about stories that moves you?
Storytelling has the ability to move people, to inspire, to encourage and to change how someone thinks. To share stories is to be human. It’s in our blood. History is proof that while people pass away, their stories live on. So for me being a part of storytelling is living more than just one lifetime.
OG: You’ve worked on some huge shows, what do you love about working on television? Any favourite people you’ve worked with?
I get a buzz about being on set because no two days are ever the same. As an actor on a television show you often forget that other people will watch your work and be completely connected to the story that is being told. What I enjoy most is how an audience can interact with each story in their own way. Where one person can love your character, someone hates them for the very same reasons. I’d have to say I’ve really enjoyed working with Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies who play my brothers in The Vampire Diaries and now star in The Originals. Both are extremely talented actors with very different approaches to the work, but each has this ability to bring the words on the page to life.
OG: Can you fill us in on what you’re currently working on?
There are a few opportunities that are in the pipeline, but sadly I can’t give anything away at this stage. All I can share is that I am back on the audition circuit trying to find the next story that I can be a part of.
OG: For our readers who are planning on giving showbiz a go, what wisdom do you have for them?
Our world is consumed by the idea of success and failure. But I have seen first hand that success in this business is a nothing more then a brief moment that is quickly replaced by another dream, another hope or another goal. Therefore my advice is simple: Yes, find what you love to do and chase it with all of your heart for all of your days, but don’t be consumed by the word ‘success’. Instead focus on the word ‘experience’ and whatever story comes from your journey. That is the story you were meant to tell. I don’t want to be defined by what I do, I want to be defined by who I am.
OG: You’re actively involved in the ‘End It’ movement against human slavery. Why is this so important to you?
‘End It’ is a campaign, with a team of ten coalition partners, to create awareness about the ongoing global issue of slavery. There are more slaves in the world today than we have ever had before. 27 million men, women and children in 161 different countries are classified as modern day slaves. 27 million people who no longer have the basic human right of freedom, free will or an opportunity to make their own choices. Whether it is forced labor or human trafficking, this problem is real and continues to hide in the shadows of our societies. The ‘End It’ movement’s goal is simple: to shine a light on slavery so it can no longer continue unnoticed and unchallenged.
During my campaigning I have been astounded at the number of people who have told me that the problem is too big and things will never change. “You will never beat this Nathaniel. Slavery was here before you and it will be when you’re long gone. “Yes, my goal is to end modern day slavery globally and, yes, I may never be able to achieve this personally. But I know personally I can change at least one life, and if I can change at least one, then I know I can change more. So maybe slavery will outlive my lifetime, but slavery will not outlive the lifetime of the person you can save. So I will continue to raise my voice and I will continue to fight for this cause.
OG: You’re an Aussie guy with a Croatian background, hailing from Sydney. What’s the importance of home to you? What would we find you doing on a day back in Sydney?
There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place like home… Ahhhh darn, didn’t work, must not be wearing my red sparkly shoes! I miss Sydney, miss my mum, miss my mates and miss the feeling I get when I’m back home. A perfect day for me would be waking up and have my mum nag me to make my bed and put my cereal bowl in the sink; head to Tamarama beach for the day, come home to homemade lasagna, look at the stars over Sydney town and call it a night.
OG: You’ve travelled all over the world with work. What’s at the top of you list?
My favourite place in the world is Hvar in Croatia where my family is from. It’s a small island with a population of 4,000 people. Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea, it’s a peaceful place that has an old-world feel to it. Before I call it a day from this lifetime, I’d like to live out a few days there. That, and I’d love to see Jerusalem, the Holy City.
OG: “You’re rarer than a dandelion and burdock and those other girls are just post-mix lemonade” (Arctic Monkeys). Do you want to share your thoughts on love?
I’m a hopeless romantic so I believe in love. It is actually the one thing we all wish to have and the one thing we can’t live without. To love and to be loved. If you believe in love, you have no choice but to also believe in that one true love. From the second you see that person you will know and from that point onwards your heart will say to your head, “I told you so”. But here’s the catch, you won’t know till the very end of the film – but hey, that’s life…and hey, that’s love!
OG: If you could invite 4 people, dead or alive, to a dinner party who would they be?
I would invite James Dean and Heath Ledger: both were great actors who I truly respected and two actors who sadly passed well before their time. I think it would be interesting to hear their take on the business and life itself. I would also invite Jesus and Louie Giglio. These are two people who have inspired me. I believe in Jesus and his teachings have given me my greatest wisdoms to navigate through this world. Louie Giglio, the pastor of Passion City Church, is one of the few people I look up to in this world, a man of God who is also a great storyteller.