Down to Earth from Perth: Hanna Mangan Lawrence

Down to Earth from Perth. Our time with the refreshingly real actress, Hanna Mangan Lawrence

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words by Josh Brown

photos by SOSA + ART

Featured in BELLO mag issue #120

Available worldwide Digital + Print.

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Five hours, six wardrobe changes, and a photo shoot later—Hanna sat down to talk with me completely unflustered and cheery. This Australian actress was full of surprises, humor, and such a raw personality that made for good laughs and interesting insight to a young actress’s world.

Seated next to a waiting salad…she shared these things about her life, relationship to Chris Wood, her family, and her “love-hate” relationship with acting.

Was acting always your first love?

I went to a performing arts Highschool in Sydney but I wasn’t like “Yeah I want to be an actor”. I guess I didn’t really think about it until I was 14. Everyone always told me I was such a performer and that “you’re gonna be an actor–you’re gonna be an actor” but I was also doing gymnastics at the time and I was like “What? No! I’m gonna be a gymnast, an Olympic gymnast!”

Pausing for a laugh she then says…

…But I guess obviously that’s probably harder. So I never did that. I never became an Olympian. So now I’m an actor.

So How did it happen? Was it accidental?

Well, I told my mom I wanted to get an agent and try being an actor but she said it’s too hard and didn’t really want me to do it. But my parents are seperated, so then I went to my dad’s house and said “Dad, I want to get an agent”.

We both laugh hysterically

Wow, you literally did the “Mom says no, so now ask dad” move

Literally, I played them, used that to my advantage and he said cool so I looked in the yellow pages found an obscure listing called “kidz in the biz” or something like that and I went to audition and things just sort of happened from there.

Safe to say they’re both cool with the whole acting thing now?

Yeah. They like it now haha!

So first I admit, I stalked your instagram

Perfect, I’m that person too–I stalk too.

Well, I saw your relationship with Chris, and a lot of people consider you to be couple goals. So I know they want to know…when did you first fall for Chris and why?

(Laughing shyly) Well, I don’t know about people considering us couple goals. We just became really good friends–obviously we met on containment. And we were just goofballs together. It’s nice to always spend time with your best friend.

Now the real question: Why would you say he fell for you?

The Australian accent.Just the accent. That’s it. That’s what got him. Everything else about me he was just like “Oh Dear”.

You have a fairly new puppy and I’m jealous but I also think you posted that he “did shit on your carpet for mother’s day”.

Oh Yeah. He just shit on my rug. This huge shit. He hadn’t had an accident in a while. So he came to me with a strange look on his face…on Mother’s Day…like a “look what I did” face. And I was just like oh gosh, happy mother’s day to me.

Do people yell out your character name from projects in public when they see you?

Umm Sometimes. Like in public people would yell “Seppia” from Spartacus. Not for containment yet.

Ever respond back in character?

No but wow–I totally should! What a great idea! It would be less awkward–spring it back on them.

I saw your nephew arrived in challenging circumstances (my brother was also born premature) and you posted the sweetest message about that time period. Only if I’m not intruding. What was that like?

What’s really interesting is that when it happened it was initially so traumatizing because we had never heard of a baby been born three months early and my initial response was oh no he’s not going to be fully formed. But Patrick has so much life and he was in the hospital for ages but it’s amazing to see how he’s grown.

What’s also is interesting is hearing you say your brother was also premature because by my putting it out there so many people reached out and told me about how this happened to their family as well and this is a common thing.I feel like had my sister and I known that is so common that it would have been a lot less daunting for us. Yes some babies are born at 28 weeks but with modern science we help them get through it.

And you were able to spend almost everyday with them early on thanks to shoot location right?

Yes. It was amazing. Because a week after Patrick’s birth my shoot location moved to Perth and the shoot gave me a two bedroom place there. So she was able to stay with me and be a bit more relaxed.She was in with Patrick everyday but I think just being able to have the downtime at the apartment and her own kitchen really helped. So that was nice. So the shoot location was really…I can’t think of the word…

Serendipitous?

Exactly

Have you had anyone reach out to you about being inspired by you? Do you feel some sort of responsibility there?

Yes some really lovely people have reached out. Telling me it’s wonderful to see a young girl acting and following her dreams and that it inspires them. So I think anyone in the media does have some sort of responsibilities to be aware of.

You have gotten to a place where so many aspire to be. What would your advice be to those who are about to quit?

I think it would be pretty standard. That you just have to keep going. Like anyone, I have moments where I’m like “Will this actually work–will I pull this off–what happens in ten years if there’s nothing for me to do.” But I think that just knowing life’s a journey and you’ll end up where you need to be by exploring possibilities and riding the waves is what makes it easier.

Like on instagram there is this idealized view into someone’s world. Everyday I get turned down and rejected from auditions. I get frequently put down and have to pick myself back up (laughs) but I don’t post those moments about my really SHIT audition. But we all have ebbs and flows.

The hardest thing about being an actress?

Not knowing. You never know where the next job is coming from so that’s a challenge in and of itself. And we like to be in control of our lives so that’s tough. I have this mentor, an Australian actress, Kerry Armstrong. She told me try to keep one thing in your life as a constant everyday. I’d like to say that I got up every day and did yoga but I don’t. And the environment is always changing. I could be in a trailer, an apartment, a different country.

So without fail, everyday I make my bed. And it sounds so little but it keeps me sane. (laughing) I know I’m going to sleep and I know I’m waking up so I can at least control making my bed.

The easiest about being an actress?

I wouldn’t say easy is the word. I’d say it’s more of my passion taking over—that I really love what I do. I’m not stuck in a job where I wish I were doing something else. I’m doing what I want to so I’m just grateful. Sometimes I hate that I love doing it so much.

Elaborate on that. What do you mean you hate that you love it? What does that mean?

Well, it’s frustrating when you can’t do something the way you envisioned it as far as acting. I always wish I had a degree and was just a doctor. Mind you, I think I’ve idealized this but I would enjoy the aspect of just being a doctor and no one questions that.

With acting, yes, you can still get a degree but you still constantly question if you’re “enough” or if you’re even good at it. There’s no real tangible scale. There’s no way in your heart that you can know you’re good. I’m not sure that makes sense.

It makes perfect sense. You can have people around you saying the performance is perfect but you know it didn’t come out the way you envisioned it and only you know that. You rehearsed it differently and then you see it on screen and it’s different from what you felt when you were in the scene. The challenge of that I’m sure is the love hate aspect. As you said, you make an appointment with a doctor, a doctor will be there, a doctor will ask certain questions. Whereas you can do a MILLION different things with a role. And, somebody else would do a MILLION different things than you with that role so I can understand how it’s challenging to gauge if you’re making the right choices.

I mean, yeah. So incredibly well put. You look at the pages in front of you and you can do it so many different ways. A doctor, they perform the operation, and hopefully they DON’T do the operation a hundred different ways each time. Hopefully there’s just ONE way and they’re perfect at it. That sounds nice (laughing).

What kind of character would you most like to play in the future?

I love drama and the raw emotion. But I think I would like to just play an action woman you know? I want to kick some doors down. I have this image of me half-way between Tarzan and half way between Lara Croft. Yeah I really like that!

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photography SOSA + ART www.sosaandart.com
styling WILL CLARK www.dionperonneau.com/william-clark/portfolio/#1
makeup ANTON KHACHATURIAN for Exclusive Artists Management using MAC Cosmetics
hair BENJAMIN TERRY for Solo Artist using R+Co and T3 micro products
photo assistant RENATO GONTIJO
location STUDIO W in Santa Monica

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About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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