Aldís Amah Hamilton
Icelandic actress Aldis Amah Hamilton first made waves in her role as Disa in the popular Netflix series, “The Valhalla Murders.” She is now acting in a soon-to-be-released Netflix series we are very excited about: “Katla.” Aldis will also appear as the main character (Ryn) in a new video game, “The Darken: Echoes of the End” by Myrkur Games.
What are you currently working on?
At the moment I’m shooting a Netflix series called - coincidentally - Katla! It must've been written in the stars! (hehe) Currently I’m also co-writing a new Icelandic series with Baldvin Z and Ragnar Jónsson. This is a project that I’m very passionate about as it’s my first time taking such a big part in creating my own content. The process has been so effortless it feels unreal. But maybe that is because the project is just so “right”.
What are some of your favorite projects from your career?
Aside from the series I’m writing right now, I have to say an Icelandair commercial I was in back in 2016. We re-created New Years Eve by Hallgrímskirkja (Reykjavík’s most famous church.) It was a surreal set as it was only November! Then we went to Portland for 4 nights, stayed at the Benson Hotel, and shot some great scenes in the city. The cast and crew were all so wonderful and some of them remain my friends today. It felt like family.
What is a typical day like for you?
Much has changed recently due to COVID-19. I’ve had much more free time than I’m used to (which makes me panic a bit). On my days off I’ll typically wake up around 9am, drink tea and hang out in bed reading or playing on my old Nintendo DS. I didn't have much free time before the Coronavirus came along so I really appreciate being able to start my day like this. Around noon I’ll either get some work done on my computer or work out. I’m also cooking daily for the first time in my life so I’m trying out new recipes which is fun. And I try to hang out with friends or family at least every other day or so. All in all, my typical day is very chill right now.
What is the most challenging thing you have had to do in your career?
Fighting for my rights in this business. When you´re new, it is easy to be dominated by those in power. People will try to pay you less than you are worth and find loopholes in your contract to benefit themselves. It took tremendous strength and resilience to keep fighting even though I was put down, yelled at and slandered. Gaslighting is very real in this business. But in the end I got what I fought for so it was all worth it, even if I may have made a few enemies along the way. I know I did the right thing. In some cases I had help but not always. Every victory strengthens my understanding of what is right and wrong. That makes it easier to stand up for myself, and others, on my own.
If you could possess a superpower, what would it be?
To be able to fly (and to be able to breathe comfortably in the upper atmosphere).
Aldís as video game character Ryn
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
That’s a tough one. These days I fluctuate. The Black Lives Matter movement and talk of racism in my home country of Iceland has definitely motivated me to fight harder for equality. I am motivated by the opportunity to make a positive change. But sometimes it just feels like you’re yelling into the abyss. On those days I try to practice self-care. When I’m feeling a lack of motivation I just let myself feel that way. That’s something I just started doing recently and it’s much better than constantly pushing forward.
How do you stay healthy and in shape?
I typically do Crossfit five times a week and jog every now and then. I eat mostly vegan and have a wholesome diet. However I have over-trained the past two years so right now staying healthy also means resting more and eating more than usual. I love working out so it’s been challenging but I’m re-defining what health means to me. I’m also trying to shift my Instagram feed to have a more body positive vibe. Mental health is very important.
For what do you feel most grateful in life?
I’m very grateful to be incredibly close to my mom and to have the best father and sisters I could ask for. My closest friends have been a part of my life since kindergarten and I'm grateful they’ll be there for me until the end. Also I am grateful to be living in Iceland, specifically during these strange times. Iceland has a “safe-haven” kind of status in terms of the pandemic and I’m very thankful that my life hasn’t been severely impacted. Iceland doesn't have police brutality and the murder ratio is very low here compared to other countries. The past few months have made me realize that I’m even more privileged than I originally thought.
What is your most treasured possession?
The gold necklace once owned by my grandmother that my mother gave me. There’s a beautiful story behind it. The necklace has a pendant that is comprised of the famous comedy and tragedy theater masks. Separately, I also keep my pet bird's feathers in a box. She passed away years ago but the feathers still carry her scent.
What does "sustainability" mean to you?
Sustainability has so many meanings in my mind, so it's hard to confine the answer to one alone. But I would say generally it means having as low of an impact on the environment as possible. Using things fully until they are un-usable. Being mindful of the way you travel. Buying food locally if possible and making sure you use all of it. Having an eco-friendly wardrobe you can rotate and use for years instead of constantly buying new items. Choosing quality over quantity in almost everything.
Who is a woman you find inspirational and why?
My mom. She’s just the most amazing woman I know. Her life has molded her into such a strong individual and I’ve been lucky enough to watch her grow for the past 29 years into my superhero. She has taken risks and leaps of faith in her life and been rewarded, creating her own opportunities and, as a result, she is now thriving. There are so many things I could say but her story is not mine to tell (she’s writing a book about it!) A few years ago she decided to follow her dream of becoming a writer and so she self-published books. Her success has helped me in so many ways but her difficulties have also been beneficial to me as I have learned lessons from her. If she was a rock earlier in her life, she’s now becoming a diamond - and I don’t care how cliché that sounds!
What are some of your favorite travel destinations?
Japan is without a doubt the most amazing place I’ve ever visited. I long to go back, I miss it. When I went there I established an instant connection. I’d love to live in Japan for a while at some point in my life.
Describe a perfect day for you.
Waking up in a beautiful hotel or a cozy cabin with someone I care for. A sunny day with calm weather. Having an amazing breakfast and then relaxing a bit. Taking a hike/walk around the area and sightseeing (spending as little time in a car as possible). Enjoying a tasty mid-day meal at a café, then doing something mindful like solving a puzzle, reading a book, playing cards or just hanging out. Cooking something special for dinner or going out for a meal in a nice restaurant. Cozying up over a TV-show before going to bed pretty early. Or going all out for drinks and dancing before throwing my happily-exhausted body into bed.
Is there something you've always dreamed of doing but have not yet? What is it and why haven’t you?
Moving abroad for a longer-period of time. I had already had booked work as an actress after graduating from university and spent my earnings on an apartment rather than traveling. Besides acting, I was also a flight attendant so I got to travel regularly which was enough to quench that thirst. But I do envy my friends who have lived (and still live) in other countries. I think it’s important, especially coming from such a small country, to experience very different cultures and people. So far, due to my career in Iceland, I have not moved abroad. It is always scary to take the leap and to move abroad. But I know I’ll make that leap at some point.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
I can't. My god, it is so hard to choose between the Obamas, Beyoncé, Natalie Portman, Lee Hyori, Utada Hikaru -- and those are just the people who are alive. I’d love to chat with Grace Kelly actually!
What are your three favorite Katla pieces?
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I live in my hoodies. Both my black Action one and my grey Butter one. They’re different sizes so my large one is for relaxing at home and my medium one for running errands. And the black Dóra dress is perfect for nights out. I actually spent all weekend in it, using it as a top with dress pants and a blazer. Easily transitioned from a business top to a night out dress. And the soft, thick material makes me feel extra elegant. Gone are the days when I felt comfortable in cheap materials, even if they’re made by a “brand”. Now I feel way more glam knowing the quality of the fabric is good and ethical, even if it’s not visible at first glance. Quality over quantity, any day.