Ragga Ragnars plays Queen Gunnhild in History Channel's Vikings television series. The actress and former Olympic athlete talks to us about her role and how she stays healthy and motivated.
Photos by Kevin Pages. Hair and makeup by Auður Sif Jónsdóttir.
Ragga wears the Saga Dress
Tell me about your role in Vikings. How did you initially get the part? What has the experience been like for you?
My role in Vikings is Queen Gunnhild. She is married to Björn Ironside and she is a great shield maiden and queen. I started watching Vikings when my son was born and from the first episode I was hooked. I always knew that after my swim career, I would want to act. When I was watching the first season of Vikings, I knew I would be on the show. I worked my way through acting school and found people I knew that helped me get into contact with the writer of Vikings, Michael Hirst. After a short audition period, I got the role of Queen Gunnhild. It was such an amazing experience working on Vikings. I learned so many new things, like sword fighting, axe throwing and archery. And also made some amazing life-long friends.
You transitioned from being a competitive swimmer to being an actress. How did this transition take place? Did you always dream of being an actress.
I always knew I wanted to be an actress. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to act. I also took my athletic career very seriously and wanted to finish strong. I went to two Olympic games, as well as countless European and World Championships. When I was training for my third Olympics, I got pregnant with my son and ended up not going to the games. I was happy to transition from being a professional athlete to becoming a mother and being able to start studying acting and focusing on that new role in life.
Ragga wears the Fríða Dress
Do you see yourself as a competitive person?
I am very competitive but I never feel like I am in competition with any other person. I like to compete with my own personal best, whatever form that comes in. I feel like whatever is meant for us, is meant for us. I don't feel the need to compete with any specific person for anything. I only do my best and try to better myself in any way I can as much and as often as possible.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
I feel my motivation comes from deep within. I never use any outside sources for motivation. I don't need people, music or anything to keep my motivation up. I meditate a lot, I have clear and specific goals and what motivates me to reach for them comes from the heart.
How do you stay healthy and in shape?
I usually eat really healthy, I am very much into health and wellness and I love to look for new ways to biohack and get healthier. I like to work out as often as I can. Preferably once or twice a day. A workout for me can be anything from a yoga session, an hour long hike in nature, a swim, a weight session in the gym or a mat workout at home. I love staying active and having healthy habits keeps me in shape. Good sleep, healthy eating, workouts and drinking a lot of water. I also feel like good mental attitude, meditation and overall positive thinking keeps me healthy.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I am most grateful for my son, my family and my amazing circle of friends.
What are some small things you do to help in living a sustainable lifestyle?
I stay away from fast fashion, not only with clothes but everything really. I haven't updated my phone in years, I've driven the same car for years and I use everything I own until it breaks a part. My lifestyle is not very flashy, I love minimalism and I don't like a clutter of things I don't need.
What are your three favorite Katla pieces?
My Icelandic butter hoodie, the Victoria Jumpsuit and María slip dress.