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"Flawless" - UK Film Festival - Interview with Stav Strashko

by Emilia Ippolito

The UK Jewish Film Festival (6-21 November) offers a variety of new and old films all over the UK this year.

In London we will be able to watch Flawless (2018), with the transgender Jewish model Stav Strashko.
It’s the story of a transgender girl coming of age between Israel and Ukraine- where Stav was actually born. We follow the shy but self-aware teen ager protagonist: a boy who has always felt like a girl - through awful bullying at school, where her male friends don’t know the truth about her identity and where the protagonist feels more often than not like a fish out of water.

She finally finds her clique of friends: two more transgender girls; the trio decides to go to Kiev to sell a kidney each; they’ll use the money to have some plastic surgery done. This story is shocking and warning of what may well happen if young people with identity dilemmas are left to their own devices

We have spoken to Stav, who attended the London screening and took part in a lively Q&A session at Picturehouse

EI: Stav, how was it to play this controversial role, who represents parts of your life?
SS: It was a fabulous experience, but not always easy
EI: I can imagine... what would you say was the best and toughest about it?
SS: The best was to tell parts of my story and lots of my friends’ story as well, sharing it and sending a message about gender identity and coming of age. The worst was the bullying: obviously the director wanted it to be real, so... it was tough and really awful

EI: You handle a very controversial issue in the film: organ illegal trading. How was it to film those scenes ?
SS: It was extremely challenging... not easy at all! I think it’s good if young people in particular realise that there are limits to altering your look.
EI: Do you mean that young people in particular are too biased - it’s the social media responsibility as well, don’t you think ?
SS: Absolutely yes! You’re supposed to be a certain height, weight, with a big bosom or muscular... that’s not good at all. I hope the message is delivered to all spectators

EI: You have been traveling quite a lot: which cultures are more open to diversity : the Jewish, the American or a different one?
SS: It’s difficult to tell... I can say that Tel Aviv, the city where I live, is very liberal. I truly feel at home there

EI: What are your projects for the future? Will you do any stage acting ?
SS: Well, I’ve just finished shooting the new campaign with Loboutin in Paris- I’m still a model, you know..
Actually I’d love to do some stage acting: as a matter of fact, my boyfriend is a stage actor, so I have familiarised myself with that environment and love it!

Watch this space to see how this eclectic young actress develops!

About Emilia Ippolito