photographed by
Sara Ghazi-Tabatabai

Rachella Kingswijk, 35 (She specifies:” And a half, haha. I remember those halves being very important to me when I was a young girl because I always wanted to be a grown woman.”), is from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. That’s where she grew up but she was born in Suriname and lived there for one year before taking refuge in French Guyana because of the civil war. She moved to the Netherlands in 1987 at the age of 2 and then lived in Amsterdam until moving to Paris on her 30th birthday in 2015.

"Actrice portrait"
©Sara Ghazi-Tabatabai

What do you do in life?
In life, I laugh, love, and moisturize a lot. But if you mean my profession: I am a film & stage actress, puppeteer, and playwright. I also dabble as a casting director and when there is no viral virus, I guide Dutch tourists through the dark history of Paris with my company Freaky Tours Paris.

Your favourite occupation?
I love watching films in bed with my man, a huge bowl of herbal tea, candles, and a bar of chestnut milk chocolate. I could watch films all day, and sometimes I actually do. Another favourite occupation is biking. Like most Dutch people: I’m always on my bike. People often fear biking in Paris, but for me, the freedom I sense on my bike is one of the greatest joys of my life. Other than that, I love learning new things! I am now learning how to roller-skate for my role in the up-and-coming feature film Stereo Crashers directed by Pierre de Suzzoni.
Furthermore, I just finished puppeteering for the title role in the opera Aida. I have been acting since I was a child, but puppetry was new for me. Luckily my fellow puppeteers were more experienced, very generous, and patient and helped me to grow in the craft. Not only that, but I got to work with Mervyn Millar and Lotte de Beer, two extraordinarily gifted, kind, and passionate directors.  It was like learning the Art of Escape from Harry Houdini, learning how to work the stage from Tina Turner, or learning how to write from Rumi, Hughes, or Poe. On top of that, I got to play on the prestigious stage of the Parisian opera house, Bastille. Because of the pandemic, we were not allowed to play for a live audience, so we broadcasted live on television (ARTE) instead. It was a lovely experience.

Your idea of happiness?
Happiness for me is connecting with life on all levels, meeting new people, looking at a stranger, and knowing that we are part of each other. Laughing with and loving on human beings, animals, nature.
Happiness is feeling connected to the Universe, butterflies, feeling the wind through my hair, orange leaves in the fall, and the promise of spring. Happiness is also taking care of my body, nourishing my soul, feeding my mind, eating well, and dancing ecstatically.

Your idea of misery?
My idea of misery is believing in lack, instead of believing in abundance. Fearing and rejecting the unknown, instead of researching it. I also believe that gossip, racism, promiscuity, jealousy, and hate, only surface when one feels deep misery within their spirit and when we are disconnected from our higher selves. But I also know that there is no dogmatic right way to live life and my idea of misery could be another’s nirvana. I’m interested to know why we do the things we do, not so much in judging people. But when I do find myself judging, I know that it’s time to look within and check myself. It is always about our own internal being.

Your favourite color and flower?
I like everything rich, luscious, and vibrant. Blue, yellow, purple, green. My lips and toenails are red most of the time, but my wardrobe follows the full spectrum. I love the flower that blooms out of the bird-of-paradise plant, it’s so brightly coloured and flamboyant. Peonies make me smile, they radiate sweetness and the pink cherry blossom just demands admiration. But I rarely buy flowers unless they still have their roots. I don’t want them to wither.

What is your present state of mind?
Like Louise Hay was: I am open and receptive to all the good and abundance in the Universe.

Your favourite motto?
Maya Angelou — “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style”.

_Interview by Sara Ghazi-Tabatabai

"Actrice portrait"
©Sara Ghazi-Tabatabai