Birth date &  place: 11 February 1976, Colchester,
England Place of residence: Helsinki, Finland
Education: BA in Acting
Family: My partner, my daughter, my mom and dad
When I was a child I wanted to be an actress.
I admire my parents.
I love chocolate.
I would like to be able to not get angry.

Actress in 2 tongues

One of the bright new stars of Finnish stage and screen, Sanna-June Hyde is currently working in the Helsinki City Theatre in Salaa Rakas and Risto Räppääjä. She is also about to commence filming in Germany and stars in Pihalla, a new film directed by Toni Laine. Pihalla is a new take on love, life and culture clashes in the lives of young adults. It is also a story about coming to Finland and adapting to a new life. On a stormy afternoon SixDegrees sat down with the busy actress, who lit up the dark restaurant with her bubbly presence.

Your role in Pihalla is one of your first major roles in Finnish film. How do you feel on the eve of the film’s release? Are you nervous about how people will receive it?

I feel really good! But for many years I’ve been involved in different productions so I guess I’m not that worried about it, but of course I’m anxious to see how people receive it and hope it does really well.

You have quite a substantial career already, having acted on TV, films and in theatre. Do you still feel like you are waiting for your big break or are you happy with where your career is at now?

I’m quite happy with it. For so many years I’ve just kept working all the time and right now I feel in balance. I can go shopping without people staring at me. I don’t have to deal with that, it doesn’t suit me at all. But of course it would be nice to get more film roles and work with interesting directors.

Which do you prefer, working for film and television or theatre?

Both! But they are very different. I was just talking with somebody about modelling and acting, and their resemblance, or if there is any. I really think that when you work in theatre you have to be trained. If not in drama school, then you have to have done a lot of acting, because it’s very technical and very demanding. Both of them are, of course, but I’m now doing so much theatre that I feel very theatre-based.

So do you feel that sometimes film actors can get away with mistakes theatre actors couldn’t?

No, actually I don’t feel that. They are not different like that, because you can’t really get away with things in films. Film is very expensive, basically you get one or two shots. You feel under pressure all the time. It’s all about time in filming and every move has to look somehow natural, even if it doesn’t feel so natural. So no, I don’t think acting in films is any easier in that way.

You have appeared in a German detective series Tatort. How did that come about?

I got that job through Pihalla and then I got some more work in Germany, so that’s great. I don’t speak German yet, I’m looking for a German teacher at the moment and I’m very excited about working there.

Talking about languages, is it more natural for you to act in Finnish or English?

In both of them. But I love acting in English because I was trained in England, and also because it’s an emotional language for me, because I speak English with my parents. But then again, since I’ve lived in Finland for so long, my Finnish is stronger in another way.

As you mentioned, you grew up in a multicultural family. Was it easy for you to relate to the issues covered in the film Pihalla?

Yes. And definitely meeting Sibel Kekilli, it was easy to relate to her, because she is Turkish and has lived in Germany her whole life. Sibel carries her physical appearance with her, but I don’t have that, for me being different is just in my mind.

How would you say your background has affected your career?

Because I look very Finnish, it isn’t like for a few of my actor friends who are black. For them it’s a whole different game. But yes, it has affected me. First of all I studied in London, so I didn’t go to drama school here. Somehow here it seems to be very focused on this drama school. Everyone who studied there knows each other and people create their networks there. It’s very much like one big family and I don’t have those contacts. Also sometimes because of my name, people think I don’t speak Finnish, so in that way it has affected me. But I’m sure that some people find it interesting as well.

But surely since you speak both English and Finnish as a native speaker, it must give you some more opportunities as well.

Yes it does. But Pihalla was the first time I’ve used my English in film, so it felt really wonderful to act in English. I wish someone else would make a film here in which I could act in English.

Thinking about the future, where would you like to see yourself and your career in five years time?

I’m very excited about going to Germany and filming there. I hope that it works out and that I could get more work there. But I’ve just got a really good moment in my life right now, so I’d probably just like to have more kids. I’m just really happy with my life right now.

Pihalla is in theatres now.

Petra Nyman
Katri Lehtola