Photography: Ogi Trifunovic
Production: One Dollar Productions
Stylist: Gemma Jones
Make-up: Elif Erbuga
Hair: Natalia Kovalova
PR Agency: White Flamingo
Interview: Ines Shubshizky
Online Editor: Jemima Marriott
Sarah’s projects are beyond impressive: she just redesigned Philippe Starck’s iconic duck at SLS Dubai, has an Intercontinental acting career that spans from Hollywood (Wonder Woman in 1984) to an upcoming Bollywood blockbuster, and is actively involved as a disability activist. On top of her work, Sarah’s personality strikes me as incredibly kind, strong, and thoughtful, which adds yet another inspirational layer to her.
Congratulations on the incredible redesign of Philippe Starck’s iconic duck. What is the inspiration behind the design and how did you approach it?
Thank you! I am incredible honored and grateful to have worked on one of Philippe Starck’s creations. The work is inspired by another one of our pieces called ‘Stop Wars’ which is part of our series “Paint the world in colors, not blood”. The world can be so dark these days, these are playful and colorful pieces that we hope can help spread love, inspire, and raise awareness in a positive manner.
What does creativity mean to you?
I think creativity is the ability to be emotionally intelligent while having fun. I think it’s also having the ability to open-up, to become vulnerable and daring enough to express feelings and opinions through different mediums. It’s also having a unique artistic identity and imprint.
It seems like there’s almost nothing you don’t do. How do you manage to fit your schedule into a 24-hour day?
Luckily, not everything happens all at once. I think time management is a big part of being able to do multiple things. I love what I do so even if it gets hectic, I still enjoy it. It’s part of what makes it exciting too. My job as an actor is kind of ‘seasonal’. A big part of the year is dedicated to preparation and auditions, so this gives me time to balance other projects. I compartmentalise each project.
Detective Sherdil is predicted to be a huge success. How does it feel to know that your career is about to go to a whole new level very soon? I can imagine that it must feel quite surreal.
The whole experience, from start to end, felt surreal. Although I was always intrigued by the Bollywood, I never imagined that I would end up working in this industry! It happened so quickly and randomly. I auditioned and 2 days later I was on a plane to Budapest.
Other than that, I don’t think about what it could become or what could happen when working on a project. Something I was told during my time in acting school and that stuck with me since is to “never take anything for granted”. When we are done shooting, of course I am excited about it, but I am already working on the next steps. I remember that I was even auditioning for future projects while I was shooting this film. I can’t wait to see the results and share this project with everybody, but I don’t focus on what my career could become. I keep working hard as if every project was the first and last one.
“I don’t think any change is easy. Even if it’s for the better it’s always uncomfortable.”
What is something in your career that you are most proud of?
Without a doubt, building myself back up after losing everything in car accident. I was not meant to come back and do what I love, I was told it was impossible. I was young and didn’t listen. And I am glad I didn’t. I often wonder if I would have found the same strength now, almost 15 years later and I am not sure. I am of course proud of every project I have worked on and what I have achieved in the past few years after such dark times in my life. Being able to talk about it now, is something I am extremely proud of.
What does ‘success’ mean to you?
To me, success is being be able do what I love every day, long term. Acting, creating, and the arts in general, are my passion and I feel extremely lucky to be able to say that it’s my full-time job and hopefully it remains the same for many more years.
What is the most important quality for success?
I think you need multiple: Discipline, hard work, resilience, and consistency are so important to make it in our industry and I think in any other. Obviously, talent is a big part of it, but that’s not enough. My work ethics don’t change, no matter what I do.
What was the most unexpected thing that has happened to you in your career?
I think my entire career has been built around a lot of unexpected things. First, I never thought I would become an actor. Then, coming from Europe, who would have known I would start out as an actor on Mexican TV series in a language I didn’t even know yet? I always enjoyed working internationally but when I used to dream about that, it was always about of working between Europe and Hollywood. I never actually expected it to happen over 3 different continents and such diverse industries. It has been an incredible experience. Nothing came easy and I don’t think I could have ‘planned’ it. Actually nothing came as planned and it’s perfect just the way it is.
Does change have to be uncomfortable?
Truthfully, yes. I don’t think any change is easy. Even if it’s for the better it’s always uncomfortable. It takes a lot to change and adapt to a new situation. I think the more you know yourself, the less uncomfortable it is because you understand and process your emotions better. It’s also easier to accept if you know that what you are feeling is totally normal. I am still working on it but I am learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Making life changes is scary but I would feel worse living with regrets!
What would your 14-year-old self think if she saw you now?
Oh wow, the little 14-year-old me would be shocked! I was always very creative and curious about the arts but I never dreamt about being an actor. At the time, I was highly focused on becoming a professional tennis player and was training 6 to 8 hours a day. I had everything planned out until my potential retirement from tennis. But again, nothing happened as planned! I think the 14-year-old self might be a bit heartbroken to see that life didn’t happen the way she expected but I think she would still be proud and excited about what I have built. The 14-year-old Sarah was still learning how to speak English and I have since become British. I think she would have a lot of questions for me. How life has changed!
“Now that I feel strong enough to talk about it and to be completely transparent. I feel such a sense of peace and freedom. Coming out about it made me stronger. I think being different is awesome, I don’t want to fit it. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
What gives you hope right now?
My baby! Yes, I am pregnant with my first child. This is what gives me the most hope and motivation to become the best version of myself. I am excited me to see how life is going to change over the coming months and years.
What characteristics does a real-life Wonder Woman have?
To me, it is the ability to have a great work/life-balance. Being able to juggle motherhood and a career is a superpower. I really admire that. Pregnancy and motherhood aren’t an easy process for women and can stop a career for which they have worked their entire life. I hope to be able to be a great mother while continuing building my career.
What is one thing that you would tell someone who is going through a difficult time right now?
I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t stop believing. The darker the times might seem, the brightest they will be in the future. I have experienced it firsthand and although it was extremely difficult, I am kind of thankful it happened. It’s an odd feeling because of the physical and psychological pain but it changed me and I do believe that I have become a better person.
Has there been an instance when you have turned a weakness into a strength? If yes, what helped you achieve that?
Well, for many years my disability has been seen as a weakness, which then made me believe it was. I was conditioned to believe it was a problem. That’s mostly because I was told so and I was trained by the industry to think that way. I was different and didn’t fit in. Now that I feel strong enough to talk about it and to be completely transparent. I feel such a sense of peace and freedom. Coming out about it made me stronger. I think being different is awesome, I don’t want to fit it. I wouldn’t change a thing.
You’ve travelled and lived in so many places in the world. How do you create the feeling of ‘home’?
The feeling of home is something I cherish and try to establish as soon as possible. I try creating habits almost right away. Even if I move country, what doesn’t change is what I do. My job remains the same. When I am not on set, I can keep auditioning, preparing, creating from home. Especially since the pandemic where castings are mostly done via self-tapes. This allows me to dive into work right away.
I also love having my pets around, they make me feel at home wherever I am. I have my little bubble. I started living abroad at such a young age, around the age of 12/13 years old. That made me adapt faster and I don’t value the same things that I did before. I have certain objects, little pieces of artwork and items that follow me everywhere I go and make the space feel familiar to me. I listen to music a lot, so I tend to associate a songs to where I lived at the time so I try to avoid listening to previous playlists and create new ones.
If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
I would hope for a world with no wars and refugees suffering and losing everything behind them. Where countries would facilitate rights and immigration for all of those who go through such dark times. For me, it isn’t about politics but is about human rights and no one deserves to go through anything like it. It really breaks my heart to see everything that is happening. What is going on in Ukraine is heartbreaking and I think the situation is shedding some light on how difficult migrating can be for refugees all over the world. I wish for brighter days, for more human ones.
White Flamingo and SLS Dubai present
“The World has Gone Bananas”
Sarah Barlondo swaps her scripts for a paintbrush to create a Bespoke Art Exhibition at SLS Dubai
Sarah Barlondo and Chef Cláudio Cardoso have teamed up to bring an exciting new art exhibition to SLS Dubai as part of the iconic hotel’s first birthday celebrations.
Dubai | March 2022 – To celebrate SLS Dubai Hotel’s first birthday, the hotel is welcoming an art exhibition displaying outstanding works of art by actress and architect, Sarah Barlondo who has teamed up with her life and business-partner, Culinary Director Chef Cláudio Cardoso.
Sarah Barlondo and Cláudio Cardoso have not only re-imagined the iconic Philippe Starck’s duck, but the entire collection, which is now on display in the hotel. The duck is only the beginning, as guests will be treated to multiple pieces from Sarah Barlondo and Chef Claudio Cardoso’s collection which are scattered throughout the hotel.
Founders of the art and creative studio, One Dollar, the creative pair aims to raise awareness about our planet’s current and recurrent issues through art, film, photography and multi-media works.
“The World has Gone Bananas” is a reflection on society and humanity”,Sarah Barlondo comments.
The works on display touch subjects such as climate change, food production and the environment, love, political crisis, poverty, and education in the hopes to raise awareness in a playful and visually attractive way.