Hila Naus – An Actress’ Success: From Bridging Genres to Social Impact

Hila was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. Attended all girls-school till the age of 18, where she joined the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) as a mandatory military training and was placed on the Israeli- Egyptian border as an observer.

Hila started to act when she was 17 at Beit Zvi, The School of Performing Arts as an after-school course in acting, singing and dancing where she found out for the first time she got the gift of singing.

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Photo by Arseniy Grobovnikov

After the military, Hila decided to follow her dream and got accepted to be a part of The IMTC, the first Musical Theatre Company in Israel and performed shows such as I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Living in Harmony, which got selected to be shown as a part of the Theatre Fall Festival at Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2009.

Hila moved to New York City in 2011 and attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academyalso performed Drama and Musical showcases at her last semester.

Since graduation Hila joined as a core artist to Sanctuary Playwrights Theatre, performed in her own cabaret show at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre, was invited to perform songs in fundraising concerts for the indie film For20, was cast as Roya in the feature film Appropriate Behavior, and as an ER doctor for the feature film The Closer which won Best Feature Film in 9 film festivals including Manhattan International Film Festival.

Hila was also cast as Antoinette Stephen in the NBC’s Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall. The episode is focused on the true story that happened in 2011 where Antoinette killed her boyfriend’s wife on his orders.

Hila’s recent film El Cat got accepted to the official selection of the HBO’s Women in Comedy Festival and competed for the best short film in Boston in April 2018.

Currently, Hila is working on several short films as a part of Women In Film Movement and is writing her own feature film based on a true story.

Hila is fluent in Hebrew and English. You can check out more film details at Hila’s IMDb page.

Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Actress Hila Naus

NY Elite: What are you latest and current movie projects?  

Hila Naus: Since the beginning of 2018 I have worked on 3 short films. One of them is called El Cat and it was accepted to the HBO’s Women in Comedy Film Festival. It was a pleasure to be a part of that Festival!

NY Elite: Can you tell us about your character in the film?

Hila Naus: In El Cat I was playing Lily, who just broke up with her girlfriend, Kat and is now facing a conflict regarding their shared cat. The film takes a turn when the cat goes missing and both characters have to deal with the consequences and with each other.

NY Elite: In which movies have you played lead role?

Hila Naus: I have played a lead in Shockshuka and El Cat. Also, in 2015 I played Antoinette Stephen in the NBC’s Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall. It was based on a true story that happened in New Jersey in 2011 where Antoinette murdered her boyfriend’s wife on his orders.

NY Elite: Among all your roles so far, which has been your favorite one and why?

Hila Naus: I think playing Antoinette was very challenging since one needs to get into the mindset of a murderer, but I am always up for a challenge! During production, I was one of the only people on set who actually knew how to use a firearm since of my background in the Israeli Defense Force. I had to work thoroughly with the director to plan exactly how we are going to shoot the murder scene. It was a great experience and I loved using my special skills.

NY Elite: What do you enjoy most about your acting career?

Hila Naus: First, I would say that it is a very difficult career path to choose when you first start out since it’s not a balanced lifestyle. On the other hand, when you get that chance, you have all the freedom in the world to express yourself. You get to be as creative as you want and speak your mind in the most accepting community, which I think is the most terrifying yet fulfilling thing you can experience when you are an artist.

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Still photo from the short film The Lark(s) directed by Michael Piper Younie

NY Elite: What other hobbies and interests do you have? 

Hila Naus: In addition to acting, I am also a singer. I love singing and performing on stage. Four years ago I decided to pick up a guitar and I taught myself how to play, so I have a huge part in me that is drawn towards music as well. Other than that, I love everything that is related to filmmaking in general. I also worked as an 1st AD in a few short films and I am hoping to have the opportunity to direct one day.

NY Elite: Are you working on your next project now?

Hila Naus: Yes, right now I am working on a few projects. One is a series of short films I will be acing in that is planned to shoot by the end of summer. On my filmmaking side, I am working on writing my first feature which is based on a true story that has to do with women’s rights and women’s empowerment. I am also collaborating with Richard Stein to create a film that explores trafficking victims, which is planned to be shot next year.

NY Elite: What personal advice would you give to someone about impressing the directors during audition? How to audition?

Hila Naus: The first and the most cliché thing I can say it to be yourself. I find that being me is the most unique thing I’ve got. Also, don’t try too hard to impress and definitely never be afraid to ask questions if you have any, it shows that you gave some thought about the material and that usually gives you bonus points.

In general, if you ever happen to be in a conversation with a well-known person, ask them about their projects even if you did your research beforehand. I believe that even the greatest ones like to be asked about themselves and what they do, but of course don’t ever pry!

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IFFNY: Photo by Ilir Rizaj

NY Elite: What causes/charities you actively support or feel strongly about?

Hila Naus: I support the Looking Out Foundation, which is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 by the artists Brandi Carlile and Tim and Phil Hanseroth. Through their music, they help raise funds and awareness to different causes. One of their current campaigns in which I volunteer is called The Story Campaign where they have partnered with War Child UK and Children in Conflict by sharing stories from children whose families, communities, and schools have been torn apart by war.

NY Elite: What are the things in your life that you’re most grateful for?

Hila Naus: I am grateful for being healthy, have a support system and a good family. I am very grateful for being born and raised back in Israel, I think the different lifestyle that I have experienced growing up, shaped and prepared me well to the life I am living now in NYC.

Also, the fact that I am able to use acting, filmmaking and storytelling to express myself and the things I care about most, like human rights and women’s empowerment, is very rewarding and I am very grateful for that.

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