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Artículo What can't be talked about with Amarna Miller Culture

Culture

What can't be talked about with Amarna Miller

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Playground Traduccion

13 Junio 2017 15:53

Everything you wouldn’t expect from a conversation with the actress

 

Cover photograph: Stephen Ruberto

It’s 2013 and Amarna is stranded on an Australian highway. An endless carpet of toads is blocking her path. Amarna beeps the horn of her city van, which isn’t designed for this kind of journey, in an attempt to budge the amphibians and not flatten them, their guts exploding under the tyres, like in a cheesy B-movie, where the car windows get splattered with blood and slime. Beep, beep, beep. On the same trip, Amarna comes across a cassowary, a bird known as the last dinosaur on the face of the Earth, and stumbles upon a couple of hitchhikers, who she kindly picks up from the hard shoulder of a lost highway. Why does she do this? She doesn’t know, she just does. Amarna must have been around 23 years old and now says that her trip round Australia marked her life more than any other; and she’s been on a few. Amarna drives around Oceania on untarmacked, boggy dirt roads in the middle of monsoon season, when flash floods block the roads without warning. These are landscapes where you can drive for 24 hours without seeing absolutely anything. No petrol stations, no towns, not even another car. Nothing. In Australia, Amarna can spend hours trying to get the perfect photo of an unmoving platypus. The other thing that Amarna does on this trip is set up camp in the middle of a mangrove, unaware she’s about to be surrounded by a gang of curious crocodiles. She’s out of there in a flash, of course. The actress has just finished her university studies and has gone to the other side of the world, to Melbourne, where she’s filmed a few scenes to finance her solo trip, which she describes as

complete and utter madness.

'I could have died loads of times out there' she says. 'I was aching to start living and Australia was the culmination of that feeling.'

It’s 2017 and Amarna is travelling through Barcelona. She’s not up for talking about what we all know she’s done and everyone asks her about. So, we talk about other things, and the conversation runs like that novel by the French author, Georges Perec, written entirely without using the letter ‘e’ - the French language’s most common -, with the difference that here the conversation takes place without the word most often repeated in interviews with Amarna.

You know the one.

'My sex work is a side effect of what my life is: a struggle to get away from my comfort zone ', says Amarna, sounding a bit like former sex workers who have later become goddesses of counterculture.

Annie Sprinkle.

Virginie Despentes.

Morgane Merteuil.

Scroll through her Instagram and Amarna is Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, protesting against Nixon at Woodstock, 1969, a teenager with a picture of Araki hanging in her bedroom and wandering through Harajuku looking like something else… Amarna is the sum of all these things at a mind-blowing vanishing point of conversations on spirituality, business and personal struggles, a tale like the last piece of a puzzle in a desert in Nevada, not Australia, the site of the Burning Man.

'I’m interested in the environment, in sustainability, in how to live minimally, in dealing with mental fears and fighting for your dreams… Life is what you make of it, not a series of coincidences. We make decisions based on other people’s fears… I find society frustrating; an entity that has developed from depraved values, we have created financial systems where so many people are dying of hunger… People are sad, they’re frustrated. Nobody has taught us to be happy. We’re conformists, and conformity frustrates me… No one forces you to work, to get a mortgage… Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong, like a strange species.'

Amarna and I are sitting like Japanese airmen in World War II, crouched on the cement floor of PlayGround’s rooftop terrace, beneath a spring twilight in Poblenou, with Spiderman’s dick - as Gabriela Wiener fondly nicknamed the Agbar Tower - looming in the background.

'On a scale of one to ten,' I ask her 'how much importance do you attach to money?'

Her response:

'We live in a capitalist society. I would love to live from bartering, but it’s impossible: when I have to pay for petrol, I can’t do it with three lettuces. I need money. I’m inside a capitalist circle, which is why I believe in responsible consumption. If I need something, I try to get it second hand.'

When she speaks, Amarna quotes the Grateful Dead, Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, advice from psychologists or Clara Campoamor. She speaks out against the free market and considers herself a social democrat. She laughs wickedly, in photos and in person, but she has no difficulty in talking about a past of long, intense periods of depression, abusive relationships, and serious issues at an early age… Amarna lives in a campervan and speaks English with great fluency, although she says she misses cultural references she can use in Spanish and gets frustrated at being unable to read English poetry as well as she would like. She also gets frustrated when she can’t find a simple word in Spanish, because the word in her head is English, hence it takes her a few seconds to find the Spanish translation for words like ‘weak’, or ‘shallow’. If she’s not with others, she gets bored watching films or series, 'they’re too slow'. Amarna also talks like an express train. Of all the people I’ve met, she must be one of the two or three that expresses themselves fastest:

'The first thing that comes to mind, if I think about my head', she says, 'is a ping pong ball'.

It’s 2009 or 2010 and Amarna is dancing the night away in a popular club in Madrid called Zombie, together with a handful of characters who would later become some of Spain’s leading names in the world of culture, trends and fashion.

Do any memories stand out from that time?

'I was talking about this with someone recently,' says Amarna, 'and that person thought it was a time when everyone was trying to be cool, was highly materialistic and really superficial. But you know what? That time marked something and we’re not aware of it. Something happened then, that brought lots of people who marked a generation together: there were Luna Miguel, Sita Abellán, Alba Galocha, Miranda Makaroff, María Rosenfeldt. And it was no coincidence. We have to understand that we were witness to the germination of a seed. And that is something quite wonderful.'

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