As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, Schön! is thrilled to talk to multi-hyphenate Marta Pozzan — an actress, mental health advocate, model, writer and influencer with wisdom to share. Pozzan regularly contributes to important discussions surrounding mental health and well-being on her I AM REAL podcast, co-hosted with journalist Yola Robert, and by writing openly about mental health for Poosh.com. To find out more about Pozzan and her incredible breadth of work, Schön! sat with the talent to discuss internal self-care, exciting upcoming projects and inspiration.
As a mental health advocate, you are unafraid to be vulnerable with your audience via podcasts, articles and social media. In your opinion, why is it important to discuss mental health on these platforms?
I believe that sharing our life experiences and talking about mental health on social media, podcasts, etc. is very important because it can truly help people. When I was younger and I was struggling with panic attacks and eating disorders, I wished there was someone my age who would just listen to me and understand me. Now that we can find that kind of help and support online, it is really life changing. Relatability creates a sense of community, and when we are dealing with our mental health, we need to be reminded we’re not alone.
During the pandemic you launched a podcast titled I AM REAL, which you co-host with journalist Yola Robert. What made you choose the podcasting medium specifically to talk about mental health and well-being?
Me and Yola hosted a live talk that I named I AM REAL in 2019, and the response was so positive that we had decided to turn it into a live tour around the US — but then came COVID, so starting a podcast instead was the most natural direction to take. It’s the most colloquial, effective and yet approachable way to talk about these matters, and we get to meet great guests every episode!
Do you have a favourite episode from the podcast thus far? Or something that has resonated with you that you’ve learned from the podcast guests?
I loved chatting with Nazanin Mandi. The whole conversion was super natural and effortless, and since she’s both an actress and a content creator, we bonded over a lot of things. It’s also very comforting to hear that so many other creators struggle with the same things I do, and it’s helpful to know their tricks and methods to overcome them and to share mine.
The entertainment industry and online spaces can be toxic. How do you maintain your self-care and well-being?
It’s a great question. I’ve been lucky enough to have always known how to protect myself from people’s bad energy and negativity in real life, so doing that in the social media space doesn’t feel too different. I’m also very aware that what people show online is not necessarily an accurate reflection of who they are, so I try to remind myself to not get triggered by that. I take time off from Instagram and also make sure my friends and people I surround myself with outside of work are kind and grounded.
Do you think the stigma around mental health issues is changing? If so, how can the entertainment industry contribute or change to further help de-stigmatize these important topics that need to be discussed?
I think it finally is, because the whole world is talking more openly about it and people feel less alone in battling mental illness. I think simply sharing each other’s stories on either podcasts, TV or social media is a great way to spread awareness and give people the support they need by showing and talking about the right ways to work on it.
As a mental health writer for Poosh.com and recent TEDx speaker, how do you find the topics you want to discuss or write about?
I constantly read and do a lot of research on topics that are close to me, but when I find some that I haven’t personally experienced that are compelling, important and relevant, I’m the one to jump on it and try to open a public discussion or conversion on them.
What has the quarantine period been like for you as a creative?
It brought me peace and focus — two things that I used to struggle with before. When you’re always travelling and on the go, it’s hard to stay very centred as distractions are everywhere. I had to sort of reinvent myself creatively and find new avenues to deliver my content and to stay busy, so it was for sure quite challenging, but that felt very stimulating and enriching to me.
You co-created, co-wrote, produced and starred in a new film called Next One. What would you like the audience to take away from this film?
It was truly one of my favourite projects I’ve ever worked on. When I made it I wanted the audience to realise trauma is everywhere, even when people don’t show it, and that when they do open up about it’s extremely important to believe them and to show up for them. It’s a very simple but powerful concept that I think most of the time we don’t practise.How do you choose the roles you would like to play as an actress? Do you have certain characters you are drawn to portray?
I’m genuinely more drawn to drama because, again, I believe there’s so much more to learn from the depth of certain movies based on real life stories. But for me, it’s also a lot about the director and the overall vision. Do I align with what the movie is about — not just my character? Does the story speak to me? Could I really have been that person? You know, things like that.
You’ve worked with designers, brands and have many exciting, upcoming projects. Is there a certain field or role you wish to explore more?
I’m starring in a TV show that’s very close to my home country. I can’t really talk about that — it’s coming out in 2022 and I can’t wait for everybody to watch it!
Is there a specific person that you would really like to host on “I AM REAL” in the future?
Alma Har’el. She’s my hero. I love her and her work so, so much. She’s a special one. She was the very first one who supported Next One from the beginning, and that gave it a platform, @freethework. She’s not only super talented and inspiring but also very supportive of all the communities of unrepresented filmmakers. I hope I get to personally work with her one day.
Finally, who inspires you?
People who do what they said they were going to do. People who take action. People who decide to be kind and do good. People who create any sort of art and who are passionate about it. Great indie movies. Writers. Words, when used the right way. Cindy Sherman.
I AM REAL is available wherever podcasts can be found. Follow Marta on Instagram.