Translated from Cosmopolitan Turkiye, April 2019 Edition
Article by Damla Durak
Photography by Selcuk Danyildiz
Fashion by Simge Yucepur Kaya
Translation by Sena Ikizoglu
There is a brand- new TV series on ATV that makes us impatiently look forward to Fridays. Hercai. I assume there’s no one left who hasn't seen the spark of the lead actor, Akin Akinozu. That's why we are en route to the land where the series is filmed to meet him in the mystical atmosphere of Mardin-Midyat.
We're doing this interview in the mystical atmosphere of Mardin, what does it feel like? How did you become a part of this project of ATV?
I had changed my style before this project. I cut my hair and grew a beard. You might say that this change is what brought me “Miran”. Mardin is a mystical place as you said because it traces back to the the beginning of humanity and civilization on these lands. I found an opportunity to be in nature. Most of the time, while we are going to the set, we find ourselves stopping the car and enjoying the bewildering view in front of us.
Did it frighten you to be the lead role and also to live in another city in the first place?
The lead actor has to carry the story along. And we have a strong story. Of course, the responsibility of carrying along such a strong story is frightening. But I believe that fear is a valuable emotion because it's a motivating factor that makes you stand tall. After I came here, and when I saw a supportive partner and the hardworking teams of ATV and the production company, this emotion turned into the excitement of telling a story. And because the city we’re talking about is Mardin, rather than being frightened, the idea of living in another city filled me with the joy of discovering a cultural legacy which I had never seen before. Ultimately, I wasn’t wrong, the city is beautiful, and the people even more so.
“Miran” has really powerful emotions inside of him. Are there any similarities between your characters?
Those emotions of the character are treasures that are hard to find. I’m so lucky to be able to go through this journey as an actor. “Miran” and I do have some similarities, but what is important to me are the points at which we differ. Because we all have these different emotions inside of us but we don’t always experience them in our daily lives. When you find ways to walk through those roads, you make discoveries that surprise both you and the audience.
Let’s trace back to the beginning of your journey. How did you become an actor while you were studying Mathematics in America?
To me, learning mathematics means learning the universal language. I chose mathematics in order to learn that universal language, and to learn it I even went to UC-Berkeley, which is one of the best universities in the world. The more I understood mathematics, the more I realized this language can be applied anywhere. And I chose acting as an area in which to apply it because, the problems of people, of life, and story-telling are exciting for me.
You lived in America for six years. What did you gain from this experience?
I went to America to study at the university. First of all, I think that going to the other side of the world at the age of 17 and living there made me a stronger person. Also, living amongst people of a different culture for 6 years teaches you to see life from a different perspective. Most importantly you realize that people from different cultures can stay under the same roof. When you realize this, you can get a visa to become a citizen of the world. And I believe we all need this.
Are you a person who can adapt easily to your environment?
I had to adapt to a completely different lifestyle than the one I was used to with my family. I think I took this adaptation situation, which began when I went to America, to another level in my acting journey. Because you constantly have to adapt to different conditions as an actor and I feel myself getting more flexible day by day. I agree with the saying associated with Darwin “Among all the species, the one which survives is not the strongest nor the most intelligent one but the one who can most easily adapt to change”. So I'm happy with how far I've come.
What type of a woman could make you fall in love, could make you say “that’s it!”?
Aren't we all seeking the answer to this question? I feel like I've found the answer to this question in the person I'm with right now. Every day I say “this is it” again. Sometimes for a smile, sometimes for a word, sometimes for a glance... But we can’t know for sure. Wouldn’t it ruin the magic if we knew though?
Today, it’s like people experience love in ‘artificial’ ways. What are your thoughts on love and modern day relationships?
Our options have increased today, with the growth of technology and the speed of our lives. This situation has turned us into individuals who consume everything so fast. Unfortunately, we are losing the values which make relationships more meaningful, like patience, loyalty and selflessness. Relationships without these values have no depth and are doomed to be ‘artificial’.
We heard from the people who are close to you that you treat women kindly, that you are romantic... Is that true?
It's much nicer that you heard that rather than me saying it. I am an only child and as an only child, my bond with my mother has always been very strong. That’s why I can empathize with women easily. When I combine this empathy with the motivation of “making the people around me happy” which I've always had, then I think a "kind and romantic man" profile appears.
Are you a jealous person? Or if the woman you love were jealous of you, how could you bear it?
Jealousy is one of those emotions that keeps a relationship on its feet. However, "a jealous person" is someone who is devoid of a sense of trust, and who becomes aggressive when jealous without empathizing with the other person. If you're jealous but your relationship is built on strong trust, I think that spices up the relationship.
Your popularity is increasing day by day seriously alongside the series but I’m wondering your thoughts. What are the criteria for success? Is it the ratings, or the number of the followers you gain on social media or is it the reactions on the street?
The most valid criterion for me is my performance in my field. It's here that one faces oneself, and sees what one lacks and tries to improve. I apply this formula in every aspect of my life and thankfully I've been able reach all my goals up to now. I think that the ratings, the number of followers and the reactions confuse you and prevent you from understanding the core of this profession. Of course, these things also have a role, but what we put first is important. If our priority is on how we perform, then these things will eventually come to us. But they only put us in an illusive vicious cycle if we prioritize them.
How do you get along with social media? Did you read the comments after the first episode?
I’m a little distant from social media and I’m trying to preserve this attitude. It is both advantageous and dangerous for this job. It is advantageous because social media helps your fans to reach you and helps you to reach them. On the other hand, it is dangerous because the extent of this connection increases since your job is under the spotlight, and then the time you spare for it starts to interferes with your actual job. I tried my best to read the comments and I am still trying because I believe that these comments guide us to reaffirm that what we're doing is right.
“Since the city we’re talking about was Mardin, the idea of living in another city filled me with the joy of discovering a cultural legacy which I had never seen before, rather than being frightened. Ultimately, I wasn’t wrong, the city is beautiful, people are even more so.”
You said you lately lost weight a lot but you look great. Do you do sports?
The tempo of the filming already speeds up your metabolism, and when you're in cold weather your body makes an extra effort. As a result, I've lost a little weight since I came here. But if I’m looking great now, I get that I wasn’t fit before, but now I am. Sports has been a part of my life since childhood. The types of sports I was interested in changed time by time but it has always been a part of my life. When I first came here I immediately found a sports center and now I go to train when I have free time.
You are vegetarian. And you know, the Mardin cuisine... Isn’t it hard?
Actually, I am a pescatarian because I eat fish. I am interested in nutrition. Approximately 2 years ago I tried not to eat without consuming any animal protein and when I felt that the quality of my life increased, I decided to eat like that permanently. I’m doing the “Mediterranean Diet” which is also known as “pescatarianism”, by listening to my body step by step. These names might sound a bit antithetical to people, that’s why I prefer to say that I mostly eat vegetable-based foods. As a person who consumed meat before, I’m not against or prejudiced against those who consume it, I just prefer to eat like this. Mardin is a city where people mostly eat meat but if you know what you’re looking for, then you can find solutions anywhere. I don’t have a problem with this. I've even had a chance to try a lot of local food which I could eat.
Lastly, can you tell us something that you’ve never said before, that no one knows about yourself?
My first name is Süreyya.
“Most of the time, while we are going to the set, we find ourselves stopping the car and enjoying the bewildering view in front of us. “
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