You’ve likely heard all about Hollywood’s incredible overnight success stories. Israeli actress Inbar Lavi doesn’t have one.
“I’m not one of the lucky ones,” the star of Stan series Imposters tells The New Daily, laughing.
“I’m 31 now so it’s been a minute,” she adds sarcastically.
“It’s still tough for me. I wouldn’t say I’ve done what I came here to do yet, I feel like I’m still hustling.”
If her face looks familiar, it’s because Lavi has appeared in around 20 TV shows since relocating from her birthplace, a town just outside Tel Aviv, to the United States at the age of 17.
From Prison Break to Sons of Anarchy, she spent years bouncing between “co-star, guest star, co-star again,” and attending audition after audition, where she often struggled with the terrible material.
“I went in for a project I thought was terrible. The writing was my worst nightmare, and the audition was in front of a huge TV producer, I won’t say who, but she’s it, she’s the TV God of this generation,” Lavi recalls, describing someone who sounds very much like a certain Grey’s Anatomy creator.
“I changed every word [of the script], I wrote the scene the way the scene should have been written. Everyone was dead silent and I left and I got the feedback, ‘This girl is never going to work in this city’.”
I got the feedback, ‘This girl is never going to work in this city’.
Whoever it was, they were clearly wrong. Lavi is two seasons into her role as con artist Maddie on the fast-paced, cleverly written dramedy, Imposters, acting alongside big name Uma Thurman.
“[Working with Uma], I barely remember any of it, I was blacked out for most of it,” she says, when asked about her favourite co-star in her career so far.
“I can’t not bring up Charlie Hunnam just because he’s Charlie Hunnam,” she adds of her Sons of Anarchy co-star, with whom she shared several steamy scenes.
“Holy s—, he truly made an impact on me [because] he is so stunning. It was the first time I was half naked in a room and no one was looking at me because of Charlie Hunnam. We’re still really good friends.”
Lavi is very clearly not a product of the traditional Hollywood media machine – she shoots from the hip.
For example, she attributes her perfect American accent to the bickering of her now-divorced parents.
“My parents didn’t really get along and there was a lot of fighting so I would watch American television because it painted a perfect family picture,” she recalls.
“I was drawn to it, I spoke English to my parents when I was a kid, I made them call me Amber, I would watch a movie and pause on a word I couldn’t pronounce properly and repeat it a million times.”
Still, she’d prefer her accent to be even more tightly honed: “It’s still a work a progress, at the end of the night I’m exhausted [from maintaining it]. When I’m tired, like today I’m not 100 per cent healthy, it starts slipping.”
Having recently relocated to Los Angeles, Lavi spends her days “working out all the time”, but occasionally pigging out on macaroni and cheese and “going hard” on her other vice: caffeine.
She attributes her on-screen energy to the “three to four” cups of coffee she consumes “in the first couple of hours of the day”, another trait she suspects she picked up from American television.
“All of these sit-coms, there’s always mugs being passed around!” she says.
While she’s adamant she hasn’t made it yet, she calls the wig-wearing, ever-changing Maddie her “dream role”.
“I got crazy lucky,” she admits.
“I’ve got my place in LA this year, I go back and forth from New York for work and play … It’s not a bad life, I’m not mad at it.”