Maria Sten is an actress, filmmaker and writer from Copenhagen, Denmark. Her exotic beauty comes from her Danish, Swedish, and Congolese ethnicity. She started her career as a professional dancer and model and in 2008, she was crowned Miss Denmark.
She started acting in 2012 and has appeared in both film and television. She has appeared in films such as Straight Outta Compton, and television shows like Persuasion and SyFy’s Channel Zero: The Dream Door. She’s also a writer and a director. In 2017, she wrote, directed, produced and starred in the short, Wild Things Run Free. Maria was named on the 2018 Young & Hungry List, which showcases the top 100 new writers as voted on by Hollywood’s most influential.
Now 29, Maria is currently starring in the DC Streaming Service’s original series, Swamp Thing. Although the series has sadly been cancelled, there’s still plenty of time left to catch the rest of the season, and of course binge the episodes that have already aired. I got the chance to talk with her about her beginnings in Hollywood, Swamp Thing, what she’s currently nerding out about and more! Check it out!
How old were you when you realized that you wanted to be an actor and get into filmmaking?
I’ve had a love affair with acting and filmmaking pretty much my whole life. I always knew I wanted to be a performer and a storyteller, it was just a matter of figuring out in what capacity that would end up becoming a reality. I’m grateful that I got to try other aspects of performing arts before settling into acting and filmmaking. I still use those experiences in my work today.
You were crowned Miss Denmark Universe in 2008. How did that experience change your life? What did you learn about yourself from that experience?
I got to spend a month in Vietnam with 79 incredible women and learn about their cultures and the history of Vietnam. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I’m still friends with some of these women today. First and foremost, it taught me a lot about being in the public eye, but it also made me appreciate the notion of camaraderie and support in spite of the competitive nature of the pageant, which in some ways is similar to that of the life of an actor.
What was the audition for Swamp Thing like?
Fun! Rich Delia (casting director) is such a joy to work with. He creates a really collaborative atmosphere in the room, so you feel like you can just play and explore the scene and the character.
You’ve done horror series before (Channel Zero: The Dream Door). Are you a fan of the genre? What draws you to the genre and those particular roles?
I’m a fan of high concept and fantasy worlds in general. Both as an actor and a writer, I love the idea of exploring a thematic premise within the heightened world of genre. I also love having to push my imagination beyond the confines of the real world. In the world of genre, the possibilities are simply endless.
Liz is such a strong, ambitious and determined character. What else do you like about her, and what do you like about playing her?
She is all of those things, yes, but what I love the most about Liz is that despite that edge she’s got, she always leads with her heart. She’s also dead honest and always seeks to find the truth in other people.
Liz is one of the very few people who welcomed Abby back to Marais. What’s the story behind her loyalty?
It goes back to the previous question. Liz leads with her heart. Abby was one of the only real friends that Liz had growing up. Once that kind of friendship has been established, there’s always going to be a bond there. Liz also knows everything Abby has gone through and she’s not a particular fan of the Sunderlands, so she’s gonna stand up for Abby even if everyone else has bailed.
I am so terribly sad that Swamp Thing has been cancelled. It’s captivating and so well made. If the show got picked up by another streaming service, would you (and Liz) return?
These things are up to the powers that be, of course, but I love Liz as a character and I’d be excited to further explore Liz and seeing where she can go. I’m glad she’s out there in the world for people to hang out with on their screens.
In addition to acting, you also write, produce and direct. What are some of your other current projects?
I’m currently developing a few things in the TV space and also working on a supernatural post-apocalyptic feature script. And playing around with an idea for a period piece short to direct. In other words, I just try to stay busy at all hours of the day.
Out of curiosity, do you still dance? Is fitness, in general, a part of your life?
I rarely dance anymore, although I do miss it. But living an active lifestyle is definitely a big part of my life. I’m a treehugger, so I spend as much time as possible outdoors. Hiking, trail running, swimming etc. I find that disconnecting your brain for a bit, traveling and breathing some fresh air is the best way to get the inspiration for new stories.
We’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. Do you have any nerdy hobbies or passions?
I’m a book nerd. I devour books, and I’m a huge Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) fan. Huge. Harry Potter too. I did create a LOTR board game when I was a kid that I would still love to finish one day. My other passion is horses. I’ve been riding since I was three years old and later developed an obsession with westerns. I’m dying to do a western since I pretty much just dream of riding off into a desert sunset on most days.
Photo Credit: Alejandro Douek