Martial arts and sympathy: in conversation with Neraida Bega

A few words exchanged with Neraida Bega were enough to understand some of her most exciting sides. A woman smiling and full of energy. She now lives and works as an actress in the United States with Mike Chaturant, but her dream for acting goes back a long way. She leaves as a child from Albania and arrives in Italy, where she passes her adolescence (and she probably learns some of her sincere laughter) and where, in the end, she meets her future husband. Now Neraida is immersed in her love story and in the martial arts that are taking her far, both professionally and spiritually.

images by Ben Cope Photos

1) Your story starts from Albania to Italy, and then to the United States. Do you remember anything from your childhood before Italy?

Absolutely. I remember a lot. Growing up in Albania in my neighborhood we were a lot of kids with no cell phones or computers growing up. All we had was each other, a staircase, the neighborhood streets and some toys to play with. We always wanted to play at home or outside in the street pretty much every day after school. Birthday parties and sleepovers during that time were the best. Sometimes we would have 6-7 kids or my cousins all crammed into one bed and also on the floor hahaha! Ahhhhh, I have so many beautiful memories from that time. 

2) From Italy, after studying medicine, you left for the United States six years ago to chase your artistic dream. Was it a tough choice?

The tough part was not making the choice to change careers. It was very clear in my mind that I wanted to pursue acting. What was tough was the thought of being away from family. I have a beautiful connection with my family and being away from them never gets easier. 

3) Between your roles we know of the Borderlands 3 video game and the fantastic Marvel series, WandaVision. Do you have any fun anecdotes to share with us about these experiences?

Haha oh yes! So on Borderlands, I had just landed in Croatia after traveling for almost 20 hours. I checked in and got a call to meet with the director Markus Walter. I got dressed all cute in a nice dress, it was sunny and I was exhausted and looking forward to relaxing after meeting the director real fast but, when he saw me he said uh, I don’t think you can do rehearsal in that dress! I was like whattttt??? The next thing I knew, we were doing a full on action rehearsal in the hallway of the hotel…thank goodness there was a minute for me to run back to my room and change!

4) You were recently chosen to play the lead role of the new APEX Legends: Escape as Ash. We saw some exciting behind the scenes on your social media. How’s it going?

It’s going great! I am so happy with how everything turned out. EA and Respawn have done an amazing job with Apex Legends. It was an honor to work with the lead animator Moy Parra and his team in developing the character ASH. I feel very lucky to be a part of the game and to get to know the Apex Legends community better. I get the sweetest messages on my socials everyday from players/ fans around the world. They send me artwork and videos they create with my character and I really enjoy that. So many of these fans are super talented!!!

5) Given the characters you played, do you like playing video games?

I do like to play videogames. It’s just that I am pretty bad at them ahhaha. I would love to learn more!

6) Looking at your social networks, your marriage with Mike Chaturantabut seems like a real love story. Can you tell us? Where did you meet?

An amazing love story!!!!  We met in Rome, Italy for the first time in person. He jumped on a plane and came to meet me. I mean…But I had seen Mike on the XMA documentary on Discovery Channel and I instantly had this strong connection to him and knew that somehow he was going to be in my life…and we’ve been together ever since we met in Rome!

7) Is your husband in charge of your training? How is your typical day to keep fit?

Yes, most of the time I train martial arts with Mike. Now I have been focusing more on my fight choreography training for TV & Film. He is a 7- time world champ, has trained over 300 world champion competitors in XMA, Xtreme Martial Arts, and many of Hollywood’s top actors and stunt doubles and is phenomenal at what he does. I also have an amazing physique coach Eric the Trainer that helps me stay in shape, and just started boxing with Jose Navarro to perfect my technique.

In order to stay fit mentally and physically, I try to wake up at 5:30 am every day and start with a morning work out. I try and get it in even if it’s just a quick 15 mins. Something is better than nothing. I do a mix of Sleek Ninja (Eric the Trainer’s exercises), yoga and stretching. I do my martial arts and action training later in the day which is separate from this. I spend a lot of time studying or working on my computer, so for me it’s necessary to move everyday. I drink lots of water and I eat healthy. I have small meals every 3-4 hours and my last one is at 7pm…except when it’s not ahahah. I’m not perfect and that’s ok.

8) Dog (played by Channing Tatum) will be out in February and we can’t wait to see it! Can you tell us something about your role?

Well, although I cannot say anything about the role, what I can say is that being on set  with Channing was absolutely great. Channing is such a great actor and really funny. I  also found out that we both love MotoGP and Valentino Rossi! And that’s it! Make sure to watch the movie when it comes out!!

 

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