Unorthodox Star Shira Haas Talks Shaving Her Head and Emmy Buzz – Teen Vogue

Posted By on July 5, 2020

The following story contains slight spoilers for Unorthodox Season 1.

There are several scenes in Netflixs Unorthodox that will leave you speechlessand even more scenes that will leave you moved by Shira Haas powerhouse performance as Esther Esty Shapiro.

Shira has captivated audiences with her portrayal of Esty, a young Jewish woman born and raised in the Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who flees her arranged marriage to find freedom in Berlin, Germany.

Its an emotionally jam-packed role the 25-year-old Israeli actress acknowledges is quite a rarity. Its an amazing story and book that it's inspired by. Esty is such a rare character to play, Shira tells Teen Vogue. All of these emotional things and the range that she's going through. There aren't a lot of parts that are written like that. It's really a gift for an actress.

Based on Deborah Feldmans book Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, the series closely follows the authors own life in Brooklyn and gives viewers a firsthand look at the deeply devout Orthodox Jew circle. The narrative bounces back and forth between Estys past life in Brooklyn and her current life in Berlin (which is where Esty and Deborahs stories diverge). While we witness her fall in love with a new city, make new friends, and develop her passion for music, we also see her past of being married off in Brooklyn living a life she so desperately wants to escape.

Unorthodox pulls back the veil of a very private community, oftentimes revealing some very uncomfortable and controversial subject matter. In flashbacks, 19-year-old Esty is unhappy in her arranged marriage to Yanky (Amit Rahav), a man she has only met a few times. She has trouble consummating her marriage due to vaginismus, thus making it difficult for them to start a family (nevermind the fact how little she knows about sex prior to her wedding night). She is pressured by her husband, his family, and the community to have a child immediately, as is expected of her. Esty learns she is pregnant right before Yanky asks for a divorce, which ultimately serves as the final straw.

The chemistry came naturally for Shira and Amit, who had been good friends for 10 years prior to filming, making it a bit more comfortable to shoot these difficult scenes. It felt so natural and funny and professional, she tells Teen Vogue. It was the best thing you can ask for.

In one of the many pivotal scenes of the series, Esty shaves her head, which is a traditional practice followed by some newly married women within the Orthodox Jewish community to highlight their modesty. Shira says she was surprised with a lot of things during her research for the role including the ritual. It made me question a lot about my place as a woman in the world People like Esty who feel like machines and feel like they cannot fulfill the only purpose that they need to do. I tried to approach this character and this project without judging. I think that's also what the TV series is trying to do. Not saying these are bad, but just showing the journey of a girl and the whole story.

While the rising star was scared to say goodbye to her long locks on the first day of filming, she was more excited to bring Esty to life. Its such a meaningful thingit's also for her emotional journey. I had no question about doing it.

Becoming Esty required months of research. In addition to learning Yiddish, Shira was tasked with learning piano and taking vocal lessons. In the final episode, we get to hear her vocals when she auditions at the music academy in hopes of securing a scholarship. Its a story about a woman finding her voice and in that scene, she's literally finding it, the actress says, adding the audition took a full day to film. Its kind of like the moment that she's becoming this powerful woman and knows she'll be OK. She knows she'll grow. She has a lot to go through and struggles, but she knows she can survive.

Continued here:

Unorthodox Star Shira Haas Talks Shaving Her Head and Emmy Buzz - Teen Vogue

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