Joel is featured in the September 2016 issue of Women’s Health magazine. I have added a scan into the gallery.
I read that you grew up in Sweden, but your father was American. Could you tell us what it was it like growing up there and what kind of influence that bicultural exposure had on you?
Growing up in Sweden, I went to an English school where there was a huge mix of kids with different nationalities from all over town. Some of them were wealthy diplomatic kids, and some were from the ghetto suburbs. Going to school in that sort of context around so many different ethnicities and walks of life made me feel that I wasn’t completely Swedish, but that I was more a part of this global, second-generation immigrant community because my father was American.
As a kid, who would you say inspired you to begin acting and why?
It was a combination of things. My sister was an actress, so I saw her do her thing and understood that it was a profession that I could take seriously and do for a living. It also helped that she found a lot of success at a young age and got to work with all the great Swedish film directors such as Lasse Hallström, Ingmar Bergman, and Bo Widerberg, so that really sparked my interest. I also had a good friend of mine that was really into acting, so I was surrounded and exposed to the craft from a pretty young age.
How did you begin your acting career?
After high school I decided I was going to travel for 7 years to make up my mind about life. So to save up money, I planned to work in construction and do all these odd jobs while traveling, but I only got through 1.5 years of that [Laughs.] and decided to apply to the Swedish National acting school. I didn’t get in right away though. It took a while because in Sweden, you have to prepare monologues to apply, and they only accept about 10 applicants out of 1,500. But as I began preparing these monologues, I was able to viscerally experience the material in a way where I could shape the words and move through the scene as if I was actually there. I had this feeling that I might actually be good at this and became hooked. Needless to say, I got accepted to the program.
Joel and Viola made an appearance on Watch What Happens: Live last August 4th. I have added high-quality photos into the gallery. You can watch some clips over at the Bravo TV website.