50 Icelandair Stopover As Icelandair Stopover speaks to Icelandic actor Hera Hilmarsdóttir (aka Hera Hilmar) in October, she is on a secret mission. At least, she cannot tell us why she is in a remote lodge somewhere in North America with a view of the ocean. But she reveals that she is indeed working and was rehears- ing lines before we spoke. Having had her debut in the 2007 Ice- landic feature film The Quiet Storm , Hera’s international debut was in TV series World Without End (2012), followed by a role in feature film Anna Karenina (2012). Playing one of the big- gest parts in post-apocalyptic adventure film Mortal Engines (among writers and producers is Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame), which premiered in December, the 29-year-old actor is on the verge of becoming an international star. BY TINA JØHNK CHRISTENSEN. What was it like to leave Iceland and start a career in the big world? I lived for a while in London as a kid from the age of 8 till 9. That always left a big impression on me. I think it was my first major experience of the outside world in a way. After finishing school in Iceland at the age of 19, I wanted to study acting. Having envis- ioned training in Iceland, when the moment arrived, I had this need to leave the island and go somewhere else. London came calling again. Iceland had be- come too familiar. How would you describe Iceland to someone who has never been there? If you come from Iceland then you definitely have a small-island mentality. I think most of us find it hard to cut the cord. We have a need to venture out of it but there is always this calling back home. It’s such a beautiful place. You grow up with this astonishing nature around you. But also, it’s a small place, there are only around 350,000 of us, and I think grow- ing up there you grow up very privileged. Obviously, we can do better and there are people in our community we need to take better care of, but on a bigger scale, we have clean air and clean water, pools in every neighbor- hood, schooling for everyone and healthcare, which I think is very important for a healthy nation. What about nature: How would you describe it? The landscape is so changeable. In a relatively small radius of land you will find a volcano, a glacier, hot springs, black sands, the sea, mountains and a forest. And the weather changes very rapidly. I think that is mirrored in our mentality. We’re not people that plan far ahead. We’re a relatively young nation living in a young country that is ever-changing. So, in a way we are like the teenager of Scandinavia. Definitely the youngest kid in the family. Wond- ering if we’re even part of it. Still trying out different fashion styles and philosophical mentalities, although we seem to be finding our identity. Not to say it hasn’t always been there. So as the weather that rains one minute and shines rays on us the next, it keeps us on our toes and alive. And it constantly draws me home. You shot Mortal Engines in New Zealand. How does this country compare to Iceland? Are they similar? There was definitely that kind of isolated island mentality. Although, New Zealand is in a way more isolated than Iceland. We both have astonishing nature and not that many people living there and volcanic activity and mountains and glaciers. There is a difference in the mentality, and I think the New Zealanders are the happiest people I have ever met. Icelanders are happy, too, but we also have this Nordic depression that comes with the CUTTING THE CORD Icelandic actor Hera Hilmarsdóttir is on the rise.