Orli Gottesman is an emerging actor in Hollywood to watch. This fall, Orli's TV debut comes with the season five premiere of Paramount+‘s hit series Yellowstone. Orli also recently starred in 1-800-Hot-Nite, an emotional thriller about friendship and surviving foster care.
Orli kindly joined us to discuss her current projects. She told us all about her professional acting journey from her early years as a model to how she stays motivated today. Orli also talks about her experience working on Yellowstone and 1-800-Hot-Nite and her love for animals.
From Model to Actor
Maya Capasso: Can you describe the moment when you knew you wanted to pursue an acting career?
Orli Gottesman: Growing up, I started through modeling, and I loved being in front of the camera. I loved seeing the final results of the photos.
I remember the first time I thought, “This is what I wanna do with the rest of my life.” It was after I filmed 1-800-Hot-Nite. I was in the car with my mom. We were driving to the airport, and I told her how much fun it was to film and everything.
It was the first production where I worked with teenagers my age. I worked with them for three days, and afterward, I had a great connection with everyone. And I love that feeling. That's when I knew the relationships I'd make and the people I'd meet — this is the industry to do it in.
Orli's Unique Pets
MC: I heard you have two adorable pet raccoons. How did you learn about keeping raccoons as pets, and what is it like to care for such unique pets?
OG: I was just playing with them in their room! We live in a state where it's legal to have pet raccoons, and my mom is licensed, so she knows how to take care of them. They both have all their medical stuff done.
Our first raccoon was probably like this big [Orli pinched her thumb and index finger close together] — he's like your traditional raccoon. We found him. We were driving back from the beach and saw him in the middle of the road. He was a baby. So we picked him up, and we put him in our car. We think he got hit by a car.
We were going to take him to a wildlife refuge, but we were worried that he wouldn't find his family out in the wild. So we took him home, and my mom did a bunch of research. She found out that we could keep a raccoon. We kept him, and then my mom got licensed. We got him collars and harnesses and learned how to feed him.
He's so sweet. He has so much energy, so we had to get another raccoon. He's this cute blonde one. They're super sweet together. Everyone always finds it super crazy, but I love them.
The Yellowstone Experience
MC: Can you talk about your character Halie from Yellowstone?
OG: Halie and I are very similar in some ways. She's got this tomboyish trait where she's super bold and outgoing. When she sees Carter and takes a liking to him, she knows that she can talk to him, but she doesn't know how it will end. But she's super sweet, and she could be a good start for Carter to get him out of his shell. To get him to hang out with someone else his age. I can't wait to see where Halie's character goes as the show progresses.
MC: What was your experience like filming Yellowstone?
OG: I got super emotional every time I had to leave because I'm really bad at saying goodbyes, especially knowing that I had the opportunity to be on such a huge show and meet everyone involved. It's something that I'll always be able to have in my heart. Um, It sounds kind of cringy, but it's a dream come true [Orli laughs].
Meeting the cast was surreal because I loved the show before I was in it. Before I filmed it, I watched it with my whole family. So meeting everyone — I didn't believe it. I had to keep pinching myself just to make sure I was actually there.
MC: Can you talk about your character Britt from 1-800-Hot-Nite?
OG: It's kind of silly, but I feel like I'm a lot like Britt. The whole story is based loosely on a true story. The main character, Tommy, has a super hard life. Brit can be seen as a girl who, whenever he sees her, he forgets about all of his problems.
Looking at their relationship, it's really adorable. I'm super excited for the movie to come out. But Brit, she's shyer than my character Halie in Yellowstone. She's sweet, she's smart, and she's got a close relationship with her friends. She's like this light for Tommy in the movie.
MC: What do you hope viewers will take away from watching 1-800-Hot-Nite?
OG: All of the actors in the movie are phenomenal. A lot of it was improvised. The actors put a lot of themselves into the movie, and it's hilarious. So keep that in mind. That being said, it is based on a true story, and the storyline is heartbreaking. It's definitely a tear-jerker, but it's covered by the humor throughout the movie. You'll end up falling in love with all the characters.
MC: How did your experiences filming Yellowstone and 1-800-Hot-Nite differ?
OG: With Yellowstone, I put a lot of pressure on it because it's a big show. Going into 1-800-Hot-Nite, I hadn't seen their work because all the actors were just starting to make their breakthroughs.
With 1-800-Hot-Nite, the whole cast was my age. But with Yellowstone, everyone's much older. I take every job seriously, but I have to remind myself while on Yellowstone that it's like, it's okay. Like, you can breathe. [Orli laughs]
The Best Part About Being an Actor
MC: What was it like working with horses in the film Adeline?
OG: Going into Adeline, I hadn't had much history with horses. I'd never ridden a horse. It wasn't until halfway through filming that I rode a horse. Adeline is a beautiful story. My character Bethany is a pyromaniac. She starts going to sessions with the healing horse Adeline, and she ends up getting cured. Um, It's moving to watch.
I started falling in love with the actual horse and liked creating this relationship. When I came home after the first time filming Yellowstone, I took classes to begin riding, learn how to saddle, and figure out the different kinds of riding. It's really fun. I'd love to get good at it.
MC: What is your favorite part about being a professional actor?
OG: That's a funny question. The whole industry constantly keeps me on my toes. I'm always like, “Ooh, what's next?” I have to train myself to figure out how that works and remind myself that your success isn't solely based on your acting and how it could be a bunch of different things. I keep that in mind through each audition.
I fell in love with acting because I got to pretend to be a different character for each audition. When I got feedback from my agents, it made me feel really good. Although it's brutal because if you're not booking, it's kind of a drag, but all it takes is that one yes. And then you're in.
Facing Rejection in the Entertainment Industry
MC: What are the biggest challenges you've faced in the acting industry, and how have you worked to overcome them?
OG: Some of my biggest struggles at one point were finding the motivation to keep going after the same thing over again. I'd have producer sessions, and I'd get real close to something, and then they'd decide to go in a different direction. That's what the whole auditioning process is all about.
To push through, I would confide in my mom and my sister. My sister is an actor too. So she helped me push through and tape my auditions. She'd help me take multiple takes to ensure we got the perfect one. I have to remind myself that this is what I want to do with my life, and someday it will happen.
Orli's Dreams and Inspirations
MC: Who or what is your biggest inspiration in the industry?
OG: If I had to pick an actor, I don't know. Growing up, I'd always watch family movies and romcoms with my mom. I was always a huge fan of Sandra Bullock. She's comedic and funny. I also think she's gorgeous. She has great chemistry with other actors, and I always looked up to her. She was the first actress where I really appreciated her work.
MC: Do you have any big plans or dreams for the future that you'd like to share?
OG: I love what I'm doing right now, and I'm very, very happy with where I'm at. Of course, I'd love to keep growing. I'd love to keep working. I'm keeping myself busy. I love to travel, so I'm eager to start any job that I get to leave the state or the country. I'm so excited to see where everything goes, and I'm so excited to see what opportunities I can look forward to and hold close to me.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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