by Gene Marie
“I won’t stop until I’m a household name, with my own star on the walk of fame. And that is when my real work begins. That’s when I have the power and influence to inspire people to change or strive for excellence in themselves.”
Meet Thor Knai
Hi, I’m Thor Knai. I’m currently working with Models International Hong Kong! But that will change when my current contract is done. I’ve encountered sort of a problem relating to how to introduce myself to new people actually, I’m so many different things! I’m sure others feel me on this one. You have to analyze what info is important and what’s not depending on the unknown person. For the sake of this interview though: Hi, I’m Thor Knai, I’m 23, I’m currently modeling and acting in Hong Kong and China. 😉
Tell us about your modeling acting assignments?
There’s a lot of catalog work being shot in China, which is mostly what I’ve done here so far. I also did a KFC commercial in Hong Kong which was fun (except I had food poisoning) and this coming week I’ll be flying around to three different cities in China for more catalog work. Before China I was in London for three months, which was great for both aspects of my career, did a commercial for Hell’s Kitchen, a stint on Project Runway (with Kelly Osbourne, not Heidi Klum), some print work and quite a bit of acting actually, mostly in pretty decent short films, but some feature work too. Good times!
What are your personal as well as professional interests?
Both professionally and on a personal level I try to stay in shape, work out, run, do some martial arts etc. It’s pretty easy to do when I tell myself I’m actually getting paid for it, which is true, indirectly. Personally I’ve always been heavily into fantasy, the sword and sorcery stuff. I love Lord of the Rings, I read a lot of fantasy books like G. R. R. Martin, R. A. Salvatore, R. Jordan (RIP). I have to admit I still play D&D with my friends back home in Norway where I’m from whenever I go back for a week or two between contracts. My main professional interest is acting, and I’m working towards a celebrity visa to the states this spring so I can return to my “people” there and continue where I left off last year. Needless to say I watch a lot of movies too, which is also indirectly part of my job. My ambitions are high.
Before you were a model/actor what did you do?
I was a soldier. Mechanized assault infantry. In Norway they are called “Storm” units. I was in the army for two years, 7 months of which I spent in Afghanistan as a NATO peace keeper. Norway is F’ing cold, and Afghanistan in summer is F’ing hot with 90 pounds of gear on, trudging around the muddy streets. I got to test my limits, and go beyond them. Very valuable experience because nothing I do now is ever really hard in comparison. Nothing quite as scary, quite as exhausting, or requires as much patience. Nowhere I live has worse living conditions, or equally screwed up sleeping patterns. I never have to work with people I loathe for quite as long anymore. Life is great now. Totally amazing. Unfortunately it gives me very little patience with people who complain about stuff without any shred of perspective on how lucky they are.
Who or what are your influences? Who or what encourages you to be successful?
Several things. First, I always wanted to be lots of things, like a soldier, policeman, archaeologist, scientist, pilot etc. and at some point I realized the only way to do all is to act. Second, Norway has never had a successful international male actor, I intend to be among the first, if not the first. I also believe that breaking the ice in Hollywood for a relatively normal Norwegian guy with no ties to the US is among the toughest challenges I can take on. I live only once, so I’m going to shoot high and hard on my first time through! Third, and most importantly, I was always very inspired by certain movies to be a better person. I learned some good values, and I want to do the same for others. Inspire them like I was inspired. And to tell a great story. I love that.
I was going to get my headshots done for acting in LA, but the photographer insisted that I should try some fashion shots too. I thought he just wanted more cash, but I didn’t mind. They turned out great. I’ve never had to pay for pictures ever again and with some self-promotion online and my personal website www.thorknai.com, it didn’t take long until I was approached by modeling scouts. It took off from there. Now I’m with agencies all over the place!
What’s the life of a model/actor?
Staying in shape, taking care of your skin and body and your skills. Communicating efficiently with your scouts and agencies. Castings, go sees, auditions. Working a couple of days a week, shooting or filming. Being nice to the clients to build a strong client base for more work in the future. Keeping your book, reel, resume and promotional materials updated. Doing interviews for magazines. Going to the right parties. Meeting and getting to know the right people. Acquiring new skills to increase your work base. Going to acting classes. Watching movies, finding inspiration for new poses. Looking at how others more successful than yourself do their jobs and learning from that. Know what’s going on in showbiz. Planning where your next contract is going to be. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot of things. It’s definitively a full-time job. I believe your chances of success are increased dramatically if you treat it like one.
What’s the best part of being a model/actor?
To do what I love and get paid for it. No two jobs are the same. Meeting a lot of interesting people who are passionate about what they do. Traveling to places I wouldn’t normally go to work. Watching my career take shape. Hanging out with beautiful people, almost everyone with an interesting story to tell. And I love to be a part of creating someone’s vision and making it come to life.
What occupies your time when you are not modeling or acting?
I’m very focused, so most of what I do is somehow related to one or both. However, since being an actor means being alive and acquiring new skills, that means almost everything. I play role-playing games. I party, which is officially called “networking”. And i try to get a glimpse a part of the place I’m at or the country I’m in. Suck up some culture. I try to spend most major holidays with my family. The support of my family and old friends is important to me.
What is your diet and workout like in and outside the gym?
Personally it seems to be true that if I work out enough (meaning almost every day for about an hour) I can pretty much eat whatever I want. Especially if I only eat a little of it. I always try to eat a lot of protein as it helps rebuild muscle and takes away the feeling of hunger better than other food types. I’m not worried about fat, more so with carbs from sugar, especially refined sugar. But on days I know are going to be high activity, or I’m working, I specifically go for the sugar to keep my blood sugar and energy levels high. I have to admit I eat a lot of fast food. Because it’s fast and cheap and easy, and something like chicken mcnuggets is actually not that bad for you. I try to stay away from fries and soda, and suddenly McDonalds is perfectly acceptable. I prefer to eat at Robeks or Subways for fast food though. Always loved those two. My work out regime consists of focusing on either arms or core on alternating days and then doing cardio on the days between, or something else that’s fun and requires using my body, like hiking, or soccer. Oh, and cereals for breakfast every day, the healthy kind.
What is your favorite exercise?
Exploring new places on foot by hiking or running. Or doing sports with my friends for hours and hours. When you’re having fun time flies and suddenly you’ve burnt 3000 calories. But since I travel a lot much of my work out is solitary or in pairs.
What is your favorite food to eat?
There’s this kebab thing that immigrants in Norway brought with them and perfected for fast food distribution. Perfect mix of sauce and beef and salad in pita bread. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. In the states I’d have to say a huge smoothie from Robeks, with protein, metabolism and energy boosts. I love Robeks.
What are your biggest goals in life? Do you have a life philosophy or a motto you live by?
Life is what you make it. You create your own reality and very often you are what you think you are. People have a lot more power over the course their life takes than they may think. I am very ambitious. I won’t stop until I’m a household name with my own star on the walk of fame. And that is when my real work begins. That’s when I have the power and influence to inspire people to change or strive for excellence in themselves. That’s when I have the financial ability to support important issues, and bring attention to things I believe in.
What’s next, what are your future plans?
Next is completing my modeling contract in China, getting my work permit in the US and setting up base again in Hollywood. I’ve already got the place lined up, my manager is expecting my return and agencies are waiting for me to sign with them. Then I pound the streets with modeling as my so called “day job”. I may go off modeling during off-season in LA to make money and return for the pilot seasons, but hopefully I can stay in LA an concentrate fully on breaching the market there. That’s a slow process unless I get very lucky, but at least I’ll be doing what I love. As long as I can live off of my own earnings I’ll keep doing that for as long as it takes.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve experienced love at first sight. Literally. It’s an awesome feeling, and it’s even better to know that such phenomenon actually exist. I have never seen her again, but now I know it’s possible, and I probably won’t be in a relationship until I experience it again. I’ve been single for three and a half years now, so I’m hoping once I return to LA, it won’t be to far away.
Your life is what you make it. I’ve been very fortunate but I still believe it’s universally true. Believe in yourself, if you don’t, why should anyone else? Watch movies like “What the bleep do we know?!” and “The Secret”, they are very inspirational. And then comes the disclaimer; be realistic. If there is no progress, don’t keep doing what you’re doing, change your approach.
Pics by gaz