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April 27, 2020 2:06 pm

Israeli Actress Shira Haas Says She’s Amazed by Popularity of Netflix’s ‘Unorthodox’


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Shira Haas in ‘Unorthodox.’ Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Israeli actress and star of Netflix’s “Unorthodox” Shira Haas was shocked by how much the new mini-series was resonating with people around the world, she told Vogue magazine in an interview for its April 2020 issue.

In “Unorthodox,” which is based on Deborah Feldman’s memoir “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” Haas stars as Esty Shapiro, who grows up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the ultra-Orthodox Satmar community, but has a curiosity for the world outside of her closed-off, strict upbringing. Feeling more and more suffocated as things evolve and after she gets marries, she runs away from Williamsburg, her husband and her life to Berlin.

Haas explained to Vogue, “It is really amazing and it was a surprise…I can’t take it for granted that so many people all around the world, no matter what their religion is, not necessarily Jewish, or secular, connected to the show and to Esty. The fact that it is has touched so many people and that it is universal is such an amazing thing. It is everything you could ask for as an artist.”

The 24-year-old actress, who speaks Yiddish in the mini-series, added, “The highest form of connecting is art. If you just heard about the show or a story about someone like Esty on the news, maybe some people would say, ‘Oh, those people,’ but once you see the show you’re like, ‘She is like me’ — not only Esty but also different people as well.”

Vogue explained the show’s impact saying, “The show’s popularity is not necessarily based on examining the extremes of another culture, but rather tells a universal story about someone discovering themselves, a tale about coming of age. At one point or another in our lives, we have all been Esty, trying to find our footing and figure ourselves out.”

Hass also talked about Netflix providing people an opportunity to see “so many different languages and cultures” and learn about those who are not like them.

She said, “Over the past few years, people have become way more open to it and people want to see someone who is different from them and realize, ‘Yes, it is a specific story, but I can relate to it,’ or ‘He is different from me, but he is a human being and I understand.’ I think young people — at least I do — want to see that and not necessarily themselves all the time.”

Watch the official “Unorthodox” trailer below:

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