November 21, 2017

Ignacio ‘Sean’ Borderes, actor

Friday, December 30, 2016

Keeping it reel

By Sorrel Moseley-Williams
For The Herald

Age: 33
Lives: Brooklyn, New York City
Born: Buenos Aires
Education: Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
Occupation: Actor
Last book read: The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Last film watched: Rogue One
Can’t live without: My portable Bose Soundlink 3 speaker


Though he lived in the US as a child, Ignacio Borderes didn’t return for almost two decades until he enrolled at drama school in 2013. The Buenos Aires-born actor, known as Sean, recently featured in an acclaimed Metallica music video and plays the lead in Into The Valli (2017).

Sean says: “When I was little, my dad was transferred to New Jersey for work, so I went to elementary school in the US. We returned to Argentina where I carried on with my secondary education and I didn’t go back to the US for 17 years until I enrolled in a two-year conservatory programme at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. That was three years ago. Last year I started working full-time as an actor and I’m what the Americans call a ‘working actor’, as I don’t wait tables or work as a bartender.”

Apple attitude

The biggest cultural difference for the Buenos Aires-born actor, who has an impeccable US accent, was bringing a Big Apple attitude to the table. Sean says: “New Yorkers don’t mess around; here, you have to move with the flow, get with the programme or get run over. Being in Buenos Aires is a hustle but being in New York is four times the hustle.

“Everyone is aged between 18 and 45 and I think older people are taken away in buses at night! They get married and raise a family somewhere else. Everyone in New York City is in ladder-climbing mode and you tell that even from the way they walk down the street. Subtle nuances such as ordering food or walking is fast — the attitude is ‘It’s costing me money.’ And now, slow walkers drive me mad!”

After setting up a catering business in his 20s with his cousin in Buenos Aires, Sean decided to follow his dream of being an actor. And, so far, so good. He says: “I paid every last penny from my own pocket to study and I sacrificed everything to do it. No one helped me: from the plane ticket, rent, food, tuition, classes, I supported myself. So for someone who made their money in Argentina having to turn pesos into dollars, well, I was bleeding out but held it together. Now I have a working visa, I can push forward again and get my finances together. I’ve been rolling with the punches. I have a lot of hustle in me and so far have been making things happen.”

Am I Savage?

One of his most recent jobs was in a Metallica music video, Am I Savage?

“An agent got me an audition for a music video, which I wasn’t very interested in until he said it was for Metallica. I love them! It was about emotional extremes that was recorded over a 14-hour shoot; I basically had to go insane in different scenarios. They said I could go bananas, except I couldn’t break the furniture. The sky was my limit and the song was on full blast. It was very cathartic! And I had to do that six different times because of wardrobe changes. I made Am I Savage? two months ago and it came out two weeks later.

“This year, I’ve done a short film, The Trial of Everett Mann (2016), and won a best actor award for that role; it’s doing well on the festival circuit at the moment. I also finished filming an independent feature Into The Valli (2017); I’m the lead whose character is obsessed with the musician Frankie Valli and starts doing sinister things to his family.”

Brooklyn living

Sean lives in Brooklyn, an area of New York City where it’s easy to get by in Spanish. “Specifically, I’m in Bushwick, off the L-train. You barely need to speak English here as everyone who works here is Dominican or Puerto Rican. When I walk up the counter in the corner store, the people working there stop speaking Spanish and start talking to me in English. When I speak Spanish, they look at me weirdly and think I’m trying to do my best ¦ it’s cool if weird! It feels like home though I am far away, but everywhere I go — from the corner store to the liquor store ­ is all in Spanish.

“I live in an average small Brooklyn building, two storeys high with just one neighbour, who’s actually really noisy! They don’t make buildings like in Argentina so the walls and floors are paper thin; you can hear everything, from coughing to the bass in music. Everything is cramped and it’s like we’re one big, not necessarily happy, family. It’s got exposed brick and feels a bit vintage; it’s cosy.”

In his spare time, the actor plays soccer and goes to the gym.

“I play soccer in a league with a mix of friends, foreigners who tend to stick together. I always call New York a city of orphans because no one is from here. People never say ‘I’m having dinner with my mum tonight,’ not like in Buenos Aires where I’d hang out with my family every weekend. My friends are everything and moving house is the ultimate test of friendship, carrying boxes up five flights of stairs without an elevator.

“I made my closest friends at school as we were there five days a week, living and breathing theatre. There’s a lot of extreme experiences, people crying, spilling their guts and putting so much effort into everything that after just a few months you bond. I have very good friends from school, Spaniards, Danes, Austrians, from all around the world.

“But I met my Argentine friends on the soccer pitch. When you go to play pick-up games, there’s an unwritten rule that they have to let you play. By going every week, I started to hang out and now we have an official team that plays in a league and four of those guys are Argentine. It’s good to have them as we can get together and eat some barbecue and drink Fernet. It’s good to have both groups but I can breathe a bit more with the Argentines.”

Besides his friends and family, Sean misses road trips and Buenos Aires’ lifestyle.

“You can get everything in New York: the best technology, the best music, services that work and are on time. But it doesn’t have that Argentine vibe, that warmth. In New York you have to hustle all the time and when you’re a foreigner, you don’t have a network when you parachute into a new city. I also miss the food! And I miss getting in my car and taking road trips; it makes no sense to drive here.”


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