Nadia Hilker Will Kick Your Ass And Make You Say ‘Danke’

by Brianna Tucker

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The Divergent star admits she loves Netflix documentaries, nature walks, and assorted bad-assery... but she won't say much about what she's working on next.

Nadia Hilker is no stranger to hard work. Hailing from Munich, West Germany, she began acting in 2010, snagging smaller roles in German television. In 2014 she debuted in her first lead role in the German movie

Spring

—a romantic sci-fi film. It was her latest project, however, in the

Divergent

series as the smart, confident, and no-nonsense Nita, that catapulted her into the spotlight.

We can also mention how her work ethic and authenticity has translated into her career. After making her mark overseas in German productions and independent films, she faced what most foreign actors must overcome: the language barrier. German was her first language along with French and Swedish. Despite the challenges, Nadia found her ‘Nita’, and Lionsgate and producers loved it.

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We had a chance to sit down with Nadia to discuss more about choosing a role, sword-fighting, and loving life.

When did you know that acting was something you wanted to pursue?

I think the very first time I was standing in front of the camera. I never really went to a school for it, but I booked jobs, and I think after the first gig I knew that I really loved it and that it was something that really spoke to me. It just felt really organic and good, and I loved it right away.

Is that what brought you to Los Angeles?

I came out here in October without a return flight, and I’m really enjoying life more than ever. My management is in L.A., the industry is here, the work is here, so I said to myself, "Nadia leave your comfort zone and get in there."

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What was it like joining a cast of well-acquainted actors such as Allegiant?

It's pretty intimidating because it’s such a huge cast and they all worked together before. Joining is always frightening, you want everyone to like you, or you hope they will. In the beginning I was not scared, but maybe a little shy. Now I’m happy and I can’t wait to go back. It's like going to school you know, first day.

Do you resonate with Nita at all?

Yeah, she’s a very confident, strong young woman, and I definitely can say that I’m confident in my skin and myself and who I am and [Nita] just makes the best of everything. What is it? Lemons to lemonade? She’s a fighter, a warrior, doesn’t give in too easy; she fights for whatever she believes in and I would very much say that I'm same.

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What would you say attracts you to taking a role?

I love playing confident, strong, women. Especially in society nowadays, it’s definitely something I love playing—giving women a role model. They're different but also the same; I bet if you put Louise [in Spring] in the Divergent world she'd probably be the same. They're both—in the core—the same, which I love. And I’m feeling very honored the director of Spring and Allegiant see those things in me.

Did Allegiant prepare you with any martial-arts training or kickboxing?

I wish, because I love that! I played a few characters that are like that before so I have martial arts training in the past: sword-fighting, gun training—so I’m pretty good with that by now. I wish there would’ve been more. I’m really hoping for the next one [Allegiant Pt.2] I get to do some sick stunts, it’s a lot of fun.

In reality, which faction do you identify with?

I’m everything, I'm not just one. I want to be strong, and a warrior but I want to grow my garden and take care of kids and help planet Earth but also be a scientist... If I could decide, I’d want to be everything. Let me be everything!

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When you’re not acting, or working to divide the masses into a caste-like system, what does Nadia Hilker do?

I love to travel, I spent the last week in a little cottage in the mountains. Right now I’m in Phoenix. I love writing, music, I spend hours finding good music, learning, watching documentaries, working out, being in nature, cooking. I love being by myself, I don't really go out much. I also try not to think or talk too much about Hollywood. I’m not a big fan of surrounding myself with too many people in the business. Just loving life and learning new things every day, sleeping, going for walks. It's very fulfilling to me and I'm very happy that I'm that way. I don't need to go to cool parties or go shopping to be happy. Everything I need, I get on a daily basis by myself, it's nice.

Can you give us a little bit about what projects we can look forward to seeing you in next?

Yeah! I'm going to be in The 100 on CW. It airs April 21st and 27th. It’s cool—I'd say it’s a mix of Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones. It's a great message, kind of apocalyptic. I shouldn't say more because I'm really bad at pitching. And then we shoot the next Allegiant in June or July.

Photographer: Anthony Batista