Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
Lovely & Amazing
Words by Falene Nurse
Photography by Michael Edwards
Tall and tan and young and lovely, might be famous lyrics about a certain Ipanema girl, but it also perfectly describes a rather lovely lady from Manchester. With her unique looks Judi Shekoni is no stranger to unusual roles, it would be very hard to typecast this girl! Before Zafrina in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, she had already portrayed a Bond Girl, a refugee, a gangster’s wife and an alien! At almost 6ft Judi certainly makes one damn fine looking Vampire in Twilight's latest (and final) installment. With her legs that (literally) go on for miles, her face and figure force you to take notice. Yet, it's her fun loving personality that really makes you stop and pay attention. She's so down to earth and mischievous, I soon forgot that next month she's going to be in one of the highest grossing movies of all time.
With her saucy humor, charm and modesty, she feels less like a Hollywood starlet and more like an old high school, gal pal. There’s really not an ounce of pretense about her. Yet amidst a whirlwind press blitz, this delicious Mancunian was kind enough to take time out to discuss her thoughts on British men, spirituality, kissing Goldie and of course my favorite topic—Michael Fassbender’s penis.
What do you think it is about you that screamed Amazonian Vampire and got you the Twilight gig?
The fact that I’m about 6ft probably helped (lol). Also I have kind of an unusual look (she’s I/2 African, quarter Spanish and a quarter British) one that would fit with either a Brazilian, Amazonian or a vampire. I imagine(giggling), I’m the future! In Twilight I actually have a Brazilian accent, though.
Tell me about that audition?
It wasn’t as difficult as you might think. I got the sides beforehand and went to meet with the casting director. I was lucky in the sense that I was already slightly “Twilight” obsessed. I had read all the books and seen the movies. Channeled my inner Christian Bale and Daniel Day Lewis, making sure I had done at least 20 years worth of extensive research. I actually went to re-watch the last one at the cinema.
(Judith has a saber sharp wit, she naturally drops quips and jokes without a second thought.)
Yes, sort of, I had decided to do this for some reason at midnight at Mann’s. I walked in and I had the whole place to myself. Then Zac Efron comes on the screen and there’s water and a boat. Of course I’m not fully conscious at 12am, but I did think “I don’t remember Zac or a boat being in any of these.”
There are dead people in that too.
Well, at one point I did wonder if Edward was remembering something, or having a flashback to a previous life. Then I started thinking “Hang on, where are all the vampires? Where are the vampires!!!!! They were playing the wrong film!
That happened to me once, a few seconds in and I thought—this isn’t bloody Narnia!
What are the differences working in the industry out here?
It’s more challenging here in L.A., it’s like the Olympics where the best of the best flock to compete for work. You know whatever you do here, is most likely going to be seen on a global scale.
What initially made you decide to relocate to the US, you had a stellar career in the UK.
I just wanted to follow my heart, challenge myself, so I felt that I should come here to do that. I wanted to act from the age of 17, so instead of just studying theory I moved to London. Not just read about it, but actually look for work. Then over the years I had built my career up to a certain level, the next logical step was to come to L.A. I felt I had done this type of adventure once before.
(She is in fact being incredibly modest about her success, Judi was a very established Brit actress, had a starring roll in one of our major Soaps, as well as reoccurring roles on every top show in the UK).
I like that people are more aspirational here, they try. Sometimes back home, everyone is a Doubting Thomas and therefor you shouldn’t even bother. You won’t make it. Aim lower. Or not at all. Just go and work at Greg The Baker’s for the rest of your life.
Goldie starred with you in “Eastenders”, what was it like kissing his golden grill?
I don’t think I really made out with him that much if I remember, mainly because all his teeth are made out of gold (lol). Yeah, so I was a bit intimidated about that at first. Also you know I took the train into work and he drove up in a red ferrari with a personal license plate. Those teeth have worked well for him, made him standout.
Any celeb crushes?
Michael Fassbender, that Irish accent, my God!! He was fantastic in "Shame." That’s the other thing, he’s an amazing actor.
With a rather beautiful penis by all accounts.
Some of your fave books of all time?
Right now I’m reading part of the Jane Roberts’ Seth books series. The books are esoteric and delve into spirituality, she conveys messages about how to be a better you. Which I really love. Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now changed my life, I was reading that when I first booked EastEnders. Which really helped me on that journey. Also Robert Kiyosaki, his books inspired me to start my own business, I now have my own hair extension company too!
Besides "Twilight", if you could play any role in a book adaptation—who would you be?
This may sound like an odd choice, but “Strangers On A Train” by Patricia Highsmith. Where 2 men swap murders, I would like to be in the female film version of that. I think that would be such a strong role.
I’d watch that movie!
3 female icons that you adore?
Oprah, Angelina Jolie and something about Rihanna is very appealing. I like that she doesn’t care, yet she still has a spiritual side. I would love to have that attitude, but I don’t have the balls.
Do you miss British men, or not really?
I miss their sense of humor and self deprecation. You know at the pub you can talk to someone for about 10 minutes, about nothing really, just mocking each other. Here within 10 minutes, you already know who they are, what they do for living, you know their life story. Where I’m more accustomed to 10 minutes of me attacking your hairstyle and you criticize my dress sense, that’s flirting in England.
Do people sometimes take it all too seriously here in Hollywood?
Something small becomes overwhelming, it starts with “Billy Bob doesn’t like me, what am I gonna do”, everyone panics “Billy Bob doesn’t like her, what are we gonna do!!!” Then life isn’t worth living, Billy Bob the agent, or manager, or producer, doesn’t like me!!!!! How can I change that? Then you go to Jerusalem and you are floating along in the dead sea, and it’s like “Who is Billy Bob, have we ever even met? Who cares man, I’m floatin’.”
What is the strangest audition you’ve had?
I had one scene where I had to have sex, while conveying that I was very deep in thought. So you go in the room, there’s about 7 people watching and you just think “right, let’s go for it!” Then as I leave one guy says, “wow, thank you for your courage.” Courage, what courage, I didn’t even have a partner. I had a chair. (On remembering that moment she completely cracks up into hysterical laughter).
You had sex with a chair!!
Pretty much, and got thanked for the courage that takes. Made me wonder, not sure if I knocked that one out of the park.
Have you looked through the MIMP site yet?
I love the photography, the use of natural light is pretty amazing. I was looking forward to shooting. It’s all very subtly sexy.
Eating in my bed. I think I’m pretty good, I want more guilty pleasures. I’m always working, I want to dance ‘till I drop, or skinny dip in the river. I use to watch "The Real Housewives" too much. One weekend me and my friends sat in bed watching a marathon. One of them had come to visit from England and wanted to know the plan, the sight seeing schedule, that sort of thing. We were like “Look, L.A. is always gonna be there, but this entire season of The Real Housewives of Orange County is only going to run once. So climb in.”
(I imagine a collective sigh from MIMPsters at the thought of 3 British girls snuggled up for an extended sleepover. I’m sure they don’t mind what you were watching.)
If you could play any female in the history of cinema, who would you be?
3 fave movies?
I really loved Avatar, I watched it 3 times.
OMG you should be in that, I’m not saying you look like an alien but …
… they could literally save millions of dollars in CGI, no I know! All you need to do is paint me blue and I’m good to go!
God that would be my dream. I watched it when I was in Singapore. Now in Singapore, people are on the shorter side. So as I left, people were taking my picture and really staring. I thought someone would scream, “My God it’s a Navi!!!” I also loved "The Constant Gardener" and "Terminator 2." That melted metal guy, blew my mind!!
If you weren’t a professional actress, what do you think you might be doing instead?
If there was a way to dedicate my entire life to spiritual truth, I would do that. Just reading, meditating and going on pilgrimages.
You could be a guru.
Mmmm not sure about that. Maybe an author would make me sound less pretentious, but deep down I think I do want to be a guru who just happens to save the world and all of mankind. But it might be safer just to say I’ll write a book.