Roman Blat - an interview, actor to photographer / by Greg Salvatori

roman blat actor greg salvatori new york photography

Do you know Roman Blat yet? Well if you don't, it's your loss!

NEW YORK - The city is fun and all, but what really makes New York New York, is not the city itself. It's not the bars. It's not the clubs. It's not the shops. It's the people. New Yorkers like Roman Blat.

I met Roman Blat the same way I meet hundreds of New Yorkers every year, during a photo shoot. He was looking for a new set of actor headshots. He found my portfolio online and got in touch with me.

Roman Blat is an actor known for Brighton Beach (2017), The Purge: Election Year (2016), The Americans (2016), Daredevil (2015), Person of Interest (2014), The Blacklist (2014), and RabidArtWork.

Roman Blat is also a very chilled guy. He showed up with a bottle of wine and a present for me. Fun no? You can already tell this is not just a random guy.

We started shooting and he brought out what he calls his "Russian smile" you see below.

roman blat actor greg salvatori new york photography

I could not stop laughing.

After that start, the shoot could not be anything but good fun and great shots. Roman is a charmer, in his most personal and unique way. He preserves his character, his personality, his own story. He's friendly but not fake. Quite rare in show biz.

I asked Roman Blat a couple of questions and I am glad I can share his story with you.

How did you ended up in New York?

My family departed Riga, Latvia and immigrated to New York in 1993. I was eight years old when we arrived and did not speak any English. I was enrolled in the fourth grade, at the P.S. 206 elementary school in Brooklyn. Since I was not able to understand the teachers, they gave me an exemption from all homework, except math. They reasoned that Russians know math. The following year, in fifth grade, I refused to do homework for the first two weeks. When asked why, I responded in English: "I can't do the homework, because I do not speak English." I was caught and had to start doing homework.

roman blat actor greg salvatori new york photography

Why did you choose acting, how did you study/prepare for your career?

Like most people, I never knew what I wanted to do in life. I had so many different jobs and never cared for any of them. Jobs ranging from collecting cans and bottles on the street, to working as a banker for J.P. Morgan Chase. I enjoyed day trading for a while but even that wasn't my passion.

An ex-girlfriend, who was an aspiring actress once dragged me with her to an open call. On the way out we were asked if we wanted to be background in a big budget film. I agreed, without even knowing much of what that meant. That was my first taste of the acting world. I had always believed that becoming an actor was unattainable, not realistic, a fools errand. After that experience, I began to think that it could be achievable, and that I could get rich and famous with minimal effort.

After a year of dabbling and extensive research I began to understand that becoming a famous actor might take a little more effort than originally expected. I started to enroll in classes, workshops, and networking vigorously. Through the work in various classes, I began to developing a passion, a desire to get better, to excel above and beyond minimal effort! Soon after, I noticed myself standing out in classes and getting special attention from faculty. For the first time ever, I knew what I was supposed to do in life. This is an amazing and powerful feeling.

A comedian friend I met networking in the village, introduced me to my current manager. She hated me at first. I tried to sound like I knew more than I actually did and she saw right through the bullshit. I spent a year of harassing her to give me another chance. I would email her anytime I had a new small achievement. I would not get a response. Every time I took a new class, met a new casting director, got a role in a student film or a short, any photo shoot, any and everything that showed my effort and resolve, I would send her an email. With the help of my friend and all the emails she finally gave me an audition. After that audition she finally agreed to work with me. Since then we have become friends.

I have booked various roles on hit television shows, blockbuster films, many student and short films. I am progressing quickly, but there is a long way to go. Every few months the same feeling comes along. A feeling of greatness, a feeling of awareness, a feeling that says yes! Now I finally get it! I am so fucking good!! This feeling is directly followed by shit. A feeling of inadequacy and despair, a feeling of doubt and panic, a feeling of knowing nothing. This cycle repeats itself continuously. It is getting much easier to power through the shitty feelings to get back to greatness. I continue to take classes, workshops, seminars and combine everything I learn into my own style. Progress is key. Just keep going forward and getting back to the feeling of greatness!

roman blat actor greg salvatori new york photography

Who are the people that inspire you?

One of the people that inspire me the most is my Mother. She is the strongest and kindest person I have ever known. Her super human ability to persevere and empathize in spite of extraordinary obstacles is inspiring. I also enjoy the work of actor Jeff Bridges. His abilities are impressive. Love The Big Lebowski and The Dude!

What do you consider your highest achievement?

My highest achievement to date is booking my first network role on NBC, The Blacklist. It reassured me of my progress and that I am on the right track. I auditioned for Director and Executive Producer Michael W. Watkins. At the audition he told me that the character was the opposite of what I just did for him. He gave me another chance and was impressed with how well I took his direction. He told me that is was highly difficult to change the character so drastically in an instance. He might have told me that I had the job right there and then but I couldn't really understand because I was concerned with my fuck up on the first try.

How about your everyday life, what is your favorite spot in the city?

One of my favorite places to relax is at the Spa88 on Fulton Street. The sauna is a big part of my heritage and I love it! For about forty bucks you can spend the whole day there. They have an Olympic size pool, a jacuzzi, one hot sauna, a steam room, a shvitz room, a cold room, an ultraviolet room, cold plunge, restaurant, drinks, lounging area, and a smoking room. I love that the crowd is always diverse. Feels like a day on vacation for me. One of my Favorite places to have a drink is at The Hudson Hotel on 58th Street, by central park. The drinks are overpriced but the atmosphere is amazing, the crowd is gorgeous and super friendly. This place feels like a castle with huge hidden rooms all over. There is a wonderful view from the 15th floor terrace, which has hammocks and a bar.

roman blat actor greg salvatori new york photography

Famous actors and social causes: if you could change just one thing in the World, what would that be?

I would like to eliminate hunger. No one should be hungry in this world. There are enough resources to keep everyone fed. Some time ago, one of my best friends and I tried to start a movement called backpacking through hunger. We would take a small portion of our weekly income and combine it to purchase produce. We made ziploc bags of handmade delicious sandwiches, a piece of fruit, a bag of chips, and a juice box. Then we put them in our backpacks and went around the city giving them out to homeless people. Some of the people were highly appreciative and some were hostile. We stopped after just a few months and sort of gave up but I still think that solving hunger is a change the world needs and that it is achievable.

roman blat actor greg salvatori new york photography

Roman Blat is an actor known for Brighton Beach (2017), The Purge: Election Year (2016), The Americans (2016), Daredevil (2015), Person of Interest (2014), The Blacklist (2014), and RabidArtWork. You can read more about him on IMDb, click here