Nirit Sumeruk’s family originally hails from the tango city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, Nirit was born in Israel and soon after moved to South Africa where she grew up. After graduating in PR and Communications from the Cape Technikon University, Nirit went to live in London, where she landed her first job with MTV Networks and that’s where her passion for the world of media was ignited. If all that moving around was not enough, in 2006 Nirit fell in love with a handsome French man and made Paris her home. Upon her arrival, she promptly went to learn French and studied acting in English, Spanish and French at the prestigious Cours Florent European Acting School.
In Paris, and thanks to her fluency in five languages, Nirit was cast as the English voice-artist for Trace TV (that’s where she met Alice Tumler) as well as recorded a variety of voice-overs and jingles for Air France to a Macedonian music radio station! She also acted as the leading lady for a number of music videos and accepted roles in short films, in addition to writing for entertainment websites and US culture magazines. She now runs her own popular blog and online TV “Paris Popcorn” where she reports on the Parisian pop and urban culture scene and runs her own ‘new ideas and creative energy’ consultancy under the name “The New Authentic” . She is currently taking a ‘Performance Lab for Actors and Directors’ course at a Paris-based American theatre school and rehearsing for a short play to be staged in the summer. In her spare time she attends Yoga and Brazilian Lambaerobica dance classes and is an avid tennis player. Her aspirations are to continue working on television presenting shows that combine all her talents, languages, energies and experiences and to reach a multi-national audience.
Have you always wanted to be a TV presenter?
I always knew I wanted to work in the media as I was always fascinated by the power of communication. When I got my first job with MTV in London I was an intern for the international communications department which I loved, but when I discovered the VJ (video jockey) desks in the office I fell in love with their energy and potential. The idea that one’s voice and image could reach millions to inspire, excite and help make a difference just made simple sense to me and I knew there-and-then that that was where I would strive to be.
How did you get to where you are today and would you do anything differently?
After getting my degree in Public Relations and Communications I enrolled into acting schools, TV presenting workshops and voice-over training classes in Cape Town and Paris. I also got myself an agent and landed acting jobs in over 12 international TV commercials and later hosted my own radio show on a small radio station interviewing local South African rockstars. I never stopped trying to create my own projects too and I collaborated with some very talented people – it was all crazy but served as great experience. The truth is, is that it was (and is!) really tough landing good TV presenting jobs as the competition was always big, but eventually I learned that to be professional, energetic and keep a good sense of humour on the job is what most production teams wanted to work with. My first big TV presenting job was VJ’ing for MTV’s sister channel ‘Game One’ in Tel Aviv and from there other doors started to creak open. I was then asked to host a live show in Las Vegas for a private broadcaster and straight after I was the behind the scenes host for The Bachelor which was loads of fun. I then teamed up with Alice Tumler and co-wrote an international TV show called “Beauty Spot” (watch this space for more info!). At the moment I am running and hosting my own popular blog and online TV called “Paris Popcorn” interviewing people who are in Paris’s pop and urban culture scene. I wouldn’t have done anything differently – the ups and downs, the sweat and the tears are what pushed me to go further and it’s totally important to have gone on this journey.
Who helped you along the way?
My mum was always my biggest fan, my brother my realist and my 2 sisters (one of which is a screen writer) were my biggest critics – all of which helped tremendously…. “yes, yes you are fabulous, but you have to work on this, this and that”. Otherwise I pretty much did it all on my own.
Who inspires you?
I love entrepreneurs, movers and shakers, explorers, creative-minds and go-getters. Their energy inspires me and I surround myself with friends who’s dynamic outlook and way of being not only inspires me and my work but also opens up my world a little bit more. I absolutely love smart and funny female TV personalities like Kelly Ripa and Elen DeGeneres, talk-show hosts and reporters that challenge the mind and influence society like Christiane Amanpour, Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey, and Larry King, and those that offer good fun entertainment like Carson Daly (I used to love TRL!!)
My roots! I come from a culturally diverse background which has definitely influenced and shaped the person I am today. My family who originate from Argentina is, by culture I guess, large, warm, expressive and passionate – and I was always grateful for this ‘Latin blood’ as it taught me to love passionately, work passionately and to live passionately!
What do you think is the biggest problem in French society today and what is the most positive thing?
As a foreigner who has made Paris her home, I can say that it’s not the easiest place to ‘fit right in’. I feel at times they are not the most ‘open’ to foreigners who want to be a part of the French experience and it takes a while for them to warm up to you – but which they eventually do.
I also want to express how strongly I feel about the fact that French television dubs almost all foreign programming – the voice of Olympic champions, Oscar winners, newly elected presidents as well as movie classics and other legends are all covered up by a French voice-over and I think to myself, how can they not want to hear what the voice and emotions of that champion really sound like? I think they need to start subtitling instead and learn to accept the sound of another language.
What I love love love about the French is their cheese and wines, their country sides and châteaux, the French Riviera, their deep and brilliant local music and cinema culture, I love that it’s a country to fall in love in – be it with another human being, with one’s own work or even with one’s self!
Do you feel South African, Israeli, Argentinean or European?
Wow! Can I take all four? It’s impossible for me to choose just one. Each nationality has such strong significance for me. I’m a proud South African by culture, an Israeli by birth, an Argentinean by blood and European by where I am today.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
Amy Winehouse, Feist, Juanes, Lady Gaga, Neimo, Terry Poison, The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Lily Allen, and the Vicky Cristina Barcelona sound track.
What couldn’t you live without?
Books, magazines, music, my iphone, and of course my man!
A private jet to whisk me away all over the world to spend good times with family and friends!
Favourite European city and why?
I have yet to discover more of Europe, but in the mean time it’s Paris hands down! I love that nearly all cafés have an outdoor terrace, even when it’s cold and raining, coffee needs to be enjoyed outdoors in the small chance that the sun may peep out for a minute or two! I also love how it’s the city that inspires fashion, art and great literature.
Watch Nirit’s Paris Popcorn interview with fashion icon Diane Pernet of A Shaded View on Fashion
Desert island book?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Where do you see yourself in five years?
A working mum with loads of kids following me on set with a good few projects under my Chanel belt! I would love to host my own studio show and the opportunity to use my fame and talents to help and inspire the youth.
Can you run in heels?
You bet! Give me any pair of sexy heels and I’ll even cart-wheel in them!