10 THINGS – Dakota Shapiro


When did you first decide to get into the business of acting and how did you initially get your start?

I knew I was interested in acting and wanted to pursue it at a young age. But, when I was 14, I started studying it more seriously. I went to a theatre program in the U.S. for high school students and really got an appreciation for acting while in school. Career wise, my break definitely came with “Valley of the Boom!”

You were recently included as one of the top ten finalists for the 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship program, who’s also from Australia. In addition to Heath, which other actors have provided you with inspiration in your career?

There’s a huge list! There are so many amazing and inspiring actors whose work I admire. I’m a huge fan of Marion Cotillard, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, and Cate Blanchett to name a few! 

You recently completed National Geographic’s mini-series Valley of The Boom. How were you first introduced to the series?

Initially, it was hard to get me in to audition, because I didn’t have many credits. Luckily, my manager made a big pitch for me to the casting director, which allowed me to have the opportunity to audition. The script was quite complex and took me a few reads to fully understand. I was familiar with Matthew Carnahan’s work, so all I knew, is that I wanted to work with him!

What was it about the script that drew your interest and eventually made you want to jump on board the project?

The script itself was really interesting. The way it sort of mashed up genres, broke the fourth wall, and was discussing a period in history that was fascinating, were some of the reasons I found the script so fascinating. I saw “House of Lies,”which was created and directed by Matthew, and I saw how, stylistically, he had the chops to pull it off. 

On the show, you play the role of Stephan Paternot. What can you tell us about the many facets that make up his personality?

It was awesome getting to play a guy like Steph. What really inspires me about him is his undeniable ability to communicate far out ideas (during that time). He’s persistent and neurotic in a way only good tech pioneers are. We’ve actually become friends through this show, so it’s been nice getting to know him even better. Steph is a kind, generous, and creatively minded guy. 

What did you enjoy most about playing Stephan Paternot on screen?

I really enjoyed the “lightbulb” moments he has when a flash of a really great idea or pitch that he instinctively communicates with ease. Those moments are a lot of fun because I’m definitely the kind of guy who comes up with the best thing to say, just a few hours after the moment happens and I’m in the shower or something. 

What is it like portraying a real life person?  Did you meet with Steph Paternot to prepare for the role?

It’s exciting playing a real life person, but also completely nerve racking. I actually reached out to Steph on Facebook (hah) and we met for coffee before I started. He made me a playlist of the music he was listening to and sent hours of old interview footage over.

When it comes to fashion, which designer and styles appeal to your personality?

I wish I knew a little bit more about designers, but I tend to go for a pretty classic look with a bit of a twist. I like the idea of your clothing saying who you are, without you saying a word.

If you weren’t working on your career as an actor, what type of career would you want instead?

I’ve always been really into music, but never wanted to make it my career. Maybe I could be a street musician. 

Thanks for sharing these gems with us. What future projects do you have coming up?

I have an Indie film called “Eye Without a Face” that will be coming out at the end of the year. I really enjoyed working on it. I think it’s going to be pretty interesting! Thanks for having me. Cheers!


Instagram: @DakotaShapiro

Photographer: Diana Ragland

Groomer: Jeni Chua

Wardrobe Stylist: Gaelle Paul