Interview: Maranda Pleasant

Maranda Pleasant: What makes you come alive or inspires you?

Aleks Paunovic: People overcoming adversity. Pushing through the uncomfortable. I feel like nothing is impossible.

MP: What makes you feel vulnerable?

AP: Naked truth. Stripping away my ego and accepting my truth even if it’s not who I want to see. Makes me want to be better when it’s exposed. It’s very vulnerable and exhilarating.

MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?

AP: “Smile and love.”

MP: How do you handle emotional pain?

AP: Breathe. Emotional pain is sometimes what we make of it. We can always choose how we react. No matter what the pain, breathing always centers me.

MP: How do you keep your center in the middle of chaos? Do you have a daily routine?

AP: I come from a boxing background. Three generations of boxers. I personally hate to fight, but I love the science of boxing. Mind, body. So for me, shadow boxing or hitting the heavy bag is something that gets me in a centered state. It’s calming for me. To me, boxing isn’t about the other person. It’s about me. My inner struggles. It works for me.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in life?

AP: Getting out of my own way. That little guy on your shoulder telling you that you are not good enough. My biggest lesson has been brushing him off Jay Z style.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

AP: That I can do anything I set my mind to if I believe and am realistic. I’m six-foot-five. I’m not going to win the gold medal in figure skating. But I can try, and that’s what matters. Trying.

MP: What is love for you?

AP: Life. The moment. Unconditional.

MP: What causes or organizations are you passionate about?

AP: Arts Umbrella—helping kids and the arts.

MP: Tell me about your latest projects.

AP: I’m working as a heavy recurring character in a show called iZombie. Just wrapped a movie called Go with Me with Anthony Hopkins. And a lead role in a movie called Dead Rising. Excited to star in my next film project called Numb.


Photo: Chris Brown

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