Cleveland-based model and actress Morgan Ziva made her film debut in Kenny Carpenter’s 2008 sci-fi film Salvaging Outer Space. Since then, a few of her more notable film appearances have been in Robert Kotabish’s 2017 comedy Moon Shine Vixens and Jason Croot’s 2018 drama Hello Au Revoir. Her most recent film, Dracula’s Raven House, is currently on hold, as are a lot of films the were still shooting just before the coronavirus pandemic cause many things in our lives to be put on hold.
Before acting, Morgan was, and still is, a successful model, which is no surprise given her looks and figure. “I started out doing bridal runway shows. There is a real art to flipping a long train on a runway” she says. Find out more in the following exclusive interview Morgan gave to Idol Features. Photo at left by Morgan herself.
MORGAN ZIVA: I met Robert from an add online. He was looking for actresses for Benny Hill-style comedy. We met in person at a coffee shop in Lakewood, Ohio. Robert is one of the few director/producers in Cleveland who actually pays actors for work. He comes across as a little rough around the edges, but he is the nicest guy you could ever meet.
CHRIS: Were you born and raised in Cleveland?
MORGAN: I was born in Willoughby and raised in a little town called Leroy (both in Ohio). It is definitely a country area. I always thought it was so boring when I was younger, now, I long for peace and quiet. Big cities are not for me.
CHRIS: When did you start modeling?
MORGAN: I started modeling when I was 16. I started out doing bridal runway shows. There is a real art to flipping a long train on a runway. I have always been an indie model and actress. It’s more difficult, if you aren’t with an agency, and you need to be cautious working with different photographers. You can’t be in it for the money.
MORGAN: I like to work on location. The beach or overseas locations are my favorite. I’ve done a lot of work in Italy and Mexico. I don’t recommend this to everyone. You need to trust who you are traveling with. You don’t want to end up stuck or sold.
CHRIS: You state you don’t shoot nudes on your modeling portfolio. Despite that, do you still get many offers to do nude photo shoots?
MORGAN: All the time! Haha! I have no problem with nudity. Some nudes are gorgeous if done right, but if you want to get into film and work as a serious model, no one needs to see you naked. It’s a big misconception most people have.
CHRIS: Unless I’ve missed something (turned out I had), I don’t see any tattoos on you. With tattoos being so common with ladies in the entertainment and modeling industries these days, what have you chosen to remain ink-free?
MORGAN: I do have one tattoo on my back. Believe it or not, I would like another one. I don’t like the idea of being covered though. Some people can have lots and look awesome.
CHRIS: Was the 2008 film Salvaging Outer Space really your first film?
MORGAN: It was.
MORGAN: I did some stage work in grade and high school. I enjoy film more than stage work.
CHRIS: I see you’re the poster girl for the 2017 comedy Moon Shine Vixens. Tell me about your character in that one.
MORGAN: I play a busty country girl in that movie. Not too much thinking required. We laughed a lot on set. I was lucky to work with such a great group of people.
CHRIS: What film would you say has been the most fun to do?
MORGAN: I loved playing a demon queen in a film that is soon to be released. I can’t say the name yet. I was able to play this hideous creature who was fighting to become human. The prosthetics and makeup are rough, but I loved it. I definitely feel for actors who have to play these dark characters. Mentally, you have to become that temporarily. I don’t consider myself a method actor. I can put the work down, and don’t like to talk about work with family and friends. I don’t mind the label of B-actress either. I just enjoy doing it.
CHRIS: Who have been some of your favorite people to work with one either side of the camera?
MORGAN: I love Jason Croot. Jason is in Europe, so we talk through e-mails and I send clips to him. He always has wonderful ideas. Distance is nothing. I love travel, It would be great to block out a month or two to work on a project with him.
CHRIS: What are some behind-the-scenes jobs you’ve done on films?
MORGAN: I did some behind the scenes photography on Moon Shine Vixens and helped with the script and line delivery. Since making my first documentary, I’m hoping to get a lot of behind the scenes experience.
MORGAN: That film is on hold for now. Jason will let me know when we can restart it. I really want to be on set for that one.
CHRIS: Would you say horror is your favorite genre?
MORGAN: Yes!!!! The people in horror are the most fun, laid back, and intuitive people I’ve ever worked with. This isn’t Hollywood. We are all there because we want to be. There is little pay, so you need to make the best out of the experience and hope you are making history with a cult classic, or at least something people will enjoy.
CHRIS: As this interview is being conducted during the coronavirus pandemic, and we’ve all had to change our lifestyles because of that, what would you say you are currently missing the most?
MORGAN: I am missing going out. I like kicking back with a drink with friends. So many things… concerts, coffee shops, going to work, art classes, and going to the gym. You just don’t feel normal, you know?
CHRIS: Do you have any skills or hobbies that only those close to you would know about? I’m a painter and I teach classes for fun. The wine and sip kind. I was a belly dancer for a long time. That hobby is on hold for now. I am also big on meditation and prayer time. I love candles, and it’s nice to check out and focus on that beautiful flame.
MORGAN: Shout out to Jordan Finely. She runs a charity for foster children and is a clothing designer. I feel so strange doing this. I kind of consider myself pretty modest anymore. Not too into social media or too much attention. Thank you for the interview. You can go through my pics on my model page. Let me just see what you pic first. 🙂 we will need to do this again sometime.
CHRIS: Absolutely. Oh, just one more question: Has anyone ever told you that you look a bit like singer Taylor Dayne?
MORGAN: They have! Its funny you say that.
Thanks to Robert Kotabish of R.A.K. Films.