Vogue Turkey – August 2021

Are you truly elevated if your feet have never seen the ground?
When we say ground, we don’t need to talk about a low level or harsh conditions.
While “razed to the ground” means being destroyed in Turkish.
Kerem Bürsin sits across from me and changes the definition of this idiom:
To be connected to the ground,means to be connected with the place on which our feet step on and to be as real as that place.

I didn’t know what to do. I started to squirm when the interview ended and I got out of the caravan in Beykoz Kundura Factory.
The pain of how to tell here the important things this beautiful man said and what he defended from the heart began. I wrote the titles. I deleted them.
Then I said, let’s just write what he said and not write my impressions on him, but that would make the subject incomplete, because he’s too humble to say the good things he’s done. I thought for hours about the highlight of the article because it was what I couldn’t define the most.most. Because this gentleman is just like life itself. It’s hard to define. So sophisticated and
has different attitudes and opinions for different topics in life. But always honest, both to himself and to life. During the interview and in every moment his body, soul and mind are answering in a reliable way.

When we met him on the set, he had to go to shoot some scenes and come back in the interview breaks.

That day I saw him a total of three times. Once before the set started and twice during the set breaks.

When he left to shoot those scenes, I didn’t have an idea about what happened there while he was acting or what he was going through, but every time he came back and sitacross from me there was another side of Kerem in front of me. He was still the same person, but I was meeting a new part of his character, everytime.

He is a professional actor and he’s managing the relationship between himself and the character he plays in the best way. However, it wasn’t possible not to feel the different energies that naturally remained on him after different moments. If we were in a different place or in a different time maybe I would need to spend long hours with him to experience his different moods, but his acting and this set were giving us this chance.  As he agrees, acting gives people many chances in life.
Kerem enthusiastically explains: “I was playing on a stage for four thousand people. I was 17 and our high school won at a competition in the country category and we had the chance to play for thousands of people in a huge hall. But I wasn’t in that hall during the two hours we played. I was in the world of that play. I was the captain of the story and regardless of the thousand people there, I was on that ship, on that play’s universe. Yeah, we used to do this when we were kids, but It’s great that we’re still able to do it thanks to this profession.”.

If you are reading the title of this article, it means we officially brought a positive meaning to the sentence “being razed to the ground”.
Let’s admit it, at first glance, “razed to the ground” it may not evoke such a positive meaning as “handsome actor”, “cool and smart” or “arriving to Kerem”. During the interview, Kerem suddenly said “it’s needed to be razed to the ground” so softly.
I opened the dictionary without being noticed by him, to see if that sentence has a different meaning like keeping your feet on the ground, feeling the life in all extents, or being aware…
and sums up his collective perspective like this, “It’s easy to say ‘let this person do it’ or assigning responsibility to one person”. For example, it can be said ‘do not consume plastic’, but instead do not produce plastic in the first place.
I lived in China for two months in 2012, there wasn’t any bags in the markets. We will get used to it if there are no plastic bags in the markets tomorrow.
For example, we got used to many things during the pandemic. It’s a chain and we have to break it now. ‘let people do it’ but
governments, institutions and companies should also do something, people can’t do it by themselves.”
This is a bit of what I wanted to say, someone must help me so we can convince turkish language society to add a new meaning to “being razed to the ground”.

“I guess I am a person who worries about the world’s problems”, stands against the patriarchal system, researches and speaks about the injustices that women experience in this world, gets angry at the imbalance of the world and loves questioning”. He said when I asked who is he regardless of all professions and titles. And he adds, about this world and the life we live in:
“It’s a tremendous mess; a karma. We are lucky beings who fell into a miracle, but we cannot see most of the time. The system we find and serve, our way of life is not very good for us and the world. We damage ourselves and the world so much. I don’t know the answer to the question “why are we in this world?”. There’s a crisis going on in the world right now. It’s easy to say “there’s that corporation, those animals are under protection in some way or another. Let’s not forget that this is our home, If there is no world, there’s no us either. So let’s ask altogether: what’s the main problem? Governments and companies should carry out an immediate chain of actions. We don’t have time until 2030. We need to do it now, our mindset and system impose time on us. That time: now.”

He’s saying that women and nature rights are so close to his heart. He worries about the climate crisis and adds: “Everywhere is burning. Even the sea is burning. Factory waste is still thrown around. We are talking about going to space, let’s go but what are we doing here? We have an excellent world. Can’t we use space for another purpose? For example, Let’s keep this garbage there, no country should undertake another country’s garbage anymore. Maybe we can use space as a remedy for this, let’s find a way to hide the garbage there”.  Kerem believes that the path to solve these problems begins with society. “Thanks to social media you can reach millions quickly and talk about important issues but the worst mentality is that of those who say ‘I shared, so my duty is completed’. The real change happened thanks to people who rose up for a cause.”

When it comes to women’s rights, he still talks in disbelief about this other subject that he strongly advocates. Without giving a name or address he explains, “I was going to do business with an actress. One of the team said, ‘You will earn more anyway because you are a man.’ And it was a woman who said that. this is not acceptable between two people doing the same job. When this situaition goes against my beliefs and politics, I can say that I won’t be involved in this business. But I can do that because it is a priority to me. However, every life is important. Not just some. When you have the priority in a system, you may not know how the other person feels. But I will and should speak up for you, especially if it’s my priority.”

Ever since he was at the university, Kerem had a dream of creating a production company. The current logo of the company is the logo he drew for his dream at university. This company is a platform for everyone’s rights to be fulfilled. Talking about this he adds: “Why does Hollywood make everyone pay for copyright? Because it is necessary to say ‘thank you, this job happened thanks to you.’ This is a teamwork. We are preparing for a new project. And what excites me the most about shooting this movie in the near future is that it possesses many dominant female characteristics”.

It’s as if he has already taken pictures of many problems in his own brain and is now thinking about how to print those pictures and where to hang them. Taking pictures without metaphorical meaning is one of his favourite things, but he uses this technique in different ways.

“There’s something I do and I hope it is; We heard this from books and movies. Don’t they say that before you die your life passes in front of your eyes like a movie. Had this been true, when I go through some moments and feelings, I would close my eyes and say to myself ‘this is the moment, record it and see it in your last minutes’ and I take such pictures in my brain.”

He also believes that some moments should not be confined. “when you stand to take pictures, you see the things you don’t normally see. Taking pictures is my time to relax. I leave myself and go towards what interests me. I see the beauty and value of that other thing.”

On the other hand, he thinks that looking at the event from the screen creates a loss of reality. He emphasizes on the need to know the difference of being a spectator.

“There are people who can record a video of a violent incident as it happens. But why didn’t you intervene? Why don’t you call for help? You took a video when you could have stopped the incident, then because of that, a person suffered two more minutes of violence and became miserable. Photos can create a break off moment from beautiful or bad moments.”

It would not be wrong to say that Kerem is against this break off. He’s on the side of connecting. “Passing by my old house in Los Angeles gets me razed to the ground in a good way. Because you need to know the ground. You always need to know the ground and place you step in. In a world like this you can stay away from the ground sometimes, that’s not for me. You should be connected to that ground. As an example of that, It’s good for me to go to auditions in America.”

Another thing he cares about as much as being connected to the ground is connecting to yourself and to the person in front of you.

“We know our brain and body so little. Do you know what makes you feel good? ‘I have to do it or else what will they say?’. Well, what will you say? That’s the important thing. When you are gone, the other things are gone too, even the things that you think are the most important in life. This is not selfishness. Know yourself and understand your worth so you can understand and value others as well.”

He defines love in a similar way as unconditional connection.

“I think, to love is to accept. Very simple actually. There is no ego or whatever. Love is about accepting the people as they are. If we continue from this point of view, love can also save us from problems. And we can change some things with that. For example, being able to say, ‘this ting I do is damaging the world or the person I love..’ If you love, you start being constructive and you care. You don’t harm others for your benefits.”

He sees the problems, he feels them and advocates them because he prefers to be razed to the ground, to be connected to the ground. Ground is not a place which is not high, anyway. Kerem has nothing to do with the sentence ‘being razed to the ground’ written in Turkish society.s dictionary, but he wouldn’t have had a problem even if it becomes such a situation.
“Getting help may be seen as a weakness in the society we live in. However, asking for help and saying I don’t know are beautiful things,” he adds.

As the interview is coming to an end, I want to reassure my reasons about what I said at the beginning, mostly because Kerem will probably help me. When the door of the caravan is knocked and I heard; “Mr. Kerem scene is starting. Shall we put on his shirt?” I felt that this is my last chance and rushed ‘Kerem, if you were doing this interview with yourself, what would you ask?’ I said. Without thinking he answers: “How are you? Because it’s not just a question. You make the other person feel that you care about them and therefore yourself.”

As we say goodbye and get out of the caravan, I saw a skateboard there. I guess it was his skateboard. A sentence passes through my mind; maybe not razed to the ground but touching the ground, going parallel to the ground. To be razed to the ground, even if you’re high with your success like him. Because one day you can fall.