Joy Rieger is one of the most successful actresses in Israel, and yet she still fears being openly gay may harm her career.
The 28-year-old winner of the Israeli Television Academy Awards says that to this day, she's afraid to say she's a lesbian.
"The body reacts the same way as it used to, so it is still hard for me to say it," Rieger says. "But there's a lot of power in it. There are a lot of things that define who I am, and my sexual orientation is another part of it."
Do you think actors should come out publicly? out themselves?
“I can’t decide for anyone what to do with their life. It took me a long time to come out, to be exposed in front of my family, in front of the cameras. It took me a long time, and it’s crazy scary!”
What would you advise?
"I really don't know. I think more people should share their personal story from a place of identification with others."
What do you think about the Noam faction?
“Very scary and sad."
Noam, the radical far-right religious party has said LGBTQ should be outcast along with progressive liberals. Still, party leader Avi Maoz was assigned a major role in Israel's Education Ministry with authority over extra curriculum programs for all schools in the country. His appointment caused local council leaders and educators to say they would bar him and his programs from their schools.
Rieger says despite her successful career, she still feels like an outsider. But that has not stopped her from undressing on stage as Nina in Anton Chekov's Seagull.
In the theatre, there is a kind of agreement that I am Nina and we are in her world, so I undress. It is my body but only to tell the story. In my private life, I find it much more difficult to bare myself than I do on stage."