Three Great Things: Inbar Lavi

The Israeli actress, who currently stars as Eve in Netflix's Lucifer, on what gives her life the most meaning.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. In advance of Part B of season five of Lucifer hitting Netflix on May 28, acclaimed Israeli actress Inbar Lavi, who plays Eve on the show, shared some of the things that are most important to her. — N.D

My Peeps
Although there are a lot of things that are meaningful in my life, my peeps are the core of my being. And when I say “my peeps,” it’s a pretty big umbrella – everybody from my friends and close family members, to my puppy and my husband, all those I care for deeply who bring me so much joy.

I’ve always been a very social person. I think it’s probably why I am so attracted to show business, because it’s about being around large groups of people, having an audience, being on a stage or a set, performing for people’s reactions, and them having some kind of emotional response. When I go to Comic Cons, I still can’t believe I get to connect with so many people around the world, from all walks of life. When I meet fans who have been affected by my work, it still blows my mind. To know that I have had a positive impact on people before I’ve even met them – if that’s not meaningful, I don’t know what is.

During quarantine, it was strange as such a social person to not be able to go and see the people that I love. But I treated it as an experiment and thought, “What else can I do with my time?” In the end, I was able to stay productive and explore creative realms that were new to me. It was challenging for my relationship, but we got through it, which made me realize how strong we really are. And I found that when I could only see a small number of people, it forced me to really zero in on the real ones, the people who were most important to me.

My favorite place on earth is Israel. Always has been, always will be. To me, that’s my home, where my people live, and where I grew up. And it’s where I hope to one day raise my children. I’ve lived away from there, by choice, for the past 16 years. I love being an actress and doing what I do – it fulfills me in so many ways – but there’s a part of me that’s missing, and it’s Israel. I miss it every day. I feel strongly connected to my roots; they are very meaningful to me.

When I think about Israel and my childhood, I think about happiness at home and having Shabbat dinner around the table, breaking bread with my family, going to the beach on a Saturday and coming home and watching an Israeli movie on TV and sharing a laugh and talking about the week ahead. The simple times, the simple things.

In light of everything going on in the Middle East right now, it’s not been easy being away from my family back in Israel. My people are my insides; I’m away, but I’m there. It’s a very strange feeling to carry. I talk to my family every day, especially now. There’s so much violence in the streets, perpetrated by both sides, and there’s so much pain and sadness and fear. I have a lot of wonderful brothers and sisters and friends who are Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians, and I feel for their pain as well. As a human being and as a pacifist, it is so painful to see what’s happening. We’re all hoping for better days. We have to teach love. We have to have hope.

Israel has always been as a source of happiness in my life, it’s hard to see something I love so much go through so much pain. But we grow from that pain; it’s all meaningful.

The reason I choose to say “storytelling” and not “filmmaking” or “television” or “acting” is because very recently I’ve started exploring other creative realms: I’ve launched the brand Lavi, I’ve been making music, and I’m producing and developing a script from the ground up, so storytelling is a part of my life in many ways.

The Lavi brand came to life during quarantine, when I finally had the time to do something other than be on a film set. It then turned into a charity mission to give back to female-owned businesses which had been shut down by COVID-19. I also started making music. The need to verbalize emotions and words, which I usually get to exercise on set, this time came out through guitar, piano and songwriting. I have now written about 20 songs and I’m going to start releasing them slowly. The first one will come out this summer and I’m terrified and excited all at once.

I think everything I do feeds into everything else. It’s about the people I surround myself with, the focus I put on different aspects of my life, how attentive I am to what’s around me, what’s coming towards me and what I project. My music affects what I do on set, and what I do on set affects what I bring to a creative meeting for my brand, and the conversations I have with my friends come into play when I read a script or sit down to write a song.

Despite having these other creative pursuits, I think acting will always be my main focus. When I’m in front of a camera, it’s almost like I have an out-of-body experience. I think it comes from when I was growing up, when my dad would videotape me running around, putting on plays, dancing and singing. Something clicked in my head that made acting a safe place, a happy place that gives me joy. I love being on stage. I love performing. I love being on a set. I love being in front of a camera. I also love being able to produce, because it gives me more control and more of a voice, and that’s really important to me as an artist. But, at the same time, I think my control freak needs to let go sometimes; I’m in a safer place when I’m just acting. My main purpose in life, I believe, is to slide out of my own skin, and get under someone else’s.

Featured image of Inbar Lavi on the set of Lucifer is by Erica Kiara, via Inbar Lavi / Netflix.

Actress Inbar Lavi is best known for her roles on Bravo’s Imposters and Fox’s Prison Break. She is currently starring as Eve in Lucifer; Part B of the show’s fifth season premieres on Netflix on May 28. During quarantine, Inbar created the brand Lavi, with all proceeds going to female-owned business hit hard by the pandemic. Inbar is also an ambassador of The Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and The Make-a-Wish Israel Foundation and volunteers at Our Big Kitchen Los Angeles, a community-run Kosher kitchen that brings people together to assist the less fortunate. She will be releasing her first single this summer as well, and are excited to share a link to her song with you soon. Inbar was born and raised in Israel, and currently resides in Los Angeles. (Image by Rowan Daly.)