Interview - Hurriyet Magazin with actors Demet Ozdemir and Ibrahim Celikkol
Updated: Jun 18
Demet Ozdemir: “There were problems, but no one could stand against our dreams”
Ibrahim Celikkol: “When you grow up in a place filled mostly with women, you discover the delicacy of their feelings.”
Reporter: Hakan Gence Published Dec 22, 2019
One of them is an indispensable, handsome, young, and talented actor of the most viewed series of Turkey. The other one is a desired face of romcoms whose light has been shining brighter lately with her performances.
Ibrahim Celikkol and Demet Ozdemir are the new pair of the screen. We visited the actor and the actress on their set. The two are coming together for the first time in the new series Dogdugun Ev Kaderindir. We talked about the series, the new phase of their lives and love.
Interview with Ibrahim Celikkol
If your life was a movie, how would it start?
With a baby crying!
Since you brought up the matter, let’s move on from there. You have just become a father. You witnessed the birth too. How did it feel?
It’s inexplicable. It is a feeling I have never felt before, never known or heard about. You suddenly are filled with this feeling.
What did you feel when you first held the baby in your arms?
That moment I became a father. Some say that it takes time, but it didn’t happen that way for me. I felt that I became a father at that exact moment.
It has been a short time but how has your life been affected?
Entirely. Now then you are “plus 1”. You put him before anything else and you shape your life according to him. And in the meantime, you are intoxicated with happiness.
Did having a child change your relationship with your wife?
We might be experiencing the most inexplicable days of our relationship and marriage. It occurred to me that having a child is the best thing that can happen to a happy couple.
Famous people choose fancy names for their children, you named him Ali. Why did you choose it?
I embodied the name several times by the different characters I portrayed. It has been lucky for me. On the other hand, I love the simple but tremendous vibe of the name.
Okay, so, you’re handsome, talented, have a happy marriage and a baby. Just tell us about your flaws, the things you lack so that we can ease…
I don’t have the thing called “patience”. I’m extremely impatient.
Is your life a “served-on-a-silver-platter" one?
I’m feeling lucky with the things that life has taught me and the values I have. Of course, daily stress and exhaustion have a place in my life too, as well as the hardship of the past. However, I say “thank you” regardless of what happens, and I’m grateful for each day.
If you were to see 20-year-old Ibrahim today, what advice would you give to him in regard to future?
You played basketball firstly in Kocaelispor then in OyakRenault in a major league. Next, you played on matches with the Young National Team. 15 years in total… Your father (Süheyl Çelikkol) was a national football player. Did you head for sports at first because of your father’s influence?
My father was my biggest role model and he still is. He used to support and encourage me at sports just like he used to do in every matter. I owe my passion for sports to my father. But not everything in life goes the way you plan it. Some breaking points help you make a decision that shape your life. Let’s say this was one of those points. At this breaking point a decision had to be made. I chose acting.
You lost your father when you were 18. How did this “losing a role model at a young age” affect your life?
You sometimes have to face some painful facts of life, there’s nothing that you can do about it.
You grew up in the same house with your mom, aunt and grandmother. What is it like to be a child in a woman-dominated place?
I think that I understand them deeply. When you grow up in a place filled mostly with women, you discover the delicacy of their feelings.
There’s a debate between actors regarding physical appearance and libido. How do you evaluate the actors of the new generation when you look at the things that happen?
Even though it seems like acting is highly related to the physical and aesthetic side of the job, ultimately it does not matter. It is impossible to achieve success if appearance is not supported with substance.
You have been bringing the most unforgettable couples of the screen to life for years. Do you think that a real spark between the actor and the actress is necessary for the series to be successful?
It is very important for partners to share a devotion and to have good intentions to be able to feed the acting. But I would never say that it requires a real spark between the partners. What is necessary to achieve success is the result of teamwork and discipline.
Were you always lucky in terms of appearance? Have women always showed interest in you?
You cannot realize it at a young age, but I can say that it has been this way since the moment I realized it.
What kind of a feeling is it to start the day with this physical appearance?
I can say this: I’m content with the man I see when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror.
Nowadays some actors are talked about for their muscles more than their roles. Do you think it harms the actor’s identity or it is beneficial?
I believe that acting is beyond appearance. Since each character brings a new you, the thing that changes most easily is the appearance. Consequently, fit or not, this or that, there are other essentials that must be evaluated in accordance with each character.
As one of the most admired and chased men, you married. Did you fear it would affect your popularity badly?
I believe there are some breaking points for some decisions. When I first met my wife Mihre, I was very sure it was a breaking point for me.
You always portrayed men who were deeply in love, passionate and romantic. Are you as full of love as those men?
We would have to ask my wife this question.
What is love in your words? Which state of love have you been experiencing lately?
I experience every state of it in every minute. I’m not a man who can explain these kinds of things, you know. But my wife is my valuable piece in my life. The things I could say would mean nothing compared to my love for her. It’s an unconditional love.
Interview with Demet Ozdemir
What types of characters will we be watching?
Demet: Zeynep is a girl who doesn’t resent anyone, is naive, full of hope and dying to belong somewhere, even though she doesn’t know where she belongs. She is unable to offend either one of her mothers and it is the best thing I like about her.
Ibrahim: Mehdi is the brave guy of the neighborhood. He is a good, honest, man who is looked up to as a good example. He loves to help the people in his neighborhood.
What is “Doğduğun Ev Kaderindir” about in a nutshell?
Demet: The story begins with a girl moving in with another family at the age of 8 to receive an education who was born and raised in a very poor family. Zeynep faces the question of “Where do I really belong?” and the conflicts between the two families. In the meantime, she finds the love of her life and starts a journey where she tries to find herself.
What is the difference of this series from the others in your opinion?
Demet: It’s a true story and that is the biggest difference. Every character is really a living person. As a result, we try to keep the world of the series in harmony with reality as much as possible.
How do you find yourselves as a pair?
Demet: We became a sweet pair. Ibrahim is a father; he is also very fatherly. He has some traits that are consistent with the character. He loves to protect and care too. He makes me feel safe. I’m so happy to work with Ibrahim.
Ibrahim: Demet, above anything else, is hardworking. She has a high regard for her job. I haven’t had the chance to watch her before and I didn’t realize she was this talented.
You had said “I have a story which proves that dreaming is right.” You grew up in a small town in Izmit. Were you expecting to be one of the most demanded actresses of Turkey?
Demet: I really was born and grew up in a small place. Of course, I was dreaming a lot, but I did not envision this.
What were your dreams?
Demet: To be an actress, discovering things by doing this job…But could I anticipate today? No.
After your older sister was married, you and your mother tried to stand on your feet together for so long. Was that life hard?
Demet: My mom and I were faithful, powerful women. That’s why nothing has ever been hard or impossible for us to overcome. We had problems; we went through hardships. But we never felt weak. We talked about our dreams. Nobody could stand against us. The things we experience now are blessings from being faithful.
Before you became an actress, you were working as a professional dancer. Did this have an impact on acting?
Demet: Body language is important in acting. Dancing is the thing that taught me to trust in my body. To be able to discover a character while I’m letting my body move freely to portray that character is a gift from dancing.
Do you follow the movements of women in the world and their personal issues with dance?
Demet: Yes, women telling their issues and pains through dance and music is positive and courageous in my point of view.
We have been watching you in romcoms up to now. Did you hesitate when you were offered for a drama?
Demet: To begin with a drama after romcoms was exciting for me. But it didn’t bring any negative fear. You can’t say that playing in a romcom and drama are different things after all.
Why did you shift the gears to drama when you were a good romcom actress?
Demet: I want to try everything, portray any types of characters. But it’s not like I shifted the gear to drama and I’ll always be playing in drama from now on. In Erkenci Kus we had started to shoot drama scenes, serious scenes since episode 40. Filming those scenes excited me deeply. I dreamed a dream, and I’m chasing it now. I hope I can do justice to it.
Can you give us more details? What kind of girl did this Demet, the lovely, sympathetic, “Turkey’s Sandra Bullock,” turn into?
Demet: I’m trying to be more mature with time. Everybody improves themselves, and I’m in that period. Zeynep is a stagnant character, and she internalizes. Compare that to a Demet who is constantly laughing, you’ll see a Demet who cries a little. I hope you love her too.
What did those six years on the screen teach you regarding life and this series?
Demet: It’s the series conditions that are hard, not the acting. You can become successful if you act bravely, use your mind, do your best while doing this job. There are plenty of things to learn in each script, and with every colleague and director. I wasn’t thinking that way before. I’ve only grasped it over time. There’s no limitation to acting or in human relations. You should always seek more.
You had a very short break from the screens. Doesn’t returning to the screen fast trigger the fear of “people might lose interest in me”?
Demet: I feel the energy to work in myself and I get bored easily when I don’t. If the character is portrayed right, if the world of the series is built right, and if the audience feels it too, then there’s no difference between taking a short break and taking a long break. A script that excited me came to me, and I don’t know how I could have stopped myself.
You couldn’t apparently…
Demet: I’m going with the flow and live as I please. Of course, I’ll give myself a break, but now is not the time.
Your former partner’s words “Libidos of the lead roles of the series must be high” has been the talk of the town. What did you think when you read it? Do you agree?
Demet: To get along with your partner, high energy is a plus and is important in every project. The energy and the chemistry, to be able to laugh together, and to discuss the scenes is so valuable.
Ok, dodging the question… You have approximately 9 million followers on Instagram. Why do all those people follow you?
Demet: Some of them out of curiosity, some of them because they really love me, and the some due to following the TV series. They might be wondering, how is she in real life? What does she wear? Does she apply too much make-up? Where is she now?
You have continued being a hot topic after Erkenci Kus for a long time. Your series is broadcast abroad. What kind of an interest is there abroad? Can’t you walk on the streets either?
Demet: It was sold to a lot of other countries. I haven’t been to those countries yet. I haven’t had the time.
When you are on the peak of your fame, does that limit your freedom?
Demet: When you decide to become an actress and start playing in series, people get to know you. People come to me and say that they love me. When they hug me, it makes me feel I’m on the right path. That’s why I don’t have a problem with that.
Are you on good terms with the paparazzi? Can the news written about you still make you upset?
Demet: At first, I used to be shocked rather than being upset. I was questioning the reason. At some point, I started to get used to it.
How did it happen?
Demet: Now, I’m trying to convert everything I come across into something positive. This matter is one of those things that is important for me. Of course, there are things that make me upset, do me injustice and that I resent. But these are momentary and short-term feelings. This is not a cry-out either. This is their job, and I accept it. But sometimes some things which have no relation to me are put forward. I guess, at this point, the thing that disturbs me the most is what I, my family, and my relatives will feel about the news from reporters who have no consideration for me or my family’s feelings. When I think about this, I tell myself, “Move on. Your family knows it is not true anyway.”