Tu connais Mario Fontaine?
Oh, the silly things Haitian “zuzu” girls will say… If you’re from Haiti, you know what I’m talking about: the video went viral, with more than 86,000 views. And immediately everyone wondered: Who in the world is this guy? Tu connais Mario Fontaine?
Who is Mario Fontaine?
I like for others to answer that question for me.
I’m from Haiti, although I also grew up in Germany, where my parents still live. I don’t go back to Haiti often enough. I did visit after the earthquake to help out family and friends. It was my duty.
How did you end up in New York?
I’ve been in the United States for more then 5 years now. I attended NYFA (New York Film Academy) and now take private acting classes. I live in the Manhattan area because it’s easier for me to get to work and to the gym in the morning. You know, “the gym” is the most important part of my day.
What advice would you offer to aspiring actors/comedians?
The industry presents many challenges: the competition is fierce and it’s not easy getting a good agent. Yes, it’s tough but acting can be very rewarding and lucrative. I’m lucky to do what I love the most. My advice: Take as many classes that you can and try to produce things that are rooted in reality. Focus on what you do best, be it comedy or drama. Once you’re well known, be the best you can be.
Do you do other types of acting (besides comedy, I mean)?
Yes, I do it all. I’m into method acting.
How did you come up with the idea for the Haitian “zuzu” video? Is the sketch based on observations you’ve made? On personal experience?
I modeled it on “S*&% White Girls Say to Black Girls,” basing my character on true events and things I’ve heard people say while I was living in Haiti.
Thousands of people liked the video. What do you say to those who reacted negatively to it?
It’s a free country; you can love or hate whatever you like. I’m proud to say that I answered everyone who sent me a Facebook email. I love my fans, by the way.
How do you think the “zuzu” attitude impacts the Haitian society?
From the amount of friend adds and emails I get on Facebook daily, I must say: a whole lot. I travel often, and am familiar with other cultures, especially the German and French ones. The “zuzu phenomenon” seems to exist everywhere else but nothing has topped the Haitian one so far.
What are your hobbies/other activities besides acting?
I’m a full time actor. Sometimes, however, I do volunteer at the Social Services office and visit Haitian families who are not fluent in English.
Are you single? What do you look for in a special someone?
I don’t usually answer personal questions… What I look for in a special someone is LOVE, just like everybody else I guess.