“She gave me a ring, and she told me that this one will give me luck, and that she really hopes that I will get this role, and she feels that I’m going to get it,” the Israeli actor says during an appearance on Tuesday’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “This was kind of like her ring that she has for…30 or 40 [years]. I was so emotional, also because of the gift and what she wished to me, but also because when I told her about the show and what it is about, she was just so happy.”
Fast forward to today and Haas is a favorite for an Emmy nomination for her work on the Netflix series as Esty, an Orthodox Jew who flees from her Hasidic community in Brooklyn for a different life in Berlin. And we’re happy to report, her grandmother is going okay and no longer in the hospital.
Variety caught up with Haas in late June from her home in Tel Aviv.
At 25 years old, Haas admits she has always been an old soul, which she believes may be the result of surviving childhood cancer when she was just 4 or 5 years old. “I’m not thankful for that, but I’m thankful for what it like brought to me,” Haas says. “I don’t know what would happen without it, but it’s really made me who I am as a person, I think. I was like a mature child. I was like a 40-year-old when I was eight. I wrote stuff so deep. I saw a letter that I wrote when I was about 11, and I’m like, ‘Calm down, girl. You’re just 11.’”
It was a letter she wrote for a writing assignment while attending a youth group. “They wanted you to write a note to yourself in 10 years from now,” Haas recalls. While her peers shrugged it off, Haas took the task very seriously, ruminating about writing and photography as well as “deep stuff about my parents and questions I still have now, but just maybe in a different language a little bit. It was very amazing to see it. I wanted to hug myself in a way,” she says.
As for today, Haas marvels at the attention she’s received for “Unorthodox.” She had about 20,000 followers on Instagram when the series premiered in March. Now? 398,000. “It was kind of like a week or two of understanding that it’s kind of like exploding,” she says, adding, “Every day it was like, ‘Whoa! Whoa!’”
How about a second season? “I’d love that,” Haas says. “As far as I know, it was always planned to be one season, and they are not planning to do a second season, but the answer is always who knows, so who knows?”
“Unorthodox” is available on Netflix.
You can hear the full interview with Haas above. You can also find “The Big Ticket” on iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.