The Quest is a reality competition show set in the fantasy world setting of Everealm. Twelve Paladins must endure training to find the one true hero and defeat the enemy, Verlox. I was finally granted the chance to have a moment and interview the beautiful and strong Queen Ralia!
A thank you to @ for the pictures!
Tina Degenhart: How did you hear about The Quest and how did your audition process go?
Susanne Gschwendtner: I think it was a Friday evening, I was sitting in my living room when I heard my phone go off. Someone, whose name I didn’t quite get left me a voice message saying I should ring him back immediately. The man on the phone was Fritz Fleischhacker, one of the most prestigious casting directors in Austria. He cast big Hollywood productions so naturally my heart started racing. He told me to jump into a taxi at once and come straight to his office in the first district of Vienna. He didn’t really tell me what this meeting was all about, he merely asked me about how good my English was. I got all nervous, it all sounded so mysterious but I tried to calm myself down and stay cool. I didn’t take a taxi, I took the underground to his office where I met Rob Eric, one of the executive producers of The Quest, who talked to me about the project and what they were looking for. It was all very vague and I really had no clue what to expect. The next day I signed a disclaimer, received my audition speech with character background and four days later, wearing a silver queen’s dress, I went in for my first audition. :
TD: You’ve done beautifully with the part! Both strong and yet gentle, two qualities every queen must have. How much input did you have on the Queen Ralia character?
SG: Wow, thank you so much! I think I had quite a lot of input actually. I loved Ralia’s character from the start. She had to cope with a lot of tragedy in her life, loosing her brother, husband and her father. Ralia is a warrior queen and maybe because of what she had to go through in her life, she has the (regal) bearing and gravitas of a much older woman. I can relate to that, sometimes I feel much older too. In a good way.
I did my own research, developed my character background and watched quite a lot of movies about queens. In the end though, also due to the lack of rehearsal time, I had to stick to my first instinct about Ralia and how to portray her.
TD: How are you feeling about all of the online love for The Quest, especially on Twitter?
It’s great to see how many people love The Quest and how much it inspires people. I especially loved the idea of “Project Hero” and think we should continue doing it on a monthly basis.
TD: What other projects have you worked on or are currently working on?
SG: During the summer I was working on a play called The Flood with Badac Theatre company from England. Badac Theatre’s work is political, extremely visceral and focused on human rights issues. ‘The Flood’ was a sight-specific, immersive theatre piece about WWI and the relationship between a field nurse and her fiancé soldier at the front. It’s a tragic love story which obviously ends badly. We performed this show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in an old bunker, we used real liver and blood, it was noisy and smelly, the maximum capacity for the audience was about twenty people and the audience had to stand for the entire 55min of the play. It is an uncomfortable experience and deliberately so. The Fringe was an amazing experience and we had some really awesome reactions and reviews, including seven people fainting (laughs). I take this as a good sign. We will be touring this play in the UK next spring and I am currently trying to bring it to Vienna as well.
TD: Queen Ralia is usually surrounded by Sir Ansgar, Crio and the Grand Vizier. Did the four of you become close on the show? Were there any running jokes or funny moments between you guys?
SG: Running jokes or funny moments? Oh I don’t know what you are talking about! (laughs) Seriously, it was all jokes between us, we had so much fun on and off set. It was such an intense experience for all of us, the big set, the improvising, I think we never wanted it to end.
TD: Sometimes queens are not taken as seriously as kings. Did you ever worry about this? How did you make sure to get across that you were in charge?
SG: Not really. There was no king in Sanctum so I never had to worry about that. I think the crown on my head helped a lot and I could only really be queen because the people around me treated me as such. Looking back, it might have been fun to abuse my power a little bit more but then again, that’s just not who Ralia is.
TD: Either behind the scenes or the scenes aired, which was your favorite moment?
SG: Hmmm, I have to admit that I enjoyed the fact that everyone on set referred to me as “the queen” immensely! I finally felt properly appreciated! (laughs) Seriously, it was such a good feeling, I didn’t want it to end…ordering people around can be a lot of fun once a while…
TD: If you could have tried a challenge which would it be and why?
SG: Oh I definitely would have liked to do the “tournament for the queen” challenge. The riding, jousting, bow and arrow, all on horseback, that looked like a lot of fun!
TD: Queen Ralia is shown riding a horse during The Quest; have you ridden horses before?
SG: Yes, I have ridden horses as a child and teenager. I grew up on a farm in the countryside and always wanted to have a horse myself. Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed so I saved all my pocket money and took a riding lesson whenever I could. I love horses, I think they are the most beautiful and elegant creatures on this planet.
TD: Is there anything that either wasn’t aired or they didn’t have a chance for Queen Ralia to do that you would have loved to see on the show?
SG: Hmmm, let me think, I think I gave a short speech at the very end of the last episode, before the Paladins left the castle. That’s the only think I can think about. Oh, and then there is the kissing scene of course. (laughs) Only joking!
TD: Finally, is there anything you wish someone would ask you about or something you would like to add to this interview?
SG: Thank you for having me, I really appreciate your support and all the love from the Quest Army! Let’s continue Project Hero and of course let’s continue The Quest!