A native of Los Angeles, Rakefet Abergel is an accomplished American/Israeli actress, writer, producer, and outspoken standup comedian. One month after taking a stand up class, Rakefet won Best Comic and Best Overall Talent on the Tyra Banks Show. She appeared in the movie Superbad with Jonah Hill, and as Adam Sandler's sister in Just Go with It. She can also be seen in the films My Best Friend's Girl opposite Dane Cook, with Halle Berry in The Call, and alongside Eddie Murphy & Kerry Washington in the film, A Thousand Words.
Rakefet regularly guest stars on TV shows including Showtime's Shameless, New Girl, My Name is Earl, Bella and the Bulldogs, and iCarly. For a laugh, check her out as the crazy lady who shoots up her own living room over a good deal, on the hilarious commercial for Kayak. She was also a series regular on two popular web series, Breaking Fat and Addicts Anonymous.
Rakefet has performed standup comedy all over Los Angeles, including the World Famous Comedy Store and The Improv in Hollywood, as well as the University of Las Vegas and as a featured performer with Sweet, a women's travel company, in Mexico.
Recently, Rakefet wrote and starred in a dramatic/horror/thriller short film called Jax in Love, which she co-produced with executive producer & casting director Jory Weitz (Napoleon Dynamite). The film, directed by Oscar-nominated director Colin Campbell has been making the festival rounds and garnered Abergel Best Actress awards at Nightmares Film Festival and Oregon Scream Week. She was also nominated for Best Actress at two other festivals. The film won Best Horror Short at Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival amongst a dozen other awards throughout the run so far.
Rakefet also originated the role of "Brooke" in the hilarious and touching play, The Furniture, written by Marc Warren (Even Stevens, Full House) and directed by industry veteran Joel Zwick (Full House, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), that premiered at the Hillcrest Center for the Arts.
She teaches sixth grade religious school and Hebrew in Los Angeles and also works as an acting coach and mentor for kids and adults at Kid (F) Actor, a company she founded in 2010.
1. When did your dream of becoming involved in TV/Film begin?
I was born in LA, so I was surrounded by the Industry at a young age. I didn’t actually KNOW anyone in the business but some kids in my classes would leave for auditions and I wanted to do that so badly myself! I never wanted to do or be anything else. I always wanted to act. And later in life I began to find a love for directing, writing, and producing.
2. Why did you choose to pursue producing after extensive work as an actor?
I wanted to create my own projects. As a character actress and standup comedian, I was quickly boxed into comedic roles, which I love! But I wasn’t getting seen for the more dramatic, meaty roles that caused me to fall in love with acting in the first place. So I decided to write my own film and give myself the part that no one would ever cast me in, just to prove that I could do it. Producing it became a must, and I realized that its way more work than I ever could have imagined. I didn’t especially LIKE the job, but I found that I was quite good at it. I love details, and I’m a bit of a control freak sometimes, so producing seemed to come easily to me.
3. What has been your greatest achievement in the film industry?
I would have to say my film Jax in Love. Before that I would have pointed out my roles in huge projects like Superbad and Shameless, or playing Adam Sandler’s sister in Just Go With It. But now that the film has gotten some attention, I realize that I’m near the end of one of the hardest things I’ve ever done beginning to end. It’s received awards, positive reviews, and screened at over 20 festivals and I couldn’t be more proud that I was responsible for making that happen, start to finish.
4. Tell us a little about the process of making the TV series Breaking Fat.
Breaking Fat is the brain child of an actress friend of mine, who brought me on to star in it with her. Because of the low budget, indie nature of the project, we all ended up doing a lot of the producing. It was a mostly positive experience, but it in no way prepared me for producing a film on my own.
5. Tell us a little about the process of making the short film, Jax in Love.
I wrote Jax in Love to give myself a role that I knew I could do, but no one seemed to believe I could. It was a crazy, trial by error process that in hindsight could have gone a lot smoother had I known what I know now. Unfortunately I had hired another producer who took advantage of me and ended up trying to sabotage the project by holding my SAG paperwork hostage, trying to get people to walk off my set, and harassed me even after she abandoned the project. I don’t know if it was a mental illness issue or just general jealousy, but she took advantage of the fact that I didn’t know what I was doing in certain situations. It made the work on set even harder, both as a producer and the lead actress.
After she went AWOL from the set, my first AD who was also a producer (just not on my project), took it upon herself to step up and help me finish producing the shoot. I ended up making her a producer and I don’t ever want to work on a project without her. She saved me. It was a tumultuous project, but somehow it got done and is doing really well in the festival circuit. I’m really proud of it. It took me a year to write and re write, a year in pre-production and production, and almost a year in post-production. I used to say my biggest achievement was graduating in three years from Boston University’s College of Communication, but I probably learned more making this film, then I did earning my Bachelor’s Degree.
6. What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on a few different scripts that I hope to produce soon. One is a dark drama that may or may not end up being a feature. One is a horror possession short. And one is a comedy short that I think the Jewish film festivals will love! I’m hoping to direct/produce all three of them as well as star in them. I’m also auditioning and always looking for new, exciting roles to play.
7. How do you feel your experience as an actor has supported your work as a producer?
Producers and actors don’t generally work together so I believe that my knowledge from both really accentuate my ability to create a great project. Also, because I’ve worked as an actor with so many people over the years, I had plenty of contacts to go to for questions, favors, and advice.
8. What has been the greatest lesson you've learned during this journey?
I’ve learned to be more confident in my abilities. To trust myself more. To trust my gut. Also, to be careful who you put your trust into, because not everyone has the same agenda as you. I learned that the people you surround yourself with in this business make all the difference in whether it’s a pleasurable and easy experience or not.
9. Finally, if you could share some words of wisdom for a young filmmaker just starting out, what would you say?
I would say to just do it. Make your film. Or your web series or TV show. Don’t second guess it. Don’t be afraid. You’d be surprised who might need to hear just what YOU have to say. You’re the only one who can make YOUR art. Get out there and do it, and make sure you’re having fun while you’re at it.