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There are some people in this world who light up the whole room when they walk inside, and Alexander Ludwig is most definitely one of those gems. His charming, humble, and beautiful personality is coupled with those chiseled, Nordic good looks, making for an irresistible combination to say the least. Fans of the series Vikings are well aware of the ‘Alexander allure’, for it’s one of the main reasons they keep coming back year after year for more. Now with the show set to premiere its fifth season in late November, BELLO wanted to light up the pages of our very first Brazilian issue with Alexander, who has been such a special part of our BELLO family for so many years.


After five season of playing Vikings warrior Björn Ironside, one might assume Alexander Ludwig (25) would be ready to try something new. That assumption would be quickly brushed aside when he explains just how much his Vikingsexperience means to him. “It’s been a huge growing experience for me. I really feel like I grew up on the show, just as my character did. The friends I’ve made and the family that we’ve created is akin to none other.” Perhaps the greatest joy of his time on Vikings has been building the bonds of unbreakable brotherhood along the way. “Travis Fimmel (who plays Ragnar) and Gustaf Skarsgård (who plays Floki) have become my big brothers in so many ways. They are very close friends of mine, and they will be forever. Travis, especially, has really mentored me, and because of him I’m a better actor. It’s been amazing.”

The nature of family also happens to be at the very heart of the psychological terrain the show is exploring. “Vikings is ultimately about family — their rise to power and how they deal with it.” He adds, “Power is another major theme, especially the idea that power corrupts. You have to be a certain type of person to be a leader.” For Alexander, one of the other big perks of being part of the series is that he gets to be immersed in one of his biggest passions. “I’m a huge history nerd and I love being a part of a show that dramatizes a real part of history. We take our creative liberties with the timeline once in a while, but for the most part we stay true to history. Being a part of this show has been one of the great experiences of my life.”

Vikings was one of the first series in the new wave of old world battle dramas to really explode with fans, so we were curious what he thinks might be behind the huge rise of the genre over the past decade. “I can only speak as a fan — I’ve always loved period pieces. I don’t think viewers’ love of them will ever go away. People love period pieces, they just need to be done right and come out at the right time. But since Game of Thrones and Vikings I’ve noticed so many more shows spinning off that vibe and having that similar kind of look.”

There has always been a timeless attraction to warriors, and one can easily make parallels between the gladiator battles of ancient Rome and the fighters of the modern ring such as Mayweather and McGregor. “I love the UFC, and I’ve always loved that world. I grew up fighting when I was younger as well, such as muay thai, and I was a hockey player, too. I was rooting for McGregor because I met him before all the crazy success happened. He’s a fan of Vikings and I was a fan of his, so we actually met when we were out one day randomly in Ireland. It was Conor’s early days — he had just had his first UFC fight ever, and it was in Dublin, so that was cool to watch.”

There’s a very good chance Alexander may have clenched his fists as tightly as McGregor during a cringeworthy (yet ultimately hilarious) moment at Comic-Con earlier this year when his BFF and Vikings co-star Travis (Ragnar) thought it would be a good idea to play a huge practical joke on him in front of the enormous crowd. “This year at Comic-Con, Travis gave everybody my number and he said it in front of 4,000 people. I’m still having to block numbers. It’s insane. It was pretty intense [laughing]. And you can imagine the crazy number of texts I got.”

It’s hard for Alexander to hold a grudge, especially since he and Travis get to spend so much time shooting in the vast beauty of Ireland. “Ireland has such an incredible mythology and history. Not to mention the crews in Dublin and across Ireland are incredible, and the people are amazing. I’ve totally fallen in love with living in Ireland.”

When the subject turns to what other places in the world he would love to soak up next, Alexander was quick to turn his sights to South America. “Brazil would be the biggest dream trip of all for me. I’ve been to Rio once when I was a kid, but I would love to see more of that country.” But his bucket list certainly doesn’t stop there. “I would also love to do southeast Asia, and I’ve always wanted to climb Mount Everest, as well as the Seven Summits. I’m such an adventurer, and that’s really how I want to live my life. You spend so much time with yourself, so why not make yourself interesting? Go travel, go explore! That’s something I share deeply with my character Björn.”

Having been part of the BELLO family since he was nineteen, we asked him what it meant to him to be chosen for the cover of the debut issue of BELLO Brasil. “It’s such an honor! It didn’t even have to go through my publicist. Alek, BELLO‘s Editor-in-Chief, texted me and I was immediately on board. I think building great relationships with people that you trust and respect, like the BELLO team, is so important. This is really cool because I know Brazilians are such huge fans of the show and I’m honored to be on the cover of the first issue. It’s pretty cool.”

So what is it about Brazil that he loves the most? “The people, man! I think the Brazilian people are just incredible. We have so many Brazilian fans of our show and I’ve never met a Brazilian that has not been a complete joy to talk to. They are filled with such exuberance and great energy and I would love to spend more time around them. Not to mention the beaches and the sun, of course.”

The beaches of Brazil couldn’t be more different than the rugged landscape of Ireland, but Alexander still feels blessed — both personally and professionally, to be filming there. His Vikings experience has given him some of the most extraordinary moments in his career as an actor. “The very last scene I filmed for season five was unquestionably my biggest ‘pinch me now’ moment of my time on Vikings. It was one of the greatest scenes I’ve ever had the opportunity to film. Although I can’t explain the context without revealing spoilers, essentially Björn is pleading in a huge battle to all these soldiers who are lined up against the wall. It’s my big gladiator speech in that sense, and it was a really special moment for me. It’s very rare as an actor do you get to do what I did that day. It was a really special day for everybody involved.”

But not everyday on the Vikings set can be full of joy. “There are really hard days, too. Two of the most difficult days I think of my entire career happened during season four. We were shooting in the freezing cold, it was snowing like crazy, and you’re running back to the tent because you’re so afraid your fingers are going to get frost-bitten. Then you go back out, do the scene again, run back to the tent, and it’s a constant battle against the elements. It’s not glamorous at all, it’s quite tough. You can’t be a diva on our shoot. Many people have been hospitalized on our crew, but thankfully nobody has ever lost any body parts, thank God.”

Getting to play a warrior on television has given Alexander plenty of time to ponder the world of villains and heroes, including the present day. I asked him who inspires him the most in 2017. “Some of my biggest heroes right now are the ones helping out with Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, as well as anybody standing up against racism, especially considering what happened in Charlottesville. I think right now it’s the time for movements, and groups of people coming together for a cause, as opposed to one individual person or leader. Our whole world is being divided and it’s so important for everybody to come together collectively and stand for something. I feel like I’m inspired by a new hero everyday — whether it’s a friend or a complete stranger doing great things on social media. I encourage everybody to get involved in a cause and realize we’re all in this together. We’re all just one big family.”

Photography Arthur Galvao | Creative Direction Stephane Marquet

Styling Gabriel Langenbruner

Grooming Grace Phillips

Production Maison Privée x Bello Media Group

Originally published in BELLO Brasil issue #01