Viva Seifert

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Viva Seifert
Joe Gideon And The Shark - record store day 09 (3501421338) (cropped).jpg
Seifert performing with Joe Gideon & the Shark in 2009
Born (1972-04-15) 15 April 1972 (age 50)[1]
  • Musician
  • actress
  • former gymnast
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)Mark "Arp" Cleveland
Children2, including Tipper
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards

Viva Seifert (born 15 April 1972)[2] is a British musician, actress, and former gymnast. She began her career as a competitive rhythmic gymnast, and competed at the 1992 Summer Olympics where she won two bronze medals. Following a number of television appearances, she made her musical debut as a member of the band Bikini Atoll—active from 1999 to 2006—where she performed as a keyboardist.

In 2010, Seifert and her brother, Joe Gideon, founded the duo Joe Gideon & the Shark, in which she took on several roles in performing. The band has released two albums: Harum Scarum in 2010 and Freakish in 2013. In 2015, she starred in the leading role of Hannah Smith in the indie video game Her Story, which earned her the Game Award for Best Performance and the Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game among others, and acclaim from several critics and publications.

In 2022, Seifert co-founded the independent musical duo Lunge (stylized in all caps) with her husband Mark "Arp" Cleveland.



Seifert competed as a rhythmic gymnast at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and finished fourth in the individual competition, winning bronze medals in the hoop and ribbon disciplines.[2] She also participated in the 1992 Summer Olympics[3] finishing in 29th place in the individual rhythmic gymnastics competition.[4]

Seifert appeared on an episode of Would I Lie to You? as a guest of Gabby Logan due to their time competing against each other in gymnastics. She was one of several actors featured on television—portraying the fictional character of Aurora—in one of nine television sponsorship idents of PowerGen's sponsorship of the ITV National Weather between November 10, 1996, and October 27, 2001.


Seifert and her brother Joe Gideon in 2009

In 1999, Seifert and her brother, Joe Gideon, formed the band Bikini Atoll along with two other members, Ché Albrighton and Bastian Juel. In the band, Seifert was a keyboardist.[5] In 2004, they were signed to the Bella Union label, and they released their debut studio album, Moratoria, which was received positively by critics, with The Independent describing it as " awesome, soul-searching slice of sprawling Americana."[6] In 2005, they released their second studio album, Liar's Exit, which received positive reviews.[5] In 2006, Bikini Atoll disbanded, and further activities were ceased.

After the split of Bikini Atoll, Seifert and her brother formed the duo Joe Gideon & the Shark.[7] They released their debut album, Harum Scarum in 2010, which earned a positive reception from critics.[8][9][10] Writing for Clash magazine, Mike Diver wrote that Seifert is "one of the fiercest, most technically gifted rock ‘n’ roll drummers around – it's unsettling even to see her crack a smile." and said she handled her work as "flamboyant precision".[11] In 2013, they released their second album, Freakish, the latter of which was released through Bronze Rat Records.[12][13]

Seifert is a part of the musical duo Lunge (stylized in all caps), which she co-founded with Mark "Arp" Cleveland, who was previously a drummer for Archie Bronson Outfit.[14][15] They released their debut single "Heavy Golden Swim" in March 2022.[16][17][18]

Her Story[edit]

Seifert in Her Story (2015)

In 2015, Seifert was cast in the video game Her Story, a crime fiction video game by Sam Barlow, where she portrays the role of Hannah Smith;[19] later on in the game, it is suggested that the character has a twin named Eve,[20] also portrayed by Seifert. Along with acting in the game, she also had a hand in the soundtrack, performing the ballad "The Twa Sisters" and helping alter the music.[21][22]

After previously working with Barlow on the cancelled game Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun,[23] he contacted her for the role after observing her work, stating that Seifert was "very good at picking up a line and intuitively pulling a lot of the subtext into her performance".[24] She was offered the part after several edits were made to the script, which initially was 300 pages long before being shortened to 80.[25] Filming for Her Story occurred in Seifert's residence, Cornwall, and lasted five days.[26] She stated that the role was difficult to portray, commenting that shooting was "intense" and "rather exhausting"[21] and said that she felt pressure after realizing "the whole game is hinging" on her acting.[25]

Upon release, Her Story opened to instant and critical success, with critics praising the game as well as Seifert's performance. Justin Clark from GameSpot wrote that her performance "anchored" the game,[27] and Andy Keller of PC Gamer stated that her performance was "understated, realistic, and complex".[28] Joe Donnelly of Digital Spy believed her acting had the potential to inspire similar roles.[29] Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times praised her acting,[30] and Adam Cook of GodIsAGeek deemed her performance "stunning".[31] Rich Stanton of The Guardian wrote that "what seals the deal is a wide-ranging performance from Viva Seifert that funnels her character’s inner life into hundreds of intense vignettes" and further credited her for creating "a fictional character with something of the same allure: clearly very intelligent, clearly not telling the whole truth, and full of physical quirks. ... Seifert’s delivery is usually matter-of-fact and emotionally convincing."[32] Chris Kohler of WIRED said "Seifert's performance is so captivating that I couldn't imagine this game working any other way."[33] Katie Smith of Adventure Gamers wrote that she was convincing in the role, and praised her for paying attention to the small details, such as her body language.[34] Polygon listed Hannah Smith on its list of the "70 Best Video Game Characters" and stated that Seifert played the role "superbly".[35]

For the role, Seifert won the Game Award for Best Performance in 2015,[36][37][38] where she was mistakingly credited for having appeared in The Witcher 3, which spawned several internet memes and earned the organization criticism.[39][40] At the 5th New York Game Awards, the New York Videogame Critics Circle awarded Seifert the Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game.[41] She shared the Golden Joystick Award for Breakthrough Game with Barlow,[42] and was also a runner-up for the Performance of the Year Award.[43] At the 12th British Academy Games Awards, critics were surprised to see that Seifert had not been nominated for Best Performer.[44][45][46] The actress stated in an interview with BBC that "I was disappointed I can't lie. It was all leading up to this moment, but now there's more awards, actors are taking it [gaming] more seriously."[44] Seifert also presented an award at the ceremony.[47][48]

Other acting roles[edit]

In 2018, Seifert voiced the character Merethiel in the video game RuneScape.[49] In the same year, she made a guest appearance as Rachel on the British television series Delicious.[50] In 2019, she starred in the short film Miss White as the titular character.[50][51]

Personal life[edit]

Seifert keeps a low profile, rarely appearing in interviews and does not speak of her personal life often.[52][21] She married musician Mark "Arp" Cleveland, with whom she has two children,[53] including her daughter Tipper, who is an actress.[54][55][56][57]


Year Title Role Notes
2012 Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun N/A Cancelled video game
2015 Her Story Hannah Smith Video game
Golden Joystick Breakthrough Award (with Sam Barlow)
Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game
The Game Award for Best Performance
Runner-up—Golden Joystick Award for Best Performance
Nominated—NAVGTR Award for Outstanding Performance in a Drama
2018 Delicious Rachel Episode: "The Heart"
2018 RuneScape Merethiel Video game; voice role
2019 Miss White Miss White Short film


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref
2015 Golden Joystick Awards Breakthrough Award (shared with Sam Barlow) Her Story Won [42]
Performance of the Year Runner-up [43]
2015 The Game Awards Best Performance Won [36]
2016 New York Game Awards Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game Won [41]
2016 NAVGTR Awards Outstanding Performance in a Drama Nominated [58]


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  19. ^ "Steam Greenlight :: HER STORY". Retrieved 28 June 2015.
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  32. ^ "Her Story review – a new breed of narrative video game". the Guardian. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
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  34. ^ "Her Story review". Adventure Gamers. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  35. ^ Staff, Polygon (27 November 2019). "The 70 best video game characters of the decade". Polygon. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  36. ^ a b "Nominees | The Game Awards 2015". The Game Awards. Ola Balola. 12 November 2015. Archived from the original on 14 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
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  38. ^ Sarkar, Samit (3 December 2015). "Here are the winners of The Game Awards 2015". Polygon. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  39. ^ "Best Performance Award Went to The Witcher 3 And/Or Her Story, No One Really Knows". Twinfinite. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
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  41. ^ a b "The Witcher 3 slaughters the competition at New York Video Game Awards | Games |". 12 February 2016. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  42. ^ a b Leon Hurley (30 October 2015). "The Golden Joystick Awards: all the winners this year". gamesradar. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  43. ^ a b Reynolds, Matthew (1 September 2015). "Golden Joystick Awards 2015 voting now open to the public". Digital Spy. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  44. ^ a b "Bafta Games Awards: Actors are taking gaming roles more seriously". BBC News. 8 April 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  45. ^ "Bafta Game Awards reactions: 'it was a good night for women in games' | Games | The Guardian". Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  46. ^ "Achievements A-Plenty at the BAFTA Game Awards 2016". Exeposé Online. 16 April 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  47. ^ "Games Awards Ceremony 2016". 7 April 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  48. ^ "I'm presenting an award at @BAFTAGames on Thursday @HerStoryGame is up for a whopping 7 awards. Hope i get to present one to @mrsambarlow!". Twitter. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  49. ^ "On way home from a fun day in the studio with @DCockle Thanks everyone @Jagex for looking after us. Loving my new character! #runescape Ps. Hot tip of the day...don't go in the vocal booth straight after Mr Cockle #geralt #thewitcher ...sweaty headphones!!!". Twitter. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  50. ^ a b "Viva Seifert". IMDb. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  51. ^ Banzourkova, Eliza (19 May 2019), Miss White (Short, Drama), retrieved 18 May 2022
  52. ^ Mcke, Kirk; Writer, Contributing. "Howdunnit: The making of Her Story". Retrieved 18 May 2022.
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  54. ^ "Disney Reveals Cruella's Origin In New Video". ScreenRant. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  55. ^ "Cruella's Tipper Seifert-Cleveland shares what it's like to play a young Emma Stone". Young Entertainment. 26 May 2021. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  56. ^ Change, Agents of (16 September 2021). "'Cruella' Is Mad, Bad, and About Family". A Parent Is Born. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  57. ^ "". Twitter. Retrieved 8 May 2022. {{cite web}}: External link in |title= (help)
  58. ^ "NAVGTR Awards (2016)". IMDb. Retrieved 2 October 2020.

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