HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE BUSINESS
“Well, I was living in Austin (Texas), studying at the University and a professor encouraged me to get into acting. Austin has a small film community, at the time they were doing Friday Night lights. So I got my first agent, I had no idea what I was doing [laughs]. Then I landed really close on a series regular role with Friday Night Lights and I didn’t have any credits to my name. It kinda gave me enough ignorant confidence to realise ‘Oh, maybe I could do this, this can’t be that hard.’ That summer I interned with an acting company, which meant I was in LA. In my mind, I was thinking “things are happening, this is huge, I’m LA, I’m with this acting company” and I decided to leave school to my parents dismay and pursue it full time.”
But, I was paying for school myself, so it was my choice. And, Hollywood is so youth oriented and driven, they want you as young as possible, you get more experience. It’s like, I could spend two more years at university and do plays and a get text book/classroom experience or I could be in the industry and just get experience working. And to this day, no one has asked to see my degree. So I did that, moved to LA and just kinda figured it out from there. And that’s the tough thing about acting, there’s no handbook or anything. And it is competitive too, so it’s not like people are just going to tell you all their secrets.”
WOULD YOU SAY THAT THE 100 IS YOUR FIRST MAJOR ROLE?
Totally, before The 100 I was on a soap opera (General Hospital) for a year. and soap operas are so intense. It’s nuts. I have such a respect for soap actors, they have to memorise like 60 pages of a script a day, what they do is insane. You’re literally putting on a whole new play every day. For The 100 we move pretty quickly as well, we try and do 8 pages a day and we do 8 day shoots.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT PORTRAYING RAVEN?
“Being tortured, I love it [laughs], I’m kidding. I love playing a role where I get to play at my highest point of intelligence because being a girl it’s very rare you get to do that.
I just love how smart she is, and I love how bad ass she is and how selfless she is, you know. She is always sacrificing herself for others, and it’s inspiring, it’s like: I’m not nearly that great of a person. So getting to play that is awesome”
ARE THERE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED IN YOUR WORK SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE YOU’RE A WOMEN?
“You know, it’s a really thin line that you have to balance on. The thing about Hollywood is they have a tendency, and I do feel like it’s changing, but, their want to see women a certain way. I’m happy to know it’s changing and people opening up their minds. I think a lot of that is because the audiences are making such a big statement that not all women are perfectly perfect. No, not all women are like a size 0 who can have 8 kids, a high powered job but also be a mom.”
“The pressure that society puts on us as women to always be perfect, that’s only magnified in Hollywood. It’s sad that the same stereotypes keep getting perpetuated by the entertainment industry and the media, which is something that is such an accessible and influential medium. Hollywood is a boys club for sure, and it’s tough for a woman. It shouldn’t be that you’re only point of access is that you’re pretty or they want something from you. I know I’ve been in situations like that, and as a women you can tell when a guy is approaching you in that way. And it’s like, well wait a second, this a workplace and if this was any other job it would be sexual harassment.”
ADVICE FOR BEING A WOMAN/WOMAN IN HOLLYWOOD?
“You have to know who you are because Hollywood and the world will always tell you that you’re not good enough as you are. So you have to look yourself in the mirror and say: You know what, actually I am good enough, this is me. I’m good enough without makeup on, I’m good enough like this. I’m a performer, I’m an artist and this is my craft. That’s what should matter and it’s about knowing all of that and then it’s also about knowing what you want and what kind of art you want to make and what kind of statement you want to make with your work and then pursuing that.”
“You’ve got to know who are you are not letting anybody put their boundaries on you. I think you also got to know what you want to make in your life, and you have to make those decisions. There’s a lot more scrutiny for women too, it’s rough.”
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
“I’m at a really beautiful place where I don’t have to do every role that comes my way, and I don’t want to do just any role. I want to do roles that I think mean something, like Raven and I want to do roles that interest me.”