I absolutely lovedStation Eleven! It was a little surreal to watch after what’s happened over the last few years. Did your experience of the pandemic help you in preparing for the role?
Yes definitely, I was able to use a lot of this new thing that I was actually experiencing first hand, and apply it to my character. As an actor, you always have to find ways to make the circumstances of your character real, but you usually have to use substitutions from your life that aren't exactly the same. But with the pandemic, it was like, “I'm actually living through a pandemic!”. It wasn’t nearly as terrible as the flu that wiped out 99% of the population, but it was still a pandemic. So I could relate to Kirsten more, I think it did help me in that respect.
Do you think the focus on stories in the series illustrates their importance in getting through difficult times?
Yes, that's a great point. I feel like the show is also about what we hold on to when we lose everything. We see that Kirsten really does hold on to stories, and it's almost like a teddy bear to her. If some kid is going through something really hard they always have a teddy bear there to comfort them, but Kirsten holds on to stories - she holds on to Station Eleven. That's what comforts her and keeps her living, literally.
Kirsten is also an actor, do you share any other similarities with her?
I'd like to think that we're both fierce and fighters. I'd love to think that I would try to survive something like that. Kirsten always finds people or stories to keep her going. I'd like to think that I would do the same, and try to find those things for myself to keep me going. When I got the audition when I was 11 I just felt like it was so easy for me to be Kirsten because we have a lot of similarities, like we're both actors and we were both in plays. Then everything else just kind of fell into place after that.
This is one of a few roles you have played where your character develops a somewhat unconventional friendship. Do you think these unlikely friendships are stories we all need to hear?
I think so. I think that those unique friendship stories are so special because it just shows that your age, race, and superficial things don’t matter when it comes to real friendship. When you see different kinds of relationships it's easier to see what really matters in a friendship or a relationship. It's not the similarities of how you look or your background, it's different things. It's the deeper parts that matter. I feel like that's what I love about those friendships. Especially in the pandemic I think that we need to hold on to those even more. My sister and I were doing this community service program for school during the pandemic, where we would reach out to different seniors and call them, because a lot of seniors were alone during the pandemic. The idea actually came from my cousins, where you'd call a senior and they would be your senior. You would become friends with them and check in on them and make sure they were doing well, and just kind of talk to them. So those friendships formed too during the pandemic. I thought that was a nice example of a way that you can become friends with anyone.
Is there anything that stands out that you learned while working onStation Eleventhat you're going to carry through to future projects?
I learned that it’s all about collaboration. You can speak up, and you can talk about how you feel, because one person can't just make something, you have to have a lot of different people talking about how they feel and their experiences too. That's what makes a good piece of art, a bunch of different people sharing their experiences or just sharing what they know, and it comes together and makes something beautiful. So you should always share your opinion.
When you choose projects in the future are you going to make sure that you will be able to contribute in that way?
Yes. Even if they don't make me feel that way, I'm going to! When you're portraying a character, at least for me, I always feel like I need to do them justice. And they feel almost like my children, but like, not my children, just like my equals that I really want to do justice for.
You’ve already performed in a variety of productions - is there a particular genre you would like to do next?
Well, so many really talented actors have become stuck in one role, because people see them, and they're like, "Okay, this is a role that you can do", and then they just keep doing that role. I want to make sure that doesn't happen to me, I want to try to do as many different genres as I can. I'm actually working on a comedy right now because I feel like I need some comedy in my life! So I'm excited to be working on it. I just feel like it's going to be fun. I also really like the dystopian genre. I feel like there are just so many cool, different stories and worlds that you can explore in that genre. I want to do more in that…and I want to do improv! Sometimes improv fits in with comedy, I'm pretty sure what I'm going to be working on will have some improv. So, we'll see. I'm excited for that!