You started off very young in the acting world, how did you fall into it? What made you fall in love with it?
My parents enrolled me in ballet when I was three years old, and the studio they found (still around! Rhythm Street in Virginia!) offered so much more than just dance classes. By the time I was six, I was in theatre camps and modeling classes and performing in every recital. My parents are both big champions of the arts, and would take me to see touring productions of Broadway musicals at around the same time. All that early exposure was certainly a key factor in my love affair with the performing arts. Pretty soon I was directing scenes at home (using members of my family, good sports), trying on different dialects, and listening to my favorite show soundtracks on repeat. I was a theatre kid, through and through.
How are you feeling now that Upload is back for it’s second season almost two years after Season 1 premiered? What are you most excited about in season two?
I’m just as anxious for its release as everyone else! I’m encouraging folks to rewatch Season 1, as I’m sure their memory could use a refresh. I get asked a lot of the same questions regarding that cliffhanger ending, and I’m perhaps the most excited to finally be able to share the *answers* to those questions. Two years is a long time to keep a secret!
In what ways do you relate to your character Ingrid? How are you different?
I deeply relate to her desire for connection, for intimacy. On a much tamer level, I even relate to her desire to maintain control! That said, Ingrid’s idea of intimacy is fairly one-dimensional and lacks emotional intelligence, and her desire to control often steamrolls the needs of others. Revealing the soft white underbelly is something Ingrid is desperate to avoid, whereas I can’t help but expose mine, particularly with those I love, which is the root of real intimacy.
Who was someone you connected with strongly on set? What did they teach you?
While I adore each of my cast mates, I probably bonded the most with Andy Allo and Robbie Amell. Andy is a multi talented sweetheart who loves exploring other avenues and new interests. She is curious, inquisitive and open-minded, and I think she is constantly teaching me to “just ask.” Ask for what you need, ask about what sparks your curiosity, ask for the opportunities that are just a simple question away. I need this reminder on an almost daily basis, and I’m grateful for Andy’s presence and devotion to leaning all the way in. Robbie is a reliable, consistent, grounded gentleman, and he has taught me how the person at the top of the call sheet can really set the tone for the production. The tone Robbie sets is that of preparedness, adaptability and ease. Somehow he does all this without compromising his own boundaries or jeopardizing his personal life, and I have been consistently impressed by his ability to navigate that balance. I want to bring Robbie-level ease to every set I’m on moving forward.
As an actress, what pushes you to work harder?
Anytime I’m captivated by a performance that makes me exclaim “how did they do that,” I know there is no space or time to sit back. Margot Robbie’s turn as Tonya Harding comes to mind. So does anything Zendaya does. Even the fact that Greg Daniels, our show creator, could simultaneously juggle both Upload AND Space Force is mind-boggling. Inspiration evolves into motivation.
When you are not too sure about a role, how do you prep for it?
Often when I need more clarity, the first thing I do is re-read the script. Not just my scenes, but the entire thing. Then, in the case of Upload, I might reach out to Greg Daniels to see what else he’s able to impart. Sometimes certain things need to remain a mystery, and I have to rely on my gut instinct. I also trust the director will deftly guide me through on the day. Ultimately uncertainty requires faith and trust: faith in my instincts, faith in the writers, and trust that the director is invested in the success of the scene just as much as I am.
Is there any part of the filmmaking process you didn’t have a hand in, but would like to learn?
I’m completely captivated by the role of the Cinematographer. The way they manipulate the light to evoke a feeling or tell an unspoken story is just so marvelous. I doubt I’d have the eye for it, but I’d love to learn a couple of hidden tricks they use to make each frame a painting.
An edited full version of this interview will be published at a later date.