Interview with Actress Chelsea Grant

We speak to New Zealand Actress Chelsea Grant about her upbringing, her young start into the biz and her leap into Acting! Did she undergo any acting classes for beginners at the start of her career? Let’s find out.

When did you know you wanted to become an Actress?
Its going to sound strange but I always knew I was an Actress. I never decided oh I want to be that. I just always was going to be one and that was that.

You’re very creative, you don’t just act?
No I don’t. So I started modelling at a young age, my mother did some modelling and fashion design so I was always around that sort of stuff, then she got me into child modelling, it was fun. It was our thing, we did portfolio shots in the back yard, she was very talented at organizing all of that for me.

Tell us about your change from modelling to acting?
As I always modeled from a young age I continued to into my adulthood. At University I studied film and theatre and I modeled at the same time. Then I moved from modelling into Theatre and TV, I did that for about a year in Sydney before I moved abroad.  I will say though I had odd jobs before I really got into film full time but I was acting a part.


Chelsea grant inside the Oscars with Gossip Girls Chase Crawford and Fashion Designer

Chelsea grant inside the Oscars with Gossip Girls Chase Crawford and Fashion Designer

How so? And what type of jobs were they?
Not the kind you would think, I never did bar work or retail. Actually I did retail when I was 19 for about a month, one day a demanding customer came in and was so rude trying to boss me around, so I told her to stop being a lazy b**** and do it herself. I got fired lol! Retail was never for me. I’m too dramatic, I was always destined for the screen. I had a few business type roles, in the creative field but again I was playing a role. I knew it wasn’t what I would be doing forever, it was just something I was playing around with, I was always auditioning while I was meant to be working, or having a sick day so I could film something. I’ve always known I would be working in film. It’s a huge thing to really commit yourself to something.

So you were scared? Of what?
Yeah, its scary when you know your destiny, your purpose at such a young age. The one thing that will always make me happy, so I was scared to commit to it, because I knew once I did I would have to grow up and give it my all. I wanted to be a child and then a teenager. I wanted no responsibility. I got what I wanted, and now im enjoying my path to my destiny.

I read a great review about your role in Romeo and Juliet! Was it hard to play the role of Juliet?
I love Shakespeare and I grew up studying Baz Luhrmans Romeo and Juliet in School, then we did it at University. So I know it off the back of my hand.

Say something for me?! Your favourite quote from it?
Haha ok “Come gentle night, come loving black-brow’d night. Give me my Romeo and when he shall die take him and cut him out in little stars and he will make the face of heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun.”

So you’re a romantic?
“What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds? Turn thee, Benvolio, look upon thy death.”

That was Shakespeare?
Yes that was Tibalt, and that wasn’t romance! He is one of my favourite Shakespeare characters. I love his anger, his passion.

It seems you know your Shakespeare.
I did focus on Shakespeare at University, through my English and Drama papers. I do love him. Not all of him but most of his plays. But obviously Romeo and Juliet is my favourite play and to play her was a dream come true. I loved it and I really connected to her.

What is your genre?
That’s a hard one, I don’t have a genre. I mean I love to play crazy people. As an actress I love playing those roles. Theyre a lot of fun. I don’t think im particularly funny so comedy isn’t my best fit, although in America they love me for RomComs and they think im hilarious. Maybe its my Kiwi ways. Action is a lot of fun, thrillers are too, my best work is in drama. I was born a drama queen!

Tell me about the comparison to Lena Dunham you’ve been receiving a lot. Why is that?
Firstly I love Lena, shes done amazing things. The comparison comes from our work, im currently in the development stages of a new TV series. Its similar to what she has done with Girls.

That’s Model Citizen? Are you also going to act in it?
Yes. I wrote it, created it, am going to produce it and act in it.

Will it be a lead role?
It will be. I created 6 lead female roles and 4 lead male roles. One of the female roles is written by me, for me!

What sets Model Citizen aside from the shows currently on air?
You have never seen a show like MC that’s for sure. Its similar in genre to Sex and the City and Gossip girl, but its set a part as its very bold. Its very real and raw. You will be able to associate with the characters but also wish you could do what they do. Its dramatic, fashionable and hyper sexed. I love it, but I may be a little biased!

Have you cast it yet?
Some of the lead roles have been cast yes. And the special guests have been decided, the likes of famous Supermodels and designers. But not all the lead roles are currently cast.

And who will be casting it?
We have a casting director and that’s their job, but I will say I do have a say, and I do cast people I know. I like that. I like bringing up actors and actresses who haven’t had a break yet. It makes me feel really good that I can help someone I know, like and respect. Why wouldn’t I right? If I know someone and they fit perfectly I will always pick them over someone Ive met once or don’t know at all. That’s just the truth of this business. And ive learnt that quickly. Its who you know not always what you know.

Chelsea Grant with boyfriend Filip Koidis

Do you think that’s a shame for people who are just starting out?
Not at all, the complete opposite really. How easy is it for you now you know that?! Go out there and make friends. Stop waiting at home by the phone for your agent to call. Get into creative groups and work on your craft. Don’t get so hung up on having an agent all the time. Its really not the only way. I know a lot of really big actors and they always say to me that they hate paying their agent commission for doing nothing. Because most of them get their own jobs through networking.

What advice can you give people just starting out?
Network. Go to industry events, don’t waste your time thinking you need an agent. Although I have one now I didn’t for years and I got heaps of work through people I know. My agent now works with me and we are a really good team, she gets me into certain events that I don’t know about and I go and network, meet producers and network executives. Its how you do business. Everyone knows parties like the Oscars etc are the hubs of getting business done. Its true I myself made some business deals there. Its not all glitz and glam, its hard hard work. But you can do it!

Lastly who are your biggest fans?
My Grandma, my Grandad, my big sister and last but not least my amazing better half! They all support me in their own way. I really feel the love from them. I also have a tone of friends that are really supportive toward me.

So youre close with your family?
Not all of them no. Some of them I don’t talk to, cant stand if im honest. But those guys im really close to, and my Uncle Will is really cool, his family are really awesome too. My mum has always been my number 1 fan though. When I was young and insecure she would always tell me how im going to make it and that she believed in me. I love her, shes the best Mum in the world.

Chelsea Gran

Chelsea Grant as the stroppy Emma Beal on the set of The Vision with Garry Mannion.

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