VIOLETT BEANE TALKS “GOD FRIENDED ME” AND HER LOVE OF BAKING 0 236

With credits including appearances in The Leftovers and The Resident to her name, it was her role of Jessie Quick in the smash-hit CW series The Flash that saw Violett Beane truly come to global attention. She’s currently starring in the CBS show God Friended Me and with a secret film project lined up, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with the talented actress to discuss her early career ambitions, what she does with her downtime and her support of environmental and animal causes.

TITL: You fell in love with performing while in middle and high school, but prior to that, did you have any other career ambitions? What was and is it about acting and performing that makes you so passionate about it?

Violett Beane: I wanted to open a bakery! I love baking and creating recipes. I might still do that someday, you never know! I was raised in Austin, Texas which is where I really found my creative side. I went to an arts high school that technically you had to apply for, and I was in theatre for a long time. I just loved acting and performing. When it came to senior year, I realized I didn’t really want to go to college necessarily at that point in time. So I decided to commit fully to my passion and I found a local agent in Austin and just started sending in taped auditions for film and television.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known for your role of Jesse Quick on The Flash. Looking back, do you have any favourite memories of being on set and what impact did being part of such a successful show have on you both personally and professionally?

VB: One of my favorite memories was my very first day on set. I was so nervous but luckily, the scene was with Tom Cavanagh and he was so nice and really helped me that first day.

The biggest impact was just honestly how much I learned. You learn something different from every set but with The Flash, I was really just learning the basics and what it meant to be on a high-production television show and working with that great cast and crew. Also, the fans were just so supportive and loyal from Day 1 and that has been so amazing to experience.

TITL: You’ve also starred in The Leftovers and The Resident, as well as featured alongside Lucy Hale in the film Truth Or Dare. How important to you is it that you’re able to take on a varied number of roles, and how much character prep do you tend to do for each?

VB: Very important! I want to learn and experience new situations and expand my craft with each role and I have been very lucky so far to be able to have that chance. As far as prep, I do research before each role. For example with The Flash, I went right away to a local comic book store in Austin and bought as many comics with Jesse Quick as I could.

TITL: What’s been the highlight of your professional career so far?

VB: Very hard question! But I have to say that putting on the super suit as Jesse Quick for the first time was crazy to experience! It’s not every day you get to be a superhero.

TITL: Your new show, God Friended Me premiered fairly recently and was picked up for a full season by CBS. What drew you to audition for the show and the part of Cara? What can you tell me about your character?

VB: Well when I was auditioning during pilot season last year, I was reading a ton of scripts and going in multiple times a day for things. It was honestly one of the only ones that I read that really left me feeling uplifted and positive at the end of it. I think with the world we’re in right now, we kind of need something like this.

God Friended Me is about an atheist who gets friended by someone calling themselves God on Facebook. He ignores the request because he doesn’t believe in God and he thinks someone is messing with him. Eventually he accepts it and he starts getting these friend suggestions for people. He sort of ends up being a change in their lives. I play Cara Bloom, she’s an online journalist and she ends up being one of the friend suggestions that Miles gets. In the pilot, you see that she struggles with the fact that her mother left when she was really young. She came to New York in search of her and she’s actually found her, but she doesn’t really know how to take the next step. That’s when Miles and the God account enter. Then she decides to stick around after they’ve helped her. Each week, there is a new “friend suggestion”.

TITL: What would you say makes God Friended Me different from the many other shows out there and how would you sum it up in a few words? What is its unique selling point?

VB: I think the show is very uplifting and ultimately is about inclusivity and connectivity and it does this by showing different beliefs and lifestyles.

TITL: If you could appear in any other show, past or present, which would it be and why?

VB: There’s so many great shows! But what immediately comes to mind right now is Orphan Black. That show was so amazing and it’s a dream to someday work with Tatiana Maslany. Also, I am currently obsessed with Killing Eve. I can’t wait for season 2!

TITL: Are there any other upcoming projects you can tell me about or are you just waiting for the next ‘right’ role to come along?

VB: Right now God Friended Me is keeping me pretty busy and I will be shooting the series until spring. But I am also going to be shooting a film next year. I can’t talk details yet but I think fans will be really excited once the news gets out.

TITL: Away from acting, you’re passionate about environmental and animal causes such as Meatless Mondays, and have partnered with PETA for a campaign. How important do you feel it is for people with a platform such as yourself in particular, to use said platform to speak up about the issues that matter to them, and do you wish more individuals would do the same?

VB: With my social media and in life, I don’t try to force my beliefs on people but rather try to start the conversation. I have learned people have a lot of opinions and they’re often times fear base opinions. When I did the PETA campaign, I got a lot of comments from people saying, ‘Why do you have to shove this down our throats? Why are you putting this in front of us?’ Some people are very passionate when they feel that something is going to be taken away from them and fear is what drives negativity, I believe. It is a defense mechanism and I feel that once we are able to break that wall and be open and just have a conversation, things could be better. So spreading awareness is the biggest key and I just want people to not go blindly into their choices.

TITL: Finally then, given that filming and performing can be tiring, especially with long shoots, what do you like to do for down-time? Do you have a favourite vacation spot or one particular hobby you indulge in?

VB: I bake! I love creating yummy vegan and gluten-free donuts, cookies, brownies. You name it! And of course, spending time with my bunny, Milo, and puppy, Kora. I also love traveling and my favorite place so far has been Thailand.

God Friended Me is airing Sundays on CBS and you can keep up to date with Violett by following her on Twitter and Instagram. Header photo credit: Storm Santos.

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DRAG RACE UK: GAME OF THRONES’ MAISIE WILLIAMS ANNOUNCED AS GUEST JUDGE 0 66

From slaying the Night King to just slaying full stop, Maisie Williams is the first celebrity guest judge to be confirmed for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, due on BBC Three later this year.

Bristol-born Maisie plays Arya Stark in Game Of Thrones, a role she has played since the age of 13. Now, at the age of 22, she is a global name, a fashionista, and a huge fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

As the cult fantasy drama Game Of Thrones draws to an end today, fans of Maisie Williams can rest assured that Arya Stark of Winterfell will continue to serve fierce in her next role as one of RuPaul’s extra special judges in the search for the first Drag Race UK superstar.

When asked to be one of RuPaul’s extra special judges, she jumped at the chance. Talking about her love of drag, Maisie says: “What I love the most about drag is the story of the drag queen behind the facade. I think that so much of drag comes from a place of real pain and seeing how that transforms into a character is so interesting to me. I love that about art and about drag.”

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is the first UK adaption of the Emmy-winning franchise and global hit and will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer.

Maisie will feature as a celebrity judge for one episode where she will appear alongside RuPaul and Michelle Visage. Graham Norton and Alan Carr will appear as rotating resident judges across the eight-part series, as previously announced.

LINDSAY ELL TALKS TOURING, NEW MUSIC & SONGWRITING INSPIRATION 0 87

Having earned herself a considerable following as a result of her number 1 album The Project connecting with fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and following a brief visit to the UK earlier this month as tour support for country superstar Chris Young, it’s fair to say things are looking fairly rosy for Lindsay Ell, but that’s not to say she’s resting on her laurels. Instead, currently working on her next LP, Lindsay is looking forward to a bright and ambitious future, and she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest to chat musical influences, future performance plans and where she most finds inspiration for her songs.

TITL: Given that you were discovered at the age of 13, is it safe to say that music has been always been your passion or have there been times when you’ve felt even slightly swayed to follow a different path? 

Lindsay Ell: Music has always been such a passion of mine ever since I was a little girl. I started playing shows at such a young age, that by the time I was 10, I fell in love with performing in front of an audience. I knew that my heart felt at home playing on stage, and nothing came close to giving me that same feeling!

TITL: Which bands and artists are you most influenced by and how do they impact the music you make? 

LE: I listen to so many different kinds of music. When I was growing up I listened to everything in between Shania Twain and Garth Brooks to Tommy Emmanuel. Of course, I will always be inspired by John Mayer, and Keith Urban. Currently I’m listening to a lot of Lany, Lauv and Janelle Monae. 

TITL: Tell me a little about your recent collaboration with Brantley Gilbert “What Happens In A Small Town”. How did the two of you come together to work on the track? 

LE: I was so grateful that when Brantley and his record label head, Scott Borchetta, sat down to brainstorm who they wanted to be a part of this duet, they thought of me. I am honored to be a part of this song, and feel that although Brantley and I aren’t the first two names you’d think of to put together in a duet, that is what makes it so special. My favorite collaborations are ones of two artists you wouldn’t immediately think of performing something together. That is what makes it unique. That is what makes it special. 

TITL: In terms of your lyrics and general song-writing from who or from where do you find most of your inspiration?

LE: Carole King, Lori McKenna and Brandi Carlile are some of my favorite songwriters but I personally get inspired by so many different things. Through traveling a lot, all over the world, I find myself constantly being inspired by different cultures and people watching.

TITL: You’re currently working on a new album, the follow up to your US number 1 LP The Project. Is there anything you can tell me about it or are you keeping things hush hush for now? 

LE: I’ve been writing a lot towards the next record. A lot has happened in my personal life and my career in the past two years, so I think fans are going to be able to see that on this next album. Song-writing in a lot of ways becomes my therapy. 

As someone who has performed on both sides of the Atlantic, have you noticed any similarities or differences between audiences here and back home? 

Getting to play music for fans across the world is so incredible. Fans definitely differ a little bit from country to country.  The think that I have always loved about UK audiences is fans want to listen to the song-writing and the music. As a guitar player, and someone who loops sometimes in live sets, it is amazing to play for an audience that appreciates musicality to that degree.

TITL: For anyone who hasn’t seen you before, what can they expect from a performance of yours?

LE: Hopefully anyone coming to watch our show can walk away with feeling like they got to see some real music. I try to put on a dynamic set, with lots of epic guitar solo moments, and intimate acoustic songs. I like to take the audience through a journey while I’m up there. If I can make them laugh, cry, and want to dance in the same set I’ve done my job. 

TITL: If you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play? 

LE: That’s always a hard question…. I would have to say Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Ray Charles, and Stevie Wonder. If you’d ask me that question again I probably would have a different answer every time, because it’s so hard for me to narrow down my list of artists I look up to. But we’ll start there.

TITL: Finally then, what does the rest of the year have in store for you? 

LE: We will be touring a lot over the next year. We’re just at the start of music festival season…and Brantley Gilbert and I will be touring together later this fall. Having just finished up a tour here in the UK, I’m already planning on the next time I can get to come back again. I’m hoping on a few shows this fall, and then coming back early in the new year!

Check out “What Happens In A Small Town” below and for more information on Lindsay Ell, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.