VIOLETT BEANE TALKS “GOD FRIENDED ME” AND HER LOVE OF BAKING 0 269

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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CURTIS PRITCHARD JOINS THE GREATEST DANCER 0 19

Ballroom and Latin dance champion and Love Island 2019 finalist Curtis Pritchard will be joining The Greatest Dancer as the dance talent show returns to BBC One in early 2020.

The news was exclusively revealed on The Scott Mills Show on BBC Radio 1, Curtis confirmed that he will be welcoming hopefuls to The Greatest Dancer studio as they prepare for the biggest audition of their lives.

Curtis says: “To have left the Love Island villa just 10 days ago and to be so quickly given an opportunity to be a part of a show as amazing as The Greatest Dancer is a dream come true. When I got the call I was so honoured to even be considered for this so the fact it’s happening I can’t quite believe! Dance is my passion and I can’t wait to meet all the contestants in the new revamped reception area.”

Curtis is an award-winning professional dancer, who most recently appeared in Ireland’s version of Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with The Stars, for three series. As well as his experience on TV, Curtis has danced in a number of critically and commercially successful stage productions including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Burn The Floor and Rip It Up.

Curtis, alongside professional dancer brother AJ Pritchard, has also been confirmed as Choreographer on the upcoming series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK on BBC Three.

STRICTLY 2019: ANNEKA RICE JOINS LINE-UP 0 22

Anneka Rice is an award-winning broadcaster.

The 17th series of the NTA and Bafta award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios will return in the autumn on BBC One putting the sparkle back into Saturday and Sunday nights.

Anneka says: “I haven’t danced since I was seven and Miss Beer sent me home from my ballet class because I was hopelessly uncoordinated. My family and friends haven’t seen me dance since, not at a wedding or round a handbag so it’s going to be a challenge for my partner. In fact I’ve asked for two, one on each side. I can’t see myself in a long frilly dress either. But I’m feeling recklessly excited. Strictly has always been my Autumn’s entertainment and now I’m part of it! My children will probably leave the country”.

Anneka Rice shot to fame in this country as the Sky-Runner in Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt.

She also presented Sporting Chance, TV-am, Driving Force, Wish You Were Here, Capital Woman, Combat, Holiday, Hell’s Kitchen, The Royal Variety Performance and numerous other shows.

She went on to devise the award-winning Challenge Anneka for BBC One, shining a spotlight on issues like disability, homelessness and animal welfare and has raised millions of pounds worth of supplies and services for charities and communities.

Her radio work includes the Radio 2 Saturday Breakfast Show which she presented for six years; Pick Of The Week, Friday Night Is Music Night, The Arts Show, Sunday Love Songs, Loose Ends, and the award-winning podcast Fortunately.

She is a Patron of Operation Encompass, Help for Heroes and Horatio’s Garden.