With her distinctive allure, Melinda Michael is a burgeoning enchanter from Canada whose star is shining with every screen endeavour. She’s appearing in the final Season of “Hemlock Grove” on Netflix and Melinda’s stunning looks is adding to the infatuation many of us already have with Canadian actresses. She has also caught the world’s attention having sat alongside Oscar Winner Julianne Moore at this year’s Canadian Screen Award and on that night Melinda was a ravishing vision on the red carpet. Known for her enterprising verve and versatility on film, television as well as the web, Melinda could soon garner fondness as a Screen Sweetheart.
Here’s the interview with the luscious Melinda:
1. Give us an insight into your role on “Hemlock Grove” and what were your best moments on set?
As soon as I received the character breakdown for my principal role in Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, I knew it would be fun. My character name is Vickers. She was described as “tough, an ex-Special Forces interviewing for a job.” I could draw upon my own martial arts background and years of disciplined training for her. My friend and acting coach helped me nail the military physicality. The job Vickers is hired to do by Roman Godfrey, the half human half monster running Hemlock Grove, is to, well, I won’t give away any spoiler details…
Another part of the breakdown that made me smile was when I read “must be brunette with curly hair.” Finally, a TV role that’s seeking out my natural curls! The reason this was a specific casting criteria is so that I could resemble one of the lead female characters, Destiny, for a special match up between our characters in the final episode. (Roman mistakes me for Destiny until I pull out my gun and shoot). The ending was ultimately changed in post-production. Unfortunate for me, but I think a wise choice from the perspective of character development, the relationship between Roman and Bill. They need to finish each other off.
I had so many enjoyable moments on set. The first that comes to mind is when the gun wrangler (Dave Thompson) came up to me after my scene involving firing a Sig Sauer 228 and told me I did great work. Acknowledging people goes a long way. I invite you to make sure when you’re in conversation, to just take a moment and give the person you’re speaking with some positive recognition. Point out something you admire about them! You’ll be surprised the response you’ll get 🙂
Another favourite moment was when the director asked me to help them out with the big funeral scene in the show’s finale by teaching some of the performers how to play the kartals (one of the instruments I use in meditation). And I’ll never forget eating lunch, rather, the feast of all feasts, on the very last day with Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron. Those two are great friends off set, despite them being arch nemesis in the show. I feel incredibly grateful that Vickers was a part of the last episode because it meant that I got to experience a very special and emotional day on set for everyone as the series came to a close.
Working on Hemlock Grove holds many positive memories for me. It was my first booking with my new (at the time) representation at Ambition Talent. It was my final credit I needed to be a fully accredited union actor at ACTRA. And, it was my first time having my very own trailer on set!
2. Werewolves, vampires and zombies have taken off in a big way for the past few years! Why do you think this is so and what would you like to see more of in regards to stories featuring these creatures?
I’m sure glad that fantasy is gaining more and more popularity. To be honest, it is my favourite genre. My whole life it has been. I was that kid who would rent out the same fantasy books from the library week after week because nothing else came close to inviting the magical worlds I could soar off to in my imagination.
I think there are several reasons fantasy is gaining momentum in television. One, production companies see the tremendous success of film franchises like Lord of the Rings. So why not do the same in TV? Two, CGI and special effects can do anything now, thanks to the talented editors out there. What can be believably created on and offscreen is truly limitless! And lastly, which I believe is the biggest contributing factor, is stress. Yes, stress. The day to day pace we function at in today’s society is unhealthy. People are desperately seeking the world of fantasy and sci-fi in shows as a means for temporary relief from the heavy reality we live in. It’s a beautiful medium to provide an escape from our to-do’s and endless work, and instead, simply be present, activate your imagination and desired longing for creativity, and enjoy the ride.
3. Canadian actresses are really catching the eye in numerous features. Why do you think talents such as yourself are becoming so appealing around the world and what do you hope to accomplish as an entertainer?
What’s cool about Canadians is that we all look so unique and different from one another. Canada doesn’t have one “look”; we represent nations from all around the world. Take me for example, I get asked whether I’m Spanish, Russian, Persian, Italian, Greek, French, German, etc. It’s a blessing as an actor because I can play many ethnicities. It is a feature that allows me to go out for a myriad of interesting characters. We like to see diversity on screen because it is a reflection of the multi-cultural world we live in. I think the world has transitioned into a time where beauty is really in someone’s exotic appeal. Canadians are such eye-catching mixes. And dang talented. We work hard! So to answer your question, it’s appealing because we have the whole package: talent, drive, work ethic, friendliness (which is so important on set! Film is the most collaborative profession out there), and not to mention resilient personalities if we can get through winters here! Though I’m not speaking for everyone… I certainly hope to book a gig in LA and soak up that California sunshine calling my name.
4. As an accomplished model, how is that different as opposed to being an actress and what have been the challenges you’ve faced?
It’s really interesting you ask about the difference between my experiences acting and modeling. I am an actor first and foremost. Being an actor is my life’s gift to share with the world. Along with music, it is my favourite form of artistic expression. When I model, I act. Countless photographers tell me that I am so easy to work with – they don’t have to communicate anything to me in the shoot; I already know what they want. As an actor, I go into other’s heads and see their vision and bring it to life. I think it’s why I’m good at what I do, because I can understand and visualize a story so clearly. Whether it’s a print photo shoot or a film set, it’s all telling a story. My modeling is enhanced by my acting. Being a dancer and having excellent body/muscle awareness is a big help for modeling too. The funnest part for me any time I model is that I become a character based on what I’m wearing and how my make-up and hair looks.
A few weeks ago I did a fashion show for a famous Canadian designer and I was dressed in this gorgeous coral gown with a gold tiara. I immediately pictured myself as an Egyptian goddess. Actually, Yanka Van Der Kolk, who was Canada’s first top model and is wife to the founder of TIFF, came up to me after the show and said “You created your own magical fantasy world, you weren’t just on some runway. Your brilliance is your connection. That’s what makes people want to watch you.” It was a very flattering and humbling conversation.
5. Could you give us a tease of your upcoming projects and why should audiences go to see them?
I wish I knew more about what my future has in store for career opportunities, but what I can say for now is that I’m a series lead in a new web series called IRL (In Real Life). I have also been cast in a Bollywood film shooting in Fiji, and a feature film set in South Africa. I love to travel and learn about other cultures and languages, so I’m super excited about that! I look forward to audiences enjoying a few films I shot this past year that will be featured in festivals and theaters too. A new milestone in my life is that I’ve taken on my first producing credit to create an epic pilot TV series (if anyone is a distributor that reads this and has a passion for 15th century history, contact me!). I have every intention of pitching it to major networks. The writing is brilliant.
Please feel free to follow me on Instagram (@lifeisbeautiful90), Twitter (@melinda_michael), or my professional Facebook fan page for more updates and daily inspirations!