Aliyah O' Brien @aliyahobrien |Photography by Ethan Choi @ethan.b.c | Muah by Francie Tomaloniswww.francieluxe.com / @francieluxe | Styled by Carnita Nicole @carnitanicole | Interview by Samantha Stricklin @f0rsakens
Tell us about Take Two and why you decided to work on this show?
Take Two is a wild and fun adventure following a private investigator reluctantly teaming up with an actress, using her innate skills and abilities to try and solve mysteries together. I loved the idea of doing a dramedy where you get to keep things real, but also have fun and play to the comedy of life. I also always love playing strong independent women.
What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
It really depends on the script and character. Some fit more naturally than others. Something I’ve really been working on over the years is being confident in my version of the character and how I can bring the most of me to it. I’ve wrestled with wanting to please and figure out what I think “they” want the character to be, rather than owning my version and then being open to collaborate. This is of course something I’m working on in all areas of my life.
How is this character like you? Different?
Detective Christine Rollins and I are similar in our strength and sassiness (though I’m a lot more playful probably). We also care about the truth, looking out for our friends and we aren’t afraid to be badasses. Where we differ… I’m a wild and free hippie at heart and you’ll often see me barefoot or dancing like a maniac. I feel like Rollins would need a few bourbons to get there. ;)
What inspired you to be an actor?
The aliveness I feel while doing it and the power to make a difference.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
Well the biggest part I’ve booked would be Detective Rollins on Take Two, but my biggest accomplishment has been choosing to follow my dreams and working my butt off to love and believe in myself in the process. It takes a lot of bravery to be an artist and I’m very grateful and proud to sit here and say that THIS IS MY JOB.
In which area would you like to improve as an actor?
More trust and surrender in myself so that my characters are even more full, alive and present.
What sort of acting roles will you be seeking in the future?
I really want to attract roles that tell stories I’m passionate about. I love when the acting experience is deep and moving and important, and the effects on others and the world mirror that.
Tell me something I may not know from reading your resume.
My first play was a Christmas show that took place in my basement with the neighbourhood kids. I was Santa.
A jar of peanut butter is not safe near me. Dance is my medicine. I’m super passionate about mind, body, spirit wellness, and helping people live awesome lives.
Tell me about a time where you had difficulty with a character. What was the role and why was it challenging?
When I played Afina the Vampire Queen on Sanctuary around 8 years ago, I had a number of challenges. Don’t get me wrong, it was an incredible experience, and the cast and crew are some of the best and made me feel so welcomed. The challenge physically was being a Vampire, with the contact lenses that impair your vision, the teeth and nails which make it impossible to pick anything up, the costume, which was beautiful but made it impossible to lift my arms above my shoulders and the high heeled boots that I had to fight in on a ground covered in little rubber crystals. So you take all of that and a newer, nervous actor who’s meant to play a total boss vampire queen and you can see how I had to pull on all my courage to pull it off.
I also had an experience recently in Take Two where I had heat stroke in an episode that was all about my character, and it made it really hard to do my job and I found myself doubting myself. This is some of the beauty of what we do though. Despite how you feel, you’re forced to rise up and dig deep to find your inner badass and do the best you can. The growth junkie in me loves the adventure and the reward in that.
How did you start believing in your own work and talent?
I’ll let you know when I do ;)
I’m being facetious, but truthfully it’s always a work in progress.
I actually spent a lot of time this year consciously catching my mind wander into negative and fear-based thoughts and asking myself if they were true or if I was just trying to protect myself. More often than not it’s a just a bad thought habit that needed to be shifted. So I decided that if I was going to make shit up, I’d start making up good shit. Eventually things start to shift. I find my mind wandering less and staying more in the present moment where truth lives.
Self love practices are key for me in this area too. I really believe if we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard to believe in ourselves. Then we look to others for approval, but we never really believe it because wedon’t believe it on the inside. My inner work is the most important work I do. I do it for me and my experience of life and in hopes that I may inspire others.