Interview With Actress Tara Wilson

By Ruth on June 25, 2016 in Interview, movie, television
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Being the Cedar Cove aficionado that I was, whenever a new cast member joined the season, especially in the third and final series, I paid very careful attention to the name of the actor or actress and made certain to investigate their history of credits. In the case of Tara Wilson, who gave life to Gloria in that final season, I was thunderstruck when I discovered that she and one of my all-time favorite actors (and people, for that matter) had been in a film together years prior to Cedar Cove. As I became an ardent supporter of hers, I waited for the right moment to jump in and interview this talented, young lady, and that time finally arrived not too long ago. I chatted with Tara about her career in general, as well as several highlights from Hallmark to Lifetime and more.
twRH: So how have things been going for you lately?

TW: Really well. I’ve been busy with a lot more corporate or industrial shows lately.  I’ve been singing and dancing and acting a little bit, but doing more live stuff. But back to auditioning, and we’ll see what happens on the film set.

(And along came her cat…)

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Georgia Bean now

Oh, we have a cat very similar to that. We have raised feral cats, and as long as you get them as kittens shortly after they are born, you often can tame them. 

That’s about the time I got her. She was a foster cat, and they didn’t really know her story. There were so many cats that they had all of the sudden. When I got her–I think you’re supposed to be able to get them when they’re about six weeks–but I took her to the vet a week after I had her, and they said she was maybe five weeks. She was a tiny little thing, so she’s really attached to me and trained really easily. Her name is Georgia Bean.

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Georgia Bean then

Oh, that’s cute. See, I didn’t know you had a cat. (pause) So, as we dive into our first official question, what inspired you to become an actress?

Oh, that’s a big question. I don’t know if there was a specific moment where I decided I wanted to be an actor. I started performing when I was young. I started when I was about two, so that got me comfortable being on stage. Stage is my first love. I absolutely love the feeling of being on stage. I don’t know where it comes from but just as a kid, you start playing, right? And I remember wanting to make up little plays. And then I was reading to my cousin, and all of a sudden, I started to do it in an accent, but I didn’t know what I was doing. So she said, “Why are you talking funny?” I think it was a thing inside of me for a long time that I wanted to do. And then I got to a certain age where I felt like I could say to my parents that I wanted to do it. Maybe I could start taking classes or audition for things. I think there was a girl in my class in elementary school who said that she was doing it, and I remember feeling a little bit envious of her. I was like, “That’s what I want to do.”  I think that kind of sparked me saying something to my parents. But I think it was just something within me for a long time that wanted to do it. And even though it seems like I’d be an extrovert, I’m quite shy, and I find that through performing arts, it’s just a great place of freedom and connection with an audience. It’s a place I love to be.

I didn’t realize until more recently that singing and dancing on stage was a big thing for you.  I do agree that there is something about performing on stage. And I used to be shy, just like you mentioned, but once you get up on stage, you’re no longer shy.

Exactly! I have found that being in this world has helped me so much. I’m shy, but I do things that would cause others to think I’m not shy because I force myself not to be shy. But in a lot of regular, everyday situations, I just tend to go back to being shy.

So what kind of training did you have for acting?

I did most of the training privately with a number of different instructors. I considered the theater stuff at one point, you know, going into a specific degree program, but it just wasn’t quite the right route for me at the time. So instead, I have just picked who I wanted to study with. I’m really choosy about who I work with and who I entrust myself with and whose advice I’m going to listen to and whether I’m going to take it or not because I still want to have ownership of what I’m doing. And I want to be able to trust my own instincts as well. I’ve studied a ton, and I’ve loved being in class. I’ve met a lot of my co-workers or peers that I’ve worked with over the years, which is really cool, when you run into everybody you’ve trained with over the years. I went to several different centers, and some I’ve gone to more continuously over the years, but a lot of them have been instructors who have their own program or school, and I’ve wanted to work specifically with them. Usually, I have audited or checked out their work or have seen other actors that have worked with them and what they’ve had to say about them, and then I’ve gone and studied with them.

Although the first time I noticed you was in Cedar Cove, I actually had seen you before because you were in Dressed to KillWhat was your experience with that particular film?

That is going back a few years. It was cool working with Crystal Buble–that was neat. There were a few different people on that film that were cool to work with. I worked mostly with Sebastian {Spence} in that one. It was my first time working with him. He was really great. I actually haven’t seen him face to face much since then.

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dress to kill 1KWIK KWOTE

Sebastian Spence, Co-Star Dressed to Kill

“Tara is a true professional and sweetheart to work with ….kindly giving her all when she is on camera or on the other side of it delivering her lines for cast mates…a joy to work with, a genuine kind spirit …was an honour to work along side her.”

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It was a cool experience, but it was a long time getting it all together and actually seeing the final version of it. They were really working on perfecting that. But I had a great time, and I loved everyone that I worked with. I enjoyed the whole experience. Actually, I was filming over my birthday. That was fun. I always love working on my birthday because I’m doing what I love to do. And my agent came by, and they brought a cake and celebrated. It was a fun cast.

That was an unusual film.

I didn’t have to go into that crazed mess that a lot of the cast was a part of. My character was more the nice girl. “We don’t talk about those things,” for example. I kind of stayed out of the action part of the film.

I remember feeling very confused at the end because it didn’t tie up all the loose ends. But even so, this is a film to be proud of, and it did win an award.

I’m trying to remember the ending. I feel like I saw a few different versions. I know I saw the final version. There was a lot going on in that film, so I was the calm character who wasn’t getting dragged into the craziness. There were plenty other things to focus on in that film.  I can see where a lot of people might not have noticed my character.

Tara Wilson, Mike Dopud

Tara Wilson, Mike Dopud

The next time I noticed you was as Gloria in Cedar Cove season three. So how was it coming on set as a newcomer?

It was very welcoming. First of all, Hallmark does a really great job of not only hiring a really great cast, but also hiring a really great crew, too. In general, there’s always this really great energy on a Hallmark set. I feel like it’s always Christmas or something like that. Everyone’s just so happy. Everyone’s always great to work with. Some of the crew I had already worked with before, so that’s always nice when you see them when you first arrive on set. And some of them do introductions to various cast people. All of the cast was very welcoming, too. They were wonderful, warm people. There were lots of friends of friends and peers, so there are always those connections. So some of them I kind of knew through those connections as well, which was fun. Some of them were some of those friends from acting classes and different things. And so you’d go, “Amazing! So we’re working together!” My “family” on the show–they were all newer cast members as well. For the most part, they had been on there a little bit longer than me, but we were all kind of newcomers.  We were hoping for another year!!

I know–everyone was! Now, when your character first showed up, I wasn’t sure about Gloria. I actually wondered if I was going to like where the storyline was headed.  And it wasn’t until right at the very end when we saw who Gloria was that I felt like the characters finally began to gel. And then when there was that blow-up that was never quite resolved, I was finally ready to see more of this storyline.  

Anna Van Hooft (Gloria), Tara Wilson (LInette)

Anna Van Hooft (Gloria), Tara Wilson (LInette)

I was excited for where the story was going to go.  I think it was a long, drawn-out kind of build-up to that, and I think it really could have gone to some cool places with that. I don’t know exactly everywhere it would have gone to. A lot of it we were finding out as we were going along. We actually had a discussion with the writers at one point, and I asked, “Am I a psychopath?” (laughs) Well, it was confirmed that I was not crazy. I think there was a lot of room for various family dynamics to be played out there between my sister and the mother daughter thing and the father. It was just starting.

You and Cindy Busby’s character sure had some great scenes together.

She was wonderful to work with. She was one of those who was really good friends with one of my really good friends.  She and I got along really well, but I think her natural personality is that she gets along well with everyone. She is so warm and so funny and just easy to be around and easy to work with.

It took some time to get used to the three girls rooming together. At first, I wasn’t sure what I thought of that story, but then as the storyline began to progress, I really did feel like you guys were going somewhere. New storylines in established shows do take awhile to get going.

And they had to tie up some of the ones from the previous year. And it was such a huge cast, right? There were a lot of storylines going on that you were already invested in that you’re going to follow through. But that build-up into our storyline finally was like, “Oh, okay!” Then it’s over. Never mind.

I think the cancellation of the show was a shock to just about everybody. So, did you hear about the cancellation right away?

No, to be honest, I didn’t. I had a fan message me about it, and I was confused because I didn’t know quite what they were talking about. And so I started looking up some stuff, and it was looking like that. But then again, you’re never one hundred percent sure because I had never heard anything from anyone else. I asked my agent, and he said he hadn’t heard anything about it. And so I did my own little research into it. And I started talking to some other cast people, and they said, “Oh yeah, it is.” All right. It’s cancelled. You really do get excited about the show and the prospects of the storyline for next season. And the cast members become like family, especially for those who have been on the show from the beginning. You get to know the cast and crew really well, and you look forward to going to work with them. But it happens.

Tara Wilson as Emily

Tara Wilson as Emily

But it was nice to see you at Christmastime in Once Upon a Holiday.  I really loved you in that particular character. I know a lot of people did.

That was a fun little part.

The most memorable part for me was when you put the guy in the wardrobe, or whatever it was and–

–Jay {Brazeau} makes him disappear. That was such a fun part. (laughs) That was my favorite part, too.

In addition to that particular part, were there any other moments during filming that stood out to you?

Overall, I had a really great time with–again, the crew’s always wonderful on Hallmark stuff, but the cast was wonderful. Briana {Evigan} and I got along really well. And with her dad {Greg Evigan} as well. We kind of hung out a little bit. So that was fun. Everyone on set was great to hang out with and great to work with. I had a lot of fun with Paul {Campbell} in the kitchen scene as well.

That must have been neat to have father and daughter working together.

That was really cool for them. This was the first time as an adult that she had worked with her father. She told me that the last time they worked together was when she was a child, so that was a great experience for them.  They are both such great people, and it was loads of fun to work with them. They have a really great relationship, and I think they were both glad to be working together.

tara jennifer molI know you also had a small role in Mother of All Lies on Lifetime. I know how much you loved working with Jennifer Copping.

She is a great actress, and she also does a lot of theater. She sings and dances as well as acts. She is a very talented woman.  I loved getting to work with her on that film even though my part was small. I really admire her.  I’m actually in a singing group–we do 1930’s and 1940’s stuff–and sometimes Jenn is involved in that as well, too. Sometimes she’ll come in and sing for a little bit. I’ve gotten to work with her a few times, and I’m always excited to.

It’s cool. When we see you in TV and film, we tend to think that’s all you do. And then we learn about your work in the theater as well.

There really are a lot of great opportunities here in Vancouver for theater work. While there might be more theater in Toronto, there definitely is theater stuff here. And a lot of the film actors do work in theater as well.

Now you just need to go on the road so we can see you.

The thing is that I used to tour around a lot more and also do longer runs of things, but I made acting in film more of my main focus. And so because of that, I’ve had to step away from doing that too much. If you get too heavily involved in that stuff, then you’re pulled out of auditioning and being able to work on set.  Sometimes I’ll hear of various jobs every once in a while, and I’ll get asked to do something with theater, and it’s very tempting, but I know what my priorities are. For now, the small and shorter runs are what I’m doing with theater.

I do know that you have a small part in an upcoming Lifetime movie Center Stage: On Pointe

Yes, this would be the third Center Stage film. Center Stage is a series of films. It’s a small role, but it’s a really fun role. I’m excited and a little bit nervous about it because there was a basic script, but then I got to do a lot of improvising–which was a ton of fun. I have gotten to screen the film, and unfortunately, due to time and focus of the film, some of my work didn’t make it to the screen–that’s show business–but it was still great.  And I think you’ll enjoy the part I do have.

What’s the basic premise of the film?

In this one, it’s a new group of dancers, and they are going to a summer camp, and there’s a colliding between the more traditional and the more modern dancers. And they are trying to work together. The lead character, Nicole {Muñoz}, was in Center Stage 2, and she was the younger sister of the lead in that film. So she played a small part, and now they brought her back. She’s grown up, and she’s involved in this, and she’s more on that modern hip-hop style trying to work her way into this world and become a professional dancer.

While I haven’t seen the other two films, I will definitely look forward to seeing this one.

Yeah, they really are quite popular. And I actually danced in Center Stage 2. I played a totally different character, but you can see me in little clips as a ballerina. You’ll just see me flying by on the screen.

The fans all told me that they would love to see you in another Hallmark film.

I would love that! Yeah, there’s a lot of Hallmark films filmed up here in Vancouver. Hopefully I’ll be in another one, soon. I definitely love working with Hallmark.

Well, maybe after Chesapeake Shores takes off, maybe they will bring you on as a recurring character or something like that.

Yeah, that would be great. I’m excited about that one.

Or they could bring you on Good Witch

There’s a few different ones to choose from that Hallmark films up here, so you never know.

I know lots of times we see you in those smaller roles, and we haven’t yet gotten to see you in a lead role. But I always figure that will come eventually.

It will. Yeah, I think so.

I know some people are amazed that I want to interview the supporting cast members like I do. It’s not about names with me–it’s people. I always think, ten years from now, you could be the big Hallmark star, so why not?

Oh, that would be nice. That would be great.

What I appreciate about you is you’re fan-friendly. It seems like whenever anybody tweets you, you always respond. And you’re always nice in your responses. And not all actors are like that.

I definitely do try to do that the best that I can. A lot of people are so great with social media and putting things out there. And since I’m more shy and not great at self-promotion, and I’m not huge on putting my random thoughts out there or whatever. But what I do like about social media is the connection with the world out there. If someone does write something, it is nice to connect. Going back to what we were talking about with being on stage, for me, there’s a feeling of connection with the audience when you’re on stage. It’s like everybody’s one with each other. If it’s going well, there’s a collective feeling in the air. I don’t know how else to describe it. When you’re putting something out on film, you don’t necessarily get that feeling, right? It’s nice then to have the communication while people are watching it, they’re tweeting about it and afterwards. I like that connection. I think it’s cool.

And actually it’s okay if you don’t put your random thoughts out there. I’ve seen some of those “random thoughts” from others and thought, “Really? You really just said that?!?” (laughter) And as for self-promotion, many actors would say promotion needs to come from the fans.

Yeah, self-promotion just doesn’t sit right. It doesn’t feel right. I mean, sometimes you need to say, “Okay, this is coming up,” or “This is going on.” But I’ve always been more of a private person, too, so I probably wouldn’t ever be one who puts my thoughts out there. But with promotion, I would rather just focus on doing the work, and hopefully other people will start talking about it. There is a certain amount you need to do, which is part of the reason you’re on social media. And sometimes the network will mandate that an actor promote–it can be part of the deal.

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After talking with Tara, I think the thing that most impresses me is the fact that no matter what role she is given nor how small or insignificant that part may appear to be, she always gives her full attention to develop that role to its fullest potential. At this point in her career, she has been mostly a supporting actress when it comes to films and television, and some entertainers in her position may grow restless, impatient, or even become despondent and complaintive. However, that is just not in Tara’s mind nor temperament. For her, whatever role she is privileged to play is one that she takes seriously and does to the best of her ability. While I have no doubt that she yearns for a role where she can be featured, she realizes that in time, that will come to her. She refuses to be querulous, and until that opportunity presents itself, she will continue to be the person she is–sweet, gracious, and always quick to support those with whom she has worked without an impulse to squander any opportunity she is given. In my opinion, her innate humility and attention to detail is going to ensure her ultimate success when that role that catapults her into stardom comes her way. And in the long run, she will be miles ahead as she awaits that imminent role. In this business, it is often about “paying your dues,” and I somehow think that Tara is at a point where she is right on the brink of stardom, and when least expected, that role is going to come, and she will be equipped. Be sure that you watch her upcoming Lifetime film, Center Stage: On Pointe, on June 25 on the Lifetime Movie Network (check your local listings), and don’t forget to follow her via the links below lest you miss one step in her thrilling journey in the entertainment world.

FOLLOW TARA

Official Site

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

IMDB

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

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