Interview With Actress Matreya Scarrwener, “Ties the Bind”

By Ruth on August 16, 2016 in Interview, movie, television
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Any #TieHards out there (Ties That Bind fans)? If so, you may recognize the young lady who brought Mariah to life–Matreya Scarrwener. Recently, she agreed to answer some questions about her experience within this competitive business, including how she got started as an actress, her varied roles throughout her career, and her future aspirations.

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RH: I was doing some research on you, and what stood out to me was Ties That Bind because my Hallmark friends and I watched that and remember it fondly. 

screenshot_2016-08-16-17-37-00-1.pngMS: I feel like UP TV is a lot like Hallmark. They’re very similar. You wouldn’t believe the warmth and passion that came from that network. It’s a smaller network, but it’s so unbelievable. When I think of Ties That Bind, I just smile.

screenshot_2016-08-16-17-38-13-1.pngIt was such a huge shame when Ties That Bind got cancelled because I was just starting to get into it. And then I heard it got cancelled.

I know. And I wasn’t expecting it either. It kind of took me by surprise ’cause we were getting so much lovely feedback from the fans. But we do have some exciting news, so stay tuned {the streaming news had not been announced when I interviewed her, so please see the links below for more information}. I was disappointed. I miss the character. It was a very special character to me. And I miss the people, too. It was a fun show.

So going back in time, what is it that inspired you to become an actress?

I grew up watching a lot of theater. Both of my parents were in the Vancouver theater world. My dad was a director. My mom used to be an actor. By the time I was ten, I had seen about a hundred plays. Although my parents support me now, neither of them wanted me to go into it. Once you’re surrounded by it, you get the bug. I became obsessed with theater, and it was just like I had to.

I didn’t actually start acting till I was about fourteen. So that’s four years ago. But I wanted to all my life, and I was asking my parents, “Can I be in a play? Can I do what you’re doing?” And they were like, “Okay, yeah. You can do it, but you got to do it yourself. ” And now I appreciate that they said that ’cause the time in my life when I decided to go into it was good for me. It was my thing. I was able to have it be my career, and I think I was mature enough to juggle the career and school and everything else. So I actually was very grateful for that.

I’ve heard similar stories to that, and it’s often the parents saying, “We don’t know if we want you to do that.”  But lots of times, the kids want to do it anyway. 

There’s a lot of truth to that. And while I didn’t grow up in the film world, I really liked movies and TV, so I was drawn to that side of it, too.

img_20160816_173514.jpgSo have you received any training as a performer?

Um, no, not really. When I first started, I took a couple little weekend workshops or like a summer camp, but it wouldn’t really be fair to say I had formal training. Whenever I have taken classes, they’re always fun. It’s really interesting to see the different perspectives that different acting teachers can have. You can learn a lot. But I say my training was when I started acting, I did a lot of community theater and student films. I think that is a really, really good way for actors to train because what better way to learn than to be immersed in it? You’re doing the same job as regular TV and film even if you’re doing a small, independent film. When the camera’s rolling, it’s the same job. That was just an incredible way to learn.

img_20160816_173520.jpgAnd growing up with parents who were in the business, you probably picked up on a lot of things just through observation and being exposed to it. 

Oh sure, there were conversations about acting technique around the dinner table at my house. And I also think that watching theater and watching movies–that’s a great way to learn. And I would bug my dad, since he’s a director, for him to coach me in direction. My parents showed me two very different ways of working, and they’re kind of like my teachers. I bug them to direct me.

So are you going to be in your last year of high school or have you graduated?

I just graduated. I’m free! I mean I liked high school. I wasn’t there a lot, but I’m happy to be graduated. I’m gonna miss everyone. There’s some pretty beautiful people in my graduating class. I liked high school, but I’m ready to be done. It takes a lot of your time, you know?

From The Waiting Room

From The Waiting Room

I think it’s got to be hard to juggle school and acting.

It’s a bit of a challenge, yeah. For my last year of high school, I was thinking of doing school online ’cause I was doing a play in the fall. So my first day of school this year was actually in December. And I was like, “I don’t know if I wanna go back.” But I went back for one week, and I didn’t realize how much I had missed everyone. So I was like, “Okay, I have to do my classes here. It’s one more year.” It was a bit more challenging, but it was worth it.

So now that you’ve graduated, are you going to go on to college?

One day, I’d like to go to the university, but I feel like right now would not be the best time for me. I just kinda want to work. I’ll be starring in a new TV series–an ABC TV series. I’m so excited! I’m pretty stoked about it. I’ve only read the pilot, and it’s really funny. The writers are really smart, funny, and cool guys. And I feel like it makes all the difference in the world. I remember being in my trailer running lines with a buddy of mine before the scene, and we couldn’t get through the scene because we were laughing too hard. I’ve never done a comedy before. We’re going to have a ridiculous amount of fun shooting this. It’s gonna be rad.

I was actually thinking that you have so much personality, and not that your character in Ties That Bind didn’t have personality, but she’s a lot quieter. But I was thinking that I could see you jumping right into comedy and just having a blast. You have all this energy, and that’s great to see. Lots of times when I’m interviewing kids, they are quiet and shy, especially at first, but you have all this personality. So are you able to tell us what the show is?

img_20160816_173439.jpgI can tell you what the show is. It’s called Imaginary Mary. I’ll just say to check out Imaginary Mary ’cause I don’t know how much I can say. I probably would be fine to tell you the basic premise, but I don’t want to give away too much. Please watch it. It’s gonna be funny. The plan is for it to air mid-season. {As more information has been released, please check the links at the end of the interview for more information.}

Well that will be something definitely to watch out for. (pause) So, you won a Joey Award?

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as Dorothy Gale in Once Upon a Time

Yes, I’ve won two Joey Awards. I really like the Joeys. It’s cool that they appreciate young, Canadian talent. It’s nice that they’re shining a light on the fact that we have so much great, young talent here in Canada. I love going and appreciating all of my friends. The first year I won, I was nominated for my guest star in Once Upon a Time. And then I won the award for best actress in a live theater production, which I was also nominated for a Jessie Award for that for a play called Armstrong’s War. Last year, I was nominated for series regular twice in the same category for Strange Empire and Ties That Bind. And then I won for Strange Empire.

That is really great! I have interviewed many young actors who have acted longer than you and have not won any awards. That is something to be proud of. 

Aw, thank you.

Not to put down the others at all, but it’s neat that you’ve jumped in, and they have recognized your talent in that way.

Aw, thanks.

img_20160816_173502.jpgIn your career so far, what do you think has been your most challenging role?

I’d say my most challenging role was the first play I was ever in. It was a two hander play at the Arts Club Theatre. It’s called Armstrong’s War. The character was one who just wouldn’t stop talking. It was like one of the most fun roles I’ve played in my life, but it was also kind of terrifying. I think I psyched myself out a bit ’cause I had only been acting for like a year and a half at the time. I put the Arts Club {theater company in  Vancouver} on a pedestal and thought, “Oh maybe one day when I’m an adult I could have a part at the Arts Club.” And then suddenly, I was in this two-person play, and I was terrified. img_20160816_173455.jpgOn opening night–I never had a panic attack in my life before and I haven’t since–but I had a panic attack like right before I went on stage. I was crying seconds before I went on stage. My character was in a wheelchair, and I was sitting backstage and I was like, “What if I just wheeled away? They wouldn’t even notice.” I knew I couldn’t do that, but I considered it in my mind. And then I was like, “Okay, I just gotta go on stage.” I had a choice, and I did. And it all went great. I had so much fun, and the whole experience was fantastic. The rehearsals were so much fun. Most of it was just pure fun. But there was just that moment of self-doubt when you’re like, “No, I can’t. I’m not gonna be able to swing this. I’m not a good enough actor.”  But it went great, and I ended up winning a Joey for it. And I got nominated for a Jessie Award, and that also meant a huge amount to me ’cause the Jessies are the Vancouver Theater Awards, and it meant that I was being accepted by this community. It was like, “Welcome, Matreya. This is your stamp of approval.” So that felt really good. But I think that was the most challenging role I’ve ever played. I was obsessed with that role. I was so excited. There was so much depth to her, and she was funny and she was so many things. I miss the character. I did learn a lot. I still draw from that character for other characters sometimes. She was really special to me. It was so much fun, but it was hard. {laughs} I find that being confident in what you do is great, but that little twinge of self-doubt drives you to work as hard as you possibly can. It forces you to work hard, and there’s no other option but to work hard.

You really seem very confident and comfortable doing interviews. 

Thank you. I have done some little interviews here and there, and at first you tend to edit in your head and get worried that maybe your answer doesn’t sound good. But I really think I’m going to like doing publicity. I know some actors don’t like doing publicity. I think it’s fun just to chat with someone and talk about the work that you’re doing and whatever projects you’re doing. And sometimes they ask you questions that you haven’t even thought about. I think it’s fun.

I’m curious. Your name–Matreya. Is there a story behind your name?

The origin of the name is Buddhist. It’s the Buddha of love and compassion and the messenger of divine truth. My parents were sitting in a restaurant, and an old friend of my mom’s from high school walks in, and she was named Matreya. And my mom was like, “Oh she’s a lovely human being.” And they just liked the name and the association of it. And so I got named Matreya.

img_20160816_173508.jpgWell, that seems to fit your character pretty well then, I think. 

Thank you.

You’re welcome. When I hear unusual names, sometimes there are stories behind them, and sometimes there’s not. 

I used to not like having a unique name, but now I really like it. I’ve grown to appreciate that it’s a little bit different. Even though I know other people named Matreya. I know four different Matreyas. Isn’t that wild? In fact, there’s a friend of mine who’s an actress who lives in Vancouver who’s around my age, and she’s also named Matreya. When we see each other in audition rooms, and it’s like, “The Matreyas are here.” {laughs}

What do you like to do in your free time?

Hang out with my buddies, I guess. I live in Vancouver, so I really like going to the beach and going outside. I like reading. watching TV, watching new movies. Pretty much whenever I can be outside with my friends. Now it’s summer, and it rains a lot here, but one sunny day in Vancouver, and you forget the rain. It’s worth it! It’s worth living here. I don’t mind any more. And I kind of like the rain. If it doesn’t rain for a while, it’s like it’s too hot. Then I think I would like some rain.

Okay, I have one last question. Is there a certain actor or actress that you would like to work with one day?

I don’t know. I have a list that is way too long of all my favorite actors, but I feel like I’d be too nervous. I feel like I’d be scared to work with my favorite actor. No, do you know what would happen? I’d try to be so cool on the outside, but really nervous on the inside. But I’d be putting on so much effort to make it look like I was cool.

That’s one of those questions that if we ask you in ten years, you will have worked with so many amazing people that it won’t be any big deal to work with your favorite actors.

Yeah, we’ll have to try it again in ten years.

Well, I hope we chat again before that. 

Oh yeah, for sure. (pause) You know what I notice when I meet actors that I’ve known about before? You think you’re going to be freaking out, but then you meet them, and you’re like, “Oh, they’re just a person, just like a normal person. They’re probably really cool.”

And that’s what I have learned. These actors and actresses are just normal people. And most of them are very nice people. 

I think that’s a really big misconception about the film industry. My experience of it anyway. People really think it’s going to be a toxic environment. I spent the majority of my teenage years on a film set.  And I feel like it’s only impacted me positively. People I look up to so much. With Imaginary Mary, I will have been a series regular on three shows. And all the shows have female leads which is so cool, I think, that TV is changing that way. And the people I’ve met and worked with have shaped me for the better, I think. People would assume that growing up on a film set would be like the worst thing for a person. It’s different, but I’ve only had positive experiences and worked with really great people. Knock on wood. I don’t know–a lot of people think actors are a lot different from who they really are.

Well, yes, and a lot of those tabloids report stuff about Justin Bieber and others who have had all these negative experiences as they grow up in the film/TV world. But that’s just really a handful of kids, and I’m sure it helps that you have parents that care about you and how you live. And it sounds like your parents have passed their values on to you.

For sure. And while I know I haven’t been in the business long, to say I’ve only met really lovely people–well, that’s been my experience so far. It’s been a limited pool of people I’ve worked with.  All the kids were great that I was working with. I was able to find really great role models in Kelli {Williams} and Sheryl {J. Anderson}. And I did a Canadian show called Strange Empire, which was such a special show to me, and it’s a show that’s close to my heart. Cara Gee–I just look up to her so much. I think it’s nice to have these role models that I think I wouldn’t have necessarily had if I hadn’t been working on those shows.

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All too often, young people in this world are not clever, well-spoken, nor tenacious (not too mention hard workers), but Matreya is like a breath of fresh air. There is no doubt she is a natural in the world of acting, and if only I could have captured her infectious spirit and limitless energy, you may have been as exultant as I by not only her acting, but her demeanor. Matreya is convinced of what she wants, and she will work arduously to accomplish every last ambition to the utmost. Her cheery outlook cannot be squelched by the potential negativity that this world wants to thrust her way. I can only predict that as the years pass, her congenial disposition and optimistic attitude will carry her through whatever storms attempt to impede her chosen path. Thankfully, we shall be seeing her soon again in an upcoming series, but be sure that you notice the news below about Ties That Bind, as the possibility for a second season does exist. Furthermore, I invite you to investigate Matreya’s social media links below lest you miss a single second of her extraordinary journey on the road to her dreams.

FOLLOW MATREYA

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

IMDB

img_20160816_173448.jpgBe sure that you check out her upcoming new show imaginary MARY!

 

 

 

TiesThatBind_CA - Original__451210And if you loved Ties That Bind and hope that a second season may occur, consider streaming season one of Pure Flix. (The first month is free!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

1 Comment

  1. Jeanne Coulombe August 19, 2016 Reply

    Love your name 🙂

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