Interview With Actress/Musician Zenia Marshall, “Summer of Dreams”

By Ruth on August 27, 2016 in Interview, movie, Music, television

Again, I must credit the extraordinary Mitchell Kummen for highlighting yet another outstanding young person–Zenia Marshall. As Mitchell is always scrupulous when it comes to supporting his co-stars in every project with which he is involved, I was ecstatic to learn of this exquisite young lady’s inclusion in the film Summer of Dreams. Just like Sean Thomas, Zenia also agreed to answer a few questions about her music, her acting, and, of course, her staggering experience with this Hallmark film!


RH: Please tell us about why you chose to become an actress.

20160827_030018.pngZM: In order to get to the why, I need to sort through the how first. Growing up in a family of musicians, music was naturally my first love. Alongside with music, I started dance when I was four. So at first, the acting bug hadn’t found me quite yet. That is until I was fourteen years old and I heard from my dance studio that there was this opportunity to dance in the pilot episode of YTV’s Some Assembly Required. I was hired along with two other dancers from my studio for the pilot episode. When we got to set to film the scene we were to dance in, I was blown away. Blown away by everything that surrounded me. The set, the crew, and the actors that I was lucky enough to work with that day. Everything just wove together and created this magical place. Then it hit me. This is where I wanted to be. When I got home, the magic never left. Everything was about acting from that point on. It’s all I thought about and practically all I wanted to do. Eventually, I brought it upon myself to go to my first acting class and that’s what officially did it. Alongside with the first glimpse I had of the acting world, I fell in love with the craft itself and there we have it. I was officially bitten by the acting bug!

According to what I read, music is your earliest love.  What has been your experience in music so far?

20160826_223932.pngMother says I was a dancer before I could walk. She says I began to sing long before I could talk.”-ABBA

Music is indeed my first love. As I’ve mentioned previously, I grew up in a family of musicians. My mother, Luisa Marshall, is a Tina Turner Tribute Artist, my father, Steve Marshall, is a drummer, and my sister, Kim Mendez, is a guitarist. Some of my earliest memories were of my mom, rocking it out on stage with that big fluffy Tina Turner wig, singing her heart out. To this day, nothing has changed. My mother is still rocking it out wherever she goes, with my dad and sister on stage. Except now, I’m a part of it. I’ve gotten to travel with my mom and the family band around the world as a back-up vocalist. I’ve toured with her across Canada on her Hope Beyond Thunderdome Tour, raising money and awareness for Canadian Veterans with PTSD. I have also been given the privilege to perform in amazing, beautiful places such as India, Malaysia, and Bermuda to name a few. I can’t explain how lucky I feel to be able to do this. It’s truly an amazing thing to be able to do what you love with the people that you love.

20160826_224043-1.pngAside from my journeys with the Tina Band, I’ve recently discovered my love for musical theatre. In this past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to star in productions such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Robin Hood The Musical, Hiroshima: The Crucible of Light, and Opera Mariposa’s People Like Us. It was truly a joy to be a part of these musical productions from “slaying vampires” and adventuring in the magical enchanted forest, to sharing the heart-wrenching stories of the victims in the Hiroshima bombing and raising money and awareness for those with Chronic Fatigue Disorder through song and dance. I have definitely found my place in theatre and hope to be a part of many more amazing productions such as these.

20160827_025432.pngApart from all the show biz, I’m very active in the music scene at school. I’ve played the alto saxophone for over five years in my school’s concert band class and the piano independently for over six. I’m also the alto section leader for the three choir ensembles at my school from Vocal Jazz to Chamber and Concert Choir. I’ve gotta admit, the music program is indeed my favourite thing at school!img_20160810_121544.jpg

Summer of Dreams is your Hallmark debut. How did you get involved with this film? What do you like about working for the Hallmark network?

I auditioned for the role of Ashley and I was very excited for the opportunity to both sing and act (it’s the best of both worlds!) and to offer my version of the character, Ashley. However, after the audition, I wasn’t exactly too satisfied with how I did. So in the end, I simply wasn’t expecting much. Shortly after the audition, I left town to perform with my mom in her cross country tour. By the time we reached Newfoundland, my agent called me the day after my birthday. That’s when she told me that I just booked my first movie! Though it was much of a surprise to me, I was completely off the walls! It was the best birthday present ever!!

I just love how positive and feel-good many of their films and TV series are. I’ve always felt happy after watching Hallmark films in the past, so I’m just so incredibly happy to be a part of one to perhaps do the same for others! It was a blast working on Summer of Dreams, and I’m just so grateful to the Hallmark network for letting me be a part of this production! Because of them, this had been the “Summer of MY Dreams”. 😉

Can you tell us a little about your character without spoiling the story? 

 Hm… I feel that watching it would actually explain the character much better than I could put into words. So you’ll have to tune into the Hallmark channel to find out!

What was the atmosphere like on set? Any special behind-the-scenes stories? 

As this is my first time working on a production like this, I can’t be one to judge how the on-set atmosphere of this movie would compare to those of others. But from my experience alone, the atmosphere was fun and exciting. Everyone that I’ve worked with was very kind and focused on their jobs. In a way, you could sort of compare the atmosphere on set to that of a beehive. The set was filled with many busy bees contributing their own talents and skills, but there was still that “buzz” of excitement and fun in the air!

img_20160822_215157.jpgFor behind the scenes, I must say that working with Debbie {Gibson} was my favourite part of it all. In the movie, my character, Ashley, and the other students know her best as “Ms.D”, their music teacher. But she wasn’t just our teacher when the cameras were rolling. Off screen, she was just as much a “Ms. D” as she was on screen. Behind the scenes, she took the time to work with us individually at the recording studio, helping us do the best that we were capable of at that moment and sharing with us some of the knowledge and wisdom that she’s gathered about her craft from her years of experience. It was the same on set as well, as she guided us through warm-ups and shared her positive energy and warm support. Debbie is truly one of the most genuine, kind-hearted, unbelievably talented and utmost inspiring people that I’ve ever met. She’s a true inspiration, and I’m so grateful to have gotten to work with her during my first time at the recording studio and on set.

Do you have any other upcoming works you can mention? 

Rest! After these past couple of months of filming, touring and performing, I’m happy to take this time to stay home, rest, and gather myself before my last year of high school takes over! Apart from “reloading” for the new school year, I’m mainly using this time to focus on finishing my songs and working on my music.

20160827_024240.pngI also understand you’re a straight-A student. How do you manage school and your acting career?

It’s really not easy! It requires a lot of time management–which is a skill that I’m still trying to smooth out–haha. I find that once in a while something has to give and I have to make a bit of a sacrifice like missing a few days at school or a test for being on set or attending auditions. But somehow, I’ve found a way to see that it all comes to a balance at the end! Though my career is what’s most important to me, I try my best to balance my education with acting and everything else in my life.

As you appear to have several talents/interests in the entertainment business, what are your future plans? Focus on one? Do it all? Wait and see?

wp-1472306374508.pngMy future plan is simply to do what I love. If it’s still acting, singing, and writing songs in twenty years, then you’ll find me doing all those things. I’ll do whatever I find happiness and purpose in doing. I can’t predict at this point whether I will take to one main focus in my career of the arts as it really depends where my passion takes me. For now, I want to do it all and as long as I find happiness in what I do, I will pursue it.


What do you like to do in your free time?

Writing songs! Whenever I can manage to score any free time, I like to take the time to sit down at my piano and work on my songs. I especially love to jam and write with my sister whenever we can! Keep an eye out for our songs to come!


What a breath of fresh air this young woman is. Zenia has chosen to involve herself in the performing arts, and her talent is practically limitless when it comes to the various disciplines within this category. She has determined to pursue her passion, and I believe that has contributed significantly to her upbeat outlook in this recurrently negative world in which we dwell. Furthermore, she has a close knit family that understands how vital and transformational the world of music can be for people from every walk of life. Yet another young person who puts the needs of others before herself as philanthropy is at the core of what she does, whether officially organized or not. I am so thrilled to watch Zenia in tonight’s (August 27) Hallmark film Summer of Dreams, and I hope everyone will tune in to see her and the entire talented bunch of actors. Moreover, I invite all of you to keep up with Zenia’s journey by following her at the links below lest you miss any of the positive vibes that she continues to spread throughout the world.







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


Add comment

Leave a Reply

Please know that comment moderation is in effect on this site. Comments may not appear immediately. Also, please note that any negative attacks on people, networks, or other comments that are deemed "inappropriate" or "overtly negative" may be removed and/or edited by the administrator.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge