Interview With Actress Gracyn Shinyei, ” When Calls the Heart”

By Ruth on April 12, 2017 in Interview, movie, television

Last year as I began to work my way through the younger cast of When Calls the Heart, Gracyn Shinyei was one young actress I was privileged to chat with, and she and her dad were (and still are) both such giving and genuine people that it guaranteed a superb interview. This year, I had that opportunity yet again to connect with Gracyn, and there is no doubt where her heart lies, Hearties! Revel in the responses of a young lady who continues to share her gifts and sweet disposition with all of her fans and every show in which she is cast.

Photo by Pink Monkey/T Shinyei – © Pink Monkey/T Shinyei

RH: What is it like to be one of the only kids  (I think Genea Charpentier was too, but correct me if I’m wrong) to have been in When Calls the Heart all four seasons? 

GS: I love being one of the kids that has been on the show for all the seasons. Kadence {Kendall Roach} was is most seasons too. I think she and I were in all the last four seasons. {DAD: Genea came on the show in season two.} I really appreciate being invited back so far for all the seasons and hope I don’t ever get left out. Perhaps I can grow up and become a teacher or helper for Mrs. Thatcher on the show.

Lots of the kids who enter the cast mention how you, Gracyn, were one of the first to welcome them and help them get settled into the show. Is this a natural role for you–kind of being the leader of the kids? How did that come about? 

My dad and I always welcome all the new kids when they show up on the set. I really try hard to, but am sometimes very quiet until I get to know you for a few minutes, but then I’m your friend forever.  All the kids are very good friends right away. We are friends with the background kids and the kids that visit the set too, like the adult casts’ children.  Sometimes it’s hard to meet lots of new people when you start on a new movie set so my dad and I always try to show people around the set and introduce them to the other people so they can feel welcome.

With Valin Shinyei

Would you be willing to work with your brother if you got the chance? 

My brother Valin was the second choice to play my brother Miles on the show, but Logan {Williams} actually looks more like me than my real brother does. Its so funny.  We almost got to be brother and sister on the show together, and it’s too bad, but Logan was still a great big brother on the show. Before Christmas I did a short movie with Valin, but my scenes did not get used in the final version. I just got cast in a cartoon as the lead character and my brother got cast as her good friend, so if the show is made, we will be able to finally work together. It will be so fun if that works out.


Fan Art from Lori Pearson

What has been your  most challenging scene to film this season? 

The hardest scene was an episode that was recently shown and I had to have a fight with a teacher, and I got very emotional and cried. Michael Landon Jr. was the director and he got me to do it in one take because he is amazing. Adam Reid was so great to work with and made it okay to get emotional with him. I was nervous to get the tears for real, but they can always make fake tears if an actor can’t cry for real. I did not need the fake ones and that made me feel happy. I was sad for about ten minutes after I finished filming it.



A fan asked about the origin of your family name and the uniqueness of your first name.  Any story attached to either? 

Well my last name is Japanese, but my Dad is adopted and actually Colombian, so I’m half Colombian and then some English and German from my Mom. My Mom really liked unique names that have nicknames, so my parents named me Gracyn and they call me GG, G, or Gracie. My mom also liked a strong name that not many girls would have.

We saw you in A Snow-Capped Christmas this past winter.  What was most memorable about that movie/filming experience? 

Working with Niall {Matter} was amazing. He and his girlfriend treated me like a daughter off the set and we spent a lot of time on location talking and hanging out. They got me gifts and bought me dinner, and we just had a great time.

If When Calls the Heart has another season, what kind of story arc would you like to see for Emily?

Oh, I think the show will get lots more seasons for sure. I hope Emily gets more time with Mrs Thatcher and could help with the school classes like a teacher’s aide. I think Emily should become a teacher and one day teach in Hope Valley too.

While we haven’t seen Emily as much this season, any chance you can tell us if we’ll see more of her in the last two episodes? 

Emily will be there for the last two episodes I am fairly sure, but don’t know how much. I wish I could tell more. If I could, I would be in every scene.

Any other upcoming works you can mention?

I took some time off acting for holidays and family time, but I do have a cartoon show that I got cast as the lead role that we hope gets picked up and made into a full season. It’s for little kids and super cute, and my brother is on the show as a character too. The show is called Hanni and Wild Woods. I play Hanni. It should get made this spring or summer I hope.

What would be your dream role?


What kind of role (s)? My dream role would be to play the lead in a new Star Wars movie or be a lead on When Calls The Heart as the new teacher or mayor or something like that when I’m old enough.

Besides acting, how do you fill up your free time? 

I am very active in dance and singing. I dance almost six days a week at my studio, and I compete and take lots of conventions and camps. I might even come to the US for some conventions that I won scholarships to later this year. I also still love playing American Girl dolls and hanging with my acting and dance friends.


With the lovely Erin Krakow, Gracyn Shinyei, and Janette Oke on the set of When Calls the Heart. #HFR2016 — with Denese Wofford Watson, Sheri Lynn DiGiovanna, Nikki Oakley Getman, Gracyn Shinyei, Kim Ferguson and Debi Watson Bailey

Gracyn is one of those exceptional young ladies who is lovely, grounded, gifted, and surrounded by a support system that too many young people today can only imagine. Not only does Gracyn have a father who invests an incredible amount of time and energy in his daughter’s life and career without being overbearing or a proverbial “stage dad,” but Gracyn has a brother in the business and more fans than she can even count. Some young ladies who received such undue recognition as Gracyn does might be inclined to let it go to their heads. Unfortunately, I can fathom many a teen/preteen girl who would do practically anything within the realm of decency (or not) to have the kind of success Gracyn has enjoyed, but those same girls would turn into the pretentious prima donnas that often fill the tabloids and the gossip magazines. Gracyn’s family can take immense pride in the fact that this young lady has grown into a lovely, sweet, kind, and unspoiled artist who continues to give of herself without requiring anything in return. Additionally, Gracyn’s entire being irradiates the adoration she has for the craft to which she has given herself, and the rewards she asks are more intrinsic and enduring as opposed to materialistic and bombastic. While she is careful to not draw attention to herself, I know for a fact that those other children who enter the cast as newcomers look up to her with such awe and respect because they know the longevity she has had with this cast. And her gentle, quiet spirit does more than she realizes to help set them at ease. She has every quality that will enable her to one day mature into an actress who can be the next “Erin Krakow,” and I only hope and pray she continues on the path that has been carved out for her. Please be sure that you tune in to the last two episodes of this season’s When Calls the Heart on April 16th and 23rd on the Hallmark Channel so that you may catch a glimpse of this virtuous and adept young woman whose heart is with the show as much (if not more so) as the principal cast members. Moreover, please consider following Gracyn at the links below. She regularly interacts with her fans as time allows, and her gratitude is incessantly true and honest as well as overflowing with generosity and benevolence.







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. Net April 14, 2017 Reply

    Loved this interview, Ruth & Gracyn! What a precious little girl you are and amazing actress! I was so taken by that moment in the classroom on “When Calls The Heart” when tears fell so realistically down your sweet little face. Instantly, I know each of us, who have ever been in a tough situation like that in school, felt your pain and wanted to protect you – just as Cody did. What a brave, beautiful moment in the story. I hope you have many more poignant stories like that one!

    Thank you for sharing this chat with all of us! Blessings on all of your future endeavors, Gracyn! I would love if WCTH could last many more Seasons… perhaps, the townspeople in Hope Valley will keep expanding, and as you suggested, they will eventually need two teachers!

    Blessings! Net
    Net recently posted…*HAPPY EASTER BLESSINGS!!!* (NEW Movies & EASTER Specials to Watch this Holiday Weekend!)My Profile

    • Author
      Ruth April 14, 2017 Reply

      Thanks Net! I’m passing this on to Gracyn and her dad!

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