Interview With Actress Zenia Marshall, “Date My Dad”

By Ruth on July 28, 2017 in Interview, movie, television
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Last summer, I had the remarkable opportunity of interviewing a young lady “before she became famous.” Her name is Zenia Mashall, and I was totally impressed with her performance, demeanor and talent in Summer of Dreams which appeared on the Hallmark Channel last summer. I was incredibly excited when I discovered she would be featured in the upcoming UP TV original series Date My Dad, and her growth as an actress and as a person has continued to astound me. Recently, I reached out to her for a follow-up interview, and she was only too happy to relate to me the whirlwind, true-to-life fairy tale that has been her life for the past year!

RH: Summer of Dreams was your film debut. What do you appreciate most about that experience? What was the biggest thing you learned on that set?

from Summer of Dreams

ZM: I really appreciated the opportunity to experience being on my first film set and to do so with such kind, talented, and supportive actors from Debbie Gibson to all the other friends I’ve met on set. I learned so much just working on that one film alone; I was basically a human sponge on set–haha!

Debbie Gibson and ensemble Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

However,  if I had to name one of the biggest things I learned from and was inspired by was the kindness of the lovely Debbie Gibson! From the moment that I met her, she was so friendly, down-to-earth, fun, upbeat, supportive, humble, and kind to me and everyone else around her! She’s definitely someone I look up to and I’m so glad to have worked with someone like her during the first step of my career.

What kind of training have you been doing as an actor? Why do you think it is so important for actors to continue to take classes?

I’ve taken a few classes from film to theatre. While firsthand on-stage or on-set experience seems to be the ultimate training, there’s still SO much that an actor can learn and experience between bookings and work. I think it’s important to always hone your craft. It can be anything from working with instructors and acting partners in classes to studying from books and research at home to watching other artists at work in their own art and performances. Even for experienced and well-trained actors, there’s always more to learn! That’s part of the reason why art is so amazing; the possibilities are endless and the growth is limitless. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of constantly working on yourself and seeking your own opportunities.

Photo by Date My Dad – © Date My Dad

How did you land the role of Mirabel in Date My Dad?

I got the Mirabel audition for Date My Dad while I was working on Beauty and The Beast The Musical in the role of Belle. I was so excited to audition for the role as I simply loved the character and the material as soon as I read through it. I remember juggling the Date My Dad auditions and callbacks with the Beauty and The Beast rehearsals and school while being sick with a two-month-old cold! I came straight from the musical rehearsal to the Mirabel audition and had to pop in about three Ricolas before I went in that room! It wasn’t until we started the run of the musical that I got the news that I booked Mirabel! Let’s just say I went into shock and cried many, many tears of joy–haha!

How are Mirabel and you alike and different?

For starters, I love fashion, makeup, hair, and beauty! In fact, I used to even have a beauty channel on YouTube when I was younger! Coincidentally, during one episode Mirabel also started being a beauty guru herself! As much as we have some similarities, there’s also many differences. I’m somewhat conservative with how I dress in real life, so wearing that revealing get-up in the episode “The Outfit” was definitely not my natural sort of thing. I had family members, friends, strangers, and fans on the internet flip their beans when they saw me dressed in that and started to rant to ME about how inappropriate it was and that I shouldn’t go out of the house like that–haha! I’m over here reading these comments like, “Ahhh, don’t attack meee; it’s my character’s outfit, not mine–haha!”

Photo by Date My Dad – © Date My Dad

Unlike Mirabel, I’m also not so involved in the social scene. I don’t spend much time at parties and I’m definitely not absorbed in the whole “popularity” thing. I have a handful of amazing people in my life that I call friends and I cherish them very much for always being there for me. Also, I can be a bit of a homebody – getting caught up in playing the piano, writing songs or reading books.

You and the other girls seem to gel just like sisters. How and why do you think that happened?

Because they’re awesome sauce! Haha! With all that time we spent on set together, the three of us bonded so well that by the end of the season, it felt like I had two new little sisters! It’s one thing to do what you love and it’s another to do that with people that you love! Whenever I hear of cast members from other shows or movies that don’t get along, I just can’t imagine that on our set! I feel so grateful and blessed to have been able to meet and work with such talented, kind, fun, and supportive friends! I couldn’t have asked for better little TV sisters! There’s way too many memories and stories to tell so before I get carried away, I just wanna thank Lilah {Fitzgerald} and Audrey {Smallman} for the hundreds of goofy laughs on set to all the kindness and support that they’ve offered on and off screen. Hoping to do it all again in season two!

Behind-the-scenes Date My Dad with her TV sisters

What has been your favorite episode of Date My Dad so far? Why?

I’ve loved many episodes of Date My Dad for different reasons, but episode seven, “Think Before You Type,” has an extra special place in my heart. It discusses bullying in our world today from everything online to offline. Like so many others out there, I’ve experienced bullying as a kid and it was definitely one of the toughest times in my life. With this episode, I felt that we were able to reach out on a deeper level to all of our viewers on a serious matter that has affected us all in some way or another. I felt honoured to have worked on such an effective episode that held such a beautiful message for those who are struggling… to choose love over hate and the light over dark and to always stay strong.

What is the best way for viewers to help the show get a season two?

Tweet to @datemydadonup with the hashtag #DateMyDad and leave some comments on the Date My Dad Facebook page! Tell all your friends and family to come watch the show and to give their thumbs up on our social media sites from Twitter to Instagram to Facebook!

Photo by Date My Dad – © Date My Dad

This show has featured some “old-time” actors that are well-known in Hollywood. Were you aware of the careers of Raquel Welch and others involved in the cast? Were you nervous at all or concerned about working with them?

Nervous! YES! Concerned? Yup, concerned that I’d make a fool out of myself–haha! Especially in front of such Hollywood legends like the fabulous Raquel Welch! I was just so honoured to be given the privilege to work with her and the rest cast, I couldn’t help but be a big ball of nerves especially at the start!

I actually remember watching Barry Watson as a kid on the TV Series Samantha Who with my family! And just a few years ago I started watching the old TV series Charmed which starred Lochlyn Munro too! It wouldn’t have ever even occurred to me when I was watching those shows that I’d ever be given the chance to work with either one of them!

If a second season is granted, what would you like to see for Mirabel especially?

There’s so much that could happen for a second season! As a teenage girl growing up, I think that she’s at the age where so much can happen. Such as a first job to fuel her Fashionista shopping habits, to learning how to drive, to discovering other passions that she wants to pursue in life… There’s so much that she has yet to experience and grow through! I really hope that we’ll see a second season to see the rest of her story come to life along with the rest of the characters on Date My Dad!

Photo by Date My Dad – © Date My Dad

What has your interaction been like with the fans? Why do you think this show is so popular?

Because of the Twitter world, I’ve been able to interact with so many amazing Date My Dad fans! We have such kind and supportive followers! Their sweet tweets and comments on Instagram or Facebook always put a smile on my face! It’s just a whole new level of joy to not just be able to do what you love, but to see others enjoying it as well! Date My Dad is a great family show; it’s viewer-friendly for audiences of all ages with relatable characters, stories with morals, and writing that can make you laugh and cry.

Any other upcoming works you can mention?

Now that I’ve just graduated from high school, I’m finally getting the time and the chance to focus on my musical passions. I’m working on so many of my songs and compositions that I’ve always wanted to finish and record, but haven’t had the time to do so in the past due to filming or school. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share it all soon! Just follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and you’ll hear from me about every update! 🙂

Any chance Mirabel will be singing or will you be doing more with your music?

I would LOVE to be given the chance to sing or share my music on the show!! It’s the best of both worlds whenever I get to mix my passion for music with my acting! But first, we must cross our fingers for the chance to do so in the second season!

What is your advice to young people in general in today’s society?

Advice that I’d give to anyone at any age (and advice that I’ll always try to take myself) is to be “foolish” enough to dream and brave enough to make it come true. Always do what makes you happy and while you’re at it, be kind to whoever you meet on the way. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, believing in yourself, and the importance of self-love, acceptance, and respect. Whenever I’ve ever felt in doubt about pursuing my passions as an artist due to the fear of rejection and failure, I found that this quote of Jim Carrey said it best for anyone with any dream. “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

Photo by Date My Dad – © Date My Dad 

I honestly cannot believe the journey which Zenia has been privileged to take over this past year! Very few teenagers hit the ground running like her, but Zenia has proven her mettle so to speak, and I think things are only going to spiral upward from here. Watching her craft and create the role of Mirabel in her own indomitable style over this past season has been psychedelically amazing, and I can hardly wait to see what the future holds for this dazzling and gifted young woman. Through it all, however, she has remained grounded and professional even when her nerves might be a little on edge when meeting “Hollywood royalty.” Zenia has become one of my favorite teenage starlets, and I believe that once other studios catch a whiff of her tremendous talent, she is going to have oodles of offers from an overwhelmingly wide variety of outlets. If you have not been watching Date My Dad on UP, be sure that you tune in tonight (July 28th) for the season finale. In addition to that, consider checking out all of Zenia’s links below and follow her where applicable. In my educated opinion, I predict increasing success for this sweet nymph who guilelessly and effortlessly entertains us no matter the role nor the talent requested. I daresay this girl can do anything she puts her mind to, and the audience is the beneficiary of the fruits of her labor!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

1 Comment

  1. Linda Manns Linneman July 29, 2017 Reply

    She is such a cute and lovely young lady. It sounds like she really has her head together. I am so happy you got to do this interview. Thank you for sharing God Bless

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