I am unquestionably ecstatic when an agency contacts me to interview one of their enterprising actors, and when those professionals are connected to correspondingly amazing Hallmark projects, that is like virtual icing on the proverbial cake. In the case of Sarah Edmondson, Hallmark audiences are certain to recognize her from a variety of projects, Hallmark and otherwise, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to feature our recent chat.
RH: Why did you decide to become an actress? What kind of training have you had?
SE: To be totally honest, initially my decision to be an actress was driven by the desire to get attention and eat free food from the craft services table. I would like to think that over the years that motivation has evolved into something more meaningful – to tell stories and to offer people entertainment, catharsis and shifts in perspective and awareness. But I’ve always loved performing! I used to put on skits at family events and started attending theatre when I was very little.
I was in a theatre program in high school, but I also did an extracurricular program called “Jewish young people’s theatre”. I had a mentor there named Lynna Goldhar Smith, who helped me explore my range as an actor and pushed my boundaries in the best possible way. When I was sixteen, my uncle, Paul Shapiro, was directing a movie with David Hasselhoff in Vancouver. David needed a babysitter, so my uncle suggested I do it. I got a taste of what it was like being on set (hence the craft services experience), and I was hooked. Later I got my degree in theatre at Concordia University in Montreal and continued my studies back in Vancouver with various coaches and acting teachers.
What was your first professional job in the business and what are your memories of it?
My first professional role was on a teen series called The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. It was my first role on camera. I was terrible. I had no idea how to act for the camera. I remember the camera team teaching me about the difference between a close-up and a master shot. I was so grateful because I was coming from a theatre background, so I’m sure my acting was a little over-the-top. But I learned a lot and also met my dear friend Jennifer Finnigan, who has gone on to have a fantastic career in LA. After a lot of TV roles, many of them for YTV, I would say things started taking off when I landed a recurring role on CBC’s teen drama show, Edgemont, back in Vancouver. I had so much fun on set with women that were in a similar place, and all of us happened to grow our careers from there. A lot of them are still my friends, especially Meghan Black, Kristen Kruek, Elana Nep and Grace Park. All of our kids are friends, and it all began on Edgemont! Who would’ve thought?
Please tell us about your work on Edgemont. How did you get that role and what are your memories of that job?
I auditioned for that role. I was so excited to work on Edgemont, especially to work opposite Grace Park, who I had met in an acting class and instantly thought she was super cool. My funniest memory is having to do a screen kiss with her, as I played her girlfriend on the show. It was a very tame kiss because it was a teen soap for the CBC. I remember we joked that we should do a take where we really went for it and do a big sloppy French kiss. We were about to do that, just to give them something silly for the blooper reel, but unfortunately, we had to move on to the next scene. I met such great people on that set. It was a really wonderful cast and crew. It’s also where I met one of Canada’s finest directors, Gary Harvey, who just directed me in At Home in Mitford. He was and still is a total joy to work with.
You’ve done quite a few voiceover gigs. What was your first one and how did it come about?
My first big voiceover gig was for Transformers: Galaxy Force. My agent got me the audition and I got the part. Working on Transformers gave me some serious street cred with the boys and later working on My Little Pony earned the same with the girls and the fabulous Bronies of course.
What do you enjoy most about doing voiceover and what are the challenges?
Every time I do a voice job, I am consistently aware of how lucky I am. Animation is so fun. Watching other actors voice their characters is always an incredible learning opportunity, and Vancouver is filled with some of the world’s best voiceover artists, so working with them is often an education. It’s also a bonus to be able to show up in my sweatpants! Voiceover is great because you don’t need to go through hair and makeup, which is a relief. Especially being a mom.
The main challenge I face is having to be aware of my health all the time. I have to make sure my voice is in good condition and that when I go into record, I don’t eat or drink anything that might stand in the way of my voice sounding its best. I also love the fans of the shows or movies that I’ve voiced. The fans are so committed and engaging on social media. They really care about who’s doing the voice of the character.
Hallmark viewers first saw you in When Calls the Heart season one episode two in the role of Miriam Garner. How did that role come about and what did you appreciate most about being a part of this show?
I auditioned for this part too, and I appreciated the whole production. I love period pieces. The wardrobe was such a treat, and I really enjoyed the corsets and complexity, although being seven weeks pregnant made it a little challenging. The role was a dream come true, and I would love to do more on that show, or more period pieces.
Recently, you returned to the Hallmark network to film multiple projects. We saw you in Love At First Bark and Wedding March 2. What did you enjoy most about both of those projects? What do you enjoy about working for Hallmark?
Well, filming at home in Vancouver is always a bonus. Meeting Jana Kramer on the set of Love At First Bark was fun. She’s such a young talent with a huge career ahead of her.
My role in Wedding March 2 ended up being smaller, but I got to meet with Jack Wagner, who is a great musician and super fun to hang out with. It was also a total treat to work with some of Vancouver’s best actors, like Hrothgar Mathews and Ellie Harvey. Hallmark also creates such relatable characters and stories that it’s very easy for me to play the characters I am cast as. I think that’s what makes their movies so appealing to audiences.
This past month, Hallmark viewers were able to see you in At Home In Mitford. How did that role come about? What can you tell us about your character? Did you happen to read the book in preparation? Any special memories from that shoot?
I was so lucky to get the part of Marge Owen. I’m guessing that because I had worked with Gary before, and because of my other roles in Hallmark movies, I didn’t have to audition for the part. That was a treat, to not have to audition. Being offered a role rarely happens, so I was very grateful Hallmark trusted me to play Marge. I found myself very similar to Marge, as she’s someone who organizes community potlucks and is the town matchmaker. With the exception of her being from a small town, that’s who I am. The role felt like such a natural fit. I didn’t read At Home in Mitford prior to shooting. I didn’t have time as I started shooting so soon after getting the part. I am going to read it now and fingers crossed that we do more from the series.
I’ll never forget meeting and working with Andie MacDowell. She’s one of the kindest people I’ve met and is an absolute professional. Grounded and effervescent. I learned so much just by watching her. Also, Cameron Mathison and I had a friendly competition going on about who the healthiest person on set was between us. We would show up on set with various concoctions of green smoothies, bone marrow powder, collagen supplements, fish oil tablets, and low glycemic coconut protein bars. I thought I was a really healthy eater, but I met my match in Cameron.
In addition to At Home in Mitford, what other works do you have coming up that you can mention?
Hopefully another movie (fingers crossed) and an animation TV series I started voicing, which I can’t talk about at the moment, but I’m really excited about it. I am also producing my husband’s web series, which is hilarious and I am very proud of what he created. Stay tuned.
Since you have a family, how do you juggle your personal and professional life as an actress?
Managing my time is a constant challenge. Family is important to me, so I definitely try to make time to connect with my husband and son daily and spend time with friends and in the outdoors. When I have last-minute auditions or have to be on set, I have to make sure child care is a priority and sometimes my to-do list gets put on hold. I don’t think there’s a magic formula; you just learn to adjust as you go along. But I definitely have a great support team that helps me, from family to fantastic nannies, a fabulous cleaner who is like family and an awesome assistant!. I call them “Team Sarah”!
When you are not filming, what do you like to do for fun?
Yoga, walking, hiking, traveling, searching for the healthiest food and smoothies, and spending time with family and friends. I love to find different ways to better myself and give unsolicited advice to friends, fellow mamas and anyone who will listen.
To be perfectly forthright, I have no idea how Sarah maintains her busy schedule, but that is a conundrum only performers such as she appear to understand and demonstrate. I am furthermore captivated by her positive outlook, healthy lifestyle, and aspirational impetus towards self-improvement. Few artists are capable of managing a work schedule which permits her to have unequivocal success in both voice work as well as on-camera acting and still lead a robust life replete with family, friends, and fitness. Lest I forget, Sarah is also a masterful actress blessed with overwhelming versatility and profound humility. In short, Sarah is a network dream, and anyone who has the advantageous honor of working with her is going to have a rapturously memorable experience.
In view of these undeniable facts, I would invite all my readers to check out each of Sarah’s links below and consider following her where applicable and/or investigating her recent and past works. I, for one, was thoroughly entranced with her portrayal of Marge in At Home in Mitford, and like her, I hope that the saga of this series has only just begun. Likewise, let’s rally around the elegant and sweet Sarah and depend upon the sagacity of Hallmark (and all other networks) plus the prowess of Sarah to earn her more roles of significance and spirit within this career into which she has thrust herself.
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