Interview with 'ELYSIA' actress - Rachel Donahue
How did you first break into the industry?
I first started out doing musical theater and dance classes when I was about 6 years old, and I was obsessed. I remember feeling this intense yearning to tell stories and help others tell theirs. Though I loved singing and dancing as a kid, over time my passion for the way I wanted to tell stories changed. I did my first full length theatrical drama in 6th grade at the Summit Playhouse, and I think that was when I officially got bit by the acting bug. I continued doing both musicals and dramas through out my high school career, but it was when I was accepted to the Boston University School of Theatre that I decided to dedicate myself to pursuing acting. Since graduating in 2016, I’ve moved back home to New York to continue my journey. Along the way, I've found myself working more in film and commercials, after attending and self-taping auditions through ActorsAccess and Backstage.com . I’ve found myself entering the fitting modeling industry as well, when I signed with an agency after going to an open call. I’ve been cast in some really great projects since graduating - including Elysia! Though I miss the theatre, I am so grateful for where I am headed now and the projects I’ve worked on.
Who/What inspires you as an actor?
What inspires me most, which probably sounds sort of vague, is humanity as a whole. Body language, how we communicate, why we do the things we do, what drives us… I like to think that there is a reason for everything. Good, bad, and random. Reasons that motivate us and push us to do what we do. I take this notion into acting, and ask myself, “why is this character doing this? What is their motivation? Why this time? Why now? What has lead up to this moment?” Watching a lot of documentaries has also been beneficial and inspirational to my work as an actor… along with observing people in real life. I will admit that I will wear my sunglasses in the subway and just watch people on my way to work. There’s so much to learn even in the “mundane" moments! Though I’m fully aware I risk looking like a creep.
What was your best set moment on ‘Elysia’?
The snake was so cool! I’ve never worked that closely with a live reptile before. It was really interesting to see him move with the character Molly and how he was incorporated into the story. He was a scene stealer, for sure.
What sort of person is going to love this short?
I may be stating the obvious here, but Horror film lovers! Though on another level, I think people who are enticed by passion are going to love this too. There are intriguing moments in this film that are sexy, romantic and lustful… but not for reasons that you might initially think.
What advice would you give aspiring actors?
I think it’s important when first starting out to say yes to everything. Just do it! I remember one time I debated on submitting myself for a role because I felt I wasn’t right for it. I remember saying to myself, “Alright, screw it. Let’s just try this.” and I sent my tape in. I thought my audition was terrible, but I just did it anyway. Sure enough, I got the role and was shooting a film a month later. Say yes and keep going! You never know what’s going to happen.
Where can we find more of your work?
Lately I have been creating my own comedy content and original music on TikTok, Instagram, and Spotify.
Folks can find more of my current work on my music instagram account : @maybeitsray and my comedy TikTok : @maybeitsray .