This week’s spotlight shines down on an extraordinary lady who is well at home under it. A woman who truly does have it all: beauty, brains, drive and talent by the bucket-loads. You may also know her as the adorable KFC Krushers girl! What we may have missed about Rebecca McFadzien is that she works and continues to work extremely hard to reach her goals in order to make her dreams a reality. Rebecca has currently moved from Auckland to LA to pursue this reality.
Hi Rebecca and Welcome to WhatTheHallelujah.com!
Thank you so much, I’m super excited to be here!
You’ve been on every television screen in New Zealand and are further pursuing your dreams of performing in Los Angeles! What is it that made you want to pursue this avenue as a career?
It actually all happened in a single moment, one day when I was 10 years old. I had always been aware that I loved performing more than anything else, and that when I sang a song or made up a little dance that made my parents smile, it gave me the most amazing butterflies in my stomach! However it was when I was walking down a corridor towards a painting-based school holiday programme class in Dublin at the age of 10, that I really realised.
I heard sounds of singing from a room close by, and felt compelled to go in, not knowing if I was allowed to do so. I discovered a group of kids my age who were all taking turns to sing a line from the musical “Annie”, and so when they got to me, I just went for it too! Next thing I knew, they had cast me as the lead – Annie – in their upcoming production (despite not actually being enrolled in that class)! In that moment, I knew I was going to be an actor. I had no idea that this acting thing could lead to money or fame, I just knew that telling a story and making people smile was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!
Most people in their early 20s often struggle with pinpointing what they want to be when they “grow up”. Was this a difficult choice (did you consider different careers) for you or was it love at first sight?
Since moving to LA, I have been asked that question a lot actually! Doing something other than acting for a career has never been an option for me – I’ve tried to consider it a few times in my life, but it’s always made me feel like “This is crazy, life is too short for that!” It was too weird to comprehend. Growing up, my family supported me in my quest to become an actor with every ounce of their being. They never questioned my love for performing, they celebrated my successes and helped me re-route when I encountered roadblocks. Never once was the possibility that I could “fail” even suggested, which in turn meant that it was never an option in my mind either. I am eternally grateful to my family for that.
As I prepared to finish high school I was faced with the decision so many of us face – should I study at University? What should I study, and where? I was confused as to what to do next, because I had always dreamt of getting a degree but I was also ready to jump into the life of a fulltime professional actor. I tried to “keep acting as my side project” so that “I wouldn’t lose my passion for it”, and completed my first year of a BA/BCom. I had a great time studying, and got involved in a wide range of different acting projects and classes, but that year really did confirm my belief that I needed to do acting all day, every day, from then on. I auditioned for the fulltime acting degree programme at Unitec, got selected and haven’t looked back since! I have now graduated, and am living my dream!
Once you decided performing was your passion/(one of your passions) was it easy to get into the industry? What were some of the hurdles you had to jump to get your foot in the door?
Everyone I have ever spoken to regarding this says something very different, so what I’ve realised is that all I need to really need to do is listen to my heart and follow my intuition. I have found that when I am doing things that I love, I project the finest rendition of “Rebecca McFadzien” out into the universe, and this, in turn, attracts people into my life who really enrich the quality of it (both as a person and as an actor). Also, it may sound super cliché, but it really is so important to treat everyone with respect. Some of the best directors I have worked with have been younger or less experienced than me, but that doesn’t matter!
Anyone can “make it” at any time, with any recipe they choose to follow. I like to think that I’m creating a brand new recipe for myself, that I write and add to as I go along! I have always chosen to surround myself with people that I admire, who accept and appreciate me for who I am, and who enjoy producing similar sorts of content. There are so many ways of making this actor thing work – web series, Youtube videos, blogs (like WTH!) and social media, television, films, theatre – make your recipe work for you!
My tips for ‘getting your foot in the door’ anywhere in the world would be to remain true to yourself, and embrace your individuality and quirks. They are what make you stand out and be chosen. Introduce yourself to people you want to know – make it happen! Do something every day to meet new people and build your network – a call here, an email there. Really listen to others when they speak – take on those suggestions and criticisms, but don’t ever allow them to hurt or change you. Let them act as a ‘finishing polish’ to make your beautiful self even more shiny and sparkly than before! I choose to always wear my heart on my sleeve, but I make sure to always protect that sleeve and keep it in good condition! J
We have to know, you were nothing short of amazing on New Zealand’s longest running and most-loved soap opera ‘Shortland Street’ (a must-do as a Kiwi performer), how was the experience for you?
Being on Shortland Street was a dream come true for me! It is such a wonderful thing for us to have in New Zealand, and I am very proud to have been a part of it. South Pacific Pictures truly is a magnificently ‘well oiled machine’, and everyone involved works so hard every single day! I have so much respect for the long-term actors on the show too, who learn new scripts and shoot on set every day! I loved performing the role of Veronica Greenwood on the show – bringing a new tidal wave of drama into the hospital with me was a lot of fun!
Celebrities such as Tina Fey and Jennifer Lawrence as of late have commented on the pressure put on young women in the Hollywood industry regarding their physical appearance – to be a certain size in particular. Have you had any experience with this yet? What are your feelings towards this issue?
I have definitely been confronted with the expectations and ideals of looking a certain way as an actor, as a woman, and as a human being but thankfully I believe we are currently in a time of transition. We are changing the way we treat both each other and ourselves, and with new research and knowledge comes the ability to make better choices for how we look after our bodies and minds. Thanks to people such as Jennifer Lawrence, Tina Fey and Emma Watson for speaking out about these subjects, I believe that we are becoming more conscious – we are on the brink of a new beginning. Everything is changing for the better, and people are becoming more comfortable with being themselves!
I know other than working incredibly hard that you’ve somehow managed to find time to do some very cool activities/ learn new skills and make time for friends and an adoring boyfriend – What are some of your favourite hobbies and how do you manage to juggle it all?!
You’re so sweet, thank you! Well my two top hobbies would have to be singing and dancing. I love hip hop dancing, musical theatre and creating musical ‘mash-ups’ of my favourite songs (both new and old). I am also a total adrenaline junkie, and therefore adore bungy jumping, dragon boating, snowboarding, sailing and most recently, roller coasters (California has some pretty outstanding theme parks to explore!). My guilty pleasure would have to be visiting different cafes and trying out their coffee, salads and gluten free treats!
You’ve recently moved to LA – How is it all going and what’s in the cards for you?
Yes – I finally did what I have wanted to do since I was old enough to talk! Coming to LA on my own was definitely one of the scariest things I have ever done, but it has also already been one of the most rewarding and exciting! I’ve only been here for a month and already I have found a wonderful place to live, bought a cute blue car and secured a fun part time job! I am so grateful!
I have met so many wonderful people along the way too – every person that I meet, even if it’s just to ask for directions, adds a little something to my life here in some way. I have been shown a lot of kindness and have made a lot of friends. I am currently in the process of zipping in and out of meetings with different agents, producers and casting directors, so it is a very exciting time for me! So many possibilities, so many opportunities…and all of them so vibrant!
I am so proud of and inspired by the Kiwi actors already paving the way here in LA, and can’t wait to properly join them (and help others do the same!) I was born in the States, so I feel at home here, but I love New Zealand too, so I intend to work as an actor in both countries for the rest of my life! What’s a bit of jet lag when you’re living out your dreams, right? J
Well Rebecca we’re all in awe of your achievements and insatiable cheerfulness. You’re truly doing it in style and we hope to see you on the silver screen very soon. We’ll stay updated through http://www.rebeccamcfadzien.com!
Thanks WTH, I really appreciate that. Thank you for always making me smile with your witty writing. All the best for your future endeavours, and make sure to write me a role in your first screenplay please! xx
All the very best