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Welcome to Rachel Skarsten UK: A fan website for the actress Rachel Skarsten. Rising to fame on Birds of Prey and then the breakout role of Tamsin on hit show Lost Girl - Now starring on the TV show ReignRachel has a long list of credits and achievements. Rachel Skarsten UK is the first fansite for Rachel that is not only social media based. I hope to bring you the latest news and gossip !
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Interview: Rachel Skarsten On Reign’s Queen Elizabeth & Birds of Prey

Interview: Rachel Skarsten On Reign’s Queen Elizabeth & Birds of Prey

Rachel Skarsten has joined the cast of Reign for its third season which premieres at 8PM tonight (October 9) on The CW. Skarsten is playing Queen Elizabeth, and her presence will surely shake things up for the show’s third season.

Rachel is also familiar to a lot of fans for one of her earliest roles — she was the first actress to ever play DC Comics’ Dinah Lance on television in the modern era, with the short-lived but well-loved WB series Birds of Prey.

We spoke with Rachel this summer about her new Reign role as well as her Black Canary legacy.

Reign -- Image Number: RGN_Rachel_10103rb.jpg -- Pictured: Rachel Skarsten as Queen Elizabeth -- Photo: Jordan Nuttall/The CW -- © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: What kind of drama is Elizabeth going to bring for Mary in Reign Season 3?

RACHEL SKARSTEN: Lots of drama. It’s going to be very interesting, because Laurie McCarthy’s establishing two courts – so it’ll be both the English court and the French court that Mary’s still at. So, how those women are going to interact, and how they’re going to impact each other’s lives is still a bit of a secret, but I am sure that she will bring lots of drama.

There’s an alliance with Queen Catherine, I hear?

Well, we don’t know yet if Elizabeth’s taken the bait for the alliance with Queen Catherine, but I do think that those two devious women are going to come up with some good plots, so I’m excited.

BOP-0395A number of actresses have played variations of Dinah Lance since you portrayed the character. Have you been paying attention to that?

I know! You know what? I tune in to Arrow to see Katie [Cassidy]. She does a great job. It’s interesting to see other people’s interpretations… although, [Black Canary]’s a very famous character in her own right, so there are similarities between all of us. I’m just proud to have been the first.

Would you ever be open to appearing on Arrow at some point?

You know, actually, I am really good friends with Stephen’s cousin Robbie. I’ve met Stephen before. They’re both lovely, so, absolutely. I would totally appear on that show.

You did a Birds of Prey reunion earlier this year [at the Hollywood Collector’s Show]. How did that go?

It was crazy seeing Ashley and Dina…. I mean, I have almost doubled in age since I was on Birds of Prey… and to see them, and the three of us being back together, and how fun it was that the dynamic was basically the same so many years later… it was so nice.

For Birds of Prey, you were the youngest in the cast, and now you’re more among peers. Can you talk about that?

Both on Birds of Prey and on Lost Girl, I was the youngest, and I didn’t think that I would luck out a third time, having cast members who were so generous with me. Truly, they’re all so lovely. I’ve been dying to hang out with them… I just want to hang out with my new friends! They’re so lovely. I’m stoked to be on this show.

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Rachel Skarsten – Reign

Q) What initially drew you to the role of Elizabeth?

A) I mean, I think anyone would be crazy not to be drawn to the opportunity to play a character like Elizabeth. She’s this formidable powerhouse of her time that it would be like turning down playing Coco Chanel or Michelle Obama or something. She’s just so brilliant and it was also a really attractive option for me because I had just come off of a show, Lost Girl, where I played a valkeryie. It’s such a different vibe, she had this incredible humor to her and she was very clumsy and sort of brash. I was really concerned about jumping into something that was similar because I didn’t just want to play Tamsin again. So, getting the opportunity to play Queen Elizabeth, doing a period piece and having an accent – these are all things that are just so vastly different from Lost Girl and I love that.

Then I had the opportunity to talk to the creator and I actually watched all forty-three episodes of the show before the episode that I was on. [laughs] People would call me and I’d be like, “Can’t talk! Watching Reign, bye!” I actually shot myself in the foot doing this because then I became a fan of the show and I had to go work with these people and it was sort of embarrassing. I’m like, “Hey! I’m a big fan!”

Q) We know Queen Elizabeth is this big iconic role and she’s kind of been present during the first two seasons without actually seeing her. How did that play into your preparation for the role?

A) It’s funny because as I was watching the show, I sort of started to get a little bit nervous because they mention Elizabeth so many times. “Queen Elizabeth did this!” or “Elizabeth did that!” and I’d get nervous because they were talking about me. It was sort of like my dream come true because this is the first time I’ve ever played a real person that has existed. And as an English Literature major, I got to research and read on all this stuff and then I proudly waltzed into Laurie McCarthy’s office and said, “I read six books so far on Elizabeth, Elizabeth relationships and Mary!” and Laurie sort of smiled at me and said, “Well don’t get too attached to that.” [laughs]. So, that was sort of my preparation shot to hell in a hand basket ,but watching the show and getting the general vibe for it were all things that I did. Then, of course, I had to. 

I hadn’t done an English accent before. I walked into the audition sort of winging it and I suppose it was good enough, but I did want to get it perfect. I went in and met with a lovely accent coach and she helped me to perfect it.

Q) Already knowing Elizabeth’s earlier experiences, especially with her family, how do you think that’s going to impact her way of ruling? She comes off so stoic and very aggressive, almost passive aggressive in a way.

A) Totally. The thing I like about Laurie and what the writers have done is that, first off we’re seeing Elizabeth very early on in her rule. So, she’s probably in her early 20’s. While she is definitely the Queen, obviously Mary (Adelaide Kane), Mary being married to the King of France and being a Catholic is very threatening to her rule. She’s struggling having all these men who are much older than her on her council, not taking her seriously as a leader. So, we get to see those struggles and her vulnerability in that. And, of course, we have sort of her famed love story with Robert Dudley, the whole were they or weren’t they.

We get to see Elizabeth as a young girl who is in love. Honestly now that I’m 30, I can safely say that when I was in my early 20’s, I was certifiably insane. It was this really difficult time of not being a child anymore but not yet fully being an adult. And so you have these moments of beautiful maturity and clarity and then you have contrasting moments that follow up those mature moments with being impetuous and wild and wanting freedom, but without having the responsibility that comes with that freedom. I think they perfectly show that and we have that dichotomy in Elizabeth and I love playing that.

Q) From all the previews we’ve seen so far Elizabeth just has this look about her, very dominant and stoic. Will we get to see a softer side to her down the road?

A) Oh, of course! I love playing the bad girl. I think those girls are so much more complex, interesting, juicy and fun. But those characters are only redeemable if you see their vulnerabilities as well. So, we will absolutely see her weaknesses and moments where she’s sad, lonely and sort of desperate. We didn’t see that in the trailer, but trust me when I say I’ve cried plenty thus far on this season [laughs].

Q) What can viewers expect between the Catherine and Elizabeth dynamic?

A) Oh man, Megan Follows, growing up in Canada she was obviously a very big deal and then watching her on the show before having met her – At the risk of losing some of my friends on Reign, she is definitely my favorite character. Getting to work with her was difficult to maintain focus because, as an actress, you’re sort of watching her and thinking, “Oh my goodness, she did that this way. That’s so cool I have to remember that!” and then you have to remind yourself to be present in the scene.

I love the dynamic between Elizabeth and Catherine because Elizabeth obviously grows up without a mother and Catherine is a sort of motherly figure, but Catherine also is a very dangerous adversary for Elizabeth. Especially the first episode, you meet Elizabeth and you sort of see how that relationship unfolds. I think it’s interesting for Catherine too because she’s never met another woman who really is on another playing field as her, if not has a one up on her, but is also just a girl. It was very fun to play that with Megan.

Q) Historically, we know that Elizabeth doesn’t die. How does that make you feel?

A) It’s kind of great as an actress because it’s like unless I totally tank this part, I’m not going to get killed off the show! [laughs]. Adelaide and I joke about it! I’m like, “It’s only a matter of time!” but it’s been a lot of fun so far and you never know what can happen!

Q) You’re right they’ve definitely thrown in a bit of the supernatural side so anything can really happen! I want to shift gears a bit to the Lost Girl because I know that last half of the final season aired earlier last month in Canada. I know that Tamsin’s character is so confident and has that naturalistic instinct to protect her friends, especially Bo. Were there any traits of Tamsin’s that you brought over to Elizabeth?

A) I think that every time an actress plays a character you bring parts of your own personality. You just sort of personify certain parts and exaggerate certain parts of your personality and maybe hide others. I think that’s part of what makes a portrayal real. 

Even on set, on Reign, they’ll say to me, “Okay Rachel you can’t roll your eyes like that. Elizabeth would never do that.” [laughs] And even some of the previews that came out [for Reign] all over Twitter there were people saying, “Oh there’s that Tamsin glare!” I think that as different as they are as women, I find myself sort of attracted to these characters of women who are incredibly strong and powerful. I’ve been so lucky to get to play women like that. But, like us all, we have a fatal flaw that tends to be our Achilles heel and sort of our underbelly and so both of those characters had that. Ironically or maybe not, but love is sort of the one thing they’re searching for but also seems to have alluded them because of the positions they’re in.

Q) I can see that. Tamsin’s really had a great storyline and her character development the entire time that she’s been on the show has just been incredible. Tamsin just went from this kick ass, I don’t care about anyone attitude to being almost at the beck and call of Bo.

A) Yeah I know [laughs].

Q) What are your hopes for Tamsin as the show comes to a close?

A) I sat down with the amazing Michael Grassi, who is the head writer of the show and he sort of said to me, “What do you want for the last season? What do you want for Tamsin?” I think Tamsin has always been searching for love, family and acceptance, a place to call her own. I wanted to see her go after that completely and either at the end be completely ruined for it or to find that contentment that she’s been looking for. Somehow Michael ended up managing to give me both of those things in a firework display ending. I absolutely love how he ended the character of Tamsin. I thought it was so brilliant and did so much justice to that character. I think everyone is going to be very happy.

Q) I hope so! It literally broke my heart last season!

A) Yes, well there’s more heartbreak, but there’s also very good things. I just cried! I cry all the time now apparently.

Q) Oh I remember the first time Tamsin cried on Lost Girland I just remember thinking, “Crap…Something bad is about to happen.”

A) [laughs] Yeah, that means the world is ending!

Q) Are you Team Lauren or Team Tamsin?

A) Ultimately, I really like Lauren (Zoie Palmer) for Bo. t’s been sort of a long-standing romance and truthfully I don’t know that Bo (Anna Silk) loves Tamsin back in the way that Tamsin loves her. So as much as I am inclined to say Team Tamsin, I think I’ll have to go with Team Lauren. Or just Lauren and Tamsin, they’ve got a whole cop-doc thing going on, forget Bo!

Q) If you could describe the season opener of Reign in one word and the final season of Lost Girl in one word, what would it be?

A) I suppose just beginning and end. For me, Reign is a new beginning, a whole new character and a whole new adventure that I’m so excited to embark on. But at the same time I’m very sad about the ending of another character that I’ve inhabited for three years.

There’s a quote that I put up on Instagram that said, “And suddenly you know…It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.” I love that quote. With Tamsin,, I’m very satisfied with the way that I left her and therefore can be excited with how I started Elizabeth.

Q) What have you taken away from your experience on Lost Girl?

A) Apart from just the real friendships with Anna [Silk], Zoie, Paul [Amos], Kris [Holden-Reid], Ksenia – all of them who I still text at least one of them everyday, we get together whenever we’re all in Toronto or Los Angeles. The thing I feel that I really, really took away from it were the incredible fans. I had no concept of what I was getting myself into and how loyal these fans would be. They will follow you anywhere and support anything that you do. My heart has literally burst open with people’s generosity to my brother’s charity and how they’ve donated and jumped on board. 

It’s been this extremely humbling, beautiful honor to have such amazing fans. I mean the whole show of Lost Girl has been fueled by the fans. I think above and beyond anything that is what I took and still benefit from. I am very grateful.

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Rachel Skarsten on Her Recent Royal Transformation

When Reign returns to the CW on October 9th for its third season, the historical series—which centers on Mary, Queen of Scots’ time in France—will be adding a new queen to its mix. Fifty Shades of Grey alum Rachel Skarsten is joining the show as Queen Elizabeth I. Here, the Canadian former hockey champ—seriously, she was the goalie for the Leaside Wildcats—opens up about binge-watching, the art of pranking and how hockey helped her in Hollywood.

So, you’re going to be Queen Elizabeth! How did that happen? 

The process of booking Reign took place during pilot season, I had two auditions on one day. Honestly, my main concern was not looking like a complete knob with my British accent, because I have never done one before. I left the building and didn’t really give it another thought other than just, Whew, I didn’t completely mess it up! And then, a little time passed and I got the phone call.

How did you manage to learn the accent?

Actually, long before I ever auditioned for Reign, I had been completely enthralled and obsessed with Cate Blanchett’s performance as Elizabeth in both of those films that she did. When I first started filming, I would watch clips of her and would try to mimic her. For the actual audition, it was straight up YouTube. But now, Reign is lovely enough to have two dialect coaches. It also helps that 50 percent of the cast is actually British.

So, what intrigued you about the character?

Queen Elizabeth is such an iconic character. To have the real honor of playing someone who is just so complex and so brilliant and so well known has been such an exciting new challenge for me. It was kind of a homecoming for me too, since I had been on The CW with my first show ever when I was 16 years old.

What type of research did you need to do to prepare for this kind of historical role? 

I immediately went to the bookstore and bought all these books on Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s relationship with Mary. I did sort of all my own research. And then, of course, they cast me and right away said could you come in and be the teaser for the last episode of our second season, which we are filming in two weeks. I thought, Oh my goodness! I need to watch all these episodes! There were 43 episodes. And I was like, OK, I’m just going to do this! My friends would literally call me and I would be like, ‘I can’t talk to you right now. I’m watching Reign.’

What is your favorite part about playing Queen Elizabeth so far?

I love how they have written her because there is sort of this dichotomy of vulnerability and being quite ruthless, which is always very fun to play. Just superficially speaking, my absolute favorite part of this character is the transformation I get to make. I have this beautiful red wig. The costumes are so stunningly beautiful. The designer, Meredith, is just an absolute genius. I love how it’s sort of pulled from current runway and then mixed with vintage. Every time they call and say they need to bring me in for a fitting, it’s like Christmas.

I heard about a certain prank war happening on set. Can you tell me more about it? 

I burnt myself on a hair curler in the makeup trailer by accident and it formed this scab. Toby Regbo, who plays Francis, was originally really grossed out by this scab. Growing up with a brother, if my brother was ever grossed out by something then I wanted to make him eat it. So, Rose Williams, who plays Princess Claude, and I decided to take photos of it and got them printed out in the production office. We lured him out of his trailer and just put photos of it all around his trailer. He was so mad at me, but it was totally worth having him not talk to me for an entire day. Toby would love to think that he could retaliate. But Rose and I are the supreme queens when it comes to pranking.  So, he knew better.

Dance and hockey were a huge part of your life. Do you miss being a part of a team at all?

I always say hockey saved me, because [acting is a] business where the whole focus was on being skinny and not strong, and a business that sort of pitted woman against each other. Hockey is the opposite of that—you worked together and you all had your place on that team. In the right situation, you can have that in this job as well. I think this show is actually a pretty good example of that. It’s a little bit different; you don’t get to body check anyone into the boards in the show.

 

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Suetables Fall 2015 Video featuring Rachel Skarsten:

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   2015/10/08

Rachel posted this earlier on Instagram, it’s from her new role as Elizabeth in Reign which premieres in Canada tonight and USA tomorrow night:

elizabeth

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   2015/10/06

                 

Growing up in Toronto, Rachel Skarsten didn’t have huge dreams of becoming an actress. However, being in a city surrounded by friends who enjoyed it, she gave it a try, leading to roles she has excelled in. Rachel’s success is only just beginning and I think it is safe to say we can expect fantastic things from her.

FACES had the opportunity to chat with Rachel and discuss her career as an actress and how she has enjoyed working on hits such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the CW’s “Reign”. We can’t wait to see what is next for this beautiful, talented woman.

Did growing up in Toronto influence your dream of becoming an actress?

Uh, skip. Only kidding (laughs). Truthfully, I didn’t grow up thinking I wanted to be an actress. However, growing up in Toronto influenced me in ways that helped lead me to becoming an actress. I went to high school here and although I never took drama, I knew actors/actresses and had friends who went to school for acting and they loved it. This influenced me and I thought I’d give acting a try.

Canada is such a great place to begin and grow a career because there’s such a great market for Canadian and American productions. Canada is also a smaller country where most people acting know each other, especially Toronto. It’s lovely to go into a room and see a director you’ve known for 10 years. When I was in Canada, I booked a lot of things in the U.S., so I decided to move to Los Angeles. But the last two things I’ve been in have been in Toronto, so Toronto and I are tied.

Describe the transition from acting as an interest to acting becoming a career.

I had an entire career before I decided I want to act. Acting was something I practiced in the summer. Eventually, I booked a part on “Birds of Prey” on the old “CW” and now I’m on the new “CW”. I worked on that show in Los Angeles and lived there for a bit, but I missed my family and got homesick. When the show was canceled, I came back to Kingston and went to Queen’s University. After that, I travelled for a bit and didn’t know what I wanted to do. My mom told me to go back to Los Angeles for a bit so I did.

Because I got a part easily the first time, I thought it would be just as easy the second time, but that definitely wasn’t the case. For two years I really struggled to get another job. But I realized that I really wanted to be an actress and I just kept working on it. I really learned a lot during that timeframe.

What is your all-time favourite show?

My favourite show is “The Walking Dead”. I love zombies and anyone who knows me knows how much I love that show!

You play Queen Elizabeth in CW’s hit show “Reign”, which airs October 2015. Tell us a little bit about this role and experience.

Truthfully, it has been another beautiful surprise that my second career has had for me. After I finished “Lost Girl”, I didn’t think that I would have another show like that because this is a tough business that sort of lends itself to you having to be a sort of narcissist to survive. Many people can be difficult to work with and even mean, but you have to lie and say they’re nice (laughs). What’s great about “Reign” is that the people are very warm and welcoming. Not even 5 minutes after I found out I was playing Queen Elizabeth, I got a call from the network congratulating and welcoming me. The team is just like a family. We have movie nights and we hang out a lot. There is a blue line on the page under the last sentence.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a professional actress?

I faced the challenges that most actors face – not being tall enough, or the right size, etc. – I think it’s the same for pretty much any actor. It really comes down to having perseverance. But even when you do achieve a certain degree of success you have to follow it up with another success. Ultimately, you have to learn to be content with where you are and enjoy the moments and success you have.

 

What was your initial reaction when you landed your very first role on a cereal commercial?

I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself into. I thought it was cool that I would make $1,000, which was a ton of money at the time. I kind of thought I’d be making it rain all over Toronto (laughs). I thought I’d go in for an audition and then they’d offer me a part. I didn’t realize how difficult it was until I went in for my second auction for a different part and didn’t get it.

You are a talented actress, ballet dancer, piano player and cello player. How do you find the time to continue practicing each talent?

I’m not the best piano player (laughs). The piano was a requirement in my household, and you had to do all your levels of swimming until you were a lifeguard. Luckily for me, I went to an art school and they paired me with a cello. I still have it and I love to play it. I tried transporting it but the lovely folks at Air Canada broke it.

Acting is hard because it requires long days and you are always on call, even when you aren’t working. I can get called in at any time on any day to come and work, so I can’t make plans or go out on random nights. So it can be hard to fit in other things because acting sort of consumes your entire life. Some people are better at it than others. I think at the end of the day, you make time for what’s important. For me, it’s my family and my job and I try to balance the two of those, as well as personal health.

What was it like being a part of the  movie “Fifty Shades of Grey”?

That was a crazy experience. I was in Vancouver filming something else and I got a  call from the director. I was ready to read for the director, but she saw a tape of me and wanted to offer me the part. It was the biggest production I’ve ever been a part of and then, when we finished, it was like a year and a bit until the movie came out. I started working and doing other things and when I was in the car, I heard the commercial come out for it on the radio and  I realized “oh my God, this is me!” It was quite a humbling moment when the trailer was seen by so many millions of people after the first day. I just felt so grateful to be a part of something so big, and then that led to “Reign” and other opportunities.

What has been your favourite experience so far within the film/entertainment industry?

I have to say, although it’s corny, meeting Adam West who played the original Batman. I was obsessed with that show when I was little. I completely blacked out when I met him, I don’t remember anything I said. He gave me a kiss on the cheek and winked when he left so I know I didn’t do anything too embarrassing. I’m a regular Joe and I love getting to meet other actors, I think I get just as excited as anyone!

@RachieSkarsten

Credit Faces Magazine

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I have just posted a written overview of Reign Seasons 1 and 2. With pictures and the basic story it should help new people who want to get into Reign or just to refresh your memory.

Thanks to Lisa for writing it!

Reign Overview

On another note we will be having weekly Reign reviews once the series begins again, so keep and eye out!

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Rachel posted the following picture and message on Twitter and Instagram:

New from this Boss: @marksquires

rachel

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New tweet from Rachel 2.10.15:

I SUPPORT &love it’s brilliant & compassionate creator GIVE your voice to this cause

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I am posting this new sneak peak as Tamsin is in it heavily:

*spoiler alert*

See Video

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