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Actress Helen Highfield Talks About “I Ship It”, Regrets, and Dream Roles


Actress Helen Highfield stars on I Ship It, a series that first aired on CW Seed. The show gained such a following that the network decided to air the second season on television. As for Highfield herself, she’s determined to create a different narrative about female characters on television and movies. We chatted with this funny, free-spirited talent to discuss her hit television series, whether or not she has any regrets, and if there are any dream roles she wishes to take on.


Cliché: First off, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions. It is greatly appreciated! Now, from what I gathered, not much is written or known about you. So, if you don’t mind, I would like to use this interview as a way for people to get to know who Helen Highfield is! Let’s start with your upbringing. You’re from Ithaca, New York. Would you say you had a relatively normal upbringing? Tell me about that.

Helen Highfield: Of course, thank YOU! Well, I was born and raised in Ithaca, NY – a small liberal university town with a bumper sticker that reads “Ithaca: 10 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality”. And, of course, there’s the more famous one: “Ithaca is Gorges” (cause we have quite a few). I’d say I was pretty lucky to grow up there because there’s a ton of support for the arts and a big mix of people who live there because of Cornell. We Ithacans have a lot of hometown pride.


How did you get bitten by the acting and performing bug? Was it a particular show or film you saw that resonated with you the most?

I always loved going to see theater and watching movie musicals like Singing in the Rain but I was mostly focused on singing for a long time. I sang in several choirs and I got into acting by doing all the school musicals starting in 8th grade. In high school, some friends told me about The Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca, a local acting class they were in, and it sounded absolutely terrifying but I gave it a try and fell head over heels in love with it. I was always a bit of a perfectionist and I remember leaving that first class thinking “this is the first thing I’m willing to be bad at and I think that’s important.”


Tell me about your time in school. Did you ever feel out of place? Were you ever bullied? If so, how did you overcome that and what advice would you give to kids who are going through the same thing?

I was very lucky in this regard cause I had a couple of besties who had the same interest in theater and music as I did and that’s all that really mattered to me. I was never really worried about joining a certain group and preferred to get to know people individually. The best advice I can give is: focus on finding your people. Your people will be kind and laugh with you at the same dumb stuff and share your interests. The mean people aren’t your people.


Since beginning your acting career, you’ve guest starred on a number of highly successful television series such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds, and Rizzoli and Isles. Which means you got to work alongside some pretty powerful actors such as Mariska Hargitay, Joe Mantegna, and Angie Harmon. What lessons did you learn from these people in particular that you have taken with you in your life and career?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have scenes with those folks – though I fully geeked out at Chris Meloni (a fellow alum of The Neighborhood Playhouse) on my way to set! I think the main thing I took away (and continue to marvel at) from those first few jobs was the overwhelming sense of community that comes through on set. It’s so exciting to experience how everyone there is happily focusing their job so it can all come together. I think it’s an important lesson to understand that it’s such a collaborative effort and your acting is only one part of a much bigger machine.


Helen Highfield as Ella and Riley Neldam as Tim — Credit: Jordon Nuttall/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved


In 2016, you began portraying Ella on I Ship It. What drew you to the project and the character of Ella? How do you see yourself reflected in Ella?

I’d actually randomly stumbled upon Yulin Kuang’s (creator of I Ship It) YouTube channel a year or so before I auditioned and I loved her work. When I auditioned, I had this weird feeling that I somehow recognized the character but I didn’t make the connection till the callback that this was the series iteration of her short film by the same name. I loved how messy and determined Ella is. And of course, was really excited about singing in a show – it was my first time recording! There’s definitely a lot of me in Ella. We’re both ambitious and can get kinda intense when we’re going after something we want. We both feel a lot of feelings. Though I think Ella is a lot more impulsive than I am. I think that’s part of what I loved about playing her.


The first season aired on CW Seed and was so popular with audiences that the show has graduated to airing on television? The premiere date is April 10th. Why do you think the show resonated with viewers the way it did?

Yes! Starting April 10th, it’ll be available for 2 weeks only on CW Seed before it moves to broadcast later this year. There’s a lot of fandoms out there but not a lot of content about the fandoms themselves so I think Yulin tapped into something special with this show. Ella is a fangirl who writes fan fiction and in this season, our show takes place in an alternate universe (a popular fan fiction trope) so we get to play with the musical genre in a whole new way. No more nerd rock, just full on musical moments. Our composer, Brian Grider, did an excellent job and I think the music in this season is even better than the last!


According to your website, you say that a career goal of yours is to “play smart, sophisticated, sexy women who have fun with language”. Elaborate on that? What does that mean for you personally?

Haha, yes! I’ve just seen way too many parts for women that aren’t very dynamic or interesting – they just ask the male characters “what do you mean?” to propel the plot. All the women I know are WAY more interesting than what’s largely been portrayed in TV and movies so it’s really exciting to see the shift that’s happening in Hollywood. My current obsession is Pen15. Those characters are so beautifully written and acted and I see the complexity of my female friends in them. I just want to work with great writers who write multifaceted female characters! That’s another reason I loved playing Ella – she’s so honestly ambitious, a quality we still sometimes vilify in women when we really shouldn’t. And as for the “sexy” part… I like the idea of playing women who are at home in their bodies in a way that doesn’t need to be their one defining quality as decided by the (often) male writer. Sexy is just a confidence in oneself.


What is the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?

Oh man, they’re all surprising! But let’s go with the realization that my perception of things is the only thing I can truly control and so I get to have a lot of choice in how I see my life. It’s pretty empowering to realize that I get to choose how I react to life’s ups and downs.



What’s one thing you did in the past that you really wish you could go back and undo, or do differently?

Oh man. I think I’d go back to 18 year old me who’d just moved to NYC to go to acting school and was low key terrified and I’d give her a hug and tell her to breathe. Not sure she/me would listen, but it’d be worth a try!


Finish this sentence: I am most fulfilled when ______.

I’m able to find balance and create boundaries. I’m guilty of putting other people’s needs ahead of mine a lot but I keep learning (and re-learning and re-learning…) the lesson that when I make time for self-care, I’m a much better version of myself to everyone around me. I now literally set alarms to remind myself to eat because I can get the suuuuper hangry!


Are there any particular dream roles that you see yourself portraying? Why do you see yourself in those roles?

When I saw August: Osage County on Broadway, I got really excited to act for a long time and get to play some badass ladies like Barbara. I’d love to play her in that play someday.


Finally, what kind of legacy do you wish to leave behind? What kind of message would you like to get across when all is said and done?

Oooooh this is deep. Ya know, I don’t feel like I have any big ambitions for changing the world purely with my acting. Of course, I’d love to be remembered for a large body of inspiring acting work, but mostly I think we influence the world in much smaller interactions. I think we can all spread kindness daily and inspire those around us by offering ourselves compassion. I was introduced to the Marianne Williamson poem “Our Deepest Fear” when I was in acting school and I just love this line: “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”


Thank you so much for speaking with us!

Thank you for having me!


Be sure to catch I Ship It airing right now on CW Seed. It will remain there for two weeks before moving to the CW Network later this spring! To stay up to date on all things Helen Highfield, follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Actress Helen Highfield Talks About “I Ship It”, Regrets, and Dream Roles: Featured Image Credit: Sela Shiloni

Charlie Carrick Talks Season 3 of ‘Reign’


Charlie Carrick is a history fan, something that’s drawn him to period dramas such as The Borgias and currently Reign, as the nobel Robert Dudley, a friend and suitor to Queen Elizabeth. Hailing from England, Carrick was familiar with the history, but said he loves to read up on the real-life character he portrays and the time period. Catch the third season of Reign airing on The CW now.
Cliché: How did you first get into acting?
Charlie Carrick: Well, when I was around 12 or 13, I started getting into school plays, and also around the same time, I started watching movies more seriously, seeking out things that I would like that people recommended to me other than just what was on at the multiplex. I started to think about acting then.
How was it jumping into Reign for its third season?
It helps that everybody—the whole cast and crew—are super nice. Everybody looks out for each other and are very welcome to new people that are joining. There has been a big shift in the show’s direction to have a lot of the show set in England and an English court now, so it was a big adjustment for everybody. It felt like a new start within a show, so it didn’t feel like I was just flopping in to somebody else’s thing.
How did you prepare to play a real-life character?
It’s the second time that I’ve played a real-life character, but he’s a well-chronicled historical character of his time. There is a lot of contemporary writing from the time and paintings of him and analysis about what his role in court was. There is a lot of material to read. I had a fairly short time before I started, so that’s an ongoing thing. Every now and then, I’ll seek out something on him. It was also important for me to read up on Elizabethan life, what day-to-day life was like for people then and how that informs the show.
What are the things you drew from your research on the character and the time?
I’d done something in a similar time period before. I did the show called The Borgias. It was about 50 years before this and in Italy rather than England, so it was very different in terms of clothes and societal things. But I studied English history at school, and I kind of remembered from that. I tried to look for stuff that I knew would work into the storyline of the show, and so when you read about Robert Dudley, you realize that he was a very accomplished man. He achieved a lot in his life and had diverse interests. The big paradox in his life was that part of his life came up against the fact that he was subject to the whims of a woman, which in his time, he was in almost a unique situation. I focused on how that would be for him.
What drew you to the character?
When I auditioned for the part, I had two scenes to read, and one of them was with Queen Elizabeth, and one of them was with his wife. It was an interesting proposition right away to see how he behaved differently with two women. He was between the two and had these decisions that he had to make. Immediately there was already rich drama in that.
What can fans expect in this second half of the season?
Well, I think the development of his relationships will be seen more. Something has to give in those situations. I have to choose or find a way to make things work. The circumstances are going to change in one way or another.
You went into this period of history before, so what is your favorite part of a period drama?
I think you get a lot of freebies that help you as an actor when you’re doing a period, especially if the production has realized it well with the costumes, the sets, the props. A lot of the work of building the world is already done and then your imagination can focus on making the character a real person. It’s interesting that the world is so different; society was arranged so differently in that time, but the people are the same. People’s feelings and wants and desires are all the same, you just have to find different ways to navigate the period they’re in.
Is there a show you’re currently binge-watching or keeping up with that you would love to guest on or join?
My favorite TV show is a Sundance show called Rectify, which I think is just the best show. It’s beautifully shot and well-acted and directed, but it has a very small, closed cast. I don’t know if there’s a way into that for me. I’m also watching Deadwood, mostly while on set. I would love to do a Western.
What do you have coming up this year?
We’re going to finish this season of Reign. I’ve got a couple of movies that I did over the last couple of years that are wrapping up their festival runs. One of them just had a Hollywood screening and should be coming to TVs soon. And then another film I did called The Devout. Hopefully that comes out soon. So I have those to look forward to. I’m going to do some traveling over the next couple of months. My girlfriend is doing a residency in Iceland, so I’m hoping I can go visit her for a couple of weeks.
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Charlie Carrick Talks Season 3 of ‘Reign’: Photographed by Lane Dorsey

Shows That Were Gone Too Soon


Now that the season of renewals and cancellations are all but over, we took a moment to step back and recall some of our favorite shows that could have lasted a bit longer. From kick-butt action, dramas, mysteries and comedies, the shows on this list ended too soon for our comfort. To keep the list short, we excluded all animated features and any show that lasted longer than three seasons. Now, here’s our list of shows that were gone too soon.


The Cast of Veronica Mars on the series three DVD collection

Veronica Mars (2004-2007)
This series was filled with drama, both in and out of the walls of high school. Veronica was the girl that most could relate to and would love to be besties with. She was smart, bold, and could hold her own in a fight, a Nancy Drew with an edge. While the fan supported film was amazing to watch and added to this beloved cult classic, it reminded viewers of how we missed Veronica and her witty one-liners. The film left us wanting more. Let’s hope that a new series or film is in our future.
The Lying Game (2011-2013)
Lasting only two seasons, this series was like watching Days of Our Lives without the over acting. The recipe for drama is as follows: a set of twins, half-sisters and step-siblings who unknowingly start a relationship with each other, murder, and secret dating.  The last one is a guilty pleasure, but one of our favorites.
The main cast on the Second Season DVD collectionJoan Of Arcadia (2003-2005)
They say God works in mysterious ways and that has never been made clearer than with Joan Of Arcadia. Often asked to step out of her comfort zone and do things she doesn’t fully understand, Joan showed the power of goodwill and kindness within the harsh reality of the real world. For fans of the series, it is one of a kind. It created an image of God that felt real and touchable. Most religion based shows establish God as a distant being, or leave him out altogether by hinting at his/her existence. One of the major strengths in Joan was that God was real. God walked past you in the streets and God helped you without you even knowing it. There was no religion selling because God was above that. It was just about a girl who talked with God and made the world a better place little by little.
Red Band Society 2014-2015
In short Red Band Society is a drama that focused on the lives of a group of kids/teens who lived in the pediatric ward of a hospital. The outcome is something far more interesting. A show focusing on dying and death can be very moving and hard to watch, especially when young people are involved.
The 9 Lives Of Chloe King (2011)
Chloe King was like a teenage catwoman with a dash of Buffy the Vampire Slayer thrown in. Chloe is chosen to save and unite both her people and the human race. She struggles to understand her heritage and her cat like powers while trying to live a normal teenage life with her friends.

Fox’s poster for Lie to Me

Lie to Me (2009-2011)
I like to think that if you like Criminal Minds this series would have been up your alley. Lie to Me took the ideas of Paul Ekman, one the pioneers in the study of human emotions and its link to facial expression, and showed how they could be applied to crime fighting. The character of Dr. Lightman was based on Paul and his work in this fun to watch crime-drama that took an interesting look into human behavior.
Firefly (2002)
We can’t have a list of shows that ended too soon and not have Firefly on it. This space western had a very thought out cultural backstory and elements that made the series different from anything else out there. Since the show was based in the future, they created new words to mean different things and held a very blended culture. The cast was great and the episodes were well written. While fans of the series did get a movie years after the cancellation, it doesn’t change the fact that this series had years of great storylines ahead of it.
Dollhouse (2009-2010)
On the surface, Dollhouse was an action packed mystery about Echo’s past and what the Dollhouse was really there for. After a few episodes, viewers got to watch an exploration of what it meant to be a person. Are we made up of our memories? Or something that goes beyond that? Does the loss of our memories and replacement of new ones equal a kind of death? It also had heavy mortality issues and a good storyline.
Selfie (2014)
On a light hearted note, we bring you a comedy that reflects the world we live in today. We lost a bit of our social skills over the last few years and watching the main character struggle to regain them was too much to handle.
CW's Carrie Diaries adThe Carrie Diaries (2013-2014)
Ever wanted to know how Sex in the City characters found each other? Well, this show tried to answer that question and explore Carrie’s life before the city. The only problem was the show didn’t last long enough for the four famed friends to come together. It ended with Carrie and Samantha moving in together, but we wanted to see Charlotte and Miranda join the mix. We would have like to see the four of them having drinks together.
Once Upon a Time In Wonderland (2013-2014)
Once Upon a Time is a great series and its spin-off could have been just as great. While the first half did drag here and there, the second half the season picked up quickly. It was full of magic and great storylines. The cast of characters were interesting and it was easy to connect with the main heroes. Alice and the Knive had great chemistry together as did the Red Queen and Jafar. Wonderland offered fans a chance to explore new worlds and stories. It easily could have gone on for more season and explored the past of the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts and Cinderella’s stepsister in greater detail. While the show may have ended, at least the writers promised that these wonder-filled characters would appear in the main series. So, we may see Alice and the rest following the Knive’s lead and entering our beloved town of Storybrooke.
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Featured image courtesy of FOX