How did you find your way into acting? Being from Salt Lake City Utah and being raised by a family of all women cops. How does one know that they want to act when surrounded by nothing of that career?
Growing up, my family put me in every sport I can think of and all of them lasted about one day. From soccer, to gymnastics, to ice skating, they tried anything you can think of except for theatre. I think because it was the furthest thing from their minds and I believe I was meant to find it on my own. It eventually landed right in front of me when I was 12 when I was cast as the Preacher in my junior high school production of 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. I think it just clicks and for me, it did. I fell in love with the experience and I haven’t stopped since. I am just so thankful that I was always supported by my family. It doesn’t really sound like a family of blue collars would be so generous to letting me do some artsy little musical, but they have always supported any decision I wanted to make. I don’t really know why they trusted me, even at 12, but I think they could see how passionate I was and still am. Still to this day, my acting career has played a huge part in our lives and they are as proud as ever. The action figures just came out the other day and my mom and grandma went and bought every single one across all of Utah. I’m talking road trips because apparently 20 Blaze action figures wasn’t enough. I’m very fortunate to have them.
When you moved to LA did you think it was risky at all?
I think every decision in an acting career has some form of risk to it…moving to LA was just one of the bigger ones. I felt like I thought through the situation and figured out the best time to go. I had a couple of strong roles on my resume when I went out, not to mention already having signed with a manager before even getting out there so it was risky for sure, but it wasn’t at all spontaneous. Unfortunately, this career will always be risky…when I move home from New Zealand in June, its back to the grind and learning how to trampoline jump off of this project on to the next but who knows, nothing could come for a long while…we just never know. But for some reason, us artists dive head first into the unknown and that is risky but also the most exhilarating.
Thankfully it wasn’t risky since you got the Power Rangers role. How did you hear about this role and what was the audition process like?
Yes, I was very fortunate to book a series regular role very early on in my career. I will say though, that it wasn’t luck. It was when opportunity aligned with preparation.
The audition process was one of the most exhausting and worthwhile experiences in my career. The audition started with a submission from my manager for the role of Ben, the comedic relief character. When my manager had told me that I booked an audition for the role, I asked to read the character description and I suddenly knew I wasn’t right for the role. The character description said something like “5’7’’ lanky kid” and even though I can be lanky every so often, I knew I wasn’t the right fit for the role. I asked my manager for the sides for a Ranger and she said she would give them to me but to make sure to prepare and dress for the comedic relief role because that is what I received the audition for. I trusted my instincts and didn’t do anything she said. Haha! My manager and I have a great relationship, but that circumstance was one where I took the risk and did the thing you shouldn’t do. I went in dressed as the handsome boy next door, hinting at the red ranger role and asked if I could read for a Ranger. The casting assistant said he liked my read so he would pass on my tape to the casting director and see what she says. A month later I heard that I got a call back for a Ranger - so exciting. From there, I trained in stunts/Taekwondo for 2 months going through a series of producer callbacks and screen tests. After a 4-month audition process, I received the call that I didn’t book the Red or Blue Ranger, but they wanted to see me as the Lead Evil Ranger of the season. I was initially pretty hurt that I didn’t book the role I was initially trying for but after reading the sides and learning more about Blaze’s involvement in the series, I couldn’t turn it down. A week later I received the offer. Everything happens for a reason and I am so utterly grateful for this role. I get to play good and bad and I have this great arc through the 2 seasons, what more could you ask for.
It must be cool being a power ranger? It’s such an iconic role!
It’s insane. Once in a lifetime to be a part of one of the largest running television shows on earth. Once in a lifetime to have an action figure made of you that people are buying across the world, made my Hasbro of all toy companies. Once in a lifetime to film for 9 months in New Zealand. Too many “Once in a lifetime” moments to count due to this show and I am floored.
Were you a huge fan of the original 1994 power rangers? Who was your favorite power ranger if so?
Of course. I am the oldest of the cast and most of them keep telling me that they never grew up watching or playing with the toys and it ages me so badly. I had every action figure, Zord, and VHS tape you could think of. My favorite power ranger was for sure the Pink Ranger, Kimberly. I loved her so much that I dressed as her for Halloween one year. Can you imagine my mom going with me to the costume store and I decide to be the Pink Ranger out of all the choices? Haha! Too bad gender roles existed back then…too bad I didn’t care.
Describe your character Blaze and how he plays a role in the show.
Blaze is the lead antagonist of the series. Between him and his evil counterpart Roxy, they join forces as the Evil Rangers to try and stop the Power Rangers from making the world a better place. We are the first evil rangers in a long time and it seems like the fans have been waiting for something different and refreshing. We don’t take it easy on the Rangers and some sh*t goes down over the span of the 2 seasons. Can’t wait for the viewers to get deeper into the season.
How is this show different than the original or does it play along with the original series?
As cinema has progressed throughout the years, I would say there’s just more. More convoluted character arcs, more detailing in the storylines, more complex fights. People were entertained very differently 25 years ago than they are now and so I would say there is just more. I hear that some film critics are saying that Rom-Coms are dead but a great producer colleague of mine said that Rom Coms aren’t dead, they just require more now. We have all seen the classic “You’ve Got Mail” storyline and now people are ready to see something different and I would like to think that Rangers has followed that evolution. Yes, the demographic is still focused towards 4-8 year old’s but I can tell you that the quality of this show exceeds what I was watching when I was a child.
You film the show in New Zealand, a bit far from home. What was it like shooting there?
It’s everything you would imagine it being. It’s out of this world filming in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I am trying to take it in as much as I can before leaving. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite a process getting adjusted to moving across the world with 7 random strangers for such a long period of time but now I can say I wouldn’t want it any differently. This cast and crew are seriously some of the most amazing people I have ever met/worked with and I think that our brilliant chemistry shows in the series.
What’s one thing you wish America had that New Zealand has?
I wish America had the sense of community that New Zealand has. Don’t get me wrong, when you have 327 Million people compared to 4 million, it only makes sense but there’s a really cool sense of communion here in New Zealand that I wish I could bring back with me. And one thing that I wish New Zealand had that America has is Target. And an O-Zone Layer…you get sunburnt here in 15 minutes if you don’t wear sunscreen.
Finally, what has been your MOOD for the year so far?
Self-Care is a BIG MOOD for 2019. Whether we are talking about Mental Self-Care and learning more and more self-love or Career Self-Care and taking care of myself while growing the Colby Strong Empire. There are so many aspects of Self Care and we truly can’t put out genuine love to the world until we learn to love and care for ourselves so that’s what I’m working on this year. I challenge the readers to join me.INTERVIEW BY WILL HEFFERNAN
INTERVIEW BY WILL HEFFERNAN