15th September 2022
Photography: David Reiss
Styling: Farrah O’Connor
HMU: Charlotte Yeomans
Interview: Sophie Todd
Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Known for Nobody’s Girl and soon to be a huge star in Vampire Academy, we got to speak to Rhian Blundell about how she feels about taking on and creating such an important role for young viewers to see on the big screen.
Huge congratulations on landing a leading role in the upcoming Vampire Academy. What was it like to be on such a big production?
Thank you so much! It was terrifying in the best way. I honestly never thought I’d end up on a production like this so I definitely felt like a fish out of water in the beginning. It was amazing how supportive everyone was, we really formed a family. And the showrunners gave me so much love and confidence - I can never express how grateful I am.
As a queer actor being cast in this role is an awesome opportunity to bring your own take on the part and to is also a huge milestone for displaying to the young audience that being queer doesn’t stop you from achieving the top roles. What are you most excited about being shown on screen?
Its actually the lack of acknowledgement of myself and the characters queerness. We live in a world where LGBTQ+ people are often forced to justify and defend ourselves for simply being who we are. But that was not a factor of this world. My character, Meredith, is living in a dysfunctional class system, is falling for someone for the first time and is often in life threatening situations. The queer characters in Vampire Academy just are - their struggles are tied to other things. It's a joy, honestly.
Being a fictional series, what's the process like of being able to collectively create this entire world for the production?
It felt incredibly organic. The final product is a collection of so many voices. The stunts would be influenced by the actors who would be influenced by costume designers who would be influenced by set designers who would be in discussion with the writers and on and on. The whole thing felt like an open conversation and it was incredible to watch how much everything evolved as shooting went on. I'm so proud of everyone and what we created.
What were the most enjoyable and most challenging elements of taking on this role?
So much of it was enjoyable! We shot in these gorgeous locations, they built insane sets for us, I got to work with incredible artists from all over the world and I met people I now class as some of my best friends. Challenging would probably be the physical element. I’d forgotten how much time people in fantasy shows spend running.
To any young actors what would be the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt starting out so far in your career and what advice would you give?
As cheesy as it sounds - be you. I spent such a long time trying to be what I thought people wanted me to be and it closed me off as a person and a performer. You’re going to experience rejection either way, it’s the nature of the job, so don’t waste your energy hiding who you are. Also be patient because there really is no such thing as overnight success.
If you could play any role in any production existing or not, what would be your dream character and why?
This is too big a question - there are so many! I would really love to do a music biopic. Someone like Stevie Nicks, Blondie or Kirsty McColl. I have two left feet and the worst karaoke voice so getting to lip sync and live out that fantasy would be the dream.
You can catch Rhian in the new series of Vampire Academy on Peacock.