Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Seed of Success": Actress Carrie-Lynn Neales Talks About Yoga, Family & Her New Sitcom 'Seed'

City’s Seed is a new Canadian sitcom that follows the exploits of Harry (Adam Korson), a cool bartender, who finds out that he’s the biological father of three kids conceived using his generous donation to a sperm bank years before. The comedy ensues when the adoptive parents (an affluent married couple, a lesbian couple and a single pregnant woman) reluctantly invite Harry into their lives for the sake of their children. Seed is an ambitious Canadian half-hour show that turns the modern family concept on its head.  

In Seed, Neales plays Rose – the single and very pregnant love-interest to Harry. Although much of their interactions suggest that they would be perfect for each other, their insecurities keep them from sharing their mutual attraction.

Last weekend, I met with Carrie-Lynn Neales in Toronto’s urban oasis, the Brick Works, to discuss the show and her success.

TorontoVerve: Congratulations on your new show Seed.

Carrie-Lynn: Thank you.

TV: You nearly gave up acting. You were only going to give yourself one more year and then call it quits. Why give yourself a deadline -- especially for something that you’re so passionate about?

CL: Actually I gave myself 5 more years and it just so happened that, within that first year, Seed came into my life. Acting is my passion 100%, but I wasn’t happy doing it at the time, and I needed to know that I could be happy doing it -- so I gave myself those 5 years to try everything that I possibly could and take all the necessary risks and if I was still unhappy with it, then I would leave.

TV: What was making you unhappy about it?

CL: That’s a really good question. I wasn’t inspired by the work anymore. I was auditioning a lot and not really landing much, which happens to actors all the time. I was leaving more of myself in the audition room than I was taking with me, and I needed to find a balance again.  

TV: When you say that you left more of yourself in the audition room, do you mean that you expressed yourself so much that you felt emotionally drained?   

CL: A little drained and I don’t think I was ok with the level of vulnerability that I was giving. But now, for some reason, it doesn’t affect me anymore. I can be as vulnerable as I like and not feel completely naked in the room.    

TV: And then you got Seed. What was that moment like when you got the phone call?   

CL: It was an incredible moment. I was just out of the shower and threw on a t-shirt and a pair of jean shorts and I picked up the phone. I remember screaming and jumping on my bed. I couldn’t get the smile off my face for most of the day.   

TV: So after landing the show, how are you feeling about a career in acting now?   

CL: I have always wanted a career in acting and there was never a reason for me to leave the industry. I adore the show and feel proud to be a part of it. It’s motivating and gives me a reason to keep going for sure.

[The Warrior II posture]

TV: In addition to acting, you’re a certified yoga instructor and teach classes in the city. How would you describe your philosophy in yoga?

CL: I think the biggest thing for me with my practice is remembering that it’s all within the perimeter of your mat. When you step onto your mat, nothing else matters. It’s less about perfecting each posture and more about the journey through the postures -- the transitions between the postures and the things that you’ll learn about yourself through each transition. No matter what you’re doing, it takes the time it takes, and you should allow yourself that.

TV: What’s your favourite yoga pose and why?

CL: Oh, it changes. Some days my favourite postures are the ones that I’m struggling with the most, and typically Warrior II is a posture that I fight against a lot. There are days that I crave it and there are days that I want out as soon as possible, but I will say that my forever favourite yoga posture would be Tadasana or Mountain pose. You’re strong as a mountain and grounded. Your feet are firmly on the ground and you’re drawing that energy out from the Earth and through the crown of your head. It’s a strong posture to be in and you’re just standing, but to feel that strength in your own stance is very powerful.

[Peaceful Warrior, AKA Reverse Warrior Posture]

TV: What is your most challenging yoga pose?

CL: Physically the most challenging is probably handstand. It’s the one I love to do, but physically the most challenging for me.  

TV: How much does yoga play a role for you in managing the hectic demands of acting?

CL: My practice has taught me to be present in every moment and that is something, as an actor, that is priceless. As I continue to deepen my practice, I’m also learning more about how my body functions. When you’re on set for 12 or 16 hours a day, your body will give you signals and tell you what it needs. If you’re tuned in and listening, you can perhaps even go 20 hours or 24 hours if need be.  

TV: I’ve read your blog, which is not your typical actor’s blog. In it, you talk about your mother’s diagnosis of colon cancer 12 years ago and how it impacted your family. What compelled you to reveal something so personal?

CL: Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death for men and women within the cancer world and people don’t know or talk about it. I didn’t know that when I was 17 – when my mom came home and told us that she had cancer. I think it’s important to bring awareness to it and my mom’s story is one of survival and I think that deserves to be shared. My voice has a little bit of a larger reach now that I’m on a television show and I’d like to use that in my work with Colon Cancer Canada and other charities. It’s just so important for people to know that there’s help and support out there and that we can stop this.

TV: What especially caught my attention on your blog was the part where you confessed that when the doctor told your mother that she can beat cancer, you expected her to say “I can’t.” Why did you think that?

CL: My mom worked tirelessly dedicating herself to her children’s happiness and success. I think there was such a big part of me that thought when she was faced with something where she would have to fight for herself and her own success, part of me thought, she must be too tired after everything she’s done for us. If it were me, I probably would have said that "I can’t."

TV: Your mother successfully beat cancer. How is she doing now? 

CL: She’s great and thriving. She learned a really important lesson, which she passed on to my sister and me: you got to live each day to the fullest and live like there might not be a tomorrow. She travels as much as she can, she gardens, works-out with all of her friends and throws dinner parties – she’s living it up and having a great time.

TV: What does she think about your success on the show?

CL: I get a phone call every Monday night as soon as the show finishes. She’s grinning ear-to-ear, saying how great the show is and how much she’s looking forward to next week. She’s proud – really, really proud.

TV: Let’s talk about Seed. You play Rose who is tired of the dating scene, but ready to start a family so she gets artificially inseminated -- unbeknownst to her -- with the seed of wise-cracking Harry, whom she coincidentally rejects on the way to the sperm bank. In interviews, you describe her as a better version of yourself. Can you explain that?

CL: I would say that Rose is a better version of me because she doesn’t try to cover up her insecurities or quirks – she wears her heart on her sleeve all the time and she’s not afraid to show her vulnerabilities.

TV: Seed is a Canadian production through and through. I find that a lot of Canadian shows play it safe, but Seed goes the distance with its edgy theme. Is that what attracted you to the material?  

CL: Yeah, its edge for sure and its heart. It’s very funny and we make quips, but somehow the 9 of us always end up together as a family. It’s so smart and there are a lot of laughs.

TV: What would you like to see happen next for Rose?

CL: I think it’s going to be such a journey for her, as we watch her become a parent. She’s got so many places to go now with being a mom and being a single mom – even though she’s got a lot of support from Harry.

TV: Would you like to see her end up with Harry?

CL: I’m a hopeless romantic so yeah I think so – one day. I kinda like the friendship that they have though.  

TVSeed’s first season will be wrapping this Monday night. When do you find out that a second season has been green-lit?

CL: Hopefully very soon. The cast should get the news in the next couple of weeks and City should publicly announce it sometime in June.

TV: Have you set any other deadlines in your life? And if so, what are they?

CL: Yes, there are a few. I’m constantly setting timelines and deadlines for myself, but I’m not sure I’m willing to talk about them right now (laughs).

TV: Last question: what are you the most happy about in your life right now?

CL: I’m so incredibly blessed that I have the time and freedom to focus on the things that make me happy: my career and family. I feel very grounded and at home right now. It’s really a great time for me. I’ve always been a server or a yoga teacher and an actor. Now I get to be an actor and when I teach yoga, it’s not because I need to make rent, it’s because I love teaching yoga and that’s a blessing.

The season finale of Seed airs this Monday at 8:30pm EST on City.

1 comment:

  1. I've known Carrie since she was a teenager. She's always been a positive uplifting soul. She's full of energy and life. I think she was born to do great things and it's only going to get better for her:)She's strong like her mom!