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Felicia Day

Felicia Day - About her career - Allthingsgirl.net Interview 1

Monday 13 July 2009, by Webmaster

Our July/August cover girl, Felicia Day, is an actor you’ve probably seen in a lot of different shows, without quite knowing who she is, unless, of course, you’re a savvy Internet user who follows news related to Joss Whedon. Felicia’s more than just an actor, however. She’s also a dancer, singer, violinist, and creator of the popular (and very funny) web show, The Guild. In part one of our interview, Felicia talks about her background, some of her favorite work, and why she took singing lessons.

Felicia, please give us a brief bio in your own words. You’re from the South, aren’t you?

Yes, I grew up all over the South. My father was in the military, and I’ve lived in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, Texas, you name it. I went to college at 16 because I was a violinist and got a full scholarship through the music school. After I graduated, with math music degrees, I followed my dream and moved to LA to act, not really knowing what I was getting into!

You’re from a military family, and I’ve read that you were homeschooled. Were the two related, or was there another reason for homeschooling? Do you ever wish you’d had a more conventional school experience?

I was homeschooled because we would literally move ever few months sometimes for my father’s training. He was a doctor in the military. It was very stressful to try to join and rejoin schools all the time, so my parents decided to home school me and my brother. I also was a very good violinist at a young age, I started playing at age 3, so all the extracurricular activities that I loved would have been hard to fit in with a regular school experience. I don’t ever really wish I went to regular school, except sometimes I wouldn’t be as quick to get my feelings hurt if I’d been rejected by my peers more. 

We’ve seen you act and sing, and I know you dance as well. Of the three, is acting always your preference?

Now it is. I truly loved dancing the most of anything when I was a kid. The reality of a dancer’s life wasn’t for me though. My bones crack so much now, I’m sure I’ll need a hip replacement someday!

I’m told you’re also an accomplished violinist. (As an amateur cellist, myself, let me just interject, “Yay, strings!”) Do you still play, or is your music something you keep private?

Unfortunately, without a concrete goal, it’s hard to find time to practice. My one wish is that I could fit in more practicing, because it is a wonderful feeling to play an instrument well, wear it as an extension of yourself. I love being able to channel emotion through the music I create. In reality I don’t think I’ll ever do anything as well as I played violin, I did it intensely for almost 20 years! I suppose I just need to write more violin into The Guild, that will force me to get my chops back.

You also completed college at a young age. Did you have any issues fitting in with students who were of more traditional college age? Has that experience impacted you – positively or negatively – today?

It was a slight adjustment, but I was a musician, and I think people in the music school relate to each other more easily in that respect. I think people who create aren’t as thrown by traditional barriers like age, race and religion. It’s more about the art. Of course, the fact I was a little bit of an “odd duck” definitely helped make me who I am today. I’m pretty introverted and have a small circle of friends in real life, which may have been caused by that experience, but I don’t regret it at all.

It’s a safe bet that many of our readers first came to know of you because of your work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that was hardly your first acting job. Can you give us a brief rundown of the highlights of your pre-Buffy career?

I had done many commercials, I’ve always worked consistently in that industry because I have a “real” face (whatever that means). I had also done some Guest Starring work in television, and many many student films. All those free jobs I did for the experience really helped my acting technique, because on-the-job experience is the only way to learn how to be a film/tv actor. I suppose my favorite role from that time was playing a tormented ballerina in Bring It On Again. I was healed by cheer. It was a very funny part.

Do you consider your time on that show a “big break,” even though you were already working, or just another job, or something in between?

Buffy was the big turning point for me. It was a regular acting job that lasted for over six months of my life. It made me realize how much I loved working on a set, but that acting is a job like anything else. Show up every day, say your lines, come back the next day and do it again!

Since Buffy, you’ve been popping up in a lot of different series, doing guest spots on projects as diverse as Strong Medicine, Monk, and House, M.D., as well as a multi-episode stint on Roommates. Are you particularly proud of any single project you’ve worked on? Can you tell us about it?

I did have a wonderful time working on House. Hugh Laurie is a wonderful actor, and when you’re working with supremely talented people, after you get past the intimidation phase, their abilities can’t help but lift everyone around them. Working with him was definitely a proud moment in my career.

Last summer, you once again worked with Joss Whedon, when you were the female lead in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. What was it like working with him again?

Joss is so brilliant, even now when I’m around him I’m a bit intimidated. He is so infectiously creative, it pours off of him, so working with him is always a wonderful brainstorm experience. You grab onto his coattails and ride!

Had you done musicals before?

I did musicals all throughout my teenage years. One of the reasons I took singing lessons was because the dancers never got treated as well as the singers in the community theatre productions I did.