Our interview with talented Aussie actress Carrie Schroeder.
Carrie was born and raised in the small country town of Shepparton, two hours northeast of the major Australian city of Melbourne, Victoria. When she wasn’t riding a horse, waterskiing, or camping up the Murray River, Carrie was at a piano lesson, dance class or recital. With two younger brothers who were always of more imposing stature than her, she had to establish being the “boss” from an early age to keep them in check.
Currently you can see more of Carrie in Nickelodeon’s “I am Frankie” playing the role of Dr. Sigourney Gaines.
Hi Carrie please tell us a little about you?
I am a scientist. I am a lawyer. I am a doctor. I am a mom of an android. Ok, I pretend for a living…I am an actor. I grew up in a small town outside of Melbourne, Australia surrounded by lots of animals, wonderful people and a creative family. I had a very grounding childhood that has proven essential to navigating the thrill ride that is show business. After doing television, film and theater in Sydney and Melbourne, in 2012 I crossed the Pacific and moved to Los Angeles to continue my career. The last thing on my mind was that I would have to learn how to drive all over again! Man that rattled my brain.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate. Compassionate. Honest.
Who is your biggest supporter?
I consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by an inner-circle of wonderfully supportive friends and loved ones. And it began with my parents. They never limited what was possible, nor did they believe in self-imposed limitations, for me or my two brothers.
How did you get started in the industry?
I started out as a dancer, I loved dance. I spent more time in dance class and shows than I did at school! Then I landed my first acting role, and I knew that was where I needed to be. I recently came across my 1st grade report card and even back then my teachers said I had a flair for the dramatic.
What was your first acting role?
My first acting role was ‘Mary’ in “A Secret Garden.” I was 16, and the production was part of the annual local Children’s Festival. I always remember that in that play I had to work with young children and a rabbit. And you know the old adage, never work with kids or animals. Glad I learned the truth early on – kids and animals are two of the most fun actors to work with – and I did so again in my most recent film role. The best lesson in improvisation. Unpredictable and fun.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part of my chosen career is the creative collaboration with a revolving door, if you will – of new people, each working for the common goal and vision of the project. The not-so-awesome part is the hustle that is the business-of-show. Acting is fun. The business part of it – sometimes not so fun. The hustle is made much more manageable when you have a great team. I am so grateful for Tina at Eris Talent Agency who advises me well and heads the charge!
Best advice ever given?
A Casting Director at a workshop I attended told me this little nugget: ‘Casting Directors want you to get the job – they want you to be the one. Go in there with intention of being the solution to their challenge.’ Hearing this was such a confidence booster for me, and very enlightening because so many actors have the default view that the casting director is the nemesis.
Tell us about Nickelodeon’s “I am Frankie,” and about your role?
‘I Am Frankie’ is a dramady that premiered in summer 2017 and its viewership immediately exceeded expectations. The show follows the adventures of Frankie, an android posing as a teenage girl, as she learns to navigate the human world while attending high school where she meets her best friend and her first crush. All the while she is being pursued for her technology by a rogue government agency. I have the privilege of, and lots of fun, playing Dr. Sigourney Gaines, the brilliant scientist who created Frankie. Like every mother, all ‘Dr. Mom’ (as Frankie calls her) wants is to keep her daughter safe – at any cost. My character brought Frankie into the family home life, and there are many laughs to be had at the challenges for her to integrate into the human family with my character’s husband and daughter Jenny, who isn’t overly excited about her android sibling.
What we can expect for the second season?
Well, as the ‘I Am Frankie’ fans know, the final season one episode was a cliffhanger! And as with all cliffhangers, we as cast don’t even know the season two secrets. It is always fun to see on social media the speculations, questions, and sometimes the fan outrage, like the time they were not happy that Dr. Mom unplugged the hard drive that is her daughter. There was, of course, scientific justification for that one.
What has been your most memorable experience from the set?
When Michael, who plays my on screen husband, Will, forgot to put the top of the blender on during a kitchen scene. There was green asparagus smoothie EVERYWHERE!
I also had the misfortune of shooting on April Fool’s Day. We were shooting a scene where I had to answer the door to Carson, who plays Cole, a friend of Frankie’s. Unbeknownst to me, and only me, Carson was behind the door wearing a large, frightening mask. The room went oddly quiet. On ‘action’, I opened the door, Carson jumped through it with a roar and I did everything I could not to express my terror through wildly colorful language. The crew was greatly amused. And, of course, it was all captured by the Behind –the- Scenes camera crew. Working with a terrific group of teenagers on this show has taught me to expect the unexpected and love every minute of it.
What other projects you have been part of?
I have been blessed to work consistently, and some of the standouts immediately came to mind. A couple of years ago, I shot a film playing the wife of Joel Edgerton in “Lifted”, which was great fun. A holiday-themed movie I shot was released before Christmas, called “Santa Stole Our Dog”. The legendary Ed Asner played Santa Clause. Working with someone remembered for such an iconic character, and seeing him as Santa, was such a cool experience. And last year, in between film and television projects, I was thrilled to take on a period theater piece and revisit my British accent playing ‘Margot Wendice’ in “Dial M For Murder”, for which I was honored to receive a BroadwayWorld nomination for Best Actress.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
Cate Blanchette. She morphs into every character she plays. And because she is such a chameleon, one really has to do a couple of takes to realize it’s her in the role. Everything about her becomes the character. She is an enviable talent, and I suppose I am a bit partial, she is an Aussie. Oi Oi Oi!
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
Chapstick, my phone, and my dog. Of course, it usually takes me 3 goes at getting out the door, as I usually leave something behind. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve backed out my driveway adoring the face of my pup peeking through the curtains watching me leave, then of course realize it’s confusion written all over her face as she’s supposed to be with me…
What music do you like?
I have very eclectic playlists. Everything from Andrea Bocelli to Broadway to Guns and Roses. Music has been such an important part of my life since childhood, whether listening to it, dancing to it, or singing along with my mother at the piano. My passion for performing also includes singing. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to tick one off my bucket list when I was guest soloist for Jason Alexander and The Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra. We have since performed with many more symphonies including the Oregon and Buffalo. We have a few symphony dates coming up this year, including the New Jersey Symphony in April. I’m really looking forward to it!
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
Brunch, and many lattes with my favorite people and, of course my dog.
How’s a normal day in your life?
But first, coffee. And since in a previous chapter of life I was a barista, I’d rather make it than buy it.
When I’m filming it is usually a very early start. I make a latte at home for the short drive to the studio, then it’s into the make-up chair, where I read over the sides for the day while the caffeine kicks in. Then it’s on to set to create! The work days can be long, but I love it. Once I’m home I look over my script for the next day. On my days off it’s meditation, the gym, learning lines, and paddle boarding as often as I can. Unless, that is, an audition arises and then it’s not really a day off.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Sprouted lentils in a crunchy salad. So easy and quick. I began eating healthy in my teens, and became a vegetarian mainly because of my dad, who inadvertently started me thinking of food differently. I love my dad, he is a funny and compassionate man. We would go camping often and he was always so mindful to teach us to respect the landscape and all that lived on it. One day I met him on his lunch break, and I didn’t recognize the meat on his plate. He speared a piece with his fork and gave it to me. There was no way I was putting that in my mouth until I knew exactly what is was. I asked. “Bambi,” he said. I looked at him, confused. “Bambi,” he said again, more insistent. And he wonders why I became a vegetarian!
And your favorite cheat food?
Veggie Pizza. I like to think that if I make it at home then it no longer becomes cheat food, and just ignore the copious amounts of cheese (vegetarian of course).
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself having accumulated even more challenging and rewarding television and film credits. I’d love to work across all genres, from a period piece that utilizes my love of accent work, to a romantic comedy, (Just for my mum, when I was younger most of the projects I did were tear jerkers. “Please do something happy!” she would implore) to a blockbuster thriller. And I’ve always wanted to play a kick-ass super hero. I could not have been more thrilled when Gal Gatot was cast to embody Wonder Woman and become part of a blockbuster franchise. I would also love to be in a play on Broadway. Juggling Broadway with film and television can be challenging, but I want it all, so I’m putting it out there…
Do you support any charities?
I try as often as possible to volunteer at a local German Shepherd Rescue. It fills my soul. I walk the dogs, clean their runs, feed them, take them to the vet and clean up a lot of poop! I also foster dogs that need a little extra TLC, those recovering from surgery, and puppies too young to be in the shelter. It warms my heart when a dog gets adopted into a loving family. A nice reminder of the good in the world. This is how I found my dog, Dusty, a German Shepherd who just after her birth was given up by a breeder as she had Parvovirus (CPV), a life-threatening illness that is expensive to treat. A Los Angeles rescue found her and immediately put her into treatment, but she wasn’t responding. She was at the veterinary hospital in quarantine for many, many weeks, but she made it. I read about her story online and knew I wanted that kind of fighting spirit in my life. She has bought such a joy into my life. Of course, the flip side of that fighting spirit is, well, that fighting spirit! She can be so bossy!
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “The most powerful source of answers resides within your consciousness.” Michael Nicklin of @KiConscious. I use this as a gentle reminder to meditate. When all seems chaotic or I’m feeling frustrated, I read this and remember that all is well and within my reach.
Holiday Destination: Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii. It is the quiet part of the quiet island, perfect for recharging. There are lots of challenging hiking trails for the days I’m feeling energetic, and long stretches of peaceful beaches that are perfect to watch the sun set with a cocktail. But don’t tell anyone, it’s a wonderfully kept secret.
Restaurant: Prosecco, which is an Italian Bistro in a neighborhood near my home in Burbank, CA. In the urban sprawl that is Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, a charming neighborhood restaurant is often difficult to find. At Prosecco, their food is all so delicious, and their service is always outstanding. And their wine collection is worth it on its own.
Drink: It’s a toss-up between a single shot soy latte and Jameson with a home-made spicy ginger beer with a large squeeze of fresh lime.
Celebrity Crush: One very long day on a set far, far away, the makeup and hair team and I launched into a game of “Marry? Shag? Kill?” and then we all decided that conversation was covered under our Non-Disclosure Agreements.
Song: This is a moving target. At the moment it is ‘This Is Me’ from “The Greatest Showman.” It has such a visceral effect on me every time I hear it. It’s what you’ll hear me singing at full volume in my car. When I saw the film, I was so struck by the song (written by Benj Pasak and Justine Paul of ‘La La Land’ and ‘Dear Evan Hanson’) and performed by the spectacular Keala Settle that it brought me to tears. It makes me feel like I can overcome any obstacle, almost like a battle cry. Motivating and overwhelming.
Sports Team: I love sports. Back in Australia I would follow cricket and tennis during the summer, then football in the winter. In Australia we have Aussie Rules Football and I am a lifelong Melbourne Demons fan. Go Dees! Then I moved to America and those sports were not as easy to come by! So I made it my goal to understand American football and learn the rules. The Auburn Tigers are my college team, as they were the team I was watching when one of the players made an extraordinary play and I actually understood why it was exciting! As for my NFL team, it’s the Denver Broncos. Peyton Manning was the first reason I enjoyed watching the team. Though he retired, I’m still loyal.
Movie: Well, I’ll narrow it down to two for you. My favorite movie of all time is the 1956 film “High Society.” I used to watch this movie with my mum at least 3 times a year. I recite it verbatim and sing all the songs! So annoying…
And then there is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I first saw this movie at a very inappropriate age. Every Friday night I would go over to our friend’s house across the street for fish and chips, and after dinner we would watch Rocky Horror. We would act out all the songs, rotating characters. The one song we never rotated characters on was ‘Sweet Transvestite’ as we all had our favorite character. I was always the tap dancing character ‘Columbia.’ And this was the reason I started tap class. We did all take turns of who used the kitchen towel to wipe the TV screen – my fellow Rocky fans, you know what I’m talkin’ about! This movie is such a part of my life that it is woven in to many aspects. During University when we had to present a written and performance piece on an icon, I chose Frank-N-Furter. Some people play meaningful and loving songs at their wedding, at my wedding and the wedding of my friend whose house I went to every Friday night, we played ‘The Time Warp.’
Photo: Hank Michaels
Stylist: Alberto Fernandez-Perez
Photo: Sylvia Moore