Check out our interview with talented actress Tedra Rogers who can be seen in a large recurring in the second installment of Freeform’s anthology series “Cruel Summer”. From the Executive Producers of The Sinner, Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple, Season 2 features three timelines around Y2K, a brand new cast, and a brand new mystery wrapped in the same innovative storytelling. Tedra plays Amy, Megan’s best friend. When Isabella moves to town the three girls form a close friendship.
Follow Tedra @tedrarogers
Hi Tedra, please tell us a little about you?
Hi! Okay, deal, I will!
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Effervescent, impish, & stylish
How did you get started into acting?
I started acting after I was in a car accident when I was 18. I had planned on being a professional ballerina my whole life, but once it became clear I was never going to be able to go back to dancing full time I started looking for other things to do. I took some acting classes in an attempt to reconnect with my creativity, one of my acting instructors recommended me for a small role on a show, and one thing led to another from there!
How has this changed your life?
I feel so fortunate that I found my path in this industry. Acting changed my life in a thousand ways. Without it I would still be lost and injured. Lately I’ve been feeling especially grateful for my career and my training. Learning to act teaches you to be compassionate with yourself and others, to see the universal struggles and joys that we all face. I’m so grateful that I’ve gotten to build this understanding of myself over time, I’m not so sure I would’ve gotten to know who I truly am without it. A career in film and TV from the outside looking in seems so inaccessible, it’s not something I would’ve even dared to think I could pursue as a kid. But here we are! And everyday I get to do it is an exhilarating challenge that I cherish.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is walking onto set and getting to disappear into a completely different world! Whether we’re shooting on location or in a studio, the hard work that the crew puts into developing everything that goes into a production is mind-blowing. The details are always so careful and the Easter eggs are so fun to find. I love hanging out with the different departments and seeing what they’re working on. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of going to work in a fictional world every day.
The worst part is being cold! No one tells you when you become an actress that you’re going to spend most of your career freezing your butt off. Costumes are often impractical even if they’re gorgeous. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been standing outside in a summer dress in the middle of winter – sometimes barefoot. But I’d rather be wearing something gorgeous than be warm.
How do you prepare for a role?
One of my favorite things to do to prepare for a role is to consume the types of media I think my character would be consuming, just immerse yourself in what their world would be. For Amy this season of Cruel Summer I had SO much fun going back and listening to all the top hits from Y2K. I also went and watched a bunch of iconic Y2K shows and movies. I really seriously got into Buffy and X-Files, I’m still working my way through them haha.
Tell us about your recurring role on Freeform’s anthology series “Cruel Summer?”
This season in Cruel Summer I play Amy who is part of the friend group that this season’s mystery revolves around. When my agent called me with the offer for the role she said they loved me but the show wanted to know if I’d go blonde for the role, which I was delighted to do. Knowing that, I thought Amy was going to be a stereotypical mean-girl-90s-blonde but Cruel Summer has really rich storytelling and Amy isn’t a stereotype at all. Amy is fun loving, a little boy crazy, and cares really deeply about her friends. Seeing all the characters grow and change through the season is so much fun and I can’t wait for fans to see it.
What can fans expect for Season 2?
Being an anthology series, this season fans can expect a brand new cast and a brand new mystery. There’s so many twists and turns in the story. There is also so much 90s & Y2K nostalgia, particularly from me as Amy you can expect some really fantastic Y2K fashion moments!
What other projects have you been part of?
In addition to Cruel Summer you can catch me in Netflix’s “Firefly Lane” and the feature film “There’s Someone Inside Your House”. You can also see me in the Canadian Screen Award nominated feature film “Come True” (IFC Films) directed by Anthony Scott Burns.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
There are still so many types of roles in this industry I want to do! One thing I really haven’t gotten to do yet is a full fledged horror film. I’m a huge fraidy cat when it comes to watching scary things but I think I would absolutely love getting blood dumped on me and screaming my head off. I would also love to be in a giant fantastical period piece with insane extravagant costumes. With my background being in ballet, I spent my childhood in gorgeous tutus and tiaras and I definitely miss it. I also want to play a superhero! Put my background in dance and all my movement training to good use! If you can think of it, I probably want to try it, I just love using my creative skills in different ways.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be up to right now?
To be honest? I have no idea. When you first start acting people always ask “well do you have a backup plan?” and to that I always retort “this is the backup plan”. Right now I’m working on writing and producing my own projects, so I guess if I wasn’t acting I’d be writing, producing and directing, which I’m going to be doing anyway!
Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?
Miss Piggy. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that.
Can you name 3 actors/actresses you would love to work with?
I would LOVE to work with Catherine O’Hara. She’s a legend for a reason and every time I see her work I feel more and more inspired.
Nicole Byer. She is one of the funniest people on earth. I listen to basically all her podcasts and she makes me genuinely laugh out loud constantly. I just want to sit on set and tee-hee-hee together.
Last but certainly not least, Patrick Page. Last fall I saw him live for the first time in Hadestown on Broadway and I became absolutely obsessed. I think he’s one of the most powerful actors I’ve ever seen, and to work across from him, I’d just melt.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part of my work is getting to connect and tell stories. I love hearing how fans and audience members see themselves in a character. That’s when you know you’ve done your job, when you’ve found a bit of universal truth in your performance and people connect to it.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
My advice for new actors is to be constantly learning! Really learn your craft, really learn to trust your instincts. Watch the world around you and how you operate in it, learn from that. I’m always trying to honor my artistic instincts and voice, sometimes I forget to do it and I worry too much about what others are thinking or what they might want. When I bring it back to what feels right for me, what I want, and what honors my artistic vision, that’s when I do my best work, and you will too!
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
To trust myself. I am the person who knows what I need best, and I’m the only one who can make sure I get it. It isn’t always easy to advocate for what you need, but it is always worth it.
How would your best friend describe you?
Probably as really silly, really fashionable, and always late haha.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book be and why?
Yelling Is My Normal Volume – If there’s one thing on set I get busted for every once and awhile it’s for being a litttttle too loud when we’re rolling and I’m in the green room. I can’t help that I’m enthusiastic.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
That suffering through isn’t going to work. Hard work is important but it doesn’t have to be stressful. You can be resilient, but you can also find ease in doing so. You can stop trying extra hard. Slowing down, resetting and trying again later is enough.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
What’s next for Tedra Rogers in 2023?
Right now I’m focusing on promoting this next season of Cruel Summer and am so excited to connect with fans of the show as the episodes start airing. In addition to that, my team and I are reading so many scripts and looking for my next big project. I have also written my first short film that I am in the process of pre-production for, so I’m looking to shoot it later this year!
What is your favorite healthy food?
I gotta be honest, I love a really big salad.
And your favorite cheat food?
I don’t believe in cheat food, because food is fuel. But being celiac my favorite sweet treat, when I can get my hands on it, is a real deep fried yeast (gluten free unfortunately) glazed donut.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Y’know when you’re by the ocean and it’s summer and you get up in the morning and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and you have fresh fruit for breakfast and the coffee is delicious and you’re surrounded by the people you love? That’s happiness.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I want to meet Lizzo!! She is such a strong advocate for what she believes in and what she is doing for our culture is incredible. Not to mention she is just single handedly one of the most talented people in show business. I saw her live during her most recent tour and just cried happy tears the whole time.
Best advice ever given?
There is no losing. There are only wins and lessons. Celebrate the wins, learn from the lessons.
Do you support any charity?
I donate every year to my local food bank. And try to support local charities year round when it counts. I think it’s important to support your neighbors and invest in the community you live in.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In 5 years I see myself even more established in this industry. I love storytelling and plan to continue to do so, leading my own productions, acting, writing, directing and producing. I’m planning on doing it all.
Favorite song? Why?
Right now my favorite song is Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You) specifically the Dolly Parton and Kesha duet off Kesha’s Album Rainbow. You can feel the love radiating out of them as they sing and I just love listening to it.
What do you think of Social Media?
I think social media can be a useful tool and I do genuinely love being able to see what folks from past aspects of my life are getting up to. But I have rules for myself for how I use it. I try to think of it as an extension of my artistic self. As long as it’s bringing me joy, I’m expressing myself, and it’s bringing me closer to the people I care about, I stay. When it stops being fun and is getting a little toxic, I take a break. I have sooooo many behind the scenes pictures and videos from shooting this season of Cruel Summer and I can’t wait to share them with everyone, that’s the joy I’m talking about.
Where we can follow you?
Book: One of my favorite books is An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green and, just saying, it needs to be adapted into a film and they should cast me as the lead April.
Quote: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.” – Miss Piggy
Movie: One of my favorite films of all time is Restless directed by Gus Van Sant. It’s a film with so much heart, beauty, and quirk. I love when films are stylish, a little sad, and a little weird.
Tv Series: I’m currently catching up on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and I’m so sad it’s ending! If it’s a world Amy Sherman-Palladino creates, I wanna be in it. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Favorite Food: I love pho. Sick? Pho. Long day? Pho. Good day? Pho. All pho, all day. Pho pho pho.
Travel Destination: I NEED to go to that pig beach in the Bahamas one day. I think I’d love swimming with them and there’s only one way to find out if it’s true.
Photo credit: Kate Whyte @katewhytephoto