With A Christmas in Royal Fashion airing on SC Heart & Home, we connected with Meredith to learn more about the actress behind the antagonist and the work that she does beyond the set.
SC: What drew you into acting?
MT: As long as I remember I wanted to be a performer. When I was in grade school we had to make a collage of what we wanted to do. I remember very clearly taking a magazine and cutting out a picture of a spotlight and a woman singing. I wanted to be a singer at first and that led to acting. I also knew I could not dance which often accompanies singing, so I stuck to acting.
SC: With a background in theatre and comedy, what is the type of character that challenges you most as an actress? What is your preferred type of character to play?
MT: I love comedy and there is a part of me that believes it is instinctual to be able to be funny. However, at the end of the day, it is also hard to do comedy right so creating a real character that is believably comedic can be fun but also challenging. I just love working so in a lot of these TV movies I do, these women are not funny. Many of them have drama and trauma in their lives so in addition to comedy, I guess I love drama too. I just love to work if the role is good.
SC: Melanie, your character on A Christmas in Royal Fashion is a manager of events for a fashion line. Can you share more about your role and what you enjoyed about portraying her?
MT: I love getting to be the villain. She is sort of the villain. I always love to be one of those gals you love to hate and that is what she is. Because I am blonde and perky, I seemed to always be cast as the ‘Sandy’ but I always wanted to be cast as ‘Rizzo’. Being the edgy gal is a lot of fun. Melanie is edgy and not so nice. It was fun playing this role.
SC: You also had a role in A Christmas in Vermont. How is being on set different with a Christmas movie?
MT: Movies are movies and for the most part, there is no big difference. However, most of the Christmas movies I have done, have been shot in Los Angeles and oftentimes we shoot in the summer and it is really hot and we have to pretend it is winter and cold. I think it is fun to shoot holiday shows when it is not Christmas because you get to see the Christmas decorations and they make you think about the Christmas spirit even when it is not that time of year. Christmas in Vermont was actually shot in Buffalo, NY because they wanted the snow but it never snowed until the day I left. They did not get the snow they wanted unfortunately.
SC: Is there one special moment that you think of when reflecting upon your time working on A Christmas in Royal Fashion?
MT: I really wanted this role and I had no idea that when I was auditioning and fighting for this role, that it was the same team that I worked with on A Christmas in Vermont. Same crew and same director. They knew me well. When I got it, it was like working with my family. I probably did not have to fight so hard for it but I would have anyway. It was a great experience.
SC: Do you have any favourite Christmas traditions?
MT: I go to Florida where my parents are retired. My mother still gets big Christmas stockings for my brother and me. She spends a lot of time putting these stockings together with fun trinkets and things that she had gotten over the year and was re-gifting to us because she thinks they are cool and worth giving. She puts a lot of heart into the stockings.
SC: Is there a character that you have not yet had the chance to portray? If yes, what would that role look like?
MT: I don’t get to play women in really successful relationships very often. I think that would be a fun to do. There is often so much conflict in both comedy and drama, and they reflect that in the relationships. Playing someone who has a great relationship would perhaps be both different and maybe challenging for me because I am not used to it.
SC: What are your interests or favourite activities to enjoy when you have a break in your schedule?
MT: I love to work out and I love to try new fitness routines. I recently found one workout routine where you pound drum sticks to rock music. I also love hiking and I used to run marathons when I was younger which was rewarding. I love any and all fitness challenges.
SC: What has acting taught you the most about yourself?
MT: It has taught me to tell the truth…tell the truth…tell the truth!
SC: Is there someone in the industry that you would welcome the opportunity to work with, or wish you could collaborate on a project together?
MT: There are lots of people I would love to work with. If I could play Meryl Streep’s daughter in a film, I would die happy. That would be it for me.
SC: Can you share more about your off-screen projects such as the work that you did with visually disabled actors as well as your work helping kids write scripts in schools?
MT: Theater saved me as a kid. My childhood was not exactly easy. With theater, I was able to throw a lot of angst and confusion into the character study on the stage. This is the same as when I work with visually disabled actors. We use the study of drama and characters to deal with their trauma of going blind. Most of them were not born blind and there is a lot of anger that we are able to address in their characters to help them work out their problems.
The same is true for my mentoring young storytellers with their scripts. We encourage them to write about their own lives so while their characters might be imaginary, in reality, the scripts are stories are about their own experiences and challenges. They write about bullies or how vegetarians are not so weird or about losing their grandparents. It is therapeutic for them. Art is a reflection of reality and I teach them to explore that and write about it.
SC: What advice would you give to an aspiring actor?
MT: If there is something else that you could love doing as much as acting then do it! I say this because it is not an easy path. It can be rewarding but it is also tough. If there is any doubt, look at those doubts. If there is nothing else you can see yourself doing, then go for acting!
SC: What are your future aspirations? Do you want to continue acting or would you prefer to focus on writing, directing or producing?
MT: I will always be an actor. The scripts that I am interested in writing or producing are usually ones with roles for me. The control freak in me needs to produce but the carefree spirit needs to perform.
SC: Any favourite places to visit in Canada?
MT: I love beautiful Vancouver. I would love to spend more time there. Having shot two films in Buffalo, NY, I had a day off and I spent it on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. It was breathtaking and amazing. I have yet to visit Toronto and can’t wait to go there and explore it too some day. I would also like to visit some of the Inuit tribes of Canada. Having lived in Alaska and learning about their native ancestors, I have a deep appreciation for the native cultures of various regions. Canada has it all and I would love to experience so much more of it.
SC: Can you share about any upcoming projects that viewers should keep an eye out for?
MT: Right now I am working on a new web series that is about a family that is torn apart by social media. I play the mother. It is very good and really makes a commentary about how society is so technology and social media obsessed. It should be coming out in 2019.
SC: It has been a delight to learn more about Meredith and her projects on and off the screen. She is a wonderful example of using personal experience and expertise to inspire and help others. To keep up-to-date with Meredith’s latest endeavours, be sure to connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.
FaceBook: Meredith Thomas