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Interview with singer and actress Via Mcbride

Interview by Dlisah Lapidus

Tell me about your new song, “Hand Me Downs”

Before I started college, I had never really written a song. Sometimes I would write a verse and then abandon it before taking it any further, even though my parents always told me I should try writing songs. I'm going to school for communications, because writing is my main outlet, so I joined this club at school called the songwriters forum. This club pairs students with producers, songwriters and singers to produce an album at the end of the semester. I was really lucky because I found people that I worked well with, and we ended up writing a full song and producing it. It was a pretty cool experience because I never really considered myself a songwriter, I just didn’t think that I could do it. So it was really rewarding to see it all come together and I’m probably gonna write more music in the future.

You were recently in a short film, what was that experience like?

Everyone studying at the School of Cinematic Arts has to make multiple short films, so there are short films happening at all times on campus. I heard about a film that my friend was going to be in, so I auditioned, and I got casted. There were two days of shooting, one of them was in a grocery store in downtown LA, and the other location was in a jail cell. But it was a really amazing experience, because I had never been on set for anything film related.

It was actually the first time that I was in front of the camera, which was really different from acting in musical theater settings. In a film, there are literally cameras up in your face, and you have to pretend that they're not there. And with theater, the acting is bigger, because the audience is much further away from you. What I loved about acting for a film was that it’s not just saying lines, you have to feel and react to the person across from you, because the audience can see everything. This was like the beginning of figuring out the difference between the two and working on the nuances. I’m definitely excited for what is next.

Tell me about the film.

The film is called The Runaway Bride. It's about this bride, who kills her husband right before the wedding and then runs away. So as she is running away from the scene of the crime, she runs into my character, a kind of ditzy girl wearing a Juicy Couture tracksuit. The bride wants to switch outfits with her so she doesn't get caught for the crime because there's blood all over her outfit. Eventually my character gets arrested because I'm wearing the outfit with blood all over it, but then she also gets arrested because I had shoplifted the Juicy Couture tracksuit. The film is really clever and it ends with us in jail next to each other saying “Are you kidding me?”

What is your connection with acting?

I did musical theater all throughout high school, and when I started thinking about college, I was left to decide what I want to do with my life. I think COVID 19 gave me a little bit of clarity in that because I would spend every single day prepping for college auditions, dancing, singing and acting. It kind of took the fun out of it because I was doing it constantly, with so much pressure. And when I really act, it never feels like that, so I decided against majoring in acting, but still focusing on the art, just in my own regard.

Our theme for this issue is “Growing Pains,” how does this relate to your work?

Being immersed with completely different cultures, and people who think differently has been the most informative thing as an actor for me. I’ve learned that there are so many stories other than my own that are happening in the world. You have to be very careful in film and TV with the way you represent people, no matter their background. And I think growing up has been me realizing how little I knew, So that's kind of translated into acting. I've had to become more aware and empathetic about the people around me and make sure that the way I'm representing characters and the way that I work with people represents the world today.

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