Lauren Lee Smith is an easy crier. The Vancouver-born actress freely admits it. And it’s for this reason that she may not be able to tune into her new show This Life when it premieres this weekend. The family-centric dramedy centres around a terminal cancer diagnosis. But don’t worry, her “unlikeable” character, Maggie, will be there to ease some of the tension.
Describe your character Maggie to me.
She’s a little bit immature. She’s not willing to grow up and she’s a little bit of the black sheep in her family. She doesn’t really like taking on a whole lot of responsibility. She likes to live life to the fullest, and to have fun, and to party, and to not have any sort of responsibilities. I find it really interesting looking at characters that are so flawed, and in a sense unlikeable, and figuring out ways to bring that character to life and make her human and make her relatable.
I like how you say that she’s a little unlikeable. Lots of actors call their character’s flaws quirky or different…
I mean there’s definitely a lot of questionable things that she does throughout the series that I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I cannot believe that the rest of her family or her friends or whoever are still talking to her.’ But in real life we have people who do questionable things all the time and we still stick by them because we love them. So it’s interesting to find the humanity and the spark that still makes Maggie human and likable.
What would you say is your most unlikeable trait?
I’m really really, really impatient. It’s something I’ve been trying to work on over the years. I hate even standing in lines or having to wait for anything; it just drives me bonkers.
So, you’re that person in a line who’s like breathing heavily when it’s taking a little too long?
Thats me, I can admit that.
What would you say is the absolute most unlikeable trait in another person?
Being unkind is just really sucky. It’s just no good to be an unkind person. Also, being a Debbie Downer. And of course, dishonesty, that’s obviously a huge one. Those would be my top three.
Can you think of a favourite role that you’ve had so far?
It’s really difficult. I think there’s a little special place in my heart for each character. Working on CSI I got to go to work everyday at the Universal Studios lot, which is sort of a very surreal dream come true. Right now it’s Maggie. To me I guess that’s the most interesting aspect of my job.
What gave you the push or the drive to be in acting?
I was the five year old who was saying to my mom, ‘I want to be an actor.’ And no one in my family comes from any kind of acting background, so it was kind of coming out of left field. But it’s just something that I always liked, to perform and put on shows.
I started modeling when I was about 13 because I grew really tall. I was in Seoul, and I had just come home from like an 18-hour shoot, I had been on three airplanes, flying to some little remote island to do this weird magazine shoot, and I was like ‘this isn’t what I want to be doing anymore.’ Once I changed course, I got really lucky and booked my first gig within that year. Which was a TV movie for MTV, called Together, which ended up turning into a TV series.
When you’re not working how do you wind down or make yourself a little bit happier after having a heavy day at work?
Sometimes it’s hard to leave it at work. We’re shooting in Montreal, which has been an incredible experience. Getting out and exploring the city after work has been a great way to shake off the heaviness of the day. I feel like there’s a different festival every weekend happening in this city.
Do you have a favourite place that you visited?
It sounds ridiculous, but on my honeymoon, my husband and I went to Bora Bora. It was a childhood dream! I thought that’s where Pippi Longstocking went. So we ended up going to Bora Bora on a honeymoon. It was amazing. I feel like it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I doubt I’ll ever go back, but it was incredible.
Pippi WAS always talking about Bora Bora . I think her dad was there because he was a pirate?
Yeah, something random like that! I always wanted to go. So, I did.