Imagine joining Lost Girl, a seductive Supernatural series in its third season which already has a settled and extremely vocal fan base, are you picturing it? Fists flying, people crying over their favorites not getting enough screen time because of the newbie, the madness… the horror! Well, it seems we’ve kept the brawls down to a minimum this season and we’re not entirely sure how she did it (I personally think she used some of that Fae juju on us), but the fact remains, that when Rachel Skarsten strolled onto the scene she managed to not only piss off the majority of the loyal Lost Girl fans, but make them love her as well.
Two episodes into Season 3 we met Tamsin, a vicious Valkyrie with a knack for darkness, and like any (ir)rational fan of their favorite show, week after week, Monday (Sunday) after Monday (Sunday), I, as well as many others watching thrived off loving to hate this girl. Now, after speaking in depth with Skarsten herself, I feel almost guilty for giving her character such a hard time in the beginning… but, isn’t that the beauty of it? Loving to hate, and hating to love. And after interviewing this lively, humble and phenomenal talent, I’ve come to learn that some of the sweetest of people can make even the meanest, most controversial characters likable.
Now onto the good stuff, the real reason why you’re all here eagerly pawing through this post trying to get the scoop on Lost Girl‘s resident bad girl. As you know, I got to chat with fan favorite, Rachel Skarsten, we talked about the possible, or perhaps impossible direction of Valkubus, she takes a controversial stand on the never-ending Dyson or Lauren debate, and she even admits to being a fellow fangirl!
So scroll on you Faenatics, this is one interview you will not want to miss…
McKenzie M: For starters, so glad to hear you’ll be back in Season 4. I know that the fans are extremely thrilled to see some more of Tamsin. At what point did you know that your character would continue into the next season?
Rachel Skarsten: I guess it was about half way through filming the first season that I sort of started to hear rumblings from the producers or some of the cast that I might be back, and Jay [Firestone] had spoken to me a little bit about some ideas that he had for the next season and Tamsin’s character, however I didn’t get my official offer to come back until we wrapped and the season had actually premiered on television.
MM: You brought a fresh dynamic to an already pretty solid show, do you and Tamsin have any similarities? Differences?
RS: Tamsin is way cooler than me. [Laughs] Like way, way cooler. So that would be a difference. I guess ultimately every character that you play, while they would like her to be so much cooler and more dynamic and much more dramatic and interesting, I think that there’s always a little bit of personification of certain characters fixed to your own. I love Tamsin’s humor. I think that we have the same sense of humor. Maybe I’ve given her a little bit of mine, and vice versa. And I think just coming from a past that, she’s obviously struggled with things and perhaps we share that a little bit and I think that that’s probably true to the human condition.
MM: Now that you’re a season into this character, have the fans warmed up to you? Is the response to your character generally positive or do you still get some negative feedback as well?
RS: You know, originally when the news sort of broke that there was going to be a new character, there was some negative feedback, and nothing terribly malicious. I know how it is when you love a show and you love all the characters on that show you’re hesitant to want a new character to come in just because it changes the dynamic of that show and maybe people were a little bit worried about that. They were also worried that if a new character came in that must mean that one of the original characters is going to be killed off so I got a couple of tweets where people wanted to not have Tamsin come on. When the show first premiered people didn’t really like her, which I anticipated because Jay Firestone had said to me “oh, people are just going to love to hate Tamsin. They’re gonna hate her as if they’re going to love to hate her.” So I was expecting that, however very quickly on into the season people just gave the warmest reception and I don’t think I’ve gotten a single negative tweet. Although now that I said that I’m going to get some.
MM: Have you had any weird or crazy fan encounters, in real life or on Twitter?
RS: When I joined Lost Girl, I don’t think I really knew what the extent of the fan base of the show or how big the show really was. I mean I had heard of Lost Girl but it really hit me when the show premiered and on Twitter it was trending number one Worldwide and I thought “man this is crazy.” Since the show premiered, I’ve been in Los Angeles and I’ve had a couple of people come up to me or kind of tap me on the back and just say, “I’m sorry, I never do this, but you’re on Lost Girl and that is my favorite show and I never miss the show and I shut the doors and I just watch my show,” and they go, “all by myself.” And I’m always like that’s a little weird, but cool. But no one has been particularly crazy, although sometimes I do get people tweeting me ten times in a row “I love you so much, message me back.” So that’s also a little extreme but I do appreciate the love.
MM: Lost Girl has really skyrocketed in the U.S., what do you think makes this show so special compared to competing Supernatural dramas such as The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf or Fringe?
RS: I think that what makes Lost Girl so special and different from the other shows, and it’s one thing that people really respond to and enjoy about the show, is the humor in it. So many of the characters, it’s not just you have that kind of one token funny character that says the one-liners, the whole show has an undercurrent of humor. It extends with Bo and Kenzi and Tamsin and just all of these different characters that are not only intelligent and brooding and Supernatural but the difference is there’s a humor about it and I think not taking yourself too seriously while doing it seriously is one of the special things about Lost Girl.
MM: You’re being referred to as the Joseph Morgan of Lost Girl because you had a similar affect on the fandom as he did with The Vampire Diaries. If you’re not familiar with him he’s an actor who came onto The Vampire Diaries, stole the show and now has his own spinoff series. What would you do if Tamsin got her own show?
RS: [Laughs.] Tamsin’s own show? I mean, first of all that is so flattering, thank you, I didn’t even know that and I think Tamsin’s own show would just be a train wreck to be honest because [while laughing] she’s such a train wreck. But what would I do? Well first of all I think I would miss everyone else; I’d have to just take a whole bunch of them with me. I would be so down for it. I love Tamsin. People always ask you, “oh do you like playing this character?” And sometimes you don’t really and sometimes you do. But Tamsin is this really empowered female. It’s one thing that people always comment about her and I always say that Jay Firestone just truly loves women. He writes these female characters that are just so badass. And to have the opportunity to continue to play a female like that, especially in the type that I’m in, you know in the twenty-something on girl, you just don’t get the opportunity to play characters like that very often.
MM: To refresh my memory I rewatched the season finale last night: we saw Tamsin unravel towards the end of the season… do you think that had a lot to do with her underlining feelings for Bo? Was all of that Bo/Tamsin subtext intentional, I mean she basically confessed her love to her in a bathtub, am I right, or am I right? [Laughs.]
RS: Yes. Well, there’s actually a whole backstory to Tamsin’s investment in Bo that will start to be explored in the next season that I can’t really say anything about. But it’s a very long history, and it’s very personal to Tamsin, because Tamsin is obviously a very old, old Valkyrie who continues to reincarnate. The story goes back way way before Bo was even born. I’m excited for the fans to see what happens.
MM: Many fans are rooting for Bo and Tamsin to have a go at a real relationship, these characters are so alike, yet so different, would you be for something like that blossoming between the two in the upcoming season… or are you terrified all the rabid Dyson and Lauren fans will pounce on you?
RS: [Laughs.] Yeah, no. People ask me that all the time and I’m like NO WAY! [Laughs.] That actually has been one of the things that people tweeted at me about that “well we love Tamsin but don’t get in the way of Bo and Lauren” or something similar with Dyson. And I have no desire to get in front of that moving train. [Laughs.] I think that exploring relationships whether it be romantic or friendship with Bo would be definitely interesting but especially romantic I think I’m going to leave that up to Lauren and Dyson.
MM: Who do you get along with most on set? The entire cast seems like such characters. Can you describe each one of them in one or two words?
RS: Yes. I feel like a broken record when I say this but it really is the truth that they were all just so welcoming of me. You never know what you’re going to get when you come on and usually by season three either everyone hates each other or everyone’s so tight that there’s just no way that you’re ever going to make it in with the cool kids. And they were just so, so, so, so great from day one. Most of my scenes are with Anna [Silk] and Kris [Holden-Ried] and, you know, what do I even say about them… I’ve had the pleasure of actually getting to spend a lot of time with Anna both on and off set and her and her husband Seth [Cooperman] have just sort of adopted me in Los Angeles and I got to see them and their new baby which is amazing. Anna is the real deal. That would be the best way to describe Anna. She’s one of the most genuinely kind and gracious people I have ever met in my life, I mean, there’s literally nothing. I feel like I’m gushing like I’m actually in love with her. Like, I might actually be. [Laughs.]
Kris is so much fun. I feel like when I’m with him, we’re partners in crime, and Kris is one of my favorite people to joke around with because he takes everything so seriously. [Laughs]. But then at the same time is such a big goofball.
Ksenia [Solo] is just wildly talented. I love watching her work. I’ve had two scenes with her and sometimes in scenes when you’re acting against someone and you just think “man I should just throw in the towel” because they’re just totally dominating the scene. That’s how I feel when I work with Ksenia. Rick [Howland], Rick is just awesome. He’s a class act. K.C. [Collins] the same thing. K.C. too, he just went out of his way.
Zoie [Palmer], the perfect way to describe her is actually a cool kid, like Anna and I talk about this all the time, when we’re around Zoie we’re just like “omigosh, you are just so cool, we want to be more like you!” [Laughs.] She’s just so smart and together and I love them all. I can honestly go on forever.
MM: There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding Tamsin and the exact nature of her powers and her life cycle, what would you like to see Tamsin do with her powers in Season 4?
RS: We kind of caught Tamsin at the end of her life cycle and there was reference made to the sheer force that she was at the beginning of her life cycle and I would have really loved to explore Tamsin’s power in her prime. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Because she is such a strong female, and a strong personality and character and to sort of see her powers really reflecting that, I’m pretty stoked.
MM: Your one-liners on Lost Girl have become notorious, and after every episode I would get loads of tweets from people asking me to make some more Tamsin Tones. What was your response to this ringtone craze? Would you ever have yourself as a text tone? haha.
RS: [Laughs.] I actually saw it on Twitter and I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t even think that it was a real thing and then when I heard it. [Laughs.] It was, like, so odd. It’s like one of those very surreal moments. Would I ever have myself? Probably not, simply because I think my friends would just roast me for it. But I’m very flattered that it was done. It’s kind of weird, kind of crazy to think that my voice comes out of someone’s phone every time that they get a text message from someone. [Laughs.] Hopefully it’s not one of my more, like, swearing, mean ones. [Laughs.] Maybe something a little nicer.
MM: If Tamsin became human, what obstacles do you think she would face? Do you think that bad ass, take no crap personality she’s known for would disappear?
RS: No, I think she would have it even more because she would be so frustrated. I feel like there were a lot of times throughout the season when Tamsin really struggled because there were ways in which she was used to being able to behave because of her powers and when she was losing them she could no longer act that way and I think that’s kind of why she was so grumpy the whole season. So I’m sure she would be like the grumpiest human.
MM: Who would you want to see guest star on next season’s Lost Girl, and what role would you want them to play?
RS: Oh, who would I want to guest star? That’s a very good question. I mean I think I sort of lucked out with Linda Hamilton. I’m not sure you could beat that, not only just because of who she is in the business but also just how she was as a person. I don’t know. You stumped me! You know what? Just for old times sake let’s say Sarah Michelle Gellar because I was a huge Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan, and I’d love to meet her. [When Buffy ended,] that was one of the saddest days of my life. I would love Sarah Michelle Gellar and she could play my Valkyrie sister so I could be in every scene with her. [Laughs.]
MM: What are some of your guilty pleasure TV shows?
RS: The Walking Dead. I love, love, The Walking Dead. Criminal Minds, my mother and I are obsessed with it. I think we’ve seen every episode. We started watching it because I did Birds of Prey with Shemar [Moore] so when he got Criminal Minds we were like, “oh we’re going to watch it to support Shemar and check out the show.” I get really into, like, all the Law & Order‘s and Unsolved Mysteries. I was into Chopped, that show on Food Network for a while but then I became a vegetarian and decided to not be so into it because I felt like they were killing all the baby pigs.
MM: If you were an animal, which one would you be?
RS: An Elephant, one hundred percent.
MM: What are some of your hobbies?
RS: I love doodling, I’m always doodling. I suppose that’s not a real hobby but it is something that I do with much of my spare time. I love watching hockey. I will watch any team at any time. I was in the Czech Republic last month and there was a game on in a pub and I made my friend who I was traveling with go in and have a beer and we watched the whole game and he was like so not into hockey but I’m quite a big fan. [Laughs.] What else? I wish I could say something cool like cooking, but that would not be true.
MM: A fan actually asked me to ask you that if Lost Girl was a hockey team, which cast members would play which positions?
RS: Well, I would be the goalie because that’s the position that I always play. I think Ksenia would be a forward because she’s like small and agile and she’d be the one to just fake everyone out. Anna would be my defenseman because she’s always got my back. Kris, I don’t know what Kris would be. I think Kris would be the guy who like keeps score in the box maybe. [Laughs.] Zoie would be that power forward, who’s just like, “do not mess with her.” And K.C. and Rick, they would probably also be forwards. [Laughs.] I don’t know, that’s a hard one.
MM: What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?
RS: As lame as this sounds, when I was 14 I was so in love with this guy and he was much too cool for me, and years later he came back around and asked me out. As a theme generally I tend to be so invested in things and want things to work out and I think I would try to take my own advice which is the same I would give to my 14-year-old self to just sort of Vive La Vie and not stress out so much about things or worry about the future and everything being perfect.
MM: So now, I think I know the answer to this next question, but I’m going to ask it anyways: Zombie apocalypse or Alien Invasion?
RS: Oh my gosh, Zombie Apocalypse for sure! [Laughs.]
MM: Figures, it seems like the majority of people answer Zombie Apocalypse, except I did have one person who answered Alien Invasion and I was like caught off guard and was like, whhhaattt, what is this?
RS: [Laughs.] Although I did love that show District 9, but that’s only because I wanted to rescue all of the aliens. So that’s not technically an invasion.
MM: Favorite Candy?
RS: What’s my favorite candy… well, it’s definitely not chocolate. I’m not a chocolate person, I think I’d have to say like Sour Keys. Or you know what? Marzipan, although I’m not sure that counts as a candy.
MM: Team Dyson or Team Lauren? Or perhaps Team Tamsin?
RS: Team Dyson.
MM: Look at you!
RS: Oh, my gosh. I’m just going to get roasted for this one.
MM: All the angry Doccubus fans are going to be like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”
RS: I know! So bad. Oh, my goodness. I’m just asking for it. I should have just said, “No comment.” But yeah, I think Team Dyson. And I say that because he’s Fae, and I think that ultimately, such as in life, one should probably choose [someone with whom there are no] fundamental and inherit problems pre-existing, because marriage is hard enough. [Laughs.] [*]
MM: What is your dream guest starring gig?
RS: I was actually thinking about it the other day that I would love to be on The Walking Dead, but that’s just because I’m obsessed with the show. What other show would I love to guest star on? You know what… probably CSI: Miami only because my mom loves the guy who plays Horatio. I would love to introduce them because she gets so kind of fan crazy. [Laughs.]
MM: Now do you get fan crazy over any one? Is there a celebrity that you—
RS: I get crazy over everyone. I’ve been around actors and celebrities since I was a teenager, and yet every single time I see a famous person I get so awkward and I try and act cool and I just look like a geek and I never say the right thing. I mean I don’t really say the right thing anyway but it’s even worse. I saw Howie Mendel at Soho House and I almost, like, completely geeked out and my friend was like, “It’s Howie Mendel! It’s not a big deal.” [Laughs.]
MM: Do you have a newfound respect for fans since now you’re kind of in that position of people being like, “Oh my God, you’re famous!”
RS: Truthfully, I have always been quite humbled by people who come up and say such lovely things and I’ve never really understood celebrities who find that annoying or who don’t like it or who aren’t gracious, because, to me, not only does it take a lot of courage to go up to someone but to have people affirm you in something that is truly your passion, it’s the best thing. To have people come up to you and say they appreciate your work or they love it, I don’t think it will ever get old. I just love it and when someone comes up to me and apologizes I’m like, “Yeah, no, no, no, can you maybe hang out with me for the rest of the day?” [Laughs.]
MM: Besides Lost Girl, do you have any upcoming projects that you want to tell the fans about? Or maybe anything in general… a message to the fans?
RS: Yes. I had the pleasure [to work on] a short film [with] a really amazing man who is sort of segueing into film, Erwin McManus, and we actually did it for the American Bible Society, and it’s just this beautiful short that will be in Times Square and Washington Square and all over the place. It’s called What Would You Do For Love, and I’m so proud of it. It’s just the most beautiful little short. But other than that, Lost Girl really takes up most of my time, which is fine with me. And in terms of a message to the fans… I guess I would just say that I’m profoundly grateful for how they’ve really embraced me and let me go along for the ride. So yeah, thank you.
No, Thank You, Rachel, for an awesome interview filled with substance, giggles, and good times. For more information on Rachel, visit her website at RachelSkarsten.com. Be sure to follow her on Twitter, @RachieSkarsten, and tell her how much you love (or love to hate) Tamsin!
[*] This answer was previously worded differently. It has since been edited to exclude paraphrasing and include more of Ms. Skarsten’s words.