INTERVIEW BY TINA TURNBOW
STORY BY KATINA GOULAKOS
Actress Elizabeth McLaughlin of Amazon’s Hand of God chats with Photographer, Tina Turnbow after their shoot together about the life of a young actress and what drew her to this career in the first place.
Imagista: What made you pursue an acting career?
Elizabeth McLaughlin: I think it all began with a fierce love for imaginative play and performing while pretending to be different characters as a kid. I loved feeling like I was part of my favorite storybooks when I would act out the various characters. I would make my own movies with my family’s video camera, taking my Barbie jeep and making an action movie with my best friend. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I loved movies and once I realized I could maybe be a part of them for the rest of my life, I knew I had to give it a try.
People often use the colloquialism of being bitten by the ‘acting bug’, and as cliche as it sounds, for me it was in many ways like being shot with pure passion that took my heart and hasn’t given it back. The more I discovered what it meant to be an actor, the more I fell in love with it.
Imagista: Of your fellow actors who inspires you most and who would you love to work with?
EM: I was incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by an incredible powerhouse ensemble of actors in my cast on Hand of God. Every day was like a masterclass with these seasoned pros and I found myself discovering and learning while I was working. I was especially inspired by Garret Dillahunt, who plays KD on the show. He’s one of the most meticulously deep actors I’ve worked with, all while retaining his insatiable sense of humor. I’m so inspired by all my fellow cast-mates and how committed each of them were at the development and performance of their characters.
Outside of Hand of God, I’m motivated by actors who fully immerse themselves and fully disappear within their roles. Just to name a few, I would especially love to work with Gary Oldman and Jessica Chastain, two actors who I believe do this consistently.
Imagista: Do you have some passion projects you devote some of your time to?
EM: I am constantly on the hunt for great characters in theater that challenge me with the aspirations of co-producing plays here in LA. I love the process from the other side, and it keeps me working in downtime between seasons. I’m also passionate about giving back to my community in my free time, especially devoting time to my work on the national board of SAG-AFTRA and as a national chair of one of the union’s committees, benefiting young performers in the industry.
Outside of work, this past year, I’ve been focused on having new, exhilarating experiences. I actually just went skydiving for the first time with my father. I was terrified, of course, but can’t wait to try something completely unique for the first time.
Imagista: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
EM: If I wasn’t pursuing an acting career, I would definitely be a full time college student, as opposed to my part time, ‘when I have time’ status I currently find myself in.
I would love to be a journalist of some sort, or work in international affairs. I’d love to work for the U.N in an area of philanthropy, or as an ambassador somewhere.
Imagista: How does the LA lifestyle work for you in comparison to NY?
EM: This past summer I actually lived in New York for a couple of weeks, and was completely swept up in the seduction of the city. I fell completely in love with the energy, the people and of course, the best food I’ve ever eaten. I had serious thoughts of never returning to LA. However, when I got home, I realized how much I love LA, and how much it is home to me. I need to have easy access to the ocean, and nature. I love getting out of town and driving the coast or spending time in the mountains. I’ve gotten used to the outdoor, active lifestyle of L.A. I think if I lived in a perfect world, I would spend six months of the year in both L.A and N.Y, and be a bi-coastal resident to get the best of both worlds.
Imagista: Can you share what’s coming up next for you?
EM: Well, right now, as I am anxiously awaiting news of a potential second season of Hand of God, I am actively auditioning for films and plays. I’m also starting to produce a play, and potentially a charity benefit concert here in L.A with a couple of close friends. Here’s hoping more exciting news is on it’s way.