“It’s really funny and interesting to play a real character that is bitchy, but ambitious, career driven, but also is really locked and settled down with the person that’s going to take care of her.”, Michelle Van Der Water states about her character on this season of VH1’s Single Ladies. Michellle will play Taylor Tilman, a beautiful and sophisticated socialite. Her character is old money, truly glamorous, and has a great presence. I got to chat with this gorgeous Cape Town native and her personality truly stuck out as she discussed her Single Ladies‘ adventure, former acting experiences, and difficult challenges she’s fought with along the way.
Charli > Hi Michelle! Charli here, celebrity interviewer and writer for MediaBlvd Magazine. How are you?
Michelle > I’m great Charli, how are you?
Charli > I’m awesome! Thank you. So I learned that you were born in Cape Town and then moved to Australia… what was that experience like for you growing up and how did you eventually get started in acting?
Michelle: Well growing up in Austrailia, you know, well I have nothing to compare it to [laughter]. It was good! I had a really great childhood in a small based town, just outside of Sydney; very small town. And it was fun; just growing up by the beaches was really nice [laughter]. I can’t really compare it to anything [laughter].
Charli > But now you’re living in the states right?
Michelle > Now I live in LA, yes.
Charli > Okay so Single Ladies is what’s hot right now, or will be hot soon! What initially attracted you to the character you play, Taylor Tillman?
Michelle > I knew I wanted to play the character Taylor because she’s so brave and she’s really just an ambitious person. She’s not afraid to step on a few toes to get to where she wants [laughter]. To play that kind of character was really fun because first of all, I would be too scared to be that person in real life just from all of the consequences that would come up [laughter]. So it’s really fun to be able to be a bitch and act in a particular way, but at the same time you have the opportunity to play around with other characters. It’s really funny and interesting to play a character that is bitchy, but ambitious, career driven, but also really locked and settled down with the person that’s going to take care of her. There’s a lot going on in her head.
Charli > And do the two of you have any similar real life qualities?
Michelle > I would probably say, I mean I’d like to think of myself as ambitious; I go after what I want. But I’d probably do it in a different way than Taylor would [laughter]. You know Taylor will have a tendency to eliminate the competition and I would allow to play a fair game [laughter].
Charli > Right. [laughter] And now we’re ready for a new season! What can we expect? Coming from a woman’s perspective as well as for the faithful guys who tune in… Will there be lots of drama? What’s going on this season?
Michelle > Yes! It really is interesting. Every character has a vibe and you know I’m really starting to see how the dynamics of the relationships are changing from last season. And we also have Denise Vasi, the actress replacing Stacy.
Charli > Right.
Michelle > And she brings like a whole new feel to the show I think. There’s a lot going on. I mean obviously this will be hype for all of us. I’m really liking how the story is going. From when I’ve been filming, there has been a lot of twist and turns. I think a lot of friendships have been tested.
Charli > Interesting… You briefly mentioned the new actress, Denise… Do you work well with the rest of cast? On and off set.
Michelle > Oh yes! They all are so amazing. We have a really fun time on set. Every one is just so nice. We all get along really well and I think it’s important because we work really long hours, and sometimes we may tend to get a little cranky as well [laughter]. Everybody is like really cool and get along really well and I haven’t had any issues at all. They are such a different, friendly group of people and great actors too.
Charli > I know last year I interviewd Travis and Anthony and got to discover how amazing and interactive they are. Very friendly people and especially with Travis, he’s really really goofy [laughter]. So I’m sure that you all have lots of fun, just from my interaction with the two of them alone.
Michelle > Yeah! Yeah, they are hilarious [laughter].
Charli > [laughter]. What was your experience like guest appearing on NCIS: Los Angeles, One on One, and Melrose Place? Even with Resident Evil 5. Talk about your experiences. How did it open more doors for you?
Michelle > It did open more doors! I think what I got out of acting in different roles, you can never really predict what you’re right for and what people are looking for when you audition. I used to think whenever I got an audition, I would think that I couldn’t see myself playing this role or trying to have confidence that they actually wanted to see me for this. Something to remember is if you’re getting called in for an audtion, you have every chance that somebody else has to get the job. Either they like your look and that’s why they are calling you in. So it’s up to you to just do what you can; and based on the roles that I’ve actually been cast for, they’ve been so diverse and it’s really encouraging to know that you may be going into something that you don’t think you’re right for, people are always looking for something different. They are always looking to cast somebody that is unusual that they’ve never cast before. So you have just as much of a chance as anybody else in that audition. And I think that’s what I’ve gotten out of being cast in so many different roles; and have been fortunate enough to work on so many different shows.
Charli > So tying in with that, what has been your biggest challenge so far in your career?
Michelle > For me personally, I think in the beginning of my career, it was difficult for me to play African American roles because a lot of the roles that I was going out for, were so stereotypical of the black woman. And they always wanted like the same kind of African American role. So very difficult like. All that stuff! And it was very frustrating for me because first of all, I don’t believe that African American people are all like in that way[laughter].
Charli > Exactly!
Michelle > Obviously there are so many different types of people out there. So it was very frustrating that I was expected to be as cliché’ for roles like that. So that was really challenging. It was really challenging to not have people look at me like I could be that kind of black girl. That’s why I love working with Single Ladies because as a black show, they have representations of so many different black women. So I’m really happy about that.
Charli > I totally agree. You’re so right. …So I think from reading your bio, I also learned that you dabbled in modeling here and there while growing up, do you plan to get back into it as a career, or will you stick with acting?
Michelle > My career is acting. I mean the modeling stuff I did was kind of on the side. I just did it for money [laughter]. But yeah, modeling for me isn’t as challenging and satisfying as being an actress. My focus is definitely on my acting career.
Charli > I mean you’re very gorgeous, I’m sure you could probably do both [laughter].
Michelle > Aww thank you! [laughter]
Charli > [laughter] How can fans and future fans connect with you via social networking sites such as twitter and facebook?
Michelle > Yeah I’m on Facebook, Michelle Van Der Water. I have a fan page there. My website, michellevanderwater.com; you can request an autograph. I’ll be on Twitter soon, but not just yet! [laughter] I’m working on it.
Charli > Well thanks so much Michelle! This was fun, is there anything else you’d like to share?
Michelle > Yeah it was, thank you Charli! Nope, that’s all!