As a self-proclaimed
pessimist, I’ve often asked myself what kind of person actually
believes in the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait”? After
spending less than ten minutes talking with actress Adrienne Wilkinson,
I had my answer. Confident, ambitious, vibrant and defiantly positive,
this 24 year old is indeed a rare find in Hollywood. She's honest,
open, decisive and wise beyond her years. There isn't a phony bone in
her body. Wilkinson knows exactly what she wants and when she sets her
sights on something, she doesn’t back down until she's achieved
success. Think Alicia Silverstone with much more grit and intensity...
However, Wilkinson’s attitude is really rather endearing, especially
when she talks about how grateful she is just to have had such
wonderful experiences as an actress, whether they propel her to Julia
Roberts' status or not. But we all know what helped Julia rise to the
top (and it wasn’t just those cleavage shots in 'Erin Brockovich').
Everyone loves Julia Roberts— simply because she doesn’t "expect"
everyone to love her— just because she’s a movie star. Adrienne
Wilkinson will undoubtedly rise to the same level of success for that
very reason. Passionate, philosophical, family-oriented and exotically
beautiful— the blue-eyed actress embodies all of the stereotypical
classic film star attributes, plus the unassuming charm of a
At the tender age of 18, Wilkinson left her home in
Missouri to follow her dreams of becoming an actress and she’s never
looked back. Although Wilkinson’s parents were understandably frantic
about their teenage daughter moving to the city of angels
alone, they knew they couldn’t deny her talent. It’s precisely that
family support system which has contributed to her optimistic outlook.
In a time where Hollywood is filled to the brim with no-talent
twenty-somethings cleverly marketed and packaged as “the next big
things,” Wilkinson is such a breath of fresh air. Most recognized for
her role as Lucy Lawless’ estranged daughter Eve/Livia on the recently
wrapped syndicated hit series 'Xena: Warrior Princess,' Wilkinson has
enjoyed both critical acclaim and fan loyalty (Xena fans adore her).
Her talent and commitment have landed her a role on what may very well
be the break-out hit of the season. 'As If,' the half hour UPN mid
season replacement, has been called 'Friends' and 'Sex and the City'
meets 'The Real World'. As the beautiful, sophisticated, sometimes
overly confident Nicki, Wilkinson gets a chance to show off her
exceptional range. With a role like Nicki and a show with the buzz of
'As If,' Wilkinson is well on her way to becoming Hollywood’s next “It
Girl.” Only this girl will still have “it” long after the “next big
thing” comes along.
UPBEAT How does the show 'As If' compare to most of the drab stuff that’s on
network television right now?
"It’s in the category of a dramedy and it’s really funny but I can’t
say it’s a sitcom. Anything that’s funny comes out of the reality of
the situation. It’s an American version of a show that was done for two
seasons in Great Britain and is currently airing there. It revolves
around the lives of six young college students
and the trials and tribulations they deal with on a daily basis. My
favorite description of the show is that it’s not politically correct.
As opposed to being an after school special— trying to teach everyone a
lesson, the show doesn’t make commentary about what happens we purely
show the consequences. The show is intense. We film using tape and
digital video. There’s so much editing. It’s cut a lot like a music video.
It's very fast-paced. The show also has a real 'New York' feel to it—
which means we’re very specific about the locations where we choose to
film. There are a few recurring things on a stage like our bedrooms and
things like that. But everything else we film in the city— with as
small a crew as possible so we can be as inconspicuous as we possibly
can. We just jump out and do it and if people start to notice then we
move on because we want it to have that fresh city feel. We drive all
over the city. It’s shocking how much footage we get in a day. The nice
thing about this show is that there are so few obvious
Your character Nicki is being described as materialistic, beautiful,
wildly flirtatious and sophisticated far beyond her years. What’s your
take on her?
"I adore her. She’s a good example of someone who seems like a
stereotype and then you realize how much more is going on than you
catch on the surface. She is so much fun to play because she is so
brazen. As an actor, I’ve had to be so brave in the last couple of
weeks. Nicki has the self-confidence of 300 people (laughs). She has no
qualms with boys. But within that, she’s also incredibly naive.
Although she’s had a lot of relationships, she’s never been 'in love'
and doesn't have a clue as to what that means. She’s never been dumped
or experienced financial hardship. Because the series has already been
filmed in Britain, I’m lucky and cursed at the same time that I already
know Nicki’s storyline. It’s really interesting because she learns so
many life lessons and goes through them with her friends. The big
episode for my character is really interesting because you see the
internal battle and the turmoil when someone has an absolute belief and
it just gets crushed. Nicki learns her lesson the hard way and she will
continue to do so until it finally sticks. She’s so different from
anyone I’ve ever played. There’s a great freedom about her. I have to
go in absolutely confident. Nicki doesn’t doubt herself for a moment so
I have to be right there with her."
What do you draw upon as an actress to play Nicki so convincingly?
"We were all just talking about this the other day, how you can see
things about your character in people you know or other people you see.
As much as she’s not like me, the truth is I find ways to relate to her
because I know so many people like her. All of your friends that seem
to have the perfect situation, the more you know about their lives, the
more you realize that no one has the perfect life. Everyone has turmoil
and things they’re dealing with. It’s just that their perspective is
often different. I’m personally a very low maintenance girl and Nicki
is about as high maintenance as you can get (laughs). I’ve analyzed the
character enough that I can now see where she’s coming from. The
director, Brian Grant, is also great— he will not let me get away with
a false moment (laughs). We were doing some Nicki scene with her
strutting around and being bold and fabulous— he came up to me after
one of the takes and said that I was being far too self-conscience. I
didn’t even realize it at the time, but it was so true. Nicki wouldn’t
doubt herself for a second. She wouldn’t feel nervous in an outfit, she
wouldn’t be pulling on her skirt. She feels amazing 100 percent of the
time until she smacks up against a wall (laughs). That’s her wake-up
UPBEAT How did your experience on Xena compare to this?
Adrienne Wilkinson "As you guys know—
(laughs) I played Xena’s daughter for the last two seasons. It was an incredible experience. I’ve been so lucky with all
of the work that I’ve done thus far. It has prepared me for this in so many ways. Shooting
'Xena' was like shooting a
feature film every single week. It was new locations, new costumes, guest actors coming in. Filming in New Zealand was also an experience.
'As If' challenges me in different ways. 'Xena' was my big break and a
real blessing on several levels. I have such tremendous respect and love
for everyone I worked with on 'Xena'."
UPBEAT 'Xena' having been your big break just two years ago, how long have you actually been working in the business?
"My first professional job was about five months after I moved out to
L.A. I say it’s been about five years that I’ve been working because
there was that whole transition of figuring out how the heck to survive
in L.A. As confident as I may have been, I’m sure I looked absolutely
green when I walked into a room. Now it’s comforting that I know so
many people in town and it’s nice to have that in my back pocket as I’m
going in for new projects."
UPBEAT Any chance of your family relocating to L.A.?
Adrienne Wilkinson "My
family is almost entirely in Missouri. They’re the best fan club a girl
could have. They were scared to death when I first came out here. My
father is a policeman and my entire family is very service-oriented. As
much as they’re individually creative, they all make very strong,
realistic decisions career-wise. I sorted of started a new trend in my
family (laughs). I have a sister who just graduated with a degree in
directing. Everyone is now opening their eyes to the possibilities. My
family has been nothing but supportive. They’re so excited and they
love to hear about the adventures. They love the kind of experiences I
get to have and the places I get to see. With all the craziness is my
life they’re really what keeps me so grounded." UB
For more information on Adrienne
Wilkinson visit her official web site at www.adriennewilkinson.com
E. Cochran is a nationally syndicated journalist as well as the
illustrious West Coast Editor for UPBEAT Entertainment News Online. She
has written for several prominent entertainment publications including
Entertainment Weekly, Soap Opera Update, and Soap Opera Magazine, to
name but a few. Beth is currently working on several screenplays.