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Interview: Crystal Lowe

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered has become a breakout hit for the Hallmark Channel and one of the reasons the show has become a hit with its fans is actress Crystal Lowe. Crystal plays Rita Haywith, the lovable, sweet member of the dead letters team who has a photographic memory. The show has received high praise from both fans and critics alike.

Over the years, Crystal has built a solid resume of work including films such as Black Christmas, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, Final Destination 3 and Insomnia. On the small screen, she has appeared on popular shows like Smallville, Primeval: New World, Supernatural, Psych and Da Vinci's Inquest.

Crystal sits down with us to talk about playing Rita on Signed, Sealed, Delivered, working with several acting legends on the series and what fans can expect for the rest of the season.

Pop Culture Principle – What drew you to the project Signed, Sealed, Delivered?

Crystal Lowe – There are a couple of things. Martha Williamson by far is number one. She is someone that I am so excited to be working with. She is an incredible woman and role model for me. Her writing has made my life simple because all I have to do is show up and the words just flow out of my mouth. The other thing is that I really wanted to give a hand at comedy and Rita gets to be funny sometimes. So for me, one of the most exciting things is that I got to flex my comedic chops.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us what Signed, Sealed, Delivered is about?

Crystal Lowe – It’s about a group of quirky postal detectives. We are an eclectic group that still believes in the written word which is so important. We also believe that no matter what you do, you should be reconnecting people that may have lost each other for whatever reason. Our group of four will never give up until we find the right people for the right letter and in doing so, each week we just happen to solve mysteries, make people laugh and bring people together.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you talk about your character Rita Haywith?

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Crystal Lowe – Rita is probably one of the sweetest human beings you will ever meet. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her body and she always wants the best for everyone and everything. She has a photographic memory, which is the bane of my existence because I have to memorize all the letters and it’s just easy for Rita. She is madly in love with Norman who unfortunately is quite clueless to her love. In the next five episodes of this season, there will be a big transformation of who she is and she really has a better understanding now that she has such a support group. Also, she has a really good friend in Shane.

Pop Culture Principle – In what ways are you like Rita and in what ways are you not like Rita?

Crystal Lowe – I think that in my real life, I sometimes pretend that I am not Rita, but the truth is that I am actually extremely close to Rita in a lot of ways. I laugh about this a lot with my husband because usually he is the only one to see me like that, but now I get to portray that on screen. In real life I am quite quirky and sometimes a little dorky. I also try to see the best in people in real life and on screen with Rita, so I have those similarities. I have a little more confidence now than Rita does, but she’s going to grow into that. I personally have grown up having businesses all my life, so I am quite business minded in real life where as Rita loves her job so much and wouldn’t be such an entrepreneur that way, so that is how we differ.

Pop Culture Principle – There is a real interesting relationship and dynamic between Rita and Norman. Will that be explored as the season progresses?

Crystal Lowe – Of course it will! You are going to see some stuff, but I don’t know if it’s going to be what you are hoping to see, but you will see something! Rita has never really dated before; she reads books and that’s why she wrote a romance novel. She really has her head in the books all the time and is a day dreamer. Norman doesn’t really know what to do even if he does have the same feelings for Rita that she has for him. It’s kind of the blind leading the blind and they are trying to figure this out. They both know they have a wonderful friendship and that is what a real relationship is built on.

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Pop Culture Principle – Fans have really fallen in love with your character Rita. How does this make you feel as an actor knowing that your character has been so embraced by the fans?

Crystal Lowe – You know, one of the things I love about live tweeting with the fans is being able to connect with them. There is a young girl who is about 17 or 18 who tweeted me the other day with her Rita glasses and dress on going to an event. Nothing could make me happier than that because I think Rita is such a great role model for girls and she’s growing and evolving every day. For those of us who feel shy in real life and maybe can’t step outside the box, if you watch Rita’s transformation it helps you believe that you can do the same thing and that is the best part of my job. It’s so inspiring.

Pop Culture Principle – Do you see Rita as the heart of the show?

Crystal Lowe – Thank you for saying that because that’s how I feel about her. That’s what I mean about always looking for the best in people and to be honest, Rita is like a hybrid of me and my mother. My mother has always told me to look for the good because everyone has good in them if you just look close enough, you will always find it. I think that’s what is so beautiful about Rita’s perspective on life and I can see why she would feel like the heart of the show in that way.

Pop Culture Principle – The show has had some amazing guest stars such as Della Reese, Valerie Harper and Carol Burnett. What has it been like to work with such legends?

Crystal Lowe – The moment that I got to share with Della Reese where she gave me back the book and told me I was magnificent, that wasn’t scripted. I mean, the part where she gave me the book was scripted, but the moment when she said I was magnificent was an ad lib and it made me cry. Della Reese is such a force. When she locks eyes on you, she is 100 percent present with you. She was just so genuine and real and I thought this woman has had such a career and here I am sharing this moment with her. I remember at the end of the scene, Martha said thank you, you did a great job and I told her sorry Martha, that wasn’t for you, that was for me. LOL! It was one of the highlights of my career and I will never forget it.

The rest of the guest stars have been so cool and so open. Carol Burnett just came on the show and I tried to contain myself, but I just couldn’t. This year has been just incredible. I also got to meet Marilu Henner and wow is that women ever inspiriting. I am learning so much from the actors that are coming on the show and it is such a gift for me.

Pop Culture Principle – What has it been like working with the main cast of Signed, Sealed, Delivered?

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Crystal Lowe – There is something very different about the four of us. I have never had chemistry with another cast like this and it was there from the beginning. We just click and now we are a very tight knit family the four of us. I’ve never laughed as much when I was on a set before. As much as the guest stars have been incredible, I don’t know if I would have given it up to have just spent the time with the four of us because it’s been that wonderful of an experience with my co-stars.

Pop Culture Principle – Has there been a scene or episode so far that has really touched you emotionally?

Crystal Lowe – Episode two I read on the plane to LA for an event we had to go to and I cried three times. I handed the script to Kristin who couldn’t’ even read it because she was crying as well. We even cried during filming. We did a preview of it for the cast and crew and I cried five times during my own show. I know what’s happening and I filmed it, but I was still crying. Obviously we are doing something very special here. I remember looking over at my husband and he said don’t look at me, look away! Episode 10 is really incredible. Episodes 5 and 6 you get to see Rita really grow which was very meaningful for me because I got to be in my character.

Pop Culture Principle – With the success of the show, do you think it puts the networks on notice that the television audience is ready for more family friendly, positive programming?

Crystal Lowe – Yes! I am a huge fan of shows like Game of Thrones. I watch shows like that and enjoy them, but we have to have other shows that we can watch with our kids. We can’t just have one or the other. That is what makes this show so great. Martha’s writing is funny and accessible to everybody. You don’t feel like you have to play yourself down in order to watch it. You can sit with your kids and they can laugh at different parts than you will and you will totally get what’s going on. We desperately need that today. Sunday nights use to be the time you sit with your family, eat dinner, watch television and hang out. That was a beautiful thing and we should do that again instead of separating ourselves. You want to be with family as much as possible and I think this show helps do that.

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Pop Culture Principle – Have you ever dealt with a show that has such dedicated fans creating artwork, fan fiction and podcasts to promote the show?

Crystal Lowe – Not like this, no. I’ve been in the film industry for 17 years and sometimes there is just magic. Martha said to us one day that she never thought she would feel lightning in a bottle again since Touched by An Angel, but she feels like it just may have struck again. I know I feel like that and it feels like that with the cast for sure. I now know what it’s like to be a part of something that inspires people to do better and I don’t think I ever want to stop doing that because it’s the best!

I have had so many people ask me about Reneta Hayweather Frontier Duchess and I told Martha she needs to write it and get it into the stores. People want to find out about Reneta Hayweather.

Pop Culture Principle – What can fans expect the rest of the season?

Crystal Lowe – You can look forward to some old fashioned Hollywood romance and laughing literally out loud. You are going to see the two couples really shift, change and grow within themselves and as a team and the dynamic between them. You will also see why they are so important to each other and why the work they are doing has to continue going because it’s helping people.

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