What do you get when you mix hard work, natural talent, and kindness? Well, you get the multi-talented Sarah Troyer. Born and raised in Calgary, AB, Sarah is definitely carving out her own path in Hollywood and is truly someone to keep an eye on.
On the small screen, she’s appeared in series such as Young Drunk Punk, Wynonna Earp and most recently a show-stealing performance in Supernatural. In the film world, she’s appeared in the projects Dark Hearts, Incontrol and will soon be starring in the independent film Under Pressure.
We sit down with Sarah to talk about her start in the business, working on series such as Supernatural and Wynonna Earp as well as her thoughts on having more women in front of and behind the camera.
Pop Culture Principle – What put you on your path to becoming an actor and did you always know that was what you wanted to do as a career?
Sarah Troyer – Well, I started acting when I was quite young. I can’t tell you the exact start date, I just know that I’ve always done it. There never really was a plan to go big with it. I loved to do it, so I did it. I felt like I should get an agent and see what happens. Things were really going well, so I thought I have to give acting a go and decided to move to Vancouver.
Pop Culture Principle – You initially did a lot of work in musical theater. Can you talk about some of your work in musical theater and what it was like being on stage?
Sarah Troyer – I mainly did my musical theater back when I was in high school. Being on stage is a completely different experience from being in front of the camera. It’s a rush, the adrenaline is pumping and the nerves are going. Unlike in film, you only get the one take, so you just have to go for it and you got to be big and the acting is different because you get to be a bit more over the top. It’s fun and definitely different from film.
My biggest musical theater role was the time I got to play Cosette in Les Misérables, which is a big production and it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. At the end of my program in high school, we did a film workshop and that led me into film work as opposed to continuing on with musical theater.
Pop Culture Principle – What made you decide to start focusing on film and television?
Sarah Troyer – You know, the workshop that we did really changed my life. I have such a quiet voice and projecting on stage for me has always been a struggle and I always felt that I was pushing and pushing when I was on stage. When we did the film workshop, it felt good and it felt natural for me. I really love the way that you can be more real. You can be quiet, you can whisper and you can feel things and you don’t have to be so big when you are on film and that really spoke to me.
Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us what was your first professional paid television or film job and what it was like stepping on that set for the first time?
Sarah Troyer – I do. Oh God, it was bad, it was very bad. It was a show called Nice Girls Do and I just had a small, five-line part. When I went into film, I have never been on a set, I didn’t know any film actors and I had no idea what I was walking into. So, when I got on set, my nerves totally got the best of me. It was my turn to say my lines and I totally froze. I could barely say my lines, I stuttered through my lines and I could totally see people thinking how in the world did I book this job. It was so horrible!
I don’t know who was looking out for me, but the weather turned really badly, so they had to cut halfway through the day and reschedule it. I remember I went home that night and had a good cry about it. I called my agent and she was amazing. She told me that I could do this, you know your lines and now you know what to expect. So, luckily, I went in the next day and I knew what to expect and everything turned out fine.
Pop Culture Principle – One of the first films you starred in was called Dark Hearts. Can talk a little bit about that project and your character Ali Shea?
Sarah Troyer – Ali was a lot of fun to play. She’s quite an unlikable character and I think it’s super fun to play the antagonist. I think a lot of actors will agree that in real life, we are always told to be on our best behavior and then we get this opportunity to play this nasty character that gets to say whatever they want and you get to satisfy a little urge that we push down.
Also, getting to work with the director, Neil Edelstein was amazing. He has such vision and makes the set fun and comfortable, yet driven if that makes sense. It was really awesome to be a part of that project.
Pop Culture Principle – You also appeared in a very funny episode of the Canadian series Young Drunk Punk. Can you talk a bit about your experience on that series?
Sarah Troyer – That was such a great show and unfortunately, they only did one season. I am hoping that they get more because I think once people started watching it, they really loved it. Playing an uptight, rich girl was totally different from the character I did in Dark Hearts. It was an amazing experience. I grew up watching Kids in the Hall with Bruce McCulloch and he was my dad’s favorite comedian.
When I found out they were going to do the show in Calgary, I was hoping that I just got the opportunity to audition. When I walked into the audition, Bruce was there and he was just the nicest guy and so sweet and he gave people a lot of time. Most people will give you just a take and then let you walk out the door, but Bruce seems to take his time with everybody and gave the actors some direction. After I booked the job, although I didn’t get to work with him specifically, he was on set and I got the chance to joke around with him and working with everyone on that set was really cool.
Pop Culture Principle – On the Syfy hit series, Wynonna Earp, you appeared in the pilot episode. What was it like working on that series?
Sarah Troyer – It’s such a cool show! Just going off what I said before, it was such a female empowering show and it was amazing to be surrounded by such powerful, beautiful and strong women. They really encouraged me to be the best that I could be and gave me opportunities. I got to do some of the stunts, including the roll and drag, but I also had a stunt double, Sally Bishop who was amazing. It was very cool to watch her work. A lot of production companies don’t give you that opportunity, so the fact that I booked the job, got to work with these fantastic women and then they taught me a skill, it was amazing. That experience is really close to my heart because it was so great.
Pop Culture Principle – Most recently, you appeared in the Supernatural episode Tombstone. Can you talk a bit about the audition process for that role?
Sarah Troyer – It’s another funny story. I’ve been watching the show since I was younger. I was super excited that I got the audition and it was amazing. I had worked so hard for this and I have to start prepping for my audition. I go to the audition and the director Nina Lopaz-Corrado is sitting there. I had two scenes to do. I did the first scene and it went well. I did the second scene and I totally bombed it.
Nina said no worries and let’s do it again. I did the scene again and bombed once again! I walked out of the audition thinking I didn’t book the role and that there was no way they were going to give a guest star role to somebody who can’t get through an audition. A week later I got the phone call saying I got the role and I immediately called my mom and told her the great news.
Pop Culture Principle – Supernatural is known to have one of the best sets to work on. What was your experience like on set and what was it like working with Jared and Jensen?
Sarah Troyer – They are amazing! There is no ego and everybody is so friendly, warm and welcoming. It just creates such a positive atmosphere for creativity to flow back and forth between the actors and everybody. I was blown away and it was very bittersweet on my last day to have to say goodbye and to leave because there has really been nothing like it. It is a phenomenal set.
Pop Culture Principle – What do you look for when you are deciding on what your next project will be?
Sarah Troyer – I think for me the most exciting thing is a fully developed and strong female character. It’s getting better for sure in film, but whenever you get to read a female character that is more than just a pretty face, I get really amped about it. So, when scripts come across like that, it just adds a little pep into your audition and into the part.
Pop Culture Principle – You also have an amazing singing voice. Any future plans to possibly record music and put out an album?
Sarah Troyer – Singing is definitely a hobby of mine. I have the worst stage fright when it comes to singing. I did do a short film last year called Under Pressure that Is coming out in December. I do sing in it, I play guitar and I wrote the theme song to it which is a once in a lifetime thing and it was amazing, but I was having a heart attack every single day, so I don’t think I will be putting out an album anytime soon.
Pop Culture Principle – There is a major push to increase the presence of women on both sides of the camera. Do you feel there is progress being made and if not, any thoughts on how to make that happen?
Sarah Troyer – I definitely think that there is progress being made. I’ve only been in the game for about six years now. I started when I was 18 and I’m 24 now. Just seeing where the industry was at back then to where it is now is very promising. I mean we have Elizbeth Banks with Pitch Perfect and Walk of Shame, Reese Witherspoon has her new production company to working with Nina Lopez-Corrado on Supernatural, it is only getting bigger and better and I am so excited to see these wonderful women creating things in front of the camera and behind the camera.
Pop Culture Principle – Do you see yourself producing and/or directing in the future?
Sarah Troyer – Maybe. I use to write and I did produce my own little skits in my musical theater program which was a lot of fun. So maybe it may happen in the future. I wouldn’t be opposed to it.
Pop Culture Principle – What advice would you give to an up and coming actor?
Sarah Troyer – Go for it! Absolutely go for it and know that mistakes are going to be made, but keep moving forward. You just have to keep positive and keep your head high and things will happen. Maybe not the way that you think they will happen, but it will eventually.
Pop Culture Principle – If you could act in a scene with any actor, who would it be and why?
Sarah Troyer – You know, one actor that I always go back to is Tom Hardy. I think it would be so cool to work with him and watch his process in real life. He did a movie called Locke where it is just him driving around in a car the entire movie, but you are mesmerized just watching him. Also, he’s not hard to look at!
Pop Culture Principle – Do you have a certain process for preparing for your roles and building your characters?
Sarah Troyer – You know, I really read the script and try to read in between the lines to develop the character. I’ve always found that the most honest way I can act is to try and relate to that character. I do find that every character that I’ve done, there is a little bit of Sarah in the character.
Of course, there are tweaks here and there to match the character’s actual description. I do think all those characters are still a part of me in some way because I put a part of myself in all of them. I am trying to relate to the character and build off of more than what is written in the script.
Pop Culture Principle – Any upcoming projects you can talk to us about?
Sarah Troyer – Absolutely! The short film Under Pressure is coming out in December. It should be available on iTunes or the Renegades Productions website. The film is about a struggling musician name Sophie, which is the character I play. I am super excited about this film because as an artist, I think other artists will really relate to Sophie. It’s that battle between doing what you love and not succeeding in it and I think we’ve all been there where we are asking ourselves do we keep doing it or do we quit. I am super excited for it and I hope everyone else likes it just as much as I do!
We’d like to send a big thank you to the wonderful Sarah Troyer for taking time out of her schedule to talk with us! If you’d like to learn more about Sarah, you can visit her official website here. You can also follow her via her official Twitter and Instagram accounts @sarah__troyer.
**Supernatural photo courtesy of The CW**
**All other photos courtesy of Natalia V. Follow her on Instagram @nv.photoart**