Interviews

Heather Doerksen – All Things Valentine

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By: Ruth Hill

Ever since noticing the enthusiastic waitress (who is definitely more than just a waitress) in All of My Heart last year, I have been captivated by the very stunning and sometimes quirky Heather Doerksen. When I discovered that she was about to appear in an upcoming Hallmark film as part of the Countdown to Valentine’s Day, she was gracious enough to grant me a quick interview about her upcoming role as well as a bit of insight into who she is a person and an actress.

What was it that caused to you to pursue a career in acting?

In college I studied Science because I liked it, but also because it promised a steady pay check compared to acting (or this is what believed to be true at the time). The college (Simon Fraser University) required taking courses in disciplines outside your field of study. They called them “breadth courses,” as they were intended to make you a more well-rounded student upon graduation. One of my breadth courses was a theatre class and one day my teacher, Jesai Jayhmes, asked all of us to close our eyes and concentrate. And then we were asked, “What makes your heart sing? Picture it. Now ask yourself what’s stopping you from doing that? And ask yourself how you can start.” For me, it was acting. That day I switched my major from Science to Theatre, and I haven’t looked back.

You have both film/TV credits in your resume as well as voiceover works. What are the pros/cons of both and/or which one do you prefer and why?

Film/TV gives me a chance to use my whole body (facial expressions, gestures and body language) to tell a story. There’s something so fulfilling and fully consuming about that. I love the bustle of being on set and the creative energy in the air.

Voiceover challenges me to tell a story with ONLY my voice. Any expression I would’ve made with my face or my body, I have to now channel completely into my voice. I do love being able to come to voice sessions in a t-shirt and jeans and no one cares what you look like. It’s what you SOUND like that matters. And because of that, you’re never cast because you LOOK a certain way (like in TV/film). Also, because voice work usually tells children’s stories, it makes the sessions SO fun, and the subject matter tends to be lighthearted. I laugh a lot. I love them both because each of them fills a different part of my artistic self.

You have a few Hallmark credits–what has been your experience with that network?

Hallmark has been very good to me. They shoot a lot of projects in Vancouver and employ so many people in the film community. In the past, I’ve been in mostly sci-fi projects and I didn’t think I’d ever be on a Hallmark show, but I’ve been proven wrong. And I love that! Working on a Hallmark movie is like getting a big warm hug.

You appeared in a fan favorite film last year All of My Heart. What was it like working with Brennan Elliott and Lacey Chabert? Was that the first time you had appeared with them?

Lacey is so sweet, exactly as you’d expect her to be, exactly as she comes across on screen. Sometimes you meet actors who seem a certain way in their work and are the opposite in person, but not Lacey. She was so kind and her little dog Teacup was just the cutest! Brennan was awesome to work with, too. This was the first time I worked with either of them. Although, I did work with Jennifer Love Hewitt a few years back on “The Client List” and so working with Lacey, I felt like I was slowly working my way through “Party of Five.”

You have most recently appeared in All Things Valentine with Sarah Rafferty and Sam Page. What can you tell us about your role in that film? What were some of the highlights of working on that film?

In All Things Valentine I play Hannah, Avery’s sister, who is a wife and mother trying to keep the balance of maintaining a family and keeping the romantic spark with her husband since having a kid. Avery is played by Sarah Rafferty and we honestly got along like two peas in a pod. (I don’t mind using clichés when it’s the truth.) We giggled so much. She’s got the same dry wit as me and we just played off each other so well. There was a very natural sisterly vibe as soon as I met her. Working with her, and producer Anne Carlucci, as well as director Gary Harvey (who managed to tastefully block a super complex scene of me in a changing room) was a riot.

Do you have any projects coming up that you can mention?

I have a couple of new exciting characters coming up in two different animated series in March. I can’t reveal them at this point, but please stay in touch on my twitter page (https://twitter.com/HeatherDoerksen) and I’ll announce it as soon as I can! I promise your kids (and you) are gonna love them.

When not acting, what do you like to do in your free time?

I love baking/cooking. I look in the fridge and pick out weird ingredients, look up a recipe and use it as a guideline. Then, I’ll sometimes take liberty with the recipe and hope it turns out. I don’t have that many restrictions with ingredients. I eat healthy, but don’t deny myself cravings when they come up (in moderation, of course). I also love yoga. It calms my mind and challenges my body all at once. And, of course, I always love watching movies/TV/plays. I want to be swept away to another world. And art does that for me.

Is there anyone you have not worked with that you would like to one day?

Yes! This list is ever-growing. I’d love to work with Ridley Scott, Meryl Streep, Peter Dinklage, Judi Dench, Catherine O’Hara, Judd Apatow, Maggie Smith, Glenn Close, Bill Murray, Parker Posey, Steve Carell, Christopher Guest, Lisa Cholodenko, Nicole Holofcener, Catherine Keener and Jill Soloway.

Any advice for those who are considering acting as a profession?

Acting isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to be ready to go on many auditions, fall in love with the character and then be told “no” many times–more times than you hear “yes.” I think the most important thing you need, besides talent and a desire to share that talent, is persistence. Persistence even in the face of the word “no.” Eventually you’ll hear the word “yes,” and that “yes” is so so sweet.

 

What a treat it was for me to learn that Heather is exactly who she appears to be–down-to-earth and genuinely sweet, not to mention immeasurably talented. Whatever you are doing Sunday night (January 31), be sure to set it aside and tune into Hallmark for All Things Valentine.

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