Gracyn Shinyei – When Calls The Heart
By: Ruth Hill
While there have been various new children added to the cast of “When Calls the Heart” this season, there are still a few children who have been a thriving part of the cast since season one. It is remarkable to realize that one such actress is Gracyn Shinyei. At the age of nine, she has already won multiple awards (including several Joey Awards) and it seems as though her star is definitely on the rapid ascent. I was honored to speak with her recently and we discussed her “When Calls The Heart” (“WCTH”) experience as well as some of her other upcoming works.
What inspired you to become an actress?
When I saw my brother acting, I knew I really wanted to act. I started doing commercials at the age of 3 and then I started taking dance lessons around the age of 4. And by the time I was 5, I was acting on TV.
How did you get the job in “When Calls The Heart?”
I got this message about auditioning for Emily and so I studied hard so I could hopefully book this role. I got one callback and then I found out I got the role.
What do you like best about being on the set of “WCTH?” Do you have any favorite actor/actress on the set?
I like having the new kids on the show this season. It’s so much fun. My favorite actresses are Genea Charpentier (we knew each other before and were already friends) and another actress you will meet a little later in the season. Also, the script called for me to take Ava [Grace Cooper] by the hand and watch out for her. We became really good friends and I loved spending time with her, too.
Tell us a little about the adult cast of “WCTH.”
Everyone on set just treats us kids so well. I love working with Erin [Krakow], Daniel [Lissing] and Pascale [Hutton]. They are so wonderful, but Erin is probably my favorite because she is just so great with all of us kids. She is warm and welcoming and helps us out with our scenes. She’s a lot like her character, Miss Thatcher.
How does schooling work for you?
I am homeschooled. During kindergarten, I just kept missing so much school that my parents decided this was the best way to handle it. It works really well for me.
What has been your favorite episode to film and why?
In season two, I think it is, Miss Thatcher is mad at Mountie Jack. And so Emily (my character) has to make a mad face and it was so much fun to do that. I’m sure many people would remember that episode, including Erin.
Please tell us about about working on the film A Cookie Cutter Christmas.
The cool thing with that film was that I got to play the younger Erin Krakow. And Erin, herself, called my house to let me know I got the role. Sadly, I wasn’t there at the time, but I thought is was really neat that she did that.
Any upcoming works you can tell us about?
I’ve got a great role in the film A Snow-Capped Christmas that should be out this Christmas. And I have a recurring role on “The Man in the High Castle.” And there’s another drama that you’ll hear more about later.
How do you keep grounded in the industry?
It’s because of my dad. He always says to be grateful for what you have because at any time it can end. He also says to never bring up the acting stuff unless someone else brings it up. But he has also said to balance that out with taking pride in what I have accomplished. And I really try to do all of that.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to paint and I also like to play with my Littlest Pet Shop toys. I also play with my friends and since most of my friends are actors, we have that in common, which is great.
What impresses me most about Gracyn is that even with all of her talent, she has been privileged to grow up in the most normal environment possible. Her dad is a major influence in her life and as I told him, he has raised an incredible child. Gracyn’s success has not gone to her head and I believe that as long as she continues to follow the advice of her dad she will exceed expectations in this business and persevere. In Gracyn, I believe we have hope for the future and I highly anticipate that we will see more from this sweet and gifted girl. Be sure to tune in March 20 to the Hallmark network to see her in “When Calls the Heart” and don’t forget to follow her via social media for all of her latest news: