Kate Drummond – Flower Shop Mystery
By: Ruth Hill
I always love a good murder mystery and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries shares some of the finest ones available in this day and age. In January, when they aired the first in their new mystery series Flower Shop Mystery, I was captivated by the actress who played Abby’s (Brooke Shields) best friend and co-worker, Nikki. I discovered the role was played by the phenomenal Kate Drummond and I went on a quest to learn more about this woman who injected so much light-hearted humor into what could have been a very suspenseful storyline. Gratefully, Kate was able to set aside some time in between the filming of the second and third in the series (yes, they did film them in rapid fire succession) to discuss her role in this film series, her other upcoming works and her singular path to the road of show business.
Please tell us about your journey to become an actress.
From the time I was a little girl, I was performing. I used to put on lip synch shows non-stop with my friends and I was always playing in my imaginative little world. I had a bit of trouble for the first few years of school because I think I was really overactive! I just couldn’t focus, but I loved creative writing and anything creative. I was kind of all over the place. In an attempt to give me an outlet for my energy, my parents and teachers put me in sports and I ended up being really good at them. I played sports competitively right through to the end of university, where I studied Kinesiology. I thought I was going to go to med school, but after scrubbing in for an open heart surgery I quickly changed my mind. It was way too much for me. I’m way too sensitive!
I’d been a coach and worked with kids for so much of my life that it made sense for me to go to teacher’s college. I taught for twelve years and I LOVED teaching. But I also felt a pull towards something else. I had just turned thirty years old and I was feeling really unfulfilled personally in my life. I was just feeling uninspired and… sad, I guess, for lack of a better word. I began to consider the question ”When I am 80, what will I regret not doing?” And, of course, I knew the answer. The artist inside of me was crying, I think. Three days later, I was in my first acting class and it felt like I was home for the first time in a very long time. I spent the next few years training and doing theatre at night and teaching kids during the day.
The year I decided to leave the classroom, I was teaching at a school where a lot of the kids were struggling. Many had very difficult home lives and so I was teaching them about dreams. We were studying Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech and the kids were making these huge posters about their dreams, their hopes for the future. One of my students asked me, “Miss Drummond, what is your dream?” I told her that I’d always wanted to be an actress. And her response? “Why aren’t you doing it?” Here I was teaching them about chasing dreams and I wasn’t even doing it myself. It was the hardest decision of my life to leave the classroom, but I also felt obligated to “practice what I was preaching,” in a way. My students were so supportive and I felt like they were cheering me on. I was setting a good example, I think. I miss them and think about them daily.
Six months later, I sold everything I owned and though I was scared, I moved to Toronto to pursue my acting dream. I was thirty-five years old at this point–much older than most who enter the profession. I was trying to find an agent and I had one agent say to me, “You’re too old to dream of being a movie star, sweetie.” My parents were also very worried about me. I remember them asking, “Do you understand the consequences of giving up a teaching career?” My response was, “Yes, but I have to do it.” And so, here I am. I feel like your true calling is like a pilot light that burns deep inside of you…right in your center. When you ignore it, the flame starts to go out. But when you are doing what you love, what you are designed to do, it burns brightly. I’m so grateful to be on this incredible journey. Oh, and I’m still in contact with a lot of my students and I love that.
What is it like working for the Hallmark brand?
It feels like a hug. There is joy in the storytelling and I just love the tone of Hallmark. When you watch a Hallmark film, there is plenty of levity and it’s family-friendly. You find yourself believing in love again as you watch these romantic stories. You believe that the world maybe isn’t such a bad place after all. And the people I get to work with are amazing. It’s such a gift to love going to “work.”
Please tell us about your experience with Flower Shop Mystery.
I love being a part of the Flower Shop Mystery family and I feel really blessed to be part of this amazing ensemble. Bradley Walsh, our director, is a dream to work with and it’s just so much fun to come to work. I absolutely love my character Nikki. She has this quirkiness that is perfect for me. Playing the best friend of Brooke Shields (Abby) is amazing. She’s a great actress and so fun to work with. From the beginning, we clicked and so on screen our friendship was so easy to play and it rings true. Brooke is a really open, warm and generous person. What you see on the screen is a reflection of who she is and our friendship off screen. Brennan Elliott, who plays Marco, makes me laugh so much. He suits Marco really well. They both have this suave, yet quirky sense about them. Brennan was often at a disadvantage because Brooke and I like to give him the gears. There’s really just so much great chemistry in this cast. As for Beau Bridges who plays Brooke’s dad, I only got to know him during our recent filming of this last movie. He is a warm and loving man who is very easy to work with; kind of exactly what you would expect from someone like him.
In the first installment, my character, Nikki, was just getting established in her character, but in installments two and three, you start to see more of Nikki’s character. She is fiercely devoted to Abby and she wants to protect her. She likes the idea that Abby may be willing to love again and Nikki wants to be more a part of the mystery at hand. But basically, Nikki loves the idea of small town life and she is rather innocent in her way of thinking. She believes that people are genuinely good and she is far too trustworthy at times. She and Abby are a good match for each other. Marco and Nikki are also starting to connect a little more in the next movies. I think he knows that in order to get to Abby, he has to win over Nikki, too.
(Programming note: Canadians will be able to finally see the premiere of the first in the series, “Mum’s the Word” on Sunday, April 17 on the W Network so be sure to check your local listings.)
What can you tell us about the feature Go Fish?
I am so proud of this film. Go Fish is a coming of age story about a young girl who discovers what truly matters in life. After the loss of her mother, she fights to reclaim the life she had and realizes that the key to her happiness was with her all along. It was my writing and directing debut and I worked in partnership with Brett Heard, a veteran in the industry and a very dear friend. We wrote this film and workshopped it for three months before we went to shoot it and it was an incredible experience. Twice a week, we’d meet with the actors and do character work, improv exercises and rehearse scenes so that by the time we went to camera, we were able to shoot this feature film in ten days. Not saying it was easy…It certainly was the most challenging experience, but that preparation beforehand really paid off. We shot the film in the Muskoka’s of Northern Ontario. It’s beautiful cottage country. There was something special about this experience for all of us. I think we have a very special little film on our hands and we are aiming for a Summer 2016, release with a great festival run.
What other upcoming and current works can you tell us about?
In addition to Flower Shop Mystery, I am a recurring character in a great new series that just premiered on the SyFy channel in the U.S. called “Wynonna Earp.” I love this show! It’s edgy, witty, dark, sarcastic and fun and it’s got a really strong female lead. I show up a little later in the season and stir things up a bit .I don’t want to give away too much, but it is about battling modern-day demons in a sort of Wild West setting. You can also see me in “Degrassi: Next Class,” in Season Two when it is released on Netflix. Also, I work regularly in the video game world doing both performance capture and voice work. My latest role was as Dr. Kandel in Ubisoft’s “The Division” and that game was just released.
What is the most important lesson you have learned in recent years as you have taken this nontraditional path to realize your dreams?
The most important thing I’ve learned is that every day is a chance to begin again and learn. It doesn’t matter if you’re a so called “late bloomer” or a “spring chicken,” we can all learn something new. We can all strengthen our skills or get to know ourselves a little better, a little more truthfully. Another huge lesson that I’ve learned is to be the truest version of yourself always. When you are yourself, even with all your quirks and flaws, you end up attracting the right people to your life. The wrong people don’t stay…and that’s a good thing anyway! It’s particularly important in this industry. I want to be surrounded by people and work with people who like me for who I am, not for who I’m pretending to be. No matter what, I love to approach life with the attitude of gratitude and a serious sense of humor. Wait, can you have a serious sense of humor? I don’t know. [laughs] Who would have guessed that I would be where I am but a few short years ago?
For me, the most exhilarating stories concern those who have a dream and risk it all to pursue it in spite of the odds. While not all will succeed, I do believe (as in Kate’s case) that perseverance, passion and a little bit of good fortune will eventually land you smack dab where you are destined to be. Kate is a true beacon of hope to all of us who have shelved our dreams for a good portion of our lives in favor of something more attainable and acceptable, but suddenly, we are thrust into making a decision about our ultimate purpose in life. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that Kate risked it all to become an actress in spite of the odds, for without her sunny disposition, incomparable talent and pragmatic outlook the chemistry of these highly praised mystery films would be somewhat out of sync and missing the woman who reminds us that unconventionality is a necessary quality in life. If you have not seen “Mums the Word,” I invite you to check your local listings, as the film regularly repeats on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries network. Additionally, be sure to set your DVR’s and mark your calendars now for the second installment set to air Sunday, April 24, on this same network. And if you truly want the inside scoop on this sensitive, benevolent and ultra talented beauty, be sure to follow her on social media and check out her website for the most-up-to-date news and current works.