Loretta Walsh – When Calls The Heart
By: Ruth Hill
From the first season of “When Calls the Heart,” there was a character who refused to be overlooked due to her strong, opinionated and sometimes garrulous self. Her character began an entire movement within the fan community and Fridays became the days devoted to “Feisty Flo” or Florence Blakeley, her character’s proper name. The actress who gives life to this provocative personage is none other than Loretta Walsh, actress extraordinaire. Recently, I had the opportunity to gain a bit of insight into Loretta and this stalwart figure who has captured the imagination of so many Hearties.
What is your favorite part about portraying Florence?
I love playing a character that unapologetically speaks her mind and is full of the “right” opinions, but then often has to learn lessons as she doesn’t know as much as she thinks she does. I also think there is a vulnerability under all of Florence’s toughness, and that is a satisfying aspect of her character that is great to play.
If you could give a piece of advice to Florence, what would you tell her?
“Don’t take the weight of the world on your shoulders! You worry too much–everything is going to work out.”
If you could choose a beau for Flo, who would he be? Or what kind of man would be good for Flo?
Hmm…great question! I think it would be a softer-spoken man who could tame her prickles with humor and who wouldn’t mind being the “behind-the-scenes guy” that supports her being the leader of every committee in town.
Since you’re an acting teacher, what is your best piece of advice for aspiring actors?
Preparation meets opportunity–do your own work and believe in yourself. You will get a lot of “no’s.” Don’t listen, keep going!
Personally, how would you like to see Florence Blakeley develop and grow as time progresses over more seasons of “When Calls The Heart?”
I would love to see Flo find romance again (of course). I think it would be very fun to see how the controlling Flo handles a man giving her attention. I’d also like to find out some more about her personal life–her children and her past–perhaps a visit from her mother? We may then see where those nosy traits come from. I also think she is a great leader and very industrious. Perhaps she could open a new business venture in town?? Lots of ideas!
What drew you to the show WCTH?
I wanted to do a show about the importance of female friendship and how important those relationships are. I think it’s a universal understanding among women that we all need our girlfriends and they do become our “chosen family” as we move through life.
When I got the call to audition and heard that Michael Landon, Jr. was attached, I was very keen to be involved. I thought, “Maybe this is a project in which I can express how much the female friends in my life mean to me.” The first episode we shot was when the women all come together to work in the mine and overcome adversity through community–power and healing through female friendship and unwavering support of each other. I got my wish, and I was thrilled to be a part of it!
What other upcoming works can you share with us?
I appear in a film that will be premiering at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in March called The Master Cleanse. I also just signed on to appear in a new series–more info to come.
What inspired you to become an actress?
I started out as a dancer and loved it. That is how I got involved in theatre. I also have family members who have worked in the theatre and once I did my first play I was hooked. I believe in doing what you love, following your dreams and I was always encouraged to do that–so I did. I am so blessed to be able to live my dream of being an actor.
How do you manage your busy work schedule (back and forth between Vancouver/Australia/etc.)?
It can be a juggle for sure! I am very organized (just like Flo) so I keep my dates in order for work, but I also make time to see and connect with my family in Australia. Spending time with them is very important to me.
Why do you think your character Feisty Flo has so resonated with fans?
I think everyone knows a “Florence” in their life, whether she is the head of your child’s PTA at school or your best girlfriend who would be there for you in a crisis. She’s well-meaning, loyal and can sometimes make big mistakes. She has lots of lessons to learn and I think fans like seeing her get herself into and then out of trouble. In the end, they know Flo always means well (even if she is a bit misguided sometimes).
What can we look forward to on season three of “WCTH” from Flo (without giving away too much)?
Ooohhh…lots of Hope Valley community time. I think the Hearties are going to love it!
It doesn’t take long to discover the passion that Loretta has for acting and her desire to share that zeal through her chosen craft. Additionally, she has become a show favorite due to her consistent recognition of fans and her genuine appreciation for those who actively support her. On “WCTH,” her character is a force with which to be reckoned, but at the heart of this amazing performer is a woman who truly longs to inspire everyone who crosses her path with a fervor for what is essential in life–family, friends and the people who want to make this world a better place for all. Be sure to watch her “When Calls the Heart” on Sundays on the Hallmark Channel, and follow her on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/loretta_walsh ) and check out her website for even more information (http://lorettawalsh.com ).