I had the opportunity to chat with Sydney Meyer who has not only been part of some great series like Shadowhunters, but is set to be in a the highly anticipated Netflix Series V-Wars. I asked her some questions about her previous and upcoming projects as well as some details about her volunteer work. Thank you to Sydney for sharing so much with me about such a variety of topics and make sure to catch her in V-Wars and well as Departure, both coming out soon.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I’m 23, I’m a dual citizen of Canada and Britain, I have two older brothers. I love animals, my addiction is books and I’m perhaps one of the only book enthusiasts who prefers paperback. I collect fountain pens and notebooks. Also vinyls. I have an affinity for all things analog.
Could you share your journey into acting and some of the details of you drama and dancing background?
I truly had no interest in acting when I was younger. I come from an extraordinarily academic family and I always thought I would go into science or law. I ended up at a school for the arts in elementary school because I was being bullied at my home school and it was there I discovered I really loved Shakespeare and being on stage. I got to explore a new side of myself. After that I moved out and went to a high school for the arts in Toronto and double majored in Dance and Drama. I did intensives at Stratford Shakespeare School in the summer at well as New York Film Academy and many others, I ended up in LA for my AA at Theatre of Arts. It all kind of snowballed. I had found something I loved and I couldn’t get enough. I spent so much time in acting classes, reading plays, watching movies, I felt I had a channel to communicate. As for dancing I started dancing when I was young, I stopped and started, I was a stubborn kid. That school for the arts brought back my passion for it. I went to summer camps for it. I studied briefly at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I danced with the Ballet of Jorgen in Anastasia. It’s something I loved and still love, but not in the same way as acting for me.
You have appeared in a number of series, including the fan favorite Shadowhunters. What can you tell me about your role on the show?
In Shadowhunters I play Helen Blackthorn, Helen is an incredibly smart kind young woman, who I actually related to in a ton of ways. She’s a scientist who is stuck between worlds. She bisexual and half Shadowhunters, half Seelie, which is a big deal in the shadow world. She’s fiercely loyal to her family and friends. She’s also struggling to find herself and her identity a bit. She comes into her own more when she meet Aline and they fall in love.
What was it like being in a series with such a dedicated fan base?
It was mind-boggling. It was exciting but also felt like a ton of pressure and very overwhelming at times. I’ve never had that type of attention, or people analyzing everything I post. I felt a lot of responsibility to the fans. They’re this incredible force of a fandom, and they’re so loving and supportive. It’s fascinating because they’re all so socially aware and really monitor each other on the various platforms so I learned a lot in that sense, about what the audience was going through in their day to day lives. What mattered to them. Especially playing a bisexual character I really learned so much from engaging with the fans in the LGTBQ+ community.
What were some of your favorite on set moments?
For me, I’ll never forget walking into my first table read as Helen. Having worked table reads for two years there was always a name plate that said “Sydney Meyer – Reader”. To walk in and see my name plate say “Sydney Meyer – Helen Blackthorn” I almost cried. It was so emotional. Besides that, shooting the wedding was just incredible. It was the last thing we shot and we all got to be together which never happens. They really played all those songs you heard and it was just emotional and fun. We had our wrap party right there and then on that set that we finished on.
What can you tell me about your upcoming show Departure?
Departure is this exciting mystery thriller that centers around flight 716 which disappears as it’s flying into Heathrow. It’s an incredible ensemble cast, there are all these rich characters on their own journeys that are prompted by this disaster and their stories cross throughout the series and keep you guessing right until the last episode. It’s really exciting and cinematic.
You will also be in the upcoming Netflix series, V-Wars, what can you tell me about the show and your character?
V-Wars is based on the comic books/novels by Jonathan Maberry. It’s about a virus that gets out of the arctic ice and triggers a gene mutation in people that have in their DNA what is called the “predator gene” turning them into vampires. In our world there are different breeds of vampires, it explores vampire lore and the different rules of the different breeds, it’s quite interesting. Ian plays a scientist trying to find a cure as his best friend is the first person to turn. My character Ava O’Malley is one of the only character in the TV show that wasn’t in the books or comics and was created for the adaptation so I don’t want to give too much away. She’s a very exciting addition and definitely spices things up. Ava is ambitious to a fault. She is intelligent and hardworking but when we meet her she’s been through a lot and she is desperate to create a legacy for herself. She’s very emotional and impulsive so the ways in which she goes about this sometimes cause trouble.
What were some of your favorite moments from working on the show?
I don’t even know where to start. My first day on that set I had to shoot an incredibly emotional scene, I walked into the makeup trailer, I was so nervous, and Ian walks in and just hugs me and said “It’s so good to meet you. We’re so lucky we get to do this together and we are so lucky to have you. We just loved your auditions” I was in shock. He made sure that everyone knew it was my first day and it was a huge scene and to just let me do what I needed. He sat around and watched and supported me when he really didn’t need to. The director always asked me if I wanted another take, how I was feeling. Adrian my scene partner was so supportive and talked through everything with me. I have never in my life been on a more supportive set. It was that way every single day. It was a dream come true. Ian also let me shadow him for three days when he was directing which was absolutely incredible. Him, the showrunners, the cinematographer, were all so generous with their time. I learned so much. I can’t say enough about that set.
Are you a fan of supernatural stories personally?
Supernatural stories yes, I love ghost stories, aliens, I’m fascinated by that. I loved the shows Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Stargate Atlantis. I think any story told well is worth telling. But I’m definitely very interested in certain aspects supernatural stories.
You have some very cool hobbies, how did you get involved in boxing and archery?
I love learning new things. I tend to get obsessed with things in bursts. But only certain things stick. When I was young, my father thought it was important that a woman know how to protect herself should the situation ever arise, so he encouraged me to find a martial art of some kind that I enjoyed and to train in it. Boxing for me really gave me confidence and was such a great release that I’ve stuck with it. I really enjoy it. As for archery, I tended to always want to do what my brothers where doing, read what they were reading, I really looked up to them. My brothers and their friends went to an archery range one day and I begged to go along. I had this odd affinity for it. I really took to it. It was a natural thing to me, it’s almost like a meditation for me. That’s the one that stuck.
You volunteer your time with a number of organizations that do service work, what can you tell me about some of the work you do?
I was lucky that when I was young I was surrounded by adults that believed in my crazy ideas. When I was twelve I read about Marc and Craig Kielburger and decided I was going to start a charity and everyone just said okay. It became a real passion of mine. I ended up meeting Craig that year and he’s really been the person that inspired me into social action. The Kielburgers run ME to WE which is a branch of amazing charities. Free the Children is their original charity that has been engulfed by WE and is about ending global poverty through education. ME to WE as a whole is about creating employment and economic empowerment in third world countries. Their work is wonderful.
I read the book Just Mercy and was moved to find out more about the Equal Justice Initiative. This is an amazing group that challenges poverty and racial injustice and advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system. They’re looking to end mass incarceration. It’s an enlightening if tough read and an important organization.
Also, Everytown which is an organization fighting for gun safety to reduce gun violence. There’s some local organizations I love as well. I really encourage people to do some research into the issues that matter to them and find out who is doing work in this area. Find out how you can help. Whether it’s time or money or spreading the word. Education is huge. It’s cool to care.
Where can our readers keep up with you online?
I’m on Instagram under @sydneymeyer48 and on Twitter under @meyers48