I had the chance to chat with Zahra Bentham about her role in the new Netflix Original series Spinning Out. We also chatted her own wintery sport experiences and her upcoming roles in other series. Thank you to Zahra Bentham for answering all of my questions.
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
What’s up! My name is Zahra Bentham and I like to refer to myself as a multi-hyphenate. I went to Wexford CSA (Collegiate School for the Arts) where I studied Drama Focus, Music Theatre and was in Dance Intensive for 4 in a half years. I wasn’t always in the arts. I started as an athlete playing AA/AAA basketball, traveling to the states every weekend if not every other weekend. I was also heavily involved in sports at Wexford as well. I was juggling about 4-5 days a week in the gym while being in intensive rehearsals for both Drama Focus and our Music Theatre program per semester. By grade 10 I had to make a choice on what to put my full focus on, so I chose the arts. By the end of Grade 10, I got myself an agent in Toronto and the rest was history.
How would you describe Spinning Out?
Spinning Out is like a Riverdale meets I, Tonya meets Black Swan but….. better. I mean, you’d have to watch it yourself to be the real judge though! (hahaha). Spinning Out follows the subjects of depression and mental illness, but honestly and compassionately. Specifically, we highlight Bipolar disorder and the struggles of dealing with that and the everyday lives we choose. Mental health has been such an important topic that it is becoming more normal to discuss these issues within our households and amongst our friends. I mean, the fact that Netflix gave us a platform to talk about this is huge. That in and of itself shows the progression and how far we can take the information we are learning to heal and get the proper tools we need for ourselves.
Who is your character Alana and her role in the series?
Alana is an upperclassman in college who works at the Sun Valley Lodge. Raised by a single mom, she was taught to takes no L’s and no bullsh*t from people. Especially from love interest Marcus (who’s leads the Ski team), who has a love triangle going on with Kat Baker and Justin Davis. With Alana’s calculated mind she’s able to win over Marcus for showing him who he truly is.
As the show does focus on ice skating, had you skated before?
Yes! I grew up skating, skiing and participating in a lot of winter sports. When I received the audition and booked it I was sooooo looking forward to getting back on the ice but, unfortunately, my dreams were crushed. My character you mainly see in the Lodge where the cast would come to hang out or grab a bite to eat. God willing for a second season (crossing my fingers we get one) I can somehow be within the storyline of everyone on the ice and competing. That would be dope. Pray for me! Hahaha
You will also be in Madam C.J. Walker, could you describe the series and your role?
Man, what a pleasure it has been to be a part of this limited series. In Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J Walker, I play a woman by the name of Nettie Ransom. Nettie is a highly educated, very sweet, intelligent, proper wife of ‘Ransom’ played by Kevin Carrol. She is a member of the Indiana Coloured Woman’s Club where she helps Sarah Breedlove, played by Octavia Spencer start her business. Madam C.J. Walker was an entrepreneur, philanthropist, political and social activist. Being the wealthiest African-American businesses woman and wealthiest self-made woman in America around 1912. The story takes you on the ride of Madam C.J Walker’s life, her struggles, and her many blessings she encountered. The series is written by Nicole Jefferson Asher and A’Lelia Bundles who is Madam C.J Walker’s great-great-granddaughter.
Could you talk a little about your previous collab with Jordan Evans?
If some of you don’t know Jordan is superhuman. He’s a diamond-selling Canadian record producer, songwriter and talent manager from Toronto. He’s worked with major recording artists like Jay-Z, Eminem, Drake, John Legend, Ellie Goulding, and Toronto’s very own Daniel Caesar. He’s also manages recording artists Charlotte Day Wilson, Daniel Caesar, and Sean Leon. Jordan and I go way back. Back to like diaper days – no lie. My sister grew up with Jordan’s oldest sister Reisa from JK/SK and so we all grew up together, considering each other family. Back in 2016 when a lot of the ”documented” gun violence was happening, along with the #BlackLivesMatter movement I teamed up with Karena Evans (award-winning director, actor and Jordan’s youngest sister) to use my voice as a platform for awareness and change. Jordan gracefully blessed us with his abilities in producing the full piece. This was my first time working with Jordan on this level and hopefully not the last. **hint, hint, nudge, nudge** 🙂
Where can our readers keep up with you and your work online?
If y’all wanna be updated with what’s going on in my life and or just stalk me (cause you know we all do it) go and follow me on @zahrabentham across all platforms! Stop by and say what’s up!