self-proclaimed pessimist, Ive often asked myself what kind of person actually
believes in the phrase, Good things come to those who wait? After spending
less than ten minutes talking with actress Adrienne Wilkinson, I had my answer. Confident,
ambitious, vibrant and defiantly positive, this 24 year old is indeed a rare find in
Hollywood. She's honest, open, decisive and wise beyond her years. There isn't a phony
bone in her body. Wilkinson knows exactly what she wants and when she sets her sights on
something, she doesnt back down until she's achieved success. Think Alicia
Silverstone with much more grit and intensity... However, Wilkinsons attitude is
really rather endearing, especially when she talks about how grateful she is just to have
had such wonderful experiences as an actress, whether they propel her to Julia Roberts'
status or not. But we all know what helped Julia rise to the top (and it wasnt just
those cleavage shots in 'Erin Brockovich'). Everyone loves Julia Roberts simply
because she doesnt " expect" everyone to love her just because
shes a movie star. Adrienne Wilkinson will undoubtedly rise to the same level of
success for that very reason. Passionate, philosophical, family-oriented and exotically
beautiful the blue-eyed actress embodies all of the stereotypical classic film star
attributes, plus the unassuming charm of a down-to-earth Midwesterner.
At the tender age of 18, Wilkinson left her home in Missouri to follow her dreams
of becoming an actress and shes never looked back. Although Wilkinsons parents
were understandably frantic about their teenage daughter moving to the city of angels
alone, they knew they couldnt deny her talent. Its precisely that family
support system which has contributed to her optimistic outlook. In a time where Hollywood
is filled to the brim with no-talent twenty-somethings cleverly marketed and packaged as
the next big things, Wilkinson is such a breath of fresh air. Most recognized
for her role as Lucy Lawless estranged daughter Eve/Livia on the recently wrapped
syndicated hit series 'Xena: Warrior Princess,' Wilkinson has enjoyed both critical
acclaim and fan loyalty (Xena fans adore her). Her talent and commitment have landed her a
role on what may very well be the break-out hit of the season. 'As If,' the half hour UPN
mid season replacement, has been called 'Friends' and 'Sex and the City' meets 'The Real
World'. As the beautiful, sophisticated, sometimes overly confident Nicki, Wilkinson gets
a chance to show off her exceptional range. With a role like Nicki and a show with the
buzz of 'As If,' Wilkinson is well on her way to becoming Hollywoods next It
Girl. Only this girl will still have it long after the next big
thing comes along.
UPBEAT How does the show 'As If' compare to most of the drab stuff thats on
network television right now?
Adrienne Wilkinson "Its in the category of a
dramedy and its really funny but I cant say its a sitcom. Anything
thats funny comes out of the reality of the situation. Its an American version
of a show that was done for two seasons in Great Britain and is currently airing there. It
revolves around the lives of six young college students and the trials and tribulations
they deal with on a daily basis. My favorite description of the show is that its not
politically correct. As opposed to being an after school special trying to teach
everyone a lesson, the show doesnt make commentary about what happens we purely show
the consequences. The show is intense. We film using tape and digital video. Theres
so much editing. Its cut a lot like a music video. It's very fast-paced. The show
also has a real 'New York' feel to it which means were very specific about the
locations where we choose to film. There are a few recurring things on a stage like our
bedrooms and things like that. But everything else we film in the city with as small
a crew as possible so we can be as inconspicuous as we possibly can. We just jump out and
do it and if people start to notice then we move on because we want it to have that fresh
city feel. We drive all over the city. Its shocking how much footage we get in a
day. The nice thing about this show is that there are so few obvious
UPBEAT Your character Nicki is being described as materialistic, beautiful, wildly
flirtatious and sophisticated far beyond her years. Whats your take on her?
Adrienne Wilkinson "I adore her. Shes a good
example of someone who seems like a stereotype and then you realize how much more is going
on than you catch on the surface. She is so much fun to play because she is so brazen. As
an actor, Ive had to be so brave in the last couple of weeks. Nicki has the
self-confidence of 300 people (laughs). She has no qualms with boys. But within that,
shes also incredibly naive. Although shes had a lot of relationships,
shes never been ' in love' and doesn't have a clue as to what that means. Shes
never been dumped or experienced financial hardship. Because the series has already been
filmed in Britain, Im lucky and cursed at the same time that I already know
Nickis storyline. Its really interesting because she learns so many life
lessons and goes through them with her friends. The big episode for my character is really
interesting because you see the internal battle and the turmoil when someone has an
absolute belief and it just gets crushed. Nicki learns her lesson the hard way and she
will continue to do so until it finally sticks. Shes so different from anyone
Ive ever played. Theres a great freedom about her. I have to go in absolutely
confident. Nicki doesnt doubt herself for a moment so I have to be right there with
UPBEAT What do you draw upon as an actress to play Nicki so
Adrienne Wilkinson "We were all just talking about
this the other day, how you can see things about your character in people you know or
other people you see. As much as shes not like me, the truth is I find ways to
relate to her because I know so many people like her. All of your friends that seem to
have the perfect situation, the more you know about their lives, the more you realize that
no one has the perfect life. Everyone has turmoil and things theyre dealing with.
Its just that their perspective is often different. Im personally a very low
maintenance girl and Nicki is about as high maintenance has you can get (laughs).
Ive analyzed the character enough that I can now see where shes coming from.
The director, Brian Grant, is also great he will not let me get away with a false
moment (laughs). We were doing some Nicki scene with her strutting around and being bold
and fabulous he came up to me after one of the takes and said that I was being far
too self-conscience. I didnt even realize it at the time, but it was so true. Nicki
wouldnt doubt herself for a second. She wouldnt feel nervous in an outfit, she
wouldnt be pulling on her skirt. She feels amazing 100 percent of the time until she
smacks up against a wall (laughs). Thats her wake-up call."
UPBEAT How did your experience on Xena compare to this?
Adrienne Wilkinson "As you guys know (laughs)
I played Xenas daughter for the last two seasons. It was an incredible experience.
Ive been so lucky with all of the work that Ive done thus far. It has prepared
me for this in so many ways. Shooting ' Xena' was like shooting a feature film every
single week. It was new locations, new costumes, guest actors coming in. Filming in New
Zealand was also an experience. 'As If' challenges me in different ways. ' Xena' was my
big break and a real blessing on several levels. I have such tremendous respect and love
for everyone I worked with on 'Xena'."
UPBEAT ' Xena' having been your big break just two years ago, how long have you
actually been working in the business?
Adrienne Wilkinson "My first professional job was
about five months after I moved out to L.A. I say its been about five years that
Ive been working because there was that whole transition of figuring out how the
heck to survive in L.A. As confident as I may have been, Im sure I looked absolutely
green when I walked into a room. Now its comforting that I know so many people in
town and its nice to have that in my back pocket as Im going in for new
UPBEAT Any chance of your family relocating to L.A.?
Adrienne Wilkinson "My family is almost entirely in
Missouri. Theyre the best fan club a girl could have. They were scared to death when
I first came out here. My father is a policeman and my entire family is very
service-oriented. As much as theyre individually creative, they all make very
strong, realistic decisions career-wise. I sorted of started a new trend in my family
(laughs). I have a sister who just graduated with a degree in directing. Everyone is now
opening their eyes to the possibilities. My family has been nothing but supportive.
Theyre so excited and they love to hear about the adventures. They love the kind of
experiences I get to have and the places I get to see. With all the craziness is my life
theyre really what keeps me so grounded." UB
For more information on Adrienne Wilkinson visit her
official web site at www.adriennewilkinson.com
Beth E. Cochran is a nationally
syndicated journalist as well as the illustrious West Coast Editor for UPBEAT
Entertainment News Online. She has written for several prominent entertainment
publications including Entertainment Weekly, Soap Opera Update, and Soap Opera Magazine,
to name but a few. Beth is currently working on several screenplays.