Photo Credit: Shimon

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Aliyah O’Brien

Looking for a new, exciting series to watch this summer? We might have the show for you. ABC’s Take Two is just that with a dash of light crime coming your way! Aliyah O’Brien is bringing a strong, sassy badass to our screens as Detective Christine Rollins on Take Two, coming to you on June 21st. Centered around a former star of a hit cop series out of rehab shadowing a private investigator, Aliyah O’Brien will be a series regular alongside Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibiran.

You might already be familiar with Aliyah O’Brien from her roles in some of our favourite shows and films. The Canadian actress has been in roles such as Dr. Holly Stewart on the Canadian police drama Rookie Blue, an EMT on If I Stay starring Chloë Grace Moretz, and of course, Regina Worth on Bates Motel.

We chatted with Aliyah O’Brien and got a glimpse into her world as well as a look at what to expect from Take Two! 

Take Two’s premiere date is fast approaching – how are you feeling about the show finally airing so soon?

I’m one of those people that doesn’t get excited about a trip until I”m on the plane, so come June 21st I will reach peak excitement. I like to think it’s because I’m very “in the moment”, but that may be giving myself too much credit!

You’re no stranger to the crime genre of television, having appeared in Rookie Blue, a Toronto-based police show, and Bates Motel as Regina, an office manager working with a sheriff’s department. What draws you to these roles, and how excited are you to take on the role of Detective Rollins in Take Two?

Firstly, I want to say that I am super excited about taking on Detective Christine Rollins.  I’ve been dying for a series regular role as a strong, three-dimensional woman.  Also, I always love characters with a sense of humour and a little sass and she has that.  When it comes to crime shows in general, what draws me (besides the fact that I seem to get cast in them) is less about the crime solving and more about the interpersonal relationships between the characters solving the crimes.  That, and how they go about doing their jobs is most interesting to me.  With Regina in Bates, she was just supposed to be a normal secretary, but I had a lot of fun giving her attitude and opinions about everyone.  Some of the writers used to tell me that Regina was their favourite and they were always trying to find ways to build the character, but it never worked until the end of the season.

Before we see the premiere of Take Two, what should we know about Detective Rollins?

I’m a huge fan of surprises so I don’t want to say too much, but she’s a boss and has a strong moral compass. She and Eddie go way back.

How did you prepare for the role of Detective Rollins before shooting?

I always flush out some backstory for my characters and walk around thinking about them a lot before shooting.  But honestly, this role sits very naturally with me so I mostly just follow my instincts.

Take Two follows the life of a former star of a hit cop series who shadows a private investigator – if you could play any kind of character and shadow someone in that job to prepare for the role, what would you pick and why?

That’s a great question! I always fantasize about playing a boxer or fighter and having to train like Hilary Swank did for Million Dollar Baby.  Maybe something like a Western where I get to ride horses, or playing a Navy Seal and doing serious bootcamp training and repelling out of helicopters and the like! Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but it fires me up!

How would you describe Detective Rollins in three words?

Honest, Sassy, Boss.

In what ways are you similar or different from Detective Rollins?

I’m definitely a little sassy and a bit of a ball buster. I would consider myself a pretty strong person, but I can be a real dork, too.  I’d say where we really differ is I have a very wild and free bohemian side.  I can’t imagine Detective Rollins dancing barefoot in a sundress at a music festival.

If you could swap characters with any member of the cast for a day, who would you swap with and why?

Tough call.  I’d say either Rachel Bilson’s character Sam Swift, because I love her playfulness and enthusiasm, or Jordan Gavaris’ character Mick English because he’s British, hilarious and a little quirky.

What advice would you have for any young girls wanting to get into acting?

Be really honest with yourself about why you want to act and be ready to work your butt off.  I think people have a lot of misconceptions about the job and what it takes. It’s not for the faint of heart.  Most importantly, your number one job is to always be working on loving yourself deeply and fully.  It’s important to know that you are a valuable human no matter how much work you book, or who likes you, or what anyone is saying.  This is a tough industry and in order to be successful and have a great experience you have to keep yourself grounded.  Also, surround yourself with awesome, inspiring people.

What has been the most rewarding element of your career so far?

Definitely the most rewarding element is what it’s taught me about myself. This job has been deeply challenging and forced me to grow within myself in a way that no job could have.  It’s allowed me to find my truth and share it with the world. That’s a beautiful gift.

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?

I’m so grateful for you.  I wish you all the love and magic! Thank you so much for being on this adventure with me.

You can stay updated with Aliyah O’Brien on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Are you excited to see Take Two? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix.

Written by Kath Jiang

Western University grad, music lover, and pizza enthusiast from Toronto.

Email: katherine.jiang@live.ca
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