(photos by Farrah Aviva)
1. I know you, but some people may not.
So could you please introduce yourself to the world?
"Hi! I’m Heather Doerksen.. my last name has given me some grief growing up, but I choose to keep it, because ultimately, that’s who I am... Doerksen... the O is silent. Among other things, I’m a TV/film actor, voiceover actor and stage actor."
2. What was your first job in the entertainment industry?
Also, what did you do before that?
"My first unpaid non-speaking job was on stage in the chorus for the musical Guys n Dolls. I was a kit kat dancer. My first speaking paid job in the film industry was in Blade the series. I was a street walker who met an untimely demise. I also got to do my own stunts, some wire work, being flown up to the ceiling while being eaten alive by vampires. Before all this, I studied science in college, but the arts won my heart."
3. Did you study acting before getting into the industry?
"Yep. I went to SFU in Vancouver and got my BFA in Theatre. I learned so much about myself as an artist."
4. If you could work with anyone you'd want,
who would that person be and why?
"Meryl Streep. No explanation needed."
5. What does a normal day in your life look like?
"Get up, spend time with friends and family, exercise (even just walking counts!), work on an audition, watch a movie. Oh and bake or cook. I love spending time in the kitchen!"
6. Where is your favorite place to be and why?
"The forest. Trees calm me right down."
7. If you could, what would be the one advice
you would want to give to your younger self?
"You’re making all the right choices. Keep going. Don’t doubt your strength. It’s ok to say no."
8. What is one of the best advice that you've got?
Who was the person that gave it to you?
"In college, a theatre teacher asked us all to find a spot in the room, close our eyes and picture what makes our heart sing. Then ask ourselves what’s standing in our way. Then ask ourselves how we can start. I switched my major from Science to Theatre that day and never looked back."
9. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?
"Working on Pacific Rim with Guillermo del Toro at the helm was one of the best filming experiences of my life. No surprise he won an Oscar a few years later. He’s a film genius."
10. If you could book any role in the next years to come,
what would that dream role be?
"A regular voice role on an animated series! I love working on cartoons. My inner child just squeals with glee at that thought."
11. Is there anything you can disclose about any new project?
"The only detail I can reveal is that I’ll be heading to Europe to film my next project in a couple weeks! It’s a juicy role on a tv series."
12. What is the best part about life on set?
"Everything. I’ve always loved movies. And I still smile when I think that I get to do what I LOVE for a living. Very grateful."
13. What can you tell us about Gryla?
"Gryla comes from Icelandic folklore. She comes around at Christmas and captures mis-behaved kids and brings them home to eat them. In Sabrina, they’ve taken liberties with this backstory. Her coven was starving so the witches made a pact to eat their babies to survive. They ate Gryla’s baby first then refused to eat the others. Now Gryla, grieving her baby, is forever gathering orphaned children’s souls to give them a good home to make amends for that act. Her invisible children are called Yule Lads."
14. If you could have any magic power in real life,
what would that be and why?
"Speaking and understanding every language in the whole world (including sign language, animals and baby babble)."
15. What was your favorite scene to shoot as Gryla and why?
"The very first one we shot in Midwinter’s Tale when I arrive on the aunts’ doorstep to retrieve my Yule Lads (and some gin). I was with the aunts (played by Lucy Davis and Miranda Otto) and playing with them was so fun. We passed the time during takes by singing Christmas carols. It wasn’t Christmas but we were shooting a Christmas episode."
16. If you could be any other character from the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,
except Gryla if course, who would that be and why?
"Pesta. She’s so eerie and diseased. Although I’d be no match for how Leanne Kohl Young plays her! She’s just perfection the way she silently skulks about."
17. How was the audition process for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?
"My version of Gryla in the initial audition was very different than who you see! There wasn’t much of a description for the character, and so I went with my first instinct. I wore a flowing gown and flowers in my hair. She was much softer, and I viewed her as a gentle, sympathetic character who lived in the forest. I got the role off of my audition tape, and it was very quick. I found out I got it, and the next day I was on set!!"
18. In the end, is there anything you'd like to say to the people who support you?
"There was a moment in my life when I chose to follow what I love instead of what I “should” and I’m so glad I did. Even though it was scary and there were no promises, I jumped off the cliff and took a risk. If you love something, go for it! And also... Thank you for the support!"
Heather Doerksen is a Canadian actress, best known for her work on projects like: the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Van Helsing, Gigantosaurus, Project Blue Book, Take Two, Love You To Death, All of My Heart, The Drive, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Battlestar Galactica, The L Word, Blade: The Series etc.
Catch Heather as Gryla on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina part 3 on Netflix.
Follow Heather on instagram: @Heather_Doerksen_ :)