This week we bring you rising star Kelly Frye, who not only stars in LAYOVER (just released today on our site), but is also the coveted new face of Plastique on CW’s new hit THE FLASH. With an infectiously positive outlook, Kelly has steadily worked her way into the hearts of network television execs and now can look forward to a comic fan following. Take a peek into the life of Kelly Frye.
WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as an actor?
KF: I’m from Houston, Texas and grew up in an Irish family. I have Catholic parents, three Jewish siblings, and I went to a Baptist school, so I was surrounded by stories and traditions from a lot of different cultures. I fell in love with storytelling at a young age so now being able to explore different characters and tell stories makes me feel right at home. I was also very lucky to be exposed to such a rich cultural art scene right in my hometown.
WMM: When did you know you wanted to pursue your craft as a career? Were you supported in your dreams?
KF: I was and am completely supported. We’re a very close family and support each other in all of our different endeavors. My oldest brother, Jason, is a big inspiration to me. He is a playwright, theater director, and founder of the Catastrophic Theatre in Houston. He also happens to be a huge DC comics fan. When I told him I booked Plastique in The Flash, he said, “I can’t believe MY little sister is going to be PLASTIQUE!”
I remember when Jason came to see me as Rusty in my high school senior musical production of Footloose. He turned to our mom and said, “did you know Kelly could do this?” It was a big deal to 18 year old me to hear that my fancy theater brother was impressed by my performance. That was the beginning of me thinking I could do this as a career.
WMM: Did you study anywhere in your field? Where? Any notable stories / experiences / peers / teachers?
KF: I trained at Second City and LOVE improv. I not-so-secretly hope to be on SNL one day. I currently study with Lesly Kahn and I attribute the shift in my career to her. She’s a wonderful acting teacher and she has created a great community with her studio. The “Kahnstitute” is my home away from home.
WMM: What else do you do besides your craft? Day job?
KF: I currently work as an actor full time. In my spare time, I am a Teacher’s Assistant at Lesly Kahn & Company. Teaching is inspiring and completely energizes me. In between college semesters, I lived in Hawaii and worked at Cold Stone Creamery. Whenever we were tipped, we’d have to sing a “tip song.” Those songs still haunt me.
WMM: What is the lowest budget you have worked with? Highest?
KF:I have worked on several low budget films for friends or friends of friends.It’s how I got most of my experience in the beginning. I think it’s a great way to understand how a set works. This year though, my work has been filled with larger budget productions. Rake, Greg Kinnear’s show, had a good deal of money behind it, but I’d say The Flash has to be the biggest budget. Those amazing special effects and visual effects can’t be cheap!
WMM: What was your first foray into professional film making/acting? First screening? First show?
KF: I booked my first national commercial when I was 16. In fact, It’s how I got my SAG card. The commercial was for Titleist Golf featuring Sergio Garcia. I was on my high school golf team at the time, so that job was special for me on many levels. Definitely a cool first experience. My first screening was for a film that involved mostly filmmakers from USC graduate film school. It was a horror-thriller called “Devil’s Grove”. I had to keep my eyes shut most of the screening. Summer 2013, I was in a play my friend Tammy Minoff wrote called Perennial. David Rapaport came to see the play and subsequently started calling me in for Arrow and then The Flash!
WMM: What is the most stressful situation you have found yourself in as an artist? Most rewarding? Most memorable?
KF: Chasing light. That’s been the most stressful situation for me so far. I’ve been lucky to work on great projects with very professional, chill casts and crews. I hope chasing light always remains my most stressful set experience. Every job is rewarding in its own way. I learn something new each time I work. That’s the best part of this business, to me, you’re constantly learning and growing. Memorable… kissing Greg Kinnear was not the worst thing to ever happen to me.
WMM: How did you come to WMM?
KF: David Aslan, the writer/director of Layover, and I were on a group trip in Big Bear together. I remember him mentioning a film idea he thought I’d be right for a few months prior to the trip at a friend’s birthday party. The trip allowed us to get to know each other better and discuss the film. David brought me into WMM and I auditioned for Layover. I’m thankful I got to work within WMM and with David’s family. Layover was a wonderful experience.
WMM: Who are your biggest influences?
KF: Charlie Kaufman! I love his brain. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my favorite films. Whenever I need a jolt of inspiration, I listen to his BAFTA speech. Outside of the business, my mom and all four of my brothers are constant inspirations. They all live passion filled lives and believe they can do whatever they put their minds to
WMM: Who are your top 5 actors? Directors?
KF: Julia Roberts, Johnny Depp, Julianna Marguiles, Lena Headey, and Michelle Dockery. Directors: Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Rob Reiner, Sophia Coppola, and Judd Apatow.
WMM: What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?
KF: I love television and the shift that is happening right now for women in TV and film. I can’t pick one favorite role. They’re all special and precious to me. Cindy Beck on Rake was smart and sassy, Diane in Layover was complicated and interesting, Kayla on Anger Management was a total conniver, Plastique/Bette is a METAHUMAN!! There are countless other women I’ve had the privilege of inhabiting on stage and on screen. I’ve been in love with all of them.
WMM: What would you change if you could, about your career trajectory?
KF: Nothing. It’s all happening as it should.
WMM: Any advice for actors?
KF: 1) You can do it. 2) You are enough. 3) Celebrate all that makes you YOU. 4) Don’t take rejection personally. It is never personal. 5) Work hard.
WMM: What is your favorite thing about WMM?
KF: The community! It’s great to see people who are creating their own work instead of waiting on the industry.
WMM: If you were stranded on an island for 6 months, what 5 items would you wish you had on your person?
KF: (This list is assuming that I already have water and an endless supply of avocados.) A forever charging Kindle with unlimited downloads, my dog Coco, an abundant amount of sunscreen, a cool partner in crime in to hang out with, and a journal.
WMM: If you were not doing what you do now, what would you want to be doing?
KF: I’d be an international tax attorney. Hilarious, I know. I love to travel and I’m good with numbers. When I went to college, international tax attorney made sense to me.
WMM: What’s next for you now?
KF: Back to auditioning, looking forward to participating in a staged reading at the 2014 Sloan Film Summit, and hanging out in the DC world.
WMM: Describe yourself with 3 adjectives.
KF: Caring. Passionate. Curious.
WMM: What, other than your craft, brings you joy?
KF: My family and traveling to new places.