The Schitt’s Creek star on how she learned to speak up for herself and the moment she found out she got her life-changing role.
You may recognize Annie Murphy as quick-witted former rich girl Alexis Rose on the hit TV comedy Schitt’s Creek. Here, the actor talks about how she learned to cope with rejection in the industry, and find her voice offscreen.
Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?
For a long time, I thought I was going to go into law, but theatre just kept being so present in my life. [But] being on stage and getting that [positive] feedback from the audience, it was a really incredible feeling that I didn’t really want to part with.
Why is it important to advocate for yourself?
When I started out in the industry, I felt the need to say “yes” to everything. You wanted to be an actor, so you took acting jobs. So your agent would call you up, and be like, “I’ve got an audition where you’re going to play a nude woman who transforms into a werewolf in the back of a truck!” And you’re like, “Yay, I can’t wait to do that audition in front of a stranger.” [That’s why] it’s very important to listen to your gut.
How did you learn to handle rejection?
There is so much heartbreak and letdown in this industry. You get your heart set on something, and then you’re sitting by the phone for three weeks and it never rings. I don‘t think that necessarily ever gets easier, but you learn that there’s going to be something else — that’s going to make you feel the same way — coming down the tracks. I don’t think the heartbreak ever gets that much easier to swallow. You just learn to look at it from a different perspective.
What advice do you have for some just starting out in this industry?
Really have the confidence that you have something awesome to bring to the table. Write and create as much as you can, because if you’re sitting around waiting for someone to give you a well-round, interesting, incredible role on a silver platter, you’re going to be a real cute skeleton covered in cobwebs when that happens.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far?
When I got the part on Schitt’s Creek! When I got the call, I just jumped around and giggled and laughed all over the place. That was my biggest, best moment so far.
How do you define success?
Success, I think, is a combination between a happy work [situation] and a happy life. As vague as that is, that’s what it means to me, at this point right now in my life.