Photo by Djenenba Aduayom
This issue’s covergirl, Annie Wersching, does it all. It’s a fascinating read as Publisher Renee Werbin speaks with this successful actress, who has appeared on shows such as NCIS and Blue Bloods, about juggling roles in two television series — Marvel’s Runaways and NBC’s Timeless — while being the married mother of two young children. She’s definitely a bona fide travel girl. She once managed to pack for the whole family using only a single suitcase!
She is perhaps best known for starring role as Agent Renee Walker in the final two seasons of FOX’s 24 opposite Kiefer Sutherland with whom she has since appeared on Touch. She starred opposite Titus Welliver as the female lead of Amazon’s acclaimed drama series, Bosch, which she juggled along with her role as ‘Lily’ on CW’s The Vampire Diaries. Wersching has previously appeared in memorable arcs on the likes of Steven Spielberg’s Extant, opposite Halle Berry, Body of Proof, Dallas and Castle, and next returns to NBC’s Timeless, a science fiction thriller about time travel.
In Marvel’s Runaways, a web series produced for Hulu, she plays Leslie Dean, one of the leaders of the Church of Gibborim, a cult-like religious group, and the six teenagers, including her daughter, who unite against a common enemy — their criminal parents. The series premiers Nov. 21.
TG: As a child you were a competitive Irish dancer. What prompted a little girl to be interested in Irish dancing?
AW: My mom and dad had a flower and gift shop in St. Louis when I was little and a woman named Kay McWilliams began working at the shop. My dad was sick for a lot of years, and Kay started helping my mom out with taking care of me — and she completely became part of our family. Kay emigrated from Galway, Ireland, when she was 16 and she was the one who encouraged me to start Irish dancing. It was the best! It was my life growing up, that and theatre. When I was 11, I qualified for the world championships in Ireland but was unable to go, unfortunately.
About five years ago I finally went to Ireland for the first time. I traveled to Dublin, Belfast, and Kay’s hometown of Galway. We even were able to visit what was left of a tiny brick house on a farm where Kay was born! What a beautiful country. (P.S. Kay is 84 and still living in St. Louis. We’re going to visit her in a couple weeks!)
TG: Please talk about Runaways. What drew you to this rather unusual part?
AW: The first thing that enticed me about Runaways was the word ‘Marvel!’ Then, when I learned what a strange and unique, albeit slightly creepy character Leslie Dean was, I was really interested. Top that off with shooting in Los Angeles and I was sold!
TG: You are amazing performing the role of a mother with teenage children in Runaways. What’s the most demanding aspect of your role?
AW: I, myself, am a mother of two little ones, ages 4 and 7. They say the teenage years are so hard, but fingers crossed we will not have it as hard as they do in the Runaways! Yikes! I suppose the most demanding aspect of playing Leslie is trying to find her humanity and likability. She’s quite a villain in a lot of ways, but I like the challenge of trying to also give her some heart, to make the audience feel for her even when they know they shouldn’t.
TG: You’ve appeared in some pretty substantial television shows including NCIS, Boston Legal and Blue Bloods. What’s the secret of being a successful working actress in Hollywood today?
AW: Oh there’s no secret, just keep plugging away! I’d say it’s a combination of a lot of things: hard work, commitment, preparation, staying grounded, keeping a good head on your shoulders, staying away from the drama, and of course, a little luck.
Travelgirl wants to know; what are your favorite travel destinations?
AW: Paris! What a beautiful city. The sky in Paris is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I’ve been a few times and each time there has been such a magical feeling in the air. I also recently spent my birthday in Puerto Vallarta and it was just great. Everyone should stay at a resort called Friendly Vallarta! It was the best! We will definitely be going back.
TG: We love Paris. Stephanie Oswald and I launched Travelgirl Magazine in Paris back in 2000. It’s one of our favorite cities. Do you have a bucket list of destinations you want to visit?
AW: SO many…There are so many places in Italy I have yet to see. I must experience Venice and Rome some day, and I want to return and visit the rest of France. I hope to tour the whole country. I also plan to travel to Scotland, Australia, Germany and Brazil. I could go on and on. Clearly, I need to get travelin’! Oh, and I really want to do that glass-domed train across Canada some day!
TG: We always ask our covergirls: Is there one special item you never leave home without?
AW: Not really. I really try to pack light if we’re going to multiple places in one trip and if there are a lot of planes and trains and moving parts. A few years ago I successfully packed our entire family of four in ONE suitcase! That may be one of my proudest moments. Ha! But it was the best because when you’re jumping on trains and have kids in tow it’s so helpful to not also be dragging along multiple bags.
TG: Do you have any advice for budding young actresses?
AW: First of all, if there’s anything else you can see yourself doing, do that! But, if this is your path, then give it your all! Be on time. Be immensely prepared. Be flexible. Be kind. Be prepared for a rollercoaster of ups and downs and emotions. Give yourself 24-hours to be upset about a job you really wanted and then move on and go get the next one. And definitely figure out how to be happy even if you’re not working. That’s key.
TG: What’s next in your future? Can you give us a sneak peek into the next season of Runaways?
AW: We are just wrapping up filming the final episode of Runaways Season 1! I’ll have a few weeks off and then we begin filming Season 2 of Timeless. [Timeless is a science fiction travel series on NBC.] Runaways debuts on Hulu on Nov. 21 and I can’t wait to see the reaction. I think both comic book diehards and also fans new to our story are going to be incredibly happy.