Close-up: An Interview With Alexandra Ficken

Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge caught up with Atlanta-based actress Alexandra Ficken as she gears up to star alongside the likes of Diane Keaton and Pam Grier in Zara Hayes’ upcoming comedy, Poms.

Q: ‘Poms’ arrives in cinemas on 10 May. What excited you about being involved in this film?

A: One of the most exciting parts was just how female driven this project was. From crew to cast, producers to director, there were so many amazing women involved and it was inspiring to work alongside women I admire so much as a young actor.

Q: The film stars Diane Keaton, Pam Grier and Jacki Weaver. What was it like being around these Hollywood greats? Any fun stories?

A: The dream. I can’t even describe it. These women are rockstars. They were so genuine and kind and laugh out loud funny, I just kept thinking to myself, I hope I can be just as humble and hilarious as them one day.

I grew up watching Diane Keaton’s 1987 film, Baby Boom. I mean I knew all the lines, her mannerisms, her facial expressions in that film, and now here we were doing a scene together.

There was a moment while shooting when we were doing a little bit of improv and she did something in her incredible Diane Keaton way, and I lost it and completely broke. It was exactly like Baby Boom except not on my tv screen, I was standing right in front of her. Thankfully the camera wasn’t on me, but the crew totally saw me trying to hold my laugh in.

Alexandra Ficken as Paige in ‘Poms’

Q: I understand you play a cheerleader called Paige. Can you tell us about playing Paige? Did you have any cheerleading experience to bring to the role?

A: Paige is that cheerleading co-captain in high school that makes you run laps if your ponytail isn’t in the correct placement. She takes the squad very seriously, maybe a little too seriously. But it was so fun to play.

I was a cheerleader for five years and I never thought my cheerleading experience would collide with my acting career. All those memories came back and it was fun to pull from those experiences for this role.

Q: Can you tell us about your early memories of training at the The Georgia Ballet under the direction of Iris Hensley? Is that when you fell in love with performing?

A: Most definitely. That’s where it all started. Training and performing with a ballet company was exactly how you would picture it and I am so thankful for that time in my life. It made me the performer I am today. Iris and many of my instructors taught me about discipline, hard work, and the passion for art.

It wasn’t until middle school I started to realise I could use my art in another form – acting. I think I always had an itch for it (again mimicking all those Diane Keaton movies). But if it wasn’t for ballet, I would not be where I am today.

Q: What is like being a part of the current Atlanta theatre and entertainment scene?

A: It has been such a unique blessing. I was born and raised here and never did I think I would be able to accomplish any kind of acting endeavour. I always thought I would have to move pretty far to keep my acting goals alive. But Atlanta has proved me so wrong.

I have been able to work on some incredible productions in theatre and in TV/film. I guess I’m just happily surprised that my hometown has been such a huge part of my acting career.

Q: I believe you just finished a run of ‘Goodnight, Tyler’ at the Alliance Theatre. What have you taken away from the run?

A: I really owe it to the cast and crew on that production. It was such a complicated role, with so many layers, and the script was changing as we were rehearsing. But everyone working on that production was so talented and supportive. It really takes great people to put on a successful run.

Goodnight Tyler Photo by Greg Mooney
Alexandra Ficken in ‘Goodnight Tyler’ – Photo by Greg Mooney

Q: Who or what have been some of the most important forces in shaping your career so far?

A: Oof! The list is probably too long, as cliché as that sounds. I have so many people in my life who have helped me along the way – pushing me, supporting me, listening to me. I cannot thank them enough.

I do think some of the most important forces have been the people who have given me a chance, even if it was the smallest thing… for whatever reason, they saw something in me and for that, I am forever grateful. And of course, Lucille Ball.

Q: You’ve been involved in some big projects in your young career. How do you reflect on your journey so far and working on projects such as ‘The Duff’, ‘The Originals’ and ‘Vice Principals’?

A: I’ve met some amazing people doing all these projects and I think that is something I’ve loved about each one – getting to know the people. It keeps me going, and it’s been a joy to work on so many fun things.

Q: What are your hopes for the future?

A: I think the main thing would be to keep getting better… in everything I do: training, roles, embracing opportunities, making life choices. I would love to find LA representation to help me get to that next level and maybe spend some time out there, exploring the market. It’s always been my dream. I’m also a sucker for palm trees and sunshine.

Title photo by Tristan Ervin

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