Interview: Sydney Meyer Talks ‘Shadowhunters’ And Working With Ian Somerhalder

Sydney Meyer is a Canadian actress who won the hearts of many with her portrayal of Helen Blackthorn in the hugely popular series Shadowhunters.

Up next, Sydney is set to star in the new high-octane conspiracy television series Departure that follows the mystery of Flight 716, a passenger plane that vanishes over the Atlantic Ocean. She can also be seen as a series regular in the highly anticipated Netflix original show V-Wars, based on the print anthology series of the same name.

Q: You will star alongside Ian Somerhalder and Adrian Holmes in Netflix’s ‘V-Wars’. Can you reveal anything about your character and how she fits into the show?

A: My character, Ava O’Malley, is one of the only characters in the show that wasn’t in the comics or books. I don’t want to give anything away about how she fits into the plot because it’s quite an exciting addition to the story, but she’s an incredibly strong and ambitious young woman.

When we meet Ava, she’s gone through a lot and is trying to find her footing in whatever way possible. She’s very emotional and impulsive so the way she goes about this sometimes isn’t ideal.

Q: The ‘Vampire Diaries’ obsessed friends I grew up with would be mad at me if I didn’t ask you about Ian Somerhalder. What is he like to work with and be around?

A: Ian is the most remarkably kind, passionate, inspiring leader to have on a set you could imagine. Honestly, I was shocked. I didn’t know too much about him leading up to this experience and his generosity of spirit and passion for what we’re making is so infectious.

He treats everyone with so much kindness and respect and really made it so easy for you to do your best work. I learned more than I can say from him.

Q: ‘Departure’ will premiere this summer. The show follows the mystery surrounding Flight 716, a passenger plane that vanishes over the Atlantic Ocean. What can we expect from this series?

A: Departure is an incredibly cinematic show. It’s almost like six mini movies. It has these wonderful, full characters all on their own journeys that cross over and keep you guessing until the last episode. It’s a really exciting show with some wonderful touching moments and performances.

Q: The show stars Archie Panjabi and the legendary Christopher Plummer. What did you take away from your time working on the same project as these two?

A: Working with Archie and Christopher was such a dream come true. I have so much respect for both of them as artists. They both were so kind and supportive of the people around them and so passionate about the work.

For me it really showed me that no matter who you are, kindness and hard work is the thing that will keep you progressing. To have these two remarkable people treat me as an equal and have faith in my work was just so inspiring and such a learning experience.

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Q: A conspiracy theory is at the heart of the show. Have you ever spent time diving into a conspiracy theory?

A: I don’t think I’ve ever truly believed a conspiracy theory but I’ve definitely spent time reading up on them. I get fascinated by conspiracy theories and secret societies, that kind of thing. To me the fact that we even can think these things up means they’re probably happening somewhere in some capacity.

Q: You joined the cast of ‘Shadowhunters’ for the final season. What has it been like being part of a show with such a passionate fan base? Was it daunting stepping into a character that many fans were already emotionally tied to from the books?

A: Joining Shadowhunters was incredible and completely overwhelming. From the moment they announced me the fans were so supportive, which was incredible but such a huge adjustment to feel like you have eyes on you when you didn’t before. It was definitely daunting.

Not only does the show mean so much to so many people, but Helen is such an incredible and important character in the books. I felt a huge responsibility to do justice to this character the way the fans were hoping for because Helen really is a character that so many people who are searching for themselves or feeling misplaced can relate to and find strength in.

Q: What will be your lasting memory from working on the show?

A: For me the memory will be the fans. The fact that I’ve received messages from people saying that seeing Helen on screen gave them the strength to come out or that the show helped them through a dark time or saved their life is remarkable to me.

I always hoped I could make art that would have that sort of impact but to see it and hear it is something completely different. It’s humbling and really inspires me to tell stories that matter.

Q: From what I’ve read online, the fans are desperate for a spin off. Would you like to bring back Helen Blackthorn in the future? If so, what adventures would you like to she her on?

A: It’s pretty remarkable to me that the fans are so supportive of a spin off! That would be amazing. I would love to come back to Helen I think there is so much left of this character and her story to tell.

I would love to see Helen and her relationship with Aline develop, see their marriage and their life. Helen has a large family that’s she’s so close to and the members of her family are pretty remarkable, so I would love to see the rest of the Blackthorn family show up.

Q: You have such an impressive acting grounding having honed your craft at the Los Angeles Theater of Arts, the New York Film Academy and the Shakespeare School at the Stratford Festival. How has this diverse set of experiences shaped you as a performer?

A: I know I can always learn and grow more. I want to continue to do that. I want to be in a room with people who are better than me and learn from them.

I’m really fortunate to have been able to study for so many years and at so many different institutions. It’s given me tools so that I can approach a scene form different directions if I get stuck. I’ve learned more about myself as a person and a performer and learned my strengths and weaknesses, what I like and what I don’t.

I also have a more clear image of the projects I want to work on. It’s helped me to understand text and character in a deeper way so that I can look at an audition that I don’t have much time with and feel confident that I’ll be able to produce something I’m proud of.

Q:We have also heard your incredible singing talents on Instagram. Would you like to show off that talent – and any other secret talents – on screen in the near future? A musical perhaps?

A: Oh, thank you! Music is so cathartic for me. It helps me sort through my thoughts and feelings and writing is such a wonderful process. I think I’ll always continue doing that even if it’s just for myself.

I would love to do a musical! I’ve danced my whole life so to get to do a musical film would be a dream come true. I’d love to do Broadway one day as well.

Q: You’ve had an incredible year or so. What are your hopes for the future? How are you going to top 2019?

A: I’m so thankful for this past year. It’s been a whirlwind. For me it isn’t about “topping” anything, I learned so much this year. Especially since the people I was working with were so generous with their time and wisdom. A successful way to move forward from this year would be to apply that knowledge I’ve gained, to try to challenge myself.

I’ve started writing, I hope to produce my own work. I really would love to see V-Wars come back. For the time being I’m trying to grow as an actor and an artist and find the most effective way to tell the stories that matter to me and inspire me. I’ve really been so inspired by the people I’ve worked with this past year so I think it would be a shame to not use that.

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