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POPULAR GIRL: SARAH DUGDALE

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Nov 27, 2020

Sarah Dugdale will catch the eye of Virgin River viewers as the new girl in town, Lizzie. In the series second season, those watching will get to know Lizzie as the beautiful, yet impulsive, girl who is determined to make a lasting impression on a small town. Viewers fell in love with the plot and dramatic storylines behind Virgin River during its first season and it appears that the drama will only continue to unfold throughout season two.

Dugdale will also star in the upcoming Netflix coming-of-age slasher film “There’s Someone Inside Your House.” The film is based on the NY Times bestselling novel by YA author Stephanie Perkins and was created by the producers of Stranger Things as well as James Wan. With countless roles already lined up, this is evidently just the beginning for Sarah’s career in the entertainment industry. In an exclusive interview with PopularTV, Dugdale opens up about her role in Virgin River, inspirations and more.

Tell us about your character Lizzie and what we can expect from Virgin River Season 2!

Lizzie is wild, confident, impulsive, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She has a hard shell but there’s a lot brewing beneath the surface. After getting into some trouble in LA she’s been sent to Virgin River to live with her Aunt Connie. This season there will be old faces, new faces, drama, love, and fun moments. The fans are in for a treat! 

How are you and Lizzie alike or different?

I look back at when I was 19 and I relate to her desire to be older, her mindset that she knows more than she does, and how she craves to really be seen. I also identify with her ability to be silly and have fun. That being said, she does have a confidence and brashness that I don’t share, yet I adore playing. She’s like my alter ego! 

What was the hardest part about getting into a character like Lizzie?

Honestly, I didn’t find her too challenging to connect with once I found common ground with her. The only trap I had to watch for was not playing her as a one-dimensional angsty teen. She’s much more authentic than that. Sue Tenney, our show creator, has done a great job of making each character in Virgin River multi-dimensional, complex, and full of life. 

Tell us about a fun moment on the set of “Virgin River”!

I loved getting to see the clothes I was wearing each day I got to set. Lizzie is an outsider and her clothes reflect that. Clothes can inform so much about a person and I feel like they really helped me solidify who Lizzie is. On one of my first days working I had a scene where I walked into Jack’s bar for the first time. Her first real introduction to the heart of Virgin River. The clothes, the makeup, the hair, the attitude; it all felt right. It felt like Lizzie’s big entrance and it was when she came alive for me, it felt amazing! 

What is the biggest difference between working on a movie and on a series? Do you have a favorite?

Virgin River has been my first opportunity to stick with a character for a long time. There’s something special about getting to go on a journey with the character you’re playing over a whole season instead of just a few weeks on a movie. I was always so excited to open the next script and see how Lizzie’s story was developing. I do love the variety of working on movie’s though. I’m happy any time I’m acting and expressing myself creatively. 

You are also a star on the upcoming thriller “There’s Someone Inside Your House.” What can you tell us about it?

First of all, I’m so excited about this movie! Secondly, I’ve seen some of the post production and it looks awesome. It should be out sometime in 2021. It’s a teen slasher movie adapted from a book by the same name written by Stephanie Perkins. I play the student council president Katie Koons, I modeled her after Tracy Flick from Election. If you want a sneak peek, grab the book before the movie comes out!

From R.L. Stines to your new project, is horror a genre you want to dive further into? What is your favorite horror movie to date?

Yes! I would love to get some more horror movies under my belt. Having to pick a favorite horror movie is a tall order. One that really stuck with me was The Babadook. I prefer the suspense side of horror over the gory side. I find psychological horror more interesting to watch. After watching so many, I’d love to write one myself in the future.

Who or what initially inspired you to pursue a career in acting?

I grew up dancing competitively and singing in choir, so I was already dipping my feet into the performing arts. After I did my first musical in middle school I was hooked. I was painfully shy but once I got on stage, I came alive. I was able to find confidence through acting. Eventually, my dad found my current acting coach, Deb Podowski, and she molded me into the actor I am today. She’s the one that suggested I get an agent when I was 15 and the rest is history.  

You started painting during quarantine. What was your last piece?

Everything I’ve done so far is pretty abstract. I usually let whatever is going on in my brain at the time to come out on the canvas. I use acrylic paint. I love listening to music or a podcast while painting and letting go of expectations of what I’ll create. I’ve always wanted to paint but have held myself back in fear of being “bad” at it. It feels cool to be in a place where I can be kind to my creative self. 

We heard you are also an avid baker! What do you like to cook most?

Yes! I love baking. My go to is banana bread. As far as cooking goes, I’m always down to try new recipes. I’ve been cooking lots of Mexican food lately and have perfected a Moroccan Tagine. 

What else are you passionate about?

Music is another passion of mine. I have two guitars, a ukulele, and a keyboard. To be perfectly honest, they’re all collecting dust except for the keyboard. I took piano lessons as a kid and have been re-teaching myself. I’ve been learning music to play and sing along to. My current obsession is learning songs by Phoebe Bridgers. I think she’s brilliant. 

What is a role you are currently chasing?

I would love to sink my teeth into a physically demanding role, maybe something where I’d get to learn a new skill for the project. 

What would you be doing right now if you weren’t acting?

Maybe a career in law, psychology, or marine biology. I was enchanted by the ocean when I was younger so marine biology was always my answer to “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. In high school I took a law course and loved it! But if I went back to school and studied anything it would be psychology. I’ve always been a people watcher and am fascinated with why people do what they do. I would love to learn more about human behavior and how the brain works. 

What were you doing before this interview?

I just got back from a walk around my neighbourhood while listening to a podcast. My favorite one right now is a true crime podcast called “My Favorite Murder.” A close second is Brené Brown’s podcast. I figure it’s good to balance true crime with some personal development. 

Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects?

I’ve been doing a bit of writing myself so hopefully that will see the light of day in the future.