Popular Girl: Taylor Hickson
Apr 22, 2020
The warrior is in action!
If you haven’t seen Motherland: Fort Salem or Deadly Class yet, let us introduce you to one of it’s stars and Popular Girl: Taylor Hickson! From her first speaking role in Deadpool to her new kick butt role as Raelle in the new Freeform hit. PopularTV caught up with Taylor to get all the need-to-know on her new role, favorite part about going to set, and even an embarrassing moment.
1. Can you tell us about Motherland: Fort Salem and your character Raelle?
The world of Motherland opens with a very apparent gender role reversal. This partly stemmed from the physical power female witches hone in the series and particularly in the military, beginning hundreds of years prior. During the witch trials in Salem, our now General made a proposition to the government: Stop killing our people, and our kind will fight your nation’s wars for you. This became a global paradigm shift.
Meeting Raelle, she’s portrayed as very jaded and melancholy. She uses rage and emotional repression to protect herself from being vulnerable, and the conflict she feels between the two feels raw. Raelle’s arc sees her unearthing how to trust again in herself and those that attempt to be close to her. Following the death of her mother, we’re watching a young woman navigating deep grief alongside the exploration of her youth. It’s very rare for characters like this to help drive the narrative.
2.What would you tell people to get them to watch Motherland?
If you empathize with feeling unheard, invalidated, unseen, there is a place of belonging for you here. We are speaking to those who feel misunderstood and have had to fight to feel accepted. We’re seeing individuals that wouldn’t regularly attempt to connect, find a common denominator with other viewers of our show. It’s very moving to watch strangers carry enthusiasm and support for this project and for each other, especially at a time where destruction and loneliness are so present around us.
3. What three words would you use to describe Raelle?
Strong, passionate, rebellious.
4. There are images of you everywhere with your warrior face on! What is that like for you?
It was so surreal when I first saw photos of the promotional posters up in Times Square and throughout LA! We never expected to see our faces in Times Square.
5. If you could have any of Raelle’s abilities, what would you take and what would you use them for?
It’s not so much of an ability of hers, but I would most utilize Salva. It was always a dream of mine to fly like Peter Pan, and that’s about as close as you can get! Because I usually prefer to be a passenger rather than a driver, I would use it to get around! It would be a bugger on the hair though…
6. The show’s trailer shows a lot of scenes of basic and combat training. How physically demanding was this role compared to others you’ve had?
This was up there! I’ve been fortunate in learning much about stunts on most projects in my short career. I’d say the consistency was the trickiest part. Having to stay sharp within our skillset, and maintain strong figures that represented the physicality required in the military was high maintenance. Thankfully we had an incredibly dedicated stunt team to keep us going. Their commitment and passion is incredibly admirable.
7. What is your favorite thing about going to set?
BREAKFAST SANDWICHES! My favourite thing is the familiarity. Knowing we’re walking into a creative space where we all come to learn and grow from each other is, for lack of a better term, addicting. It has to be when you’re putting in 15-18 hour days all week! We live and breathe for our crafts. Every moving piece is valued and appreciated. I’ve never felt that working outside of film.
8. One of your earlier roles was Meghan Orlovsky in Deadpool. What was it like filming that?
It was my first speaking role, and probably the reason I continued in film. To again speak to the idea of watching moving pieces, I was bewildered by the hundreds of people around me all filling a particular role. The product relied on the work and skill of every single position occupied. I wanted to learn what every single person was doing. I’m still in the midst of that growth!
9. We heard you drew inspiration for Petra from Siouxsie Sioux. How much of this character were you able to help create/develop?
All producers, our pilot director Lee, our creator Rick, hair/makeup/costume and myself had input into this character. We also took inspiration from the 90’s cartoon Daria. Petra was created by an army!
10. Can you tell us an embarrassing or funny moment from set?
Between takes while shooting Abigail’s fight scene during the wedding, I ran up and aggressively slapped who I thought was Ashley on the butt. Then her stunt double turned around…
11. Go-to quarantine snack & activity?
Go-to quarantine snack has been vanilla yogurt, frozen blueberries & chia seeds! Activity – HIIT, cooking, hiking, reading, movies, & yoga.
12. What is your dream role?
Probably anything made by the production company A24. I’m also obsessed with Tim Burton flicks.
13. What is a piece of advice you would give young Taylor?
You’re allowed to say no! Protect what you believe in, if you do, no one can take it from you.
14. Can you tell us a secret?
I think pineapple on pizza should be forbidden. I’m prepared for hate mail.
15. Can you tell us about any other current or upcoming projects?
I’m always working on music! While waiting for news on season 2, I’d like to devote some time to writing new music.
- Photographer Ron Mey
- Photographer Assistant Julian Morales
- Makeup Brandy Allen
- Hair Mika Fowler
- Styling Cassy Meier