EDITOR X WARDOBE : MICHAEL ST. MICHAEL @michaelstmichael
INTERVIEW: DYLAN JADER @thedylanjader
PHOTOGRAPHER: SHANNA FISHER @shannafisher
MAKEUP x HAIR: ERIK TORPPE @eriktorppe
PRUNE: You’ve been in the industry for almost ten years now, but your breakout role appeared in the form of “Harper” on The 100. Talk to me about this show as a whole.
CHELSEY: Wouldn't it be a thrill to see what this wild earth would look like after we’ve destroyed it? To see how inventive or barbaric we’d have to become in order to survive without infrastructure or laws or any sense of civility? “The 100” let’s us play within such an exciting nightmare and it’s a rush to watch! The show opens with humanity living in space as they’ve depleted all reserves on earth, but they’ve now also run out of rations on their ship and are yearning to return to their grounded roots; they consider 100 juvenile delinquents to be the disposable guinea pigs and we are sent back down to the toxic planet. It turns out to be more exhilarating but also more dangerous and more deplorable than we could ever hope to survive in. We are greeted with clans of mutated and angry beings and the fight to survive is on. It’s a wickedly stylized, bad ass show that I couldn’t be more excited about!
PRUNE: Harper has been through hell and back. Talk to me about your character today, and how she has grown.
CHELSEY: I’ve always been excited to play Harper, the assault-rifle-toting-boot-wearing-fucking-badass with a empathetic heart and heavy conscience. She’s strong and brave but also intelligent and gentle. She’s battled demons both inside and out: she was imprisoned as a juvenile, banished to Earth to likely die, held captive in cages and forced to undergo violent surgeries. She’s fallen in love with a man while falling out of love with herself and contemplated suicide. The end of season four saw Harper at her lowest point ever. We are currently filming Season 5 and I hope she continues to be bold enough to follow her heart, for good or for bad.
PRUNE: Harper is the only female guard. Why is it important to represent female power on shows today?
CHELSEY: I’ve been lucky enough to have been raised in a family where I never felt that I had to subscribe to the idea of ‘female’ vs. ‘male’ power. I’ve always considered myself more than capable and confident enough to tackle any situation that a male can. And just like my family has inspired me on the ideas surrounding the topic, so too does the show. "The 100" has the stage to inspire other young women and it does so boldly. Some people don’t like the idea of a young woman being strong enough to command armies or tackle life/death decisions, to fall in love and to enjoy sex, to be bowed down to but also to admit defeat, but the show portrays the real life strength of both men and women alike. It doesn’t shy away from pushing those buttons. I think good art should inspire. Good art should push important buttons.
PRUNE: As Harper, you do most of your own stunts. What is the training like for this role?
CHELSEY: I definitely have stunt help! But as often as I can, I love to work intense physicality into the role. I loved taking screen combat in University and have always been an athletic person. I love to lift heavy weights in the gym with a trainer, spill my soul out across a ballet dance floor or smack a volleyball around. I’m currently filming in Vancouver, Canada and the mountain hiking and glacial lake swimming keeps me in nature a couple of times a week. I’ve recently gone to shoot guns and had WAY too much fun doing so. It’s such an adrenaline kick. I had signed up for a gun course to perfect my shot but I’m currently healing a broken elbow, an injury resulting from training for a new Harper scene. I’m pretty rough and tumble for how soft I really am. A lot like Harper, I suppose.
PRUNE: Four seasons in, what do you think keeps fans hooked on The 100?
CHELSEY: I suppose the same thing that keeps me hooked. It’s just simply a bad ass show. The filmic reality created is one of such depth, the sets and the fashion design of the clans are so stylized, the writing and the acting keep us engaged with such characters who manage to be both flawed and yet inspiring. I dare you to not find yourself in one of the characters, to forgive their horrible actions because you think deep down you may just do the same if you were fighting to survive. What a rush to identify for a brief moment as a villain or a leader!
PRUNE: Prior to The 100, you’ve appeared in multiple shows and movies. How has your career changed since becoming a series regular?
CHELSEY: I recall driving home from set last season crying in gratitude. I’ve sacrificed so much to ensure my passion meets enough success that I can call it a career. "The 100" is a gift I have envisioned for a long time and it keeps giving. One of the most memorable aspects for me are traveling to the fan conventions and meeting other vulnerable souls who share their life stories and how "The 100" has changed their life. What a priceless gift to be part of.
PRUNE: You originally started your career as a dancer in Disneyland. How did you land your first TV gig?
CHELSEY: Yes, I am a trained dancer of 18 years and was recruited to start dancing in Disneyland in grade six. A testament, again, to my parents and their hard work in keeping me committed to my passions. My first acting gig actually came as I was doing background on a Steven Segal movie. I was playing “druggie biker girlfriend” hanging around the clubhouse with the leads who were undercover cops. Apparently I was placed so prominently in the scene because of my acting (the execs of course didn’t know I had an acting degree from University). And even though I had that official training I had not yet pursued finding an agent… I suppose I’ve always been one who’d stubbornly like to think I can do everything by myself. Note to reader: This mindset makes most things more difficult (haha.) Anyway, at that time in my life I had been fascinated by the tv show “Intervention" and so when a fake pipe was passed around the scene improperly, I mentioned it to the director that the people I’d seen in the documentary series who ACTUALLY do the drug light it from the bottom and not the top. These things coupled with his incredibly humbled and helpful mindset led him to create a role for me in the next episode. And voila. (Thank you, Wayne Rose!).
PRUNE: You previously hosted Discovering Great Towns. Would you ever considering hosting again, or do you prefer acting?
CHELSEY: I really love to learn. Both offer opportunities to learn about others and imagine life from their perspective. Hosting allowed me to travel for work (what a dream!) and allowed me to practice improv. But acting will always move me like no other. I can’t sit and watch a good movie without clutching at my heart over my t-shirt, so in love with watching others perfect the craft. I’m incredibly touched by it.
PRUNE: Which character on The 100 do you relate to most in real life?
CHELSEY: As I said, there are things in each character that I can find in myself. Even in my own character. Lately I’ve been in another amazing growth stage personally, I’m doing focused work on my own flaws and on being the most intuitive, intentional woman I can be. I see a lot of that in Emori; she can sometimes be made to feel like she is a “freak” (and I have sometimes been made to feel like I am too ‘much’), but she always finds a way to believe in her power and to thrive.
PRUNE: Aside from The 100, what else are you working on at the moment?
Let’s talk fashion. What is your everyday style?
CHELSEY: I like very unique pieces. If it's boring or ill-fitted or blends in without catching the eye, I’ll pass it over. A killer pair of leather ankle boots with tasteful chrome studs, or a dope jacket with a bold pattern, or sexy ankle jeans and a tomboy shirt with statement jewelry will often win with me. I like masculine looks or fabrics that are elevated into street sexy.
PRUNE: What are your three favorite fashion trends at the moment?
CHELSEY: I’ve been seeing a lot of crushed velvet in the stores for fall, makes me think of a young Stevie Nicks. It can be erotic, the burgundy of velvet. Love it with the juxtaposition of blonde hair and a dark lip or chunky low boot and the right jewelry. I love the metallics we’ve been seeing on the runways and I’m into this sexy black and white plaid, always a staple. As is one of my all-time fave pieces for the upcoming fall weather, an oversized trench. I put that shit on everything.
PRUNE: Lastly, fashion pruning. If you could eliminate one current trend, what would it be?
CHELSEY: It’s not necessarily a trend, but if I have to see ONE MORE overacted sticky bra model posting a bouncy selfie ad on my Instagram I’m just going to boycott Instagram altogether. Or bras. Probably just bras haha. And don’t get me wrong, sticky bras can be lifesavers for the necessary outfit, but they are amazing until a) you’re trying to make out with a cutie, or B) it’s on my Insta feed. (If ya feel good, flaunt it, but don’t forget y’all are beautiful regardless of the ‘likes’, k, ladies?)