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Meg Donnelly

Forget the future. It’s the now that’s female for Meg Donnelly as she talks fashion experimentation, political activism & taking no breaks. 

Is there something you want to try but find yourself anxious? ‘Where do I start with that new idea?’ ‘Where do I find the time?’. As 1883 Magazine speak to New York actress Meg Donnelly on expanding her skillset outside of her new acting leads, we learn of her push for growth that finds itself nowhere short of feeling infectious. Experienced in the industry since early youth, Donnelly developed a hardened skin at the perfect time and has since taken both acceptance and rejection into her stride.

Now making her mark on Streaming site Disney+ in the thriving Zombies franchise alongside an exciting entrance into the world of High School Musical’s new series, Donnelly engulfs experience both in front and behind the camera. Kept fresh with her flourishing music career that’s seen her open for the likes of New Hope Club and Alessia Cara, her passion for language in all its colours allows her to connect to her followers in a way entirely individual and everchanging. Exploring now the depths of another complex female role in CW’s new Supernatural spin-off series The Winchesters, Meg showcases her growth of self and skill alongside her characters.

Delving into her current and upcoming projects as well as the personal endeavours she wedges in-between them, Meg Donnelly teaches 1883 Magazine about the importance of motivation and a good sci-fi series. 

 

So I read in your interview for Forbes that you started auditioning for roles as early as 9?! The industry is known for being relatively brutal, how did you find learning to deal with rejection at such a young and formative age? 

Rejection is never easy! There were a lot of talks with my dad over NYC pizza after I did not get the role!! My mom and dad supported me from the beginning and always told me that if it is no longer fun, you can pursue anything else that makes you happy. As a young child, I may have not realized it consciously, but performing made me happy. Even though I had more rejections than I care to count (I believe I went on at least 200 auditions), when I did book a job, whether a commercial, modelling, a film/tv role, or performing on stage, I loved it so much. It kept me going. Every win was so important and more than made up for the rejections. Deep down, I knew this is what I wanted/needed to do. 

 

The majority of your work has centred around fantasy elements with the Supernatural roots of The Winchesters and of course the popular Disney franchise ‘Zombies’- are you particularly interested in focusing on working in fantasy stories and cinema? 

I love fantasy and sci-fi; but I look for strong female roles and stories. I learn from the characters I play and hope that viewers are empowered as well. Addison and Mary are complex and dynamic characters. They are leaders, loyal, and strong. Family and friends mean everything to them, and they will do what it takes to protect them. I love that! 

 

Powerful female roles are definitely something that’s been lacking in fantasy cinema historically and it’s fantastic we’re seeing such a growth in representation. Did you watch any fantasy series growing up that shaped this interest? 

Yes! I am a huge Marvel fan and watched Star Trek with mom. 

 

Rolling with this, we’ve had Vampires, Aliens, Merpeople & Werewolves partake in the Zombies movie-series, any you’d want to add to the roster; I feel Faeries could be cool. 

Faeries would be amazing. The more, the merrier. Seabrook would welcome all, and Addison would make them feel at home. 

 

As a fan of High School Musical already, how did you feel to learn you were becoming part of the franchise? 

Not sure I can put it into words! My younger self (as well as my current self) was screaming with excitement. And I got to meet and work with Corbin Bleu, a dream come true. Everyone on the cast and crew were so kind and welcoming. 

 

For Zombies 3 you appeared to branch out into the film’s crew, taking on the role of producer- how exciting! Did you find it easier approaching that role after having worked with producers in the past- and is working just as much behind the camera an equal dream of yours? 

Milo and I enjoyed working with the Zombies 3 producers and director (Paul Hoen) to provide our creative input into the story and how it would come to life on the screen. For me, it was a rewarding experience and one I am thankful to Disney for making it happen. 

 

You can never have too many skills under your belt! Speaking of, I feel like you must get a lot of questions about the fact that you’re learning Japanese- as a language you’ve been working on for a while it seems, why was Japanese language the one you went to first? 

When I was at the Professional Children’s School in NYC, I befriended exchanged students from Japan. I was always interested in the Japanese culture and as they were learning English, I decided to learn the Japanese language. I continued to pursue the Japanese language after they returned to Japan. I will never stop studying Japanese, or their culture, as it is so interesting to me. 

 

The complete shift of culture in east Asia is so fascinating to me, I’d love to explore it. Would you consider in future maybe auditioning for J-dramas, they are getting to be more popular in western mainstream! 

I would love that! 

 

Your Instagram sees you be extremely fashion savvy, are there any fashion trends you can see becoming the new IT this fall and into next year? 

I love fashion; but I tend to mix and match it. I get ideas from various sources and styles. I put together outfits I feel comfortable in; but at the same time, try to get out of my comfort zone, push my boundaries a bit. 

 

Individual style is becoming so prominent in media right now, fashion boundaries are definitely there to be broken! You’re also very politically active on socials which is great! Do you find that being involved in film and music, you have to strike a balance between asserting your opinion on events and knowing when’s best not to contribute? 

I believe that everyone should be informed. Gather all kinds of information and formulate an opinion that speaks to you. I prefer to speak of my own experiences, so people don’t think they are alone, especially concerning their mental health struggles. Also, I seek to partner with agencies, doctors, and therapists to share resources for those seeking support. 

 

It’s brilliant to see influencers use their voice to support people- social media has become such a powerhouse for social & political awareness-Is there one in particular you find is your go to? I feel like TikTok has absolutely ruined my attention span for literally anything else. 

Instagram is my go-to platform! 

 

Of course, I have to ask you about your thriving music career, Do you find it keeps you sane to have that sort of outlet to allow yourself to be vulnerable as well as creative? 

I am continually working on my music. Music is a creative outlet that allows me to put my feelings and experiences to melodic, and sometimes, fun dance beats. As a rule, during my breaks from acting projects, I work on my music. I am not sure when new music will be coming out; but hopefully soon. 

 

We’ll certainly keep an eye out and maybe we’ll be speaking to you again soon for your music alone! Finally, are there any of your own music/ TV loves that you’re resurfacing for the fall season? 

I mean I have to plug my new show for this one- Tune into The Winchesters! Series Premiere on the CW on 10/11! 

 

Explore Donnelly’s work in the Zombies franchise as well as Season Three of High School Musical ‘The Musical The Series’ now, all available to stream on Disney+. 

 

Interview Mia Autumn Roe

Photography Timothy Fernandez

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