As a writer, I have many loves. I love to write stories, poems, book reviews and tv reviews. One program I recently reviewed was “Back to the Rafters”. Now, one of my other loves is interviewing. Finding out about people, what makes them tick, who they are underneath the persona that we may see in a book or on TV. When I got the chance to interview one of the stars of Back to the Rafters, I didn’t waste a minute!
Meet Willow Speers!
Willow, Thank you for doing this interview!
Can you tell me a little about yourself? What do you think my readers should know?
Hi! I`m WIllow Speers! I live on a small farm in the Hawkesbury region of NSW. I have some pretty cool pets including chickens, a cat and Millie. Millie is my best friend and the smartest sheepdog on the planet! She can do tricks, herd sheep, climb ladders and sleeps in my bed every night.
Can you tell me more about your home life? How many siblings do you have?
You could say that I am just like Ruby as I have 2 old brothers and an older sister, all in their 20s and all moved out of home. Home is an old Georgian house on 26 acres so we can all make as much noise as we like here. There will never be any complaints!! The down side of it is that there are no friends who live close by. I have my animals and I have my family. I also have a pretty big imagination! As a family, we like to travel in our camper van too. For me, home is where my family are.
Whats your favourite thing to do?
There is no contest. Eating ice cream is my favourite thing! Right now, my absolute favourite is salted caramel. Every week, we have an ice cream day. I work through all the flavours!! Salted Caramel is my favourite though.
What hobbies do you have?
I love a lot of things, but I really enjoy writing books. I am writing a novel at the moment. I love singing. I love horse riding. I love gymnastics. I love the trampoline. I love art and I love acting. I love a lot of things!
What was your first acting memories?
Acting isn’t something I do. Its in me. It is who I am I remember my very first audition after I got off the school bus one day, Mum asked me “Do you want to be in a movie?” I sent in the audition tape and a couple of weeks later I was on a plane to Melbourne to meet the director. I didn’t get it but it made me realise that I loved acting. It made me think about how lucky I was to be able to act while at school too.
What was your official first acting job?
The first acting job was for a Hatchimals commercial for Nickelodeon. I remember it so well as I had a broken arm and a brace that we had to take on and off so I could look like I was playing happily with all the toys. I do remember my arm getting stiff and sore but it didn’t bother me as I knew I loved being infront of the camera. It was worth a little pain.
Do you have a favourite character that you have played?
Every character I have played seems to be very different. I enjoyed playing Shani Schwartz in a movie I filmed last year called Mother Mountain. Its coming out early next year! I also loved playing Ruby Rafter. They were so different and so emotional but at opposite ends of the scale. Shani is quiet, seems broken but is strong underneath where Ruby is sassy, outspoken and has more energy than everyone else!
How did you land the Ruby Rafter role in Australias much loved TV family?
My agent sent me an audition that I had to self tape. Once they had seen that , they called me into the casting office to do another audition and this is when I met Rebecca Gibney. They had to see how we would work together. (Rebecca is so nice and really funny!!!) For the audition, I didn’t “play a role”, I was myself. I knew I WAS the character.
When I go for an audition I always think the audition is a puzzle and I am the piece. Whether I fit the puzzle is up to the casting director. If it fits, I get the job. If I don’t fit, I keep looking and find my place, my own puzzle to be a part of. I do feel like the luckiest girl in the world though, to be the ‘Ruby Rafter’ piece of the Rafter puzzle.
Did you have some say in how Ruby was going to be portrayed?
It was fun to figure out how to give my personality to Ruby, while delivering the script as it was written and intended. The director would talk to us and tell us how they saw the scene coming together. Then we would get to ‘have a go’ at the scene and get pointers on what needed changing. I did get to give Ruby some sass and that was a lot of fun. I did add some cheekiness and energy to her too!!
Describe Ruby Rafter to my readers who have never seen the show? What can they expect?
Ruby is a little girl who has grown up around adults. She is headstrong and knows exactly what she wants, but we all know anger is the voice of fear. Ruby is scared. Ruby is scared that there will not be a planet to grow up on if she doesn’t act now. Although saving the world is her goal, she is not quite sure how to do it and pretty soon, after some triumph and some defeat, we see her begin to crumble.
Do you have a favourite ‘Back to the Rafters’ scene involving Ruby?
One of the favourite scenes I have is when Ruby sees everything that has been written about her online. She sees everything that people have been saying and begins to cry under the covers of her blanket in bed, She is about to give up but then changes her mind. She decides to be strong, rips the covers off and we see determined Ruby back again. Her next painting is the words that all the trolls have used.
I am a fan of Packed to the Rafters and Back to the Rafters and fell in love with Ruby onscreen. You embodied the role and played Ruby exactly how I had imagined she would grow up.
I see you just getting started in your career. Whats next for Willow Speers?
If you’re asking my dream….I would love to play an action character in a Marvel film and do my own stunts. I know I would have to work incredibly hard for that to happen.
Until then, I`ll be auditioning and hoping my piece fits someones puzzle! I love to act so I will take as many new opportunities as I can and learn as I go!