Beauty, class, a quick wit, an infectious smile and with acting chops to boot — Lindsey Morgan is the total package! Originally hailing from Texas, she discovered her love of acting early on and it wasn’t long before she set her sights on Hollywood. She burst on the scene and began to turn the heads of critics and fans alike with her role as Kristina Corinthos Davis on ABC’s long running soap, “General Hospital.” Beautiful and privileged, her character explored the realm of adulthood, while also indulging in the life of fortune and luxury. The role served as an amazing learning experience for this talented young actress role and a Daytime Emmy Nomination. Her television credits aren’t limited to the world of daytime TV, as her guest starring roles include spots on “How I Met Your Mother,” and “Happy Endings.”
In one of her biggest and most challenging roles to date, Lindsey Morgan is a major player in the cast of the CW’s new breakout series, “The 100.” Based on the upcoming book series by Kass Morgan, “The 100” is set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization and humans have to live in a heavily rationed, highly disciplined space station, “The Ark.” With the end of their resources in sight, the authorities decide it’s time to send an advance party to Earth to see if it’s still habitable. They choose to send the most expendable (but possibly the most hopeful) of them all: a group of under 18 year old juvenile delinquents… The 100. On the series, Lindsey plays, Raven, a smart, skilled, fiercely determined, and the youngest mechanical engineer ‘The Ark’ has seen in 52 years. Raven is the only non-delinquent youth on earth and finds herself stuck in a love triangle with Finn and Clark, all while facing the dangers and disappointments earth has to offer. The series continues to pull in hordes of new fans and has been officially renewed for a second season.
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Lindsey Morgan to discuss her journey so far, her passion for acting and the hard work that goes into it, her process for breathing life into the characters she plays and what the future may hold for her in the years to come!
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get started on your journey in the entertainment industry and what made you pursue acting as a career?
I was never your stereotypical theater kid, mainly because I wasn’t any good at it as a kid! [laughs] I was really bad and I never got any good roles in high school, ever! [laughs] I still loved acting so much! Part of me was afraid to be in the spotlight and it really scared me. It was a case of loving something so much that going for it and failing is almost more heartbreaking than loving it from a distance. When I turned eighteen and was going to college, I was kind of like “Wow! This is my life! If I don’t do what I secretly hope to do, I will never really be happy.” I surprised everybody when I decided to major in theater in college! Then I found myself in college and I still wasn’t very good! [laughs] I still didn’t get any awesome roles. Then my professors said, “Maybe you should consider film.” I am not sure if they said meaning I should quit theater or if they really thought I should do film! [laughs] I went to school in Austin, Texas and there is a small film community there. They were filming ‘Friday Night Lights’ there at the time. I got an awful agent who would send me out on these horrid auditions but he finally did get me a good one for ‘Friday Night Lights’ and it was for a new series regular role. I got really, really close with meeting the producers and the creator. It was nuts because before that, all I had ever been in was student films. I didn’t have a commercial or anything! The role ended up going to an L.A. actress but just the fact that I got so close, it was pure luck, but it was just enough to boost my confidence/ignorance to make me say “Hey! I think I could do this!” I dropped out of college, moved to Los Angeles and still wasn’t very good! I am still not that great now! [laughs] I just hit the ground running! When I dropped out of college, I gave my parents another heart attack. However, I feel I made L.A. a college for me. I took all the money I had for college and put it into acting classes, improv classes and voice classes. I was competing against child stars. I remember one audition I had where one of the girls from ‘Mean Girls’ was there, Lacey Chabert. I went back to my car and started crying! [laughs] I was like, “What am I doing! I am so dumb!” [laughs] I worked really, really hard every day. Even on Saturdays, I had a class to do. I basically took twenty hours week and dedicated it to acting classes. That really taught me what I needed to learn for L.A., which is something I don’t think they necessarily teach you when earning a Bachelor of Arts degree like I was doing. I was able to get firsthand experience, basically. Then I got on a soap opera and I was on there for a year and a half. I learned a lot on the job but also learned some bad habits too. I learned so much from that experience and took a lot away from it, which has really helped me with what I am doing now.
That was my next question for you. How did your time on “General Hospital” and the soap opera environment prepare you for the work you are doing today?
Working on a soap, you learn people don’t give soap actors, writers, crew or anyone else enough credit. They are producing an hour long show for every day, Monday through Friday. It is ridiculous! We worked so quickly. We shared the lot with “Grey’s Anatomy” and we would sometimes see the crew at the commissary for lunch. They would say, “Yeah, we have a long day. We have eight pages.” I was like, “Oh my God! We have seventy three!” [laughs] It’s insane! The soap taught me so much as far as being professional and knowing your shit backwards and forwards every day. It was like boot camp. You would work twelve hours, learn your thirty page script, maybe get some food, get a run in, go to sleep, wake up at 6 AM and do it all again. It taught me this severe professionalism and I am very grateful. It also taught me there are a lot of soap fans out there. I didn’t play a likable character on the series, so I am very lucky to now be playing Raven on “The 100,” who is likable. On “General Hospital,” I played a villain and I got a lot of internet hate for it. That was my first experience with that sort of thing. You wouldn’t think it would bother you as a person but it kind of does. I mean, hey, I am sensitive, I am an artist! [laughs] It really messed with my head a lot and my self confidence. I felt it messed with my work and I wasn’t doing my best work some days because I would be so down on myself because of these awful things anonymous internet people would say. The big thing I took away with me when I left the soap was to never, ever let anyone do that to me again! I will never allow myself to feel that way again. It is hard not to Google yourself when you can’t! [laughs] Now, I am just like “I am an artist and I do this for myself and a paycheck. It is something I love to do and no matter what people say, I am not going to stop or give up because someone I don’t know in the middle of nowhere says my hair looks bad! [laughs]
As you mentioned, you are now starring on the hit series, “The 100,” on the CW. What attracted you to the role and made your pursue the project?
I really love this question. It’s funny to me because maybe for some really fancy actors, they get to turn down roles but for me, I was unemployed! I was like, “I need a job!” [laughs] That was the first attraction; the job! [laughs] The second attraction was that the project was really cool. It seems I have always played really girly, prissy, bitchy girls. As far as Raven goes, she is a guy’s girl, who is kind of dirty and bolder! [laughs] That is me, ya know! I was like, “Oh! I get a chance to be myself, kinda! Except a really smart version of myself!” [laughs] I loved getting the chance to do that! I loved how low maintenance Raven is when it comes to hair and makeup because I go crazy sitting in the chair. I like that I can just put my hair up in a ponytail and that is all I have to do, so that is what I do every day!
What do you feel you brought to the character of Raven that might not have been in the script?
I was always worried that I might come off too much like a guy but, at the same time, that is something I wanted to do. I wanted to bring a different kind of sexiness to Raven. I wanted it to come across as her being so smart, good at what she does, in control and calm. I feel that brings a certain sexiness. We were doing a test for her and the creator and I were like “Less makeup!” I was telling the makeup girl I wanted less makeup the whole time and the creator felt the same way. We didn’t want the way I looked to have anything to do with her essence. It was funny when the writers finally saw me with my hair down. They had never seen me that way! They had no idea what I looked like! [laughs] I just wanted to concentrate on bringing out Raven’s badassery! I wanted to show everything she was and everything she could do!
As an actor, you have had the opportunity to work with some very talented people and you mentioned treating each project as a learning experience. What have you learned from your time on this series?
I have learned so much from working with the cast that we have. I watch them on set and think “Wow! They are so great!” I also watch the show on TV, as a member of the audience, and I am blow away by the cast. Everyone on the show is so talented! I learn something new every day when I go to work from one of these other actors. They are all very seasoned. I think I might be the most novice one in the cast. I am always in awe. I feel I have learned that less is more when it comes to film. I was worried that I might not be coming across when filming but I would see the other actors and they would relax and be so present and aware. They were very intense. I thought, “Ok. I can relax!” That gave me the freedom to let go and to play. I love Devon Bostick because he always improvs stuff and his character is very much the comic relief on the show. He will throw in lines or try different stuff when we were shooting. Raven can be very serious but I like that sometimes you can play. I love that he showed me how even through really serious moments there is still a chance to play and have some levity and light in it. I thought that was really awesome and a great thing to learn.
Whether it is your role as Raven on “The 100” or roles you have done in the past, is there a process you go about to prepare yourself both physically and mentally?
When you read a book or a script, you imagine the character in your mind. You imagine them looking a certain way or carrying themselves a certain way. With Raven, I really imagined her being strong and tough, so I started working out harder! I was working out with weights and even learned how to do a pull-up! [laughs] I would even do push-ups on set between takes! In the past, I had done Pilates and girly exercises but when I when I was preparing to play Raven I was doing CrossFit. I was doing very guy-oriented workouts because it helped me get to what I felt her body would feel like; along with being very strong and capable mentally. She has a very masculine edge about her. When it comes to her thoughts, I picked up this “Mechanics For Dummies” book in Vancouver! [laughs] I really wanted to be aware of her world. I wanted to know what the wiring was like, how to splice and everything she would know. When I am in a scene where Raven is splicing a generator wire to an exhaust, I want it to make sense to me and have those thoughts going through my head. I think approach it from the standpoint of “What is the character thinking at this moment?”
Where do you hope to see Raven progress, from a character standpoint, in the future?
Well, first off, I hope she is still alive! I hope she makes it through to Season 2 and stays alive! It can really go anywhere because we have a lot of things happening between Grounders, The Arc and everything else. There is so much happening. I hope she plays a big role in what happens with the Grounders, like helps with a peace treaty with The Grounders or something. That would be really cool. [laughs] There are so many places she could go and that is really exciting!
All of your projects have been very diverse. Is there a particular type of project, role or genre you are really anxious to explore in the near future?
I would love to do more comedy, like a sitcom or something of that nature. I think it would be a lot of fun to do something in the vein of “Parks and Recreation.” Like I said, I always try to be in class when I am not working. Tonight, one of our assignments is to do to SNL auditions. It is so hard! [laughs] We have to come up with three celebrity impersonations and do three unique characters.
Wow! That sounds awesome. Who are the three celebrities you chose to impersonate?
I will be doing Rosie Perez, Beyonce and I am still going back and forth between Sofía Vergara and Denzel Washington. [laughs]
Looking back at your career so far, what stands out as your biggest evolution?
I think I am not as bad as I was before, so that is a relief! [laughs] I am definitely better, so there is hope! [laughs] I guess it is kind of what you said that I have a very large range of projects I have been in and I really like that! I don’t want to be pigeonholed into one type of character, genre or project. I want to do it all! I want to do drama, sci-fi, comedy, a musical and that is really what excites me.
There is a certainly fearlessness that comes through when talking to you. I am sure that will play into what you do in the long run!
I kind of like being uncomfortable! [laughs] I kind of enjoy it! [laughs] That has always been my motto; get uncomfortable and see what happens!
Obviously, you focus at the moment is on acting but do you have any aspirations to explore the world behind the camera as a writer or director?
I would love to do something behind the camera. I don’t know about directing a film but I would like to direct a play. As far as film, I don’t think directors get enough credit when it comes to the crap they go through and how difficult it is to live with the project. Frankly, directing scares me! [laughs] Writing also scares me but since I have been on “The 100” I have gotten to know the process so much more and it really fascinates me. I think writing would be fun because you are in a writer’s room and have a team who is working together to on the story, talking out ideas and developing this amazing journey with your actors and with the idea and it all evolves over time. I think that is something I would really enjoy!
What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to people looking to make their career in the entertainment industry in today’s climate?
I would definitely say to stay focused and don’t be afraid to work really hard. You need to be on your game, 100% every day. I always compare doing this to Kobe Bryant. I mean, he is a guy who practices everyday and gives it his all every day. If it was a cardiac surgeon, you would want them to be on their game every day! You don’t want them to say “Ya know, I had a bad day. I really just can’t perform today.” I feel there are a lot of actors who would say “I’m having a bad day. My boyfriend broke up with me. I just don’t think I can do this today.” Uhhhh, no! [laughs] It doesn’t matter what is happening in your life at the moment, you have to be ready to give your all. Shit happens! Life happens! You still have to do your job and give 100%. You need to be prepared to do that every day if you expect to get better at it. That is the only way I know how to do it! I still do think I am that great and I am still in class! I will still be in class even when I am working! [laughs]
That is a terrific way to look at things, Lindsey! Thanks so much for your time today. We look forward to spreading the word on your projects and look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the years to come!
Thanks so much, Jason! It’s been great talking to you too.
Be sure to follow and interact with Lindsey Morgan via Twitter at twitter.com/linzzmorgan. Check out the trailer for “The 100” below!