An Interview with Heathers, The Musical’s Elle McLemore

I first saw Elle McLemore in the National Tour of Bring It On, The Musical before it hit the Broadway stage.  At a very young age, Elle’s career has already spanned from playing a series regular on Army Wives, to film roles and theatre.  Pretty Little Shoppers was thrilled to check in with Elle on everything from shopping and beauty routines, to acting and life in NYC.

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You are described as the sweetest and most professional actress in every press interview I read, and I personally experienced your kindness when meeting you in person.  What are your secrets for staying so positive?

-Wow that is so kind! Thank you for the compliment. I am a firm believer in the Golden Rule, and sending positive energy. I have a wonderful mother who has always inspired me to appreciate every opportunity, and be grateful for each moment. As cliche as it sounds, life is a gift and I don’t want to waste it!

The roles I have seen you play on stage are such evil girls (Eva in Bring It On and Heather McNamara)… how do you channel your inner mean girl?

-I always tell people “There are no villains, they’re just misunderstood.” I connect to these characters by understanding their insecurities and finding the trigger for their questionable behavior.  Everyone can relate to the human emotions of vulnerability and fear. I channel it by understanding that their motives are just defense mechanisms. Love and hate is a fine line!

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Photo by Chad Batka

What advice would you give to girls who have to deal with a Heather?

-Having a strong sense of self and surrounding yourself with people that make you feel good about yourself is helpful. In high school and even today, I put a microscope on myself at times, wondering what I did to offend someone and have them treat me poorly.  I think that’s a human thing to do, but I recently started to change my thoughts, and realize everyone is fighting their own battle. Forgive them and try not to take it personally.

You have been working as an actress since you were a child… Did you have any formal training?

-I grew up in a Las Vegas show biz family. My mom was a dancer, and my dad did pyro on shows. I grew up onstage but in the field of “magic.” I didn’t begin acting until high school when I was in my school plays and musical theatre and fell in love. Broadway was my dream, and the only way to get there was to go to LA first and try to get my feet wet somehow. I worked really hard and got the tour of BIO which later went to broadway and it changed my life! Most of my training came from hands-on experience, and there’s truly nothing like being in it-  8 shows a week, traveling, learning how to treat the cast and crew- I am so blessed that I have been able to see it from this perspective instead getting so much life experience along the way as well.

How do you prepare for your roles?  Is your process different for stage as opposed to on-camera roles?

-The process is the same emotionally, in that it comes from a place of truth. I analyze the character and see how I can pull from my experiences and qualities as a person to become the best storyteller required for that role. On stage you have the luxury of using your whole body, and voice with a little bit more freedom. On film, you have more technicalities to deal with, and your thoughts are communicated through your eyes. Both are beautiful in their own ways.

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Photo by Chad Batka

How would you describe your personal style?

– I joke around with my family and call my style “Les-Mis chic.” I love the boho- off the beaten path, layered not-put-together but-put together look. I am inspired by where I am located at the time, or what project I’m working on. When I was on tour, I got to visit all these places I had never been. I started getting t-shirts and baseball hats (I love hats) from colleges like Duke or Brown and putting them together with a combat boot and some high waisted shorts. For Heathers, my character is the yellow heather, so my closet is full of that color right now. When I did army wives in South Carolina, I started wearing cute southern girl dresses. I think style is such a representation of who you are, and since I’m a gypsy and get to travel around, I like my style to reflect that.

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With Alice Lee (Heather Duke) and Jessica Keenan Wynn (Heather Chandler) on opening night.  Photo by Andrew Werner

Who are your favorite designers?

-I love Vintage Clothing, finding a gem boutique is one of my favorite things! Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters are my favorite stores. When I’m feeling fancy, I love a good Tori Burch or Marc Jacobs bag!

What pieces/designers are on your shopping list right now?

-I can’t wait to get a new pair of sunglasses for the spring from Warby Parker!

What is your beauty routine?

-I wash my face every night and morning.  I have sensitive skin, so I have to use all oil free products. I have a clarisonic and use an oil free face wash from Whole Foods, and Fresh Umbrian clay moisturizer. I also just got this  Amazonian clay foundation from Tart that is great! Also, now that spring is here, I use Jergens natural flow lotion to feel a little sun kissed!

How do you spend your time when you are not working?

-I am a giant coffee addict, so I love finding neat coffee shops in my neighborhood. I am also a big foodie and enjoy trying local organic restaurants. I really love “Peacefood Cafe” on the Upper West Side! I enjoy working out and laughing with my crazy fun friends in NYC!

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?

-I see myself enjoying life and taking one day at a time, trying to strengthen my skills and better my craft and self each day. I am so grateful for every blessing I have had so far, and hope to keep working hard to be the most deserving of what’s to come 🙂

 

You can currently see Elle McLemore in Heathers, The Musical Off Broadway at The New World Stages.  For ticket information visit www.HeatherstheMusical.com.

Thank you Elle and Team Heathers!

xoxo,

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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