Chelsea Clark’s involvement with gay vampire comedy EZRA progressed alongside of her friendship with series creator and star Luke Hutchie. “I first heard about EZRA last summer when Luke and I were just becoming friends. We had known each other through mutuals but hadn’t really connected so when I randomly ran into him a few weeks prior we decided to go for drinks! It was there that he told me about his plans for EZRA and I knew that this was a project I wanted to be a part of no matter what the position,” Chelsea says. “Back then, I had just offered some consulting help with Gwen’s character because I felt it was really important to make sure that a Filipina character was represented correctly, void of any negative stereotypes. Little did I know I’d be given the opportunity to be a lead writer for Gwen’s character and also to be a main writer for the show! Then to be able to try my hand at producing and directing was truly one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve ever had. Thinking back to those margarita days, I honestly pinch myself knowing that if I hadn’t bumped into Luke and realized we were destined to be friends (Tauruses do that), none of this would have happened.”
She was determined that her character Kylo’s Filipina heritage would proudly shine through. “I remember when we were in the writers room we knew that for each character we wrote, it was important for us to create strong characters that people could not only relate to but respect. Both Kylo and Gwen are Filipina and it was really important to me that both be represented as such! So both Daniella and I were dressed exclusively in VINTA, a Toronto based Filipino woman-owned atelier. In each character there are examples of the Filipino diaspora alive and well sprinkled through their mannerisms and actions.” And in general, who wouldn’t love playing a sexy immortal? “Kylo specifically was just an amazing character to play. She’s fun, hot, and confident and it was so much fun to play a character that is just simply badass. It’s completely unlike anything I’ve worked on thus far and it was even more special knowing that I was part of the team that created this world.”
Kylo’s confidence does not make her immune to toxic relationships, however. Her bond with bisexual vampire Aniya is often contentious. “The main word I would use to describe Kylo and Aniya’s relationship would be ‘manipulative.’ These women trust each other but they also don’t. But when you live for hundreds of years, the pool for life-long friendship becomes smaller and smaller,” Chelsea muses. Kylo has difficulty maintaining a sense of autonomy in Aniya’s shadow. “I think through the writing process, we tried to show a bit of the struggle of Kylo being powerful and being her own self juxtaposed with the position of being so close to the ‘true power’ of Aniya. Is her personality strong or is she just constantly trying to set herself apart from Aniya, trying to just be her own hot vampiric self?”
Chelsea couldn’t be more grateful for the role and how far her career has come. “To be able to create this world with Luke and the other creators was the most amazing experience ever. I remember growing up having such a limited list of examples to look up to – Lea Solonga, Tia Carerre, my mom (duh). But I think the hardest part wasn’t having a limited number of examples, but rather being a child actor and having to come to the realization that not many people were willing to hire me because of the way I looked. Seeing show breakdowns and knowing that I could never be the lead pushed me to keep trying for the day that I could show that talent is determined by talent and hard work and not by what boxes could be ticked to get the most views. To be able to also be in a position where we could do our best to advocate for people through our stories and make people feel seen is something I hope to continue to do and I hope with EZRA we did it justice.” It’s her mission to show that however we identify, we are all just human (or vampire) at the end of the day. “The biggest thing I want the fans to take away from this show is that your diversity is not your entire story. Each and every one of us is so much more complex than the things that this world leads us to believe. Stories that represent communities need to represent PEOPLE, not just show surface level versions of individuals. Our show is not about what it’s like to be gay, or Filipino, or anything in between. It’s about people trying to make it through life (or the afterlife) and all the intricacies that it brings with being undead (or alive). I hope that through EZRA, viewers can see themselves through our characters and feel inspired to be a more confident version of themselves.” Seeing a version of yourself on screen can be the first step to loving who you truly are.
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Chelsea Clark Reminds Us That Diversity Isn’t Our Entire Story in “EZRA.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of Project Four PR.