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Shailene Garnett is Ready for the Next Chapter in the Final Season of “Diggstown”

The universe dropped acting in Shailene Garnett‘s lap with a walk-on role. “I didn’t choose Best Man Holiday, I would say that it chose me,” she laughs. “The circumstances leading up to that booking, and the experience that I had on set was one of those situations that confirm that it was just meant to happen, honestly. I’m glad that it did! I am grateful to have my small presence in the film.” Her career took off after that. “In 2013, the same year that Best Man Holiday was released, I had a supporting role in a feature film called The Dirties. It had an incredible film festival run and caught the attention of Kevin Smith, which was great for us. In hindsight, I would have been much more strategic in how I navigated the attention that I was getting at that time, but I did end up getting more eyes on me which helped with getting more prominent roles.” You probably recognize Shailene as Maureen Brown from Shadowhunters, a show that gave her lifelong memories. “The audition process for Shadowhunters was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I was auditioning for this project from the year before when it was still a feature film franchise, before it got canceled and then became a series. I was invested so when I finally got the role, I called my mom sobbing with joy! Quite dramatic, really. I don’t want to forget that first sense of relief and gratitude of finally catching a break after years of wanting something so bad, and working towards it, all-consumingly. That was a very special moment in my career and I hold it in my heart dearly. Shadowhunters has an incredible fandom. I’m blown away by how loyal, thoughtful and genuine the fans are. I had a young family member who was not well at that time. I took to social media and asked if the fans who were creating fanmail for me could create something for him instead. When I tell you, he received packages from around the world. They didn’t know him, they didn’t have to do that, but they did and it lifted his spirits up. So, my take away from my time on Shadowhunters is pure gratitude to have been a part of that. Such a special group of people.”

Currently, you can catch Shailene as Iris Beals in Diggstown, where she continues to climb the ranks in the law world. “Diggstown is a legal drama based in Nova Scotia, Canada. It originally started off with us working in the legal aid office in Halifax, and we eventually graduated to different law firms throughout the series. Iris switched positions from a social worker to a private investigator, helping out with bigger cases. Iris is a fierce advocate for her subjects.” Shailene feels a special connection to Iris. “I’m naturally protective of Iris and I’ve been advocating for her, so bringing that to my work is the easy part. I wanted to make sure that she was well represented and not entangled in messy situations unjustifiably. I’ve been playing her for four years. I got attached.” Iris feels a similar attachment to her cases. Her methods may be unorthodox, but the outcomes are undeniable. “I think Iris’ emotional closeness helps her with her cases. Every case is extremely personal to her, so she’ll cross lines that she probably shouldn’t to get the results that she’s after.” Too bad that doesn’t translate into other areas of her life, as Shailene notes. “In her personal life, I think the opposite is true. Emotional closeness doesn’t seem to work out too well for her.”

In this final season, Iris is ready to enter a new chapter. ”Iris has a lot of baggage to contend with this season. Just about all of her relationships get redefined, and I think she’s on the right track with her next steps in life.” Moving forward, Shailene would like to knock several things off her professional wishlist. “I would love to do a bilingual project; a beautiful story with American Sign Language or French. I would also love to work with Riz Ahmed. I’m a huge fan of his work.” Riz, if you’re reading this, your future costar awaits. Diggstown premieres on CBC and BET+ on October 12th. 

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Shailene Garnett is Ready for the Next Chapter in the Final Season of “Diggstown.” Photo Credit: Dae Howerton Photography. Hair/Makeup: Dee Daly. Stylist: Deborah Ferguson.

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