HYPE G! Start SOME Drama

Words by Jenkin Au
Photography by Jarvis Ho and Adam Luk

This month’s feature for HYPE G! is Amanda McEwan, introduced to Justalilhype! at a Spring fashion show. After arriving in BC from Toronto, Amanda is currently a student at the University of British Columbia. And yes, she does do drama: on the stage. We got to spend a few minutes with her asking about her life and experiences.

Please describe yourself.

Gosh, this is hard! You told me you were going to do an interview, it’s just been the first question and I’m already stumped!  I would say that I’m generally driven and artsy. I’d like to say that I’m pretty cool at times, but secretly I am incredibly dorky on the inside.

Where can you be spotted on the weekends?

Shopping, definitely shopping around Main Street. I am really into the classic style and Main Street is vintage central! I also adore going to places like Ark and Vincent Park, I can always find something unique and different there.

What would you recommend those coming to Vancouver for the first time to experience?

See, I’m good at this because I’m a tour guide.  Originally from Toronto and then coming to Vancouver, I remember what I enjoyed seeing for the first time here.  People should definitely check out Granville Island, walk the Sea Wall, and take a trip up to Grouse Mountain.  After these three activities, you can really get a good sense of the people in Vancouver and how things are here.

How did you get into theatre?

How does anyone get into theatre? Simple: drama class in high school. I was much involved with drama in high school.  My drama teacher was my greatest inspiration who really made me love it. I was part of musicals but never the classic leading lady. When I was applying for university, I couldn’t choose between law, psychology, or theatre. One day someone that I’ve always looked up to gave me good advice to attempt arts first because academics are always there if I want to try for it later. I decided to go with the advice and attended the University of Toronto for theatre school. Shortly after, I transferred to UBC in the same faculty.

What kind of theatre are you most into?

I really appreciate the Avant Garde kind of abstract style. I love Samuel Beckett; many people get frustrated with Samuel Becket but I enjoy it.  I also adore Shakespeare because his work is always a challenge.  You have to able to really look beyond the heightened language to properly understand and work with Shakespeare. The focus becomes the dialogue as poetry, not the characters. You can’t connect with any audience that way.

Is there a certain type of theatre that you admire but would never do?

There isn’t exactly a type of theatre; however I have seen plays where I’ve said to myself, “Man, I don’t know if I can do that.”  Emotionally, I mean. There are scenes that are so intense and as an actress, one must take themselves to that level.  I’m not of afraid of nudity on stage or coarse language. I think what scares me about theatre is the emotional side of it. I wouldn’t want to put myself up to the emotional challenge for however long the show goes on for.
Do you think that theatre is part of your personality, or simply a skill you can use at will?
It is definitely part of my personality. I believe that every actor enjoys the attention and the ability to entertain people.  I think even in the shy ones like Johnny Depp loves the attention (especially when he becomes a Jack Sparrow!) I feel that an important part of being an actor is to have that innate desire to entertain people and tell a story.

Do you ever tell yourself that you are the shit? Why?

I think sometimes you have to. Usually, I’m saying it sarcastically to pump myself up. In a business like acting and modelling and any part of the entertainment business, there are tons of people that are going to think you’re lame and they don’t like you and they won’t hire you. You won’t get a job for six weeks and then you’ll be wondering what you’re doing with your life. In those times, you just have to say that you have a lot to offer and that you’re the shit.

What is HYPE?

I believe that HYPE is the excitement about your community, environment, and those around you. It’s synergy, man!