Hannah, what are your thoughts on Hollywood?
I hear a lot of British actors saying they don't like LA but I have to confess that I love it. Sometimes it does feel like being in a dream when I'm there but to me that is part of the magic of LA. I suppose that might make it feel unreal to a lot of people but for me I just feel an immense amount of gratitude that I am there and can be part of it. I love the Californian outdoorsy lifestyle - hiking, surfing, generally enjoying the sun - so if I can work and take advantage of that, I'm happy.
Is it true that Hollywood typecasts British actors?
I suppose that some people feel that British men get typecast as the baddies and British women just end up in period dramas but I think that there are so many British actors working in Hollywood now and such a range of job opportunities that it isn't the case anymore. I also think think that TV and film is less and less prescriptive about the type of characters that they have to have; no one is simply a baddie these days. I think we get to see a lot more complexities in roles that we see on TV and on the big screen and that helps actors move away from being typecast.
Can you tell me a little about your audition for Black Sails?
I had three rounds of auditions. It was actually one of my first auditions in LA so I was nervous but also just wanted to go in and have fun with the material because I didn't think in a million years I would get the role. When it went to the 2nd round the nerves crept in a lot more but I felt I knew who Eleanor was. I was terrified by the 3rd round but it was a chemistry read with Jessica Parker-Kennedy and she instantly put me at ease and I knew I could work with her.
You play Eleanor Guthrie; A strong, democratic business woman on Black Sails. How would you describe your similarities to your character?
I would say that there are parts of Eleanor that are very much in my character and I think my family would say that as a child there were lots of similarities. I'm incredibly stubborn sometimes, I can get very riled if I see something unjust and I also have a bit of a temper, but I suppose these are all aspects of my personality that I have worked on in my adult life. I smile a lot more than Eleanor but then again I don't have quite as many stresses as she has in her everyday life.
Let’s go back to the beginning. How is life in Balham, London?
I loved growing up in London. It is such a vibrant multi-cultural city and I think growing up there gives you a window into so many aspects of different cultures. Most of my friends who I grew up with have traveled extensively throughout their adult lives and I think that is because being a Londoner kind of makes you a citizen of the world. Exposure to the arts - galleries, film, theatre - really inspired me, especially as a teenager and I just feel so lucky that I lived in a city that allowed me to be independent from a young age. I loved jumping on the Northern Line, alone or with mates and popping out in the middle of town where everything was happening. We didn't have to depend on our parents to take us around and we were able to find the things that fascinated us...and I suppose that is what made me seek a career in the arts.
Your job gives you the leeway to travel more. We all know your interest in visiting places, how do you feel about that?
The fact that my job enables me to travel is such a huge blessing. I get itchy feet if I am in one place for too long, so the fact that I never know where the next job is going to take me is one of the things I am most grateful for.
Is inspiration something you draw from travelling?
It definitely is. Even though I was brought up a city girl I have such a huge appreciation for nature and know how profoundly places of beauty can affect me. But travelling for me isn't just about seeing amazing places. I want to meet people and get a perspective on what it is like to grow up in a completely different environment. What aspects of that landscape shape the people who live there? How does the history of a place remain in the consciousness of the community? What stories can be found there? Learning to speak Spanish was therefore an essential part of my experience when I first started to travel in South America. I wish I spoke more languages. French is the next one on the list as that would allow me to explore large parts of Africa in the same way.
How important is fashion to you?
Growing up and as a teenager it was very important to me. As I said before, London was such an exciting melting pot of cultures and identities and fashion was definitely a way of expressing what you were in to. I never really have been one for following trends though. I think that part of what I loved about London were the amazing vintage stores. Me and my best friend would love rummaging through the racks at the huge warehouses up in Camden. We were all quite into Northern Soul music and funk music so the amount of 70's shirts and sheepskin coats we bought were outrageous! We were also able to raid our parents wardrobes and find real gems from the 60s and 70s. As an adult my fashion sense hasn't been so dictated by my music tastes but it has been influenced by what I love about art. My dad is a sculptor and I'm not sure if it is something in my sub-conscious that draws me to interesting lines and sculptural forms but it seems to be a running theme in the items I love as an adult.
Contributing Market Editor: Janea Moreto
Fashion Assistant: Scotty Daeng
Special Thanks to Kelly Tomlinson, Annick Oppenheim & Caryn Leeds