I n t e r v i e w
by Danielle Maree Langley
April Bowlby is an intelligent actress that proves herself to be funny, beautiful, and compassionate, and also shows a strong determination to keep her feet on the ground. April showcased such enjoyable and memorable levels of acting in the shows Two & a Half Men as Alan Harper a.k.a. Jon Cryer’s no-rules girlfriend/ex-wife Kandi, and now in Lifetime’s proclaimed series Drop Dead Diva co-starring as Stacy Barrett, the roommate, model and good-hearted friend. Recently she was kindly able to interview while in Atlanta on the set of Drop Dead Diva. Immediately in talking with her, it felt like a conversation with an old friend that you have known for years. Not only is April Bowlby positive in the way she speaks of her past and current experiences, but also she is more than optimistic for what lies ahead.
Q: I understand that you went to school for Marine biology, studied French, and had a great passion for ballet. May you tell me more about that?
APRIL: I moved to Newbury Park, California and went to Moorpark College for a few semesters. I kind of never really had a set path; I’ve always only done things that interested me. What interested me were French, Marine Biology, and Ballet. I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina so that’s why I studied that as well. From when I was very little, I trained to be a ballerina, and when I was 17 I broke my foot – and then I started modeling. So one door closed and another opened so I felt I had to take that! You don’t want to ignore those doors. I studied Marine Biology for a little while which was amazing and interesting. I don’t know if I ever wanted to teach it or do anything with it, I just really loved the idea of it, studying and learning about this whole other world that we know so little about. We can only go so deep into the ocean and we have no idea what is underneath. It’s crazy! We would take field trips to the ocean, and we would walk on the shore to identify all the little sea creatures and animals on the beach. It was beautiful! I have been scuba diving, but I didn’t like it. It was very frightening to me, and my brain just couldn’t relax. There are so many things that can go wrong. So I’ve tried it, and I know I don’t like it.
Q: What special mentors helped change your career interest?
APRIL: Goodness gracious, I’ve been so lucky with all the people that have come into my life. I had my ballet teacher, Dorothy who was quite a mentor and a really strong woman. Also I had my beautiful teachers in school. When I moved to Los Angeles, I had my first LA boyfriend, Randall Slavin and he is a photographer, use to be an actor, so he was very supportive of me acting and he kind of opened the world to me. He told me the best acting coaches in LA, and he also introduced me to his old agent who signed me which was so amazing as I was so lucky to have that.
Q: You’re currently working the third season of Lifetime’s hit series Drop Dead Diva, has this role depicted any part of your real life personality and how does it differ? Are there any additional qualities that you would like to incorporate into this role?
APRIL: We shoot 13 episodes, which we began at the end of February, and we’re already starting to film our 9th episode, expecting to wrap up by July 13th. All of the people I work with are beautiful, and kind. We’ve been working with each other for three years now, and truly have become like a family. It’s really nice to go to our set; it doesn’t even feel like work. I think there are a few aspects of my character, Stacy that reflect my personality as I think we are both very positive people, we always look on the bright side, and want to find the good in things. It’s an easy role to play as it is just naturally in me. What is great is I have been playing this character for three years, and you don’t really have to work as hard at it. You just kind of pick up your script and know what you are going to do. I think my character is a bit gullible, and gets a little bit overly excited. I’m a little bit more grounded than that. She’s a good girl, she really tries but sometimes both of her feet are not on the ground. I feel like my feet are kind of on the ground! I know that Stacy isn’t really savvy, and comes across things by accident. She’s not aware of the things that she is solving which is an adorable part of her, but I would love for her to be more clever and aware. Other than that though, she is perfect.
Q: What were some of your favorite moments about working on the hit show Two and a Half Men?
APRIL: It was such an incredible show to be apart of; everyone is so talented on that show that it is insane. Some of my favorite moments included the process of that show. I just loved how Monday through Thursday you come in and rehearse, and it was almost like a play. You go from beginning to end, and you get to play with all of these ideas. Sometimes I couldn’t make a joke work, and I would ask Charlie Sheen or Jon Cryer. They were always so helpful, would recommend different ways to say it like this, and would it help if I did this. It was just a cohesive thing, and the whole experience of it was such a pleasure. Then on Fridays when we would perform it all in front of a live studio audience, it was the most insane chaos you could ever have because people would react immediately and it was magical. It was always such a moment of success when people would laugh! My character Kandi was such a fun character to play, as she was so out there as you could do anything with her, and she had no rules!
Q: Out of all the characters you’ve portrayed so far in your career, which one has been your most challenging, and why?
APRIL: The most challenging has been this movie that I did, Prada to Nada. My character was the evil sister-in-law, and I played the bitch. I think it was challenging because I had never done that type of role before. It wasn’t like I really knew how to do it. It was my first time, and I loved it because you could do anything under the guides of being a bitch if you do it a certain way. I got to learn a lot from that role, and I would definitely do it again.
Q: You have always been creative, what are your greatest inspirations?
APRIL: Acting class was a huge inspiration because you get to see what works, and what doesn’t so that was a big learning thing for me. One of the great things about being an actor is that you get to go to movies, and call it work. I recently rented a bunch of Jessica Lange, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslett, and Cate Blanchett movies. I love being able to sit there to watch them, take them all apart, and then wonder why these movies are all working so well. They are all so incredible! You can watch them, and then there is this moment when your brain stops studying, and you just melt right into their worlds. That’s when you know it is good acting; their work is so seamless. Some of my favorite movies are Brides to Madison County, Frances with Jessica Lange, Disney movies like the Emperor’s New Groove, French movies like Amelie, and oh, Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons. Also I love music, but I’m never the one who introduces people to new bands. I love my Radiohead; they create such magical live shows and are on another level of creativity. They are genius. My favorite album of Radiohead’s is In Rainbows, it’s really, really beautiful. Some people don’t get it, and that’s all right, but us Radiohead fans need to stick together!
Q: If you could sit down with one celebrity, living or dead, who would they be and what would you like to ask them?
APRIL: I would love to meet with Carol Burnett as she seems like such an intelligent, strong, smart, and funny woman. I wonder how she figured it all out, and I would just like her to talk to me. I would love to know about her life; what drives her, what her fears were, and how she overcame those. I want to know if her wall of creativity was always innately in her, and all those secret questions. I think she would be amazing to work with, and I would also like to watch and observe her to see how she is, and see how she does it.
Q: What would your number one suggestion be for someone who would like to pursue an acting career?
APRIL: I would say that if you love it, do it and go for it! No one is going to work as hard for your career as you will. No matter if you have the best agents, and managers they can only go so far because they are representing so many other people. It’s up to you to find a way in, to do what you love, and make it happen. Just do it! If you love it, go for it 100% and then you will know if you are really into it or not. Sometimes it’s a lot of hard work, and sometimes there is a really big payoff.
Q: May you have a particular inspired quote, statement or favorite words to live by?
APRIL: I’m constantly telling myself to breathe because when I’m stressed, when I’m thinking, or trying to figure something out, I tend to hold my breath which is not a good thing as you can pass out, get lightheaded, and nervous. So my words to live by are just breathe.
Q: What is your FAULT?
APRIL: I really like big steak French fries, and when I mean I really like, I mean everyday I will find a way to eat them. I will order a salad, and French fries. I will order a sandwich, and French fries. I can’t stop eating them and they are not good for you. I went to the doctor, and he was like yeah, you can eat fried food once or twice a year, but I eat them everyday! I don’t know how long I’ll be able to get away with it as it’s really getting out of control.
See the published interview in Fault Magazine’s Summer 2011 Issue: