Actress Karen Cliche in Eli Roth’s Newest Film

In this chat with Karen Cliche we discovered a woman full of talents. From being a loving mother to reinventing herself, to returning to the stage by opening her door wide. She is certainly a remarkable actress and apart from her previous roles in series such as Vampire High ,Adventure Inc. , Mutant X, Young Blades and Flash Gordon, you can now see her in Eli Roth’s fantastic new film Thanksgiving.

all images by photographer Brittany Gawley

How did you get into acting? Did you always want this life?

I wanted to be an actress for as long as I can remember. I was always living in my
own world, acting out dramatic scenes with my barbies, or toy cars – it was my
escape. I had no realistic plan, at this point in my life we were moving around every
2 years in different countries, states, cities, but it felt more like something I just knew would happen. Then as I got to high school and was in drama, put on plays and wrote funny skits, I really fell in love with acting and comedic improv. I reluctantly started modelling in college and that lead to auditions for film and TV which I started booking soon after.

Did you have a plan B, in case becoming a great actress didn’t work out?

I always loved psychology and human behaviour, and I got accepted to Concordia
University in Montreal in the psychology program but after one semester I left for
New York and Europe to go model so I never went back. When I had my daughter
and took years away from showbiz to raise her, I tried a bunch of different careers. I
was inspired, at a time when I felt I had no real-world skills to offer, by business
women who told me I did, that my acting career provided me with social skills and
experience that you can’t teach. So I pitched myself to work in sales for magazines,
advertising, brands and event management. I loved it. It was a real testament to just
going for it and using whatever skills you have to do interesting things!

We know that you temporarily stepped out of the spotlight to devote yourself more to your daughter. It’s something I understand because I have an almost two-year-old daughter. Was it a difficult choice at the time?

At the time no, because I had crazy baby fever and was so obsessed with my daughter and wanted to live this life fully focused on motherhood and not split my time and energy. After a few years I was feeling a little lost, wondering who I was now, if and when I would get back to acting. My husband at the time was travelling so much for work that I solo parented mostly, and knew that me going back to that life would mean a full time nanny, and I wasn’t ready for that. When she turned 10 I started to feel ready for more, less guilty to pursue my life again. So 2 years ago I decided to get back to auditioning full time and working, and am so happy I did!

You were recently part of the cast of Eli Roth’s latest thriller film, Thanksgiving, which was released in cinemas worldwide on 17 November. We can’t wait to see it, we love Eli Roth. What can you tell us about your character and the plot?

Thanksgiving was so fun to shoot and we are so thrilled with the success of it!
Everything about it from cast to crew was incredible. I play Kathleen, Rick Hoffman’s fiancé, who is a bit shallow and materialistic and tries to preserve their
lifestyle which leads to her demise in the film. Let’s just say she gets herself into a
“heated” situation. Thanksgiving is a slasher film but does have a moral behind it
all. Definitely not condoning the actions haha, but you will see, the violence is driven by moral outrage.

Do you have any funny anecdotes to tell our readers about the filming of the movie?

We did have a lot of laughs on set, and let’s just say many turkey jokes were made
about me…and still are! Patrick Dempsey was so funny which was a nice surprise to
me, and Rick had the best bloopers and outtakes by far, and if the audience stays till the very end of the film, after the credits, you get a little funny blooper nugget.

You have been in various TV series and films, many horror/thriller and adventure. Which character did you feel closest to and why?

I did an indie film 25 years ago called SUMMER, and my character was a struggling
actress, and the writing was so funny, I just loved that role. Also loved an improv
based comedy called The Business with Kathleen Robertson about the porn industry and that was hilarious. But overall I would say Lexa from Mutant X is what I am most known for and really loved her and the character arch throughout the season I was on. I related a lot to her too, her hiding vulnerabilities behind a tough girl act.

Is there a particular artist you dream of working with one day? A director, an actor?

My scariest dream is to host SNL one day. It’s far fetched but I am feeling ballsy
these days haha! More realistically, I would love to work with Sofia Coppola in a
beautiful dramatic role. I want to be a part of telling women’s stories- women in their 40’s because so much transformation and ownership happens in our 40’s. It is
electrifying and empowering. So either I want to write a series or be part of an
amazing female team that brings these experiences to the screen.

What about Karen’s life, do you have any particular hobbies? Any future plans?

I am newly single after 20 years so I am enjoying this part of life where I can make
decisions based on what I want now and fully embrace who I am now. I want to
travel, work, spend time with friends, and say YES to life non stop!


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