Bella Shepard is an up-and-coming actress and musician. She currently appears in the series “A Girl Named Jo” on the online Brat network. The mystery series takes place in 1963, a decade after a factory fire had ruined a small town. The show can currently be found on Youtube. Bella has also appeared in “Grace and Frankie”, “Life in Pieces”, and “Oz The Great And Powerful.” When she’s not acting, Bella enjoys dancing and playing guitar, drums, and ukulele. YEM spoke with Bella about her character and being a part of Hollywood.
Young Entertainment Mag: What is your show, “A Girl Named Jo,” about?
Bella Shepard: The show is a mystery set in 1963. Each episode will draw you further into the story and give you clues to help you solve the mystery. It’s a lot of fun, and very suspenseful.
YEM: Tell us about your character, Alice.
Bella: My character, Alice, is a classic mean girl. She does her best to get in between Jo and Cathy’s new friendship and acts as an obstacle for them as they try to uncover the truth about the Attaway fire.
YEM: How did you prepare for playing the “mean girl” character? Was that challenging?
Bella: I love playing a mean girl! I prepared by watching movies and tv shows like Mean Girls, Gossip Girls, Riverdale, and Pretty Little Liars. I wanted to give Alice a realness to her character though too, so I don’t deliver all of her interactions in a mean way. There has to be a motive to make her act like she does. Sometimes it’s jealousy, sometimes it’s insecurity, but there is always a reason. Sometimes she’s just the girl-next-door, but watch out!
It wasn’t challenging to create the character, but it was challenging to actually be mean to such sweet girls like Annie and Addison. It was also hard to keep a straight face because we would laugh so much.
YEM: The show takes place in 1963. How did you prepare for a role that takes place over 50 years ago?
Bella: I prepared by talking to my Grandma a lot. She was in high school at that time. She showed me her yearbook and told me stories. I wanted my character to look and feel as authentic as possible. It was fun to look back at their clothes and hairstyles and then see it all come together for the show.
YEM: What is it like to work with your co-stars Annie LeBlanc and Addison Riecke?
Bella: We laughed so much! We were all very close and clicked right away. Filming a series with such quick turnaround can make for long days, but it was so fun and went by so quickly. They are also so talented, it made filming so easy!
YEM: What is it like to be a young girl in the acting industry? How do you stay grounded?
Bella: It’s like any career you are preparing yourself for. Some of my friends are in sports and work long hours training. I used to be a gymnast and would spend 30 hours in the gym a week. Some want to be teachers and work all summer with kids! As an actor, you go to classes, auditions, and immerse yourself in the craft of acting. People have a lot of misconceptions, like we just live it up and go to wild parties. It’s so not true! It’s very hard work, but it’s a very rewarding art. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
YEM: If you could work with any actor or actress on a project, who would it be and why?
Bella: I have a list, but today it would be Michelle Williams. I had a tiny role with her in my first film. She wouldn’t even remember me, but I’d love to be able to tell her how because she treated me with such respect and kindness, it shaped the type of actor I am today. Plus, she’s so talented.