How would you describe your new show Krypton?
Krypton is a show that is set two generations before the destruction of Supermans’ home planet, Krypton. It follows Superman’s grandfather, whose House of El was ostracized and shamed, as he fights to redeem his family’s honour and save his beloved world, and ultimately superman, from chaos.
How would you describe your character and what drew you to her?
Nyssa is mysterious – that’s what drew me to her. I was mesmerised by who she was, and simply wanted to find out more. Playing Nyssa gave me the opportunity to explore that, and grow and develop her as a character.
Can you remember where you were/what you were doing when you found out you had got the role?
Yes, it sounds clichéd, but it had just struck midnight, and I was lying in bed, all alone, thinking about everything I’d done in my 21 years and what I wanted to do with the rest of it. Suddenly my phone started buzzing and it said “UTA calling” (my US agency), and, even though I’d screen-tested for Krypton weeks ago and didn’t think I’d had it because I hadn’t heard back, I just knew. I answered and my whole team were on the other end and my one of my agents just said, “Are you sitting down? You got Krypton, Wallis.”
What is the energy like on set? Have you become close to your fellow cast members?
Amazing! Everyone brings so much positivity and light onto the set. Everyone is happy to be there and jokes are constantly being cracked. As we’re all away from our homes, it’s a bit like being at boarding school. We spent all our time together in and outside of work, so we have just grown really close. The main thing I’ve noticed is that there’s an awful lot of respect for one another.
Tell me a bit about your back ground, where did you grow up, would you say you grew up in a creative family setting? Were your parents supportive?
I grew up in East London. I was born in Hackney then we started moving around a bit to different countries, mixing with different environments and people. My parents are both academics – my dad went to Oxford and my mum went to Cambridge. My mum loves writing and my dad loves music, but they both had normal jobs. There was always creative energy flowing but no one in our family was connected to the industry or knew anyone in it. So, yes, they were super supportive, but I think also very apprehensive. I was aware my mum would worry about me because there is an obvious stigma in the entertainment industry and she had no one to talk to or empathise with her concerns.
How did you get into acting?
I was getting into a lot of trouble at school and no one really knew why, so my dad took me to Stagecoach when I was 5. I learnt that it was the place where I could exert my creativity in a positive environment.
I have seen quite a shift in the entertainment industry from my side of the camera, we still have quite a way to go.. As a young actress have you seen any major changes to the industry over the last two years? Where do you still feel changes need to happen and do you feel more empowered as an artist and a women knowing that there is a whole network of bad ass girls out there that have your back if you do find yourself in a bad situation?
I used to struggle finding bad ass girls in the industry, purely because I felt a lot of them were sexualised in favour of the male audience, rather than empowering a female audience. I think now is the greatest time to be in the industry. I am so proud of every woman that has had the courage to speak up for change, and so thankful for every man who has listened and stood up alongside us for the right thing. I’m hoping this will be a pivotal moment in Hollywood history, and it’s great to be a part of it for the past and future generations.
What are you up to/working on at the moment or are you having some well deserved down time?
We’re promoting Krypton because it’s currently airing in the US. I’ve also got another show airing out there now called The Royals, so I’ve been doing a lot of press and photoshoots, but now I’m starting to have more exciting meetings for future work. I don’t really like downtime, I’m absolutely obsessed with working. Maybe I will take a holiday soon but I’m just itching to get back onto set now… Oh dear, it’s only been 6 weeks!
What would be your top 5 favourite things to do in London that you would tell a tourist to do/go see?
Oh my gosh there’s so many things! Head straight to the West End (plays, musicals, stand-up comedy). Immerse yourself! You’re welcome.On a summers day take a picnic, your friends, and go swim in the Hampstead ponds. Take a look around the museums and galleries. My favourites are the Natural History Museum, V&A and the Science Museum. Sky cart over the Thames at night – the Millennium Dome lights up! For dining atmosphere, check out Sky Garden or Petersham Nurseries (depending what you like).
The oldie but a goodie…Who would you want to play you in a biopic?
I think it would be fascinating to play a young JK Rowling. I think her story is so inspiring and I’m a massive fan of her storytelling.
What would be your dream acting role?
SALT! A character like Evelyn Salt.
Interview by Lorna Tucker
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato
Hair & Make up by Katrin Rees
Clothes: white jacket by Hugo Boss – Black Jacket by Hugo Boss – Black top by M.Wiesnick – Green jersey top by Majestic