Written By: Hayley Bradbrook
Photo: Courtney Paige
Born and raised in the small town of Kelowna, British Columbia in Canada, Courtney Paige fell in love with acting at the age of 11 while performing at the Kelowna Community Theatre Company. Did we also mention she wrote her first short film at the age of 9?
After graduating from the Nursing program at Okanagan College she realized the only career she imagined herself pursuing was acting. In 2010 she packed her bags and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia to start auditioning.
Courtney landed her big break when she was cast as the juicy and unstoppable Annika on E!’s latest scripted series The Arrangement. The premise of the show is around a TV actress Megan Morrison (Christine Evangelista) who is offered a $10 million marriage contract with Hollywood’s biggest star Kyle West (Dallas star Josh Henderson). The Canadian actress is also no stranger behind the lens, being a photographer and owning her production company Crazy Sunshine Films.
JossBecause got a chance to sit down with Paige about her character on the new TV drama The Arrangement, what relationships in Hollywood are really like, and why she wanted to start her own production company.
Photo: Courtney Paige
What was the audition process like for the show?
I was actually packing up to head to Los Angeles. My agent calls and says you have an audition, it’s for this new pilot called The Arrangement you have to go! This is the first time I would ever turn down an audition and I’m usually very gung ho and I said “nope I’m heading to Los Angeles, I can’t make it.” She goes “well you’re going to have to delay your trip because you’re going.” So i stayed and my audition went really well.
They gave me a redirect and I left the room thinking there’s no way I’m going to book this, it’s too big of a role. I thought I’m off to LA and nothing is going to come of it. Then just as I’m about to leave my agent calls and she says “they love you’re audition and they’re sending you to the network” and I was so shocked! I thought I dunno maybe the network won’t approve of me. Usually I’m a very positive person but this is the first time I was a little skeptical. My agent called and said I booked it and immediately had tears of joy I was so excited!
Favourite moment on set?
I think for me it was refreshing to see how humble Josh [Henderson] is, he would come into the trailers singing a country song and it just reminded me that when you’re working at that level everyone is human. Christine [Evangelista] was so graceful and hilarious. It was a very welcoming set.
I also loved working with Mandi Line, the stylist from Pretty Little Liars. Just knowing that she really had everyone’s back and she is so much more than a stylist she is a true inspiration. The first time I walked into wardrobe and I got to put on the clothes as the character Annika was incomparable.
For those who haven’t seen any previews of the show, can you tell us a little bit about your character?
My character Annika is kind of a surprise. She is full of a bag of tricks, very scandalous, manipulative, and is such a treat to play because she has so many layers and you never know what she is going to do.
There has been reports that your show is based on Scientology and their relationship with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. What do you think?
Arranged marriages have been going on since before our time, and I wouldn’t say about [Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes] at all actually.
Would you say the show dives into the politics of celebrity relationships in Hollywood?
I think there’s a lot of that in the show. You get to see a glimpse of what Hollywood relationships are really like. I’ve been to a couple of Los Angeles parties and I can say that type of thing definitely does exist but have to remember what’s important is your craft.
You also do photography, what made you decide to work behind the camera?
I love art, capturing people in moment, and I think it falls along the lines of basic story telling. As an actor you can’t really control when your next job or paycheck is coming so I wanted to have something else that I can fall back on that I could control. I love working in front of the lens as much as I work behind the lens.
You have your own production company Crazy Sunshine Films, why do you think it’s so important for women in the industry to be in control of their own content?
I think it’s important for any artist male or female to be in control of their own content. I think it’s so vital as a storyteller to be proactive with your career. I never want to be the type of artist who sits and waits for the phone to ring. My Mom is very driven and raised me to be the same way. She taught us to be strong women and to reach for the stars while being levelheaded and realistic at the same time.
I started Crazy Sunshine Films not as a female empowerment move, but so the scripts I’ve written and plan to write have a place to live. I never want to be bought and sold as an actor or writer. I’d love to collaborate on heavy hitting, emotionally riveting and edgy projects that we as artists strive to sink our teeth into. Juicy projects with talented directors, producers, and actors. With everything that’s going on in the world right now I think it’s critical for women to realize they have just as much power as a man does. I mean look at Britt Marling for example, she paved her own way and Jessica Chastain just started Freckle Films. Everyday more and more women are starting to write, produce and direct. I think its incredible and such an important thing for Hollywood to allow.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to start acting in the industry?
I would always say remember to be yourself and I don’t think you should mold into a cookie cutter type that Hollywood wants you to be. I think it’s so important to stay grounded and stay true to yourself.
Photo: E! Entertainment Inc.
Favourite Movie of 2016?
Stranger Things or The Crown?
Los Angeles or Vancouver?
Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes?
You can catch the premiere of The Arrangement on Sunday March 5th at 10PM.