Interview with fresh actress Seychelle Gabriel

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it’s not every day you receive a phone call from acclaimed director M. Night Shyamalan whilst in the girls’ bathroom at high school, only to be told that you will be starring in his next project with the likes of Jackson Rathbone (‘The Twilight Saga’) and Dev Patel (‘Slumdog Millionaire’).

“I never thought I would get a job with him [Shyamalan] let alone that he would be calling my cell phone. I was all over the place and he was laughing at me,” tells 19-year-old Seychelle Gabriel, a bright young thing who currently stars as the peaceful yet strong-minded leader, Princess Yue, in the film adaptation of ‘The Last Airbender’ directed by, yes, Shyamalan.

Gabriel is not your stereotypical Gen-Y affiliate. She was featured as one of the ’55 Faces Of The Future’ in a spread for Nylon magazine earlier this year, alongside such notable talents as Rupert Grint (‘Harry Potter’), Chloe Moretz (‘Let Me In’) and Ashley Greene (‘The Twilight Saga’) which filled her with a combination of excitement and momentary insecurity about herself as an actor. “I saw all these other kids that seemed like they had it all figured out. But I’m still happy with the road that I’m on right now and I wouldn’t change it.”

Nor should she, for her next thespian adventure is yet another high profile project, playing an independent and insightful pre-med student in the highly anticipated telly series ‘Fallen Skies’, produced by none other than sci-fi aficionado, Steven Spielberg. Set in the present day, the series follows a group of survivors six months after an intense alien invasion. And before you sigh and say “Not another alien show,” these aren’t your average extra-terrestrials and this isn’t your average sci-fi show. Seychelle reveals, “We call the aliens Skitters. They look like huge spiders or reptiles with scales; they’re taller than six foot, and nasty. It’s Man versus alien and the film looks at how we try and keep in touch with everyone and reality.”

From sci-fi and survival to popping and locking, 2011 will also see Seychelle star in ‘Honey 2′, assuming the role of a tough and unwavering dancer from a bad neighbourhood who finds herself in conflict with another dancer played by Katerina Graham (‘The Vampire Diaries’). “She makes it hard on everybody and Katerina’s character really puts mine in her place. She comes in and starts seriously kicking her ass.”

Not many actresses under 20 can say that they have worked with two of the world’s most renowned directors in their acting debuts, and for Gabriel working with Shyamalan and Spielberg was a breeze. So expect to see a lot more of this girl. Indeed, here’s her CV in a nutshell so you’re on it when you next see her on the big and small screens:

As a child she wanted to be a dolphin trainer. She loves to listen to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell. She adores watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’. She’s learning the harmonica and is obsessed with 1960s Americana. And the actress she admires most is Helena Bonham Carter.

“When I watch Helena, she makes me either want to quit acting or do something crazy. Whether she plays Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’ or Bellatrix in ‘Harry Potter’ she just owns it. I respect her so much for being able to have diversity and not just play a personality.”

‘The Last Airbender’ is soon to be available on DVD. ‘Falling Skies’ airs early 2011. ‘Honey 2′ is due for release mid-2011.
Photography by Collin Stark.