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South African actress, Lex King talks 'American Princess' and what she misses most about home

2019-10-23 07:00
 
Lex King, Brock Harris

Channel24 SPECIAL FEATURE

Channel24's Bashiera Parker interviewed Lex King about her hit show, American Princess, now streaming on Showmax.

Cape Town – In a world where every memory is captured on your phone and validated by however many followers you have, in a world where everything is Instagrammable, tweetable, from the places you'll go to the breakfast you'll eat, American Princess reminds us to reconnect with what is real and right in front of us when Amanda leaves the life she knows for the one she so desperately needs.

On a late Friday afternoon, I connected with South African actress, Lex King, who is currently staying in Los Angeles. We spoke about what she misses most about Cape Town, her character, Callie, and the "magical" power of Renaissance fairs that, as depicted in American Princess, somehow, just brings you back home.

'REAL HUMAN CONNECTION'

"American Princess is a story of an Upper East Side socialite, her name is Amanda, and she discovers her fiancé's cheating on her wedding day. Without giving away too much, she ends up running away to a renaissance festival, or renayssance as South Africans say," Lex explains, talking about the premise of the show. Lex explains what a renaissance fair actually is, saying it's "like an outdoor festival where a bunch of people dress up in like Elizabethan garments and like recreate history as they imagine it".

"It's a real thing, it happens in America, and it's quite magical," she says. "And everyone who works there travels around, and it becomes very close-knit. Lex talks about the fair and how, although it isn't real, it feels so authentic with the set the crew built – and experiencing a real-life renaissance festival only cemented that feeling.

"I was surprised to see how dedicated everyone is to it. You know, people are speaking with British accents, they're jousting, and there's this hierarchy at the fair.

"This is how it is in real life. A lot of fans are people who actually worked or currently work at the fairs, and I feel like that's the biggest compliment when they write about how much the show means to them and how the show has changed what life is actually like working at a fair.

"The creator of the show, Jamie Denbo, actually worked at a renaissance festival, so the story is loosely based on her experience and the relationships she made while working there. And how that changes her life.

"So basically, Amanda ends up there, and the show becomes a story of her relationships with the people who work there."

Georgia Flood

(RUNAWAY BRIDE: Amanda (Georgia Flood) takes off on her wedding day after finding out her fiancé's been cheating on her. Photo: Showmax.)

Commenting on Amanda's journey, she says, "She gets there, and she's without her phone, without internet, and she goes through this whole breakdown. I don't want to give too much away but, it's offering commentary on that and basically, what it offers to Amanda, instead, is real human connection, through the characters who work at the fair.

"I think that's really the essence of what we should be striving for, but in our modern society, we get so distracted by Instagram, and by this whole social media world that we forget that, that's not what's real.

"What's real is the interactions you have with the people who mean the most to you."

CALLIE – THE ALTERNATIVE, THE ETHEREAL, THE OTHERWORLDLY

Lex plays Callie in the show, the ethereal, sweetly aloof, casual girlfriend of David, who becomes Amanda's love interest. Naturally, she takes on the role of an antagonist in that sense, but Lex explains she's not actively trying to cause any harm. Really, she's not even aware of it.

"It's more just by being her blasé, confident self," Lex says.

"Amanda doesn't quite know how to process Callie. Callie's very alternative."

She's into holistic healing, and she does brush horses for a living.

But Lex says when she auditioned for the part, she did want to bring something more to the character. "She's written as this ethereal model type, but I wanted to avoid falling into that trope of idiot model," Lex explains.

"I wanted to bring something to Callie that was really likeable even though she's effectively there as an obstacle between Amanda and David.

"So for me, it was finding those elements of Callie that would be special and unique, that we haven't seen on screen before. So the way I decided to play her was to make her exist in a different field from reality."

Lex King, Brock Harris

(THE ETHEREAL: Lex King as Callie in American Princess. Photo: Showmax.)

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Callie was Lex's first comedic character. On playing her, she said, "She processes things unlike a rational human being might process things, which is a lot of fun, and we had so much fun shooting this."

She recalls one particularly memorable scene though, and it involves her, Lucas Neff, who plays David, and a whole bunch of other people packed inside what felt like an unusually small caravan on that fateful day.

"There's a very fun scene between Callie and David where David fakes something, and Callie calls him out on it," she laughed.

"We were actually shooting in a caravan that day, and it was extremely hot, and there were as many people that can be packed in a small space as possible during this supposedly intimate scene.

"We laughed the whole way through."

COMING BACK HOME

Watching the show, themes of acceptance and belonging come through very strong – but I think that's the point. It gives you a feeling that you can be part of this community, and there's a place for everyone. For Lex though, there really is no place like home.

"We know you're living in LA now, but you're originally from South Africa?"

"Born and bred!"

Talking about coming home, Lex says she tries to get back every Christmas – at least.

"My parents are in South Africa. I miss them. I miss my friends terribly," she says, though she is glad that American Princess is streaming in the country, so her friends and family can see the work she's doing.

"I'm a very proud South African woman," she says. "The country means everything to me. So every opportunity I have to fly that flag, I do.

"I'm from Durban originally, and my mom and I have a house in Cape Town. I do try to get back at least once a year. Cape Town, I miss so much. The people, the energy...

"For me, here, I have a lot of South African friends, cause it feels like home. It can be someone you just met, and yet it feels like you know them, you understand them. It's that sense of home. But I do wish that I could be back more.

"South Africa truly is such an incredible place, and I think it's something you only fully appreciate once you leave."   

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

WATCH IT NOW ON SHOWMAX

Read more on:    lex king  |  american princess  |  tv

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