Interview

“Remedy” Star Genelle Williams Chats About Playing Zoe Rivera In Season 2

Genelle Williams

With her role as street-smart patient service aide Zoe Rivera on the Canadian medical drama series Remedy, 31-year-old Genelle Williams plays an edgy alpha female. With the second season of Remedy (created by Greg Spottiswood) set to air tonight on Global at 9 p.m. EST/PT, we chatted with the humble Toronto-born star. The actress discusses her fierce character, the show’s second season and the balancing act of being a busy mom in the nonstop world of showbiz.

Real Style: What has been your favourite part of portraying Zoe Rivera on Remedy?

Genelle: My favourite part is that Zoe is extremely independent. I guess maybe because of her growing up in foster homes, she has never felt a need to sort of rely on people. I guess that is a gift and a curse, but I personally love it about her because it just makes her that much stronger.

Real Style: Your character, Zoe, is known for her strong personality and tomboy nature. Do you feel that you can identify with her?

Genelle: People always ask me that! Kind of, she’s kind of tomboyish and very strong. I personally am not so much tomboy. When I was younger, I was a gigantic tomboy and I guess I have that side of me in the sense that I’m a ginormous basketball fan and I love sports. I love snowboarding, but at the same time I’m very feminine, very prissy and love to dress up.

I don’t think, personally, that I’m as strong as Zoe is. There are people who may beg to differ, but I personally don’t think that I’m as strong as she is.  I can relate to her, just because I do have people in my life who are very much like her.

Real Style: What have been some of the biggest challenges and also biggest rewards of this role?

Genelle: In the second season, a lot of things happened in her life that really challenged her at the peak of everything that could possibly go wrong- or not go wrong. It was really challenging for me, because a lot of what happens to Zoe is completely opposite anything that I’d ever have to deal with in my personal life. Greg Spottiswood, our creator, he’s amazing. He would always come down and have these talks with me to get me in the headspace of what I have to be.

Real Style: What do you believe makes your part in Remedy different from your other roles, and why?

Genelle: A lot of things that I happen to have participated in the last few years have all been a lot of sci-fi stuff. Currently, I’m doing Bitten, which is also sci-fi, and a couple of other things I’ve done were sci-fi. It’s just a whole other genre. Remedy is probably the first show I’ve done in a long time that was very real. There’s something sort of simple about it all, which is very nice, because it makes everybody who watches it able to relate to somebody, somehow and some way. There are so many different dynamics in the show, from class system to just life in general. It’s the first time I’ve ever actually worked on a show like Remedy before. As much as we’re set in a hospital, it doesn’t really feel like a hospital show.

Real Style: You’re born and based in Toronto. As a Canadian star, how do you feel about living and working in your hometown?

Genelle: I don’t know if I’d call myself a Canadian star, but I’m definitely a Canadian actor and I personally love it! I have a lot of friends and acquaintances in acting who reside in different countries and cities, outside of Toronto. I’ve visited a lot of different cities and I personally love Toronto. If I ever had to be somewhere, that’s fine, but I don’t know if I’d ever be able to leave. I think we have a really good community here, in terms of acting. I have a family, so it’s nice to stay close to home.

Real Style: Not only are you in the acting business, you also have a young family. How has that balance been, of raising your kids and doing show business at the same time?

Genelle: I have an amazing support system and always have. I had my son when I was really young, and my mom and his dad were just great, in the sense that with acting, hours are ridiculous! It’s tough when it comes to maybe having missed certain things. My daughter had her first dance recital in the summer, and I was in Montreal and wasn’t able to go there, but thankfully for iPhones and FaceTime, I was able to see it.

Real Style You have also had a role in Bitten, as Rachel. How has the experience of working with co-star Laura Vandervoort on this show been?

Genelle: Laura’s amazing. She’s one of those people, human beings who are just genuinely nice and kind-hearted and looking out for everybody, besides themselves. Laura is really and truly one of those people. A lot of my scenes are not with her, but this upcoming second season, I do get to have some more sort of intimate moments with her, just because it’s really changed a lot this season. Just watching her, it’s truly impressive because she’s a very strong female (not only physically, but mentally).

Real Style: What originally inspired you to pursue acting, and why?

Genelle: When I was younger, I was very adamant on the fact that I was going to be a physiotherapist and work for the Raptors. I used to want to act when I was probably a pre-teen. My mom used to put me in those modelling schools and things of that nature. I found that the only thing that I actually liked from all of those classes was that they would always have an acting segment. I always enjoyed it and when I went to high school, I decided to take drama. My drama teacher talked me into doing this musical. I can’t sing- for nothing! I did a musical, and there happened to be a supply teacher there who was with the agency I’m with now. After the musical, she came up to me and said “You know, I really think you should pursue a career in acting.”

They ended up sending my picture in to the agent, without me even knowing. He called me two days later and asked me to come in and do a couple monologues. I did, and the rest is history. I’ve been with them ever since. I guess I was just supposed to do it. I still, sometimes, play with the idea of going to university and doing some kind of kinesiology part-time, which I probably will do. As for now, I’ve finally embraced the fact that I am an actress and this is what I do.

Real Style: What is your favourite way to unwind after a hectic day of shooting and being on set?

Genelle: As I do have a young family, it usually is to just come home and watch them. I always feel like I’ve missed so many hours of being with them. Just getting to sit back and be in that moment and be with them, it takes me away from any stress or anxiety I might have had on set.

Real Style: Is there anything else you’d like fans to know about the upcoming season of Remedy?

Genelle: They’re going to be very, very surprised. There are a lot of shocks at the beginning of the second season and I think that people are really going to enjoy the season, because we don’t hold anything back.

Photo: Remedy 



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