Karen Holness is an actress, known for Chicago (2002), Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) and Fringe (2008), Arrow (2016), The 100 (2019) and Always Be My Maybe (2019).
1. For the people who might not know you, who are you and what do you do?
I am an actor, singer, and storyteller.
2. How did you become involved in the entertainment industry?
I have so many ‘origin’ stories… LOL. I always loved to sing and dance. I used to watch Soultrain in my living room, practicing the dance moves as I loved to dance and music as much as my father did. He was happiest when he was singing and dancing and I guess that translated to me. Another story is one with my sister where we were constantly picking songs, assigning vocal parts, putting choreography to the songs, and running downstairs to our parents proclaiming, “We have a show, we have a show, we have a show!” They were great in that they would stop what they were doing and sit on the couch to watch our musical creations.
3. Of the roles that you played, who was your favorite to portray and why?
My goodness, I just adore them all. Nonfiction roles portraying real people I pay especially close attention to. Some of those titles include Flight 93, My Mother’s letter from heaven and Who Killed JonBenét. I am also inspired to head to work when I know I will be surrounded by dedicated, committed artists from all departments. A couple of projects that stand out in this area are The 100, Fringe, and Out of Order. Those shows may have had bigger budgets but another show that stands out is Cashing In, which appeared on a little network called APTN and probably had one of the smallest shooting budgets out there. Again, all involved in this project brought their A-game, and it was exciting to head to work every day.
4. What do you love most about your job as an artist?
EVERYTHING…!!! I find a lot of days as I get ready for an audition or a new character on set, or even teaching class, that I find myself giving thanks and saying, “I can’t believe I get to do this.” I love what I do and especially the study of the human experience, getting inside the characters to figure out what makes them tick. Of course, just like in every business, the industry does have its particular challenges but I try to weather those challenges with the pleasure of artistic satisfaction.
5. If you weren’t an actress, what would you be doing?
At this stage of the game, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I will most likely branch out into directing and producing. I am very intrigued by the world of psychology and helping people reach their highest potential – so maybe something in that field. Sports psychology?
6. Can you disclose anything about your upcoming projects?
This year, I have a recurring role on The 100, and at this point, my character is just one of the carefree cult members on the new planet, but there are huge surprises coming… In the Netflix top-rated movie Always Be My Maybe, I play one of my vocal idols who also has a twist in the second half. In September look out for The Art of Racing In The Rain with Milo Ventimiglia. And lastly, one of the hardest roles I have attempted will hopefully be making the rounds at this year’s film festivals.
7. What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Finding the resilience to not allow my adversities to define me. I define me.
8. Who are some artists that inspire you and why?
Anyone and everyone who is committed to telling me a great story. I also love versatility so people like Kristen Wiig, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Rose Bryne, Melissa McCarthy, Christian Bale, Jason Bateman, Will Farrell, and Bill Hader.
9. Do you have any advice to aspiring actors who want to get started in the industry?
Be the CEO of your company. My first acting teacher used to say, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Maybe you could be one of the extremely lucky ones that land a dream job right away but the other 99.99% of us have got to be dedicated artists and jump in with both feet. Be smart and learn as much as you can, just as you would if you were approaching any other profession.
10. Do you have anything to say to the people that support you?
I couldn’t be here without you. An avalanche of love and support back at you. I also have to give a special shout-out to those who said I couldn’t do it. Because I have a bit of contrary nature, your “No’s” also helped to fuel my fire.
11. What is the best thing about acting?
Touching lives and communicating. In every civilization, there have been storytellers. Whether it was the etchings on the cave wall or a song and story being told around the fire, we need to communicate and share in our experiences to feel like we belong. I love the inclusiveness of what an audience can experience through a story that I am a part of.
12. What do you have in mind for the future?
The sky is not even the limit. I love drama, tragedy, comedy, and science fiction equally. I hope to keep growing and surprise myself by reaching new heights while staying versatile and open. I hope I have the opportunity to open a production company and to keep telling great stories in all genres.
13. What are some causes that are dear to your heart and hope to bring awareness to?
I am a big supporter of building awareness for mental health and I am currently involved in a performing arts program for underprivileged youth. I look forward to the day when we could build awareness around mental health to the point where we could recognize the markers either in ourselves or within a loved one so we would never lose any dear person out of ignorance of this condition.
Thank you so much to Karen for agreeing to the interview! You can find more about her and her work on: