In Conversation With SARAH LEVY
THE OUTNET’S Head of Content, Claudia Mahoney, got to catch up with actor and one of the stars of the record-breaking, Emmy Award winning show Schitt’s Creek, Sarah Levy. In case you missed their live conversation about the show, how she got into acting and her love for her character Twyla Sands — we made sure to save some of the best bits…
Claudia: I wanted to kick off by asking you what it’s been like; I know that Schitt’s Creek has obviously been really popular for some years now but in this last year it’s taken on a life of its own hasn’t it? I don’t think I’ve ever had such a reaction from so many friends and colleagues and people around the world saying to me when they saw I was talking to you, ‘oh my god, please tell her thank you to her and her family and they’re what’s got us through this last year.’ Are you aware of that, even in lockdown?
Sarah: You know, it’s a really interesting thing because, I think, oddly, the pandemic really having everyone just stay inside, the amount of people that had just discovered it, even just last year was so exponential that I think none of us, like I don’t think everyone has really come to terms with how popular it’s really become because we haven’t really been out on the streets. All we have is just our connections to people through social media.
Claudia: Do you feel this sort of love bomb coming your way?
Sarah: Every day! Every day. I mean, the amount of messages that I get every day from people that have said that they’ve just discovered it or that it’s, and I know Daniel’s gotten a ton of this, but that it’s helped people come out, it’s helped siblings come out to each other and come out to their parents. All of the good will and the positivity that this show has kind of put out there, we’re getting back two-fold.
Claudia: I’m so pleased to hear that because you really feel it means so much to so many. Now, you told me that you’re a big fan of THE OUTNET and that it was actually your brother Dan who introduced you to the site.
Sarah: Yes, it was! Years ago! And, I had never heard of it before, but it was a way to buy clothes that weren’t SO expensive but still really wonderful and it was kind of one of my first websites that kind of introduced me to higher-end fashion and all of that. So, it’s always been one of my go-to sites. Not even a plug! It honestly has.
Claudia: That’s great news! Is fashion important to you and how would you describe how you dress?
Sarah: Fashion is important, and I think having grown up with my brother who has always kind of been on the forefront of his own style, he’s really taught me about fashion and fit and style and wearing what is comfortable to you, wearing what you like and what everybody else thinks doesn’t really matter.
Claudia: There’s nothing less stylish than someone who is uncomfortable in their own clothes.
Sarah: Right!? That’s really it. He kind of set the pace for me and if I’m on the fence about something or I need a great dress for something, he’s always the first one that I go to. Luckily my mom has great style, my dad has…
Claudia: I mean, your dad, if he’s anything like Johnny Rose has some great style. Those are some sharp suits.
Sarah: Those are some sharp suits! And he got to keep a lot of them, actually. So, he has a large collection now of very, very sharp suits. And my brother was very instrumental in kicking off the kind of Johnny Rose fashion.
Claudia: Well fashion is such a big signifier on the program. I know so much detail and thought went into each character’s way of dressing. Did you like what Twyla got to wear or are you not so much the girl next door?
Sarah: Oh my god… I liked it in that it was incredibly comfortable. I never had to worry about heels, I never had to worry about uncomfortable dresses and skirts and all that but I, you know, I would have loved to dress up a little more. Maybe not wear the same pair of shoes. But, yeah, the fashion is such a large part of what makes that show.
Claudia: Yeah, and the psychology of clothes in our day-to-day life is really important. I think, maybe in a way that I wouldn’t have thought about before this year about what I’m wearing what makes me feel… not just comfortable but well. So, I think there’s one idea that you could be in sparkly earrings and loads of color and amping up the glamour — and then equally you could succumb to the elasticated waist and it’s trying to find that happy medium, isn’t it?
Sarah: It’s so true. I really found, especially this year… I mean, we all know when we want to feel better we’ll put on a great outfit but I don’t think that really came to my mind the way it did in just this last year when I was feeling really low or I had been in sweatpants for the 7th week in a row, and I just wanted to feel like a human being, just putting on jeans and a nice top just to go outside and walk the dogs did wonders for like my mental health in a way. You just feel like you’re back in this life that we used to live and hopefully will live in again soon.
Claudia: So, you talked about mental health and I think that the show has been so good for mental health and that’s partly because of the message that it preaches of inclusivity and community and family and friendship and just heart-warming values, old-fashioned values but it does it in a really non-judgmental way and it’s really funny. So, I think that’s partly why it’s been such a significant hit. But I think that your character is the moral heart of the show. Was that an intentional thing? Did Dan write the part for you or did you have to audition? How did it work?
Sarah: The character of Twyla that was written, it was written for me, but it was a much different character. She was much more kind of downtrodden and sad and really it seemed to be that she had really let the world around her and this kind of like sad world that she was living in really affect her in a negative way. And, what I loved about going into the series was that that character was completely changed to have the negative surroundings around her affect her in a positive way…
Claudia: Yes, because even though, all the things she mentions are so terrible, it’s like water off a duck’s back to her.
Sarah: So terrible! I went back and forth between thinking, ‘is she aware of how terrible this is, or has she taken this in stride and just used all these things as a part of who she is and not let it affect her daily life and the way she looks at life.’ She’s not jealous, she’s not bitter, she’s always kind and it says so much about just being satisfied with who you are and where you are and not joining this crazy rat-race that we’ve all been prone to feeling like we need to be a part of.
Claudia: Yeah, yeah. And I think that to sort of use the pun on ‘a little bit Alexis’ I think we should all try and be a little more Twyla, shouldn’t we?
Sarah: I try every day. I try and keep a little bit of her within me. She’s a wonderful, wonderful ray of sunshine.
Claudia: And to be the loveliest, nicest person on the show is quite a pressure. Twyla has this reputation for being so just gorgeous, do you ever feel a pressure, to be constantly perky and smiley? And, if something was wrong, how would you go about that?
Sarah: That’s a really interesting question. Well, I do feel like just being a part of the show and what the show represents, that there is a degree of awareness that I think we all have just from what the show is to continue that and set examples of being kind and generous to the general public. I’ve always made a conscious effort, not even just because of the show, to put an extra layer of kindness or put a little extra money down for a tip if you have it for somebody wonderful because those acts of kindness, they’re constantly paid forward, constantly.
Claudia: I wanted to ask you, lots of people are saying ‘please, please more Schitt’s Creek,’ can you convince anybody to do another series? Will there be a film, will there be more? Do you have the inside scoop, and do you think it was the right decision to leave everybody wanting more?
Sarah: It’s such a hard thing because the show we decided, I say we, Daniel specifically and my dad decided to end the show two years before it even actually ended. And, considering the year pretty much after it ended, it took off even more exponentially, I don’t even think they could have… I wonder whether they would have kept it going had they known the success it was going to achieve.
Claudia: I think that it’s so perfectly tied up and I can’t see how you go back. As much as I feel sad about that, it was so perfect.
Sarah: That’s the thing, so rarely do shows get to end on their own terms and I know that was such an incredibly important thing to both Daniel and my dad, wrapping up a story line on your own terms without being cancelled or going on forever and just diluting the quality. Daniel’s always saying if there’s a really fabulous idea that comes to him then he will do it, but it has to be really, really great and maintain the integrity of what the rest of the show was.
Claudia: I know from watching the documentary Best Wishes, Warmest Regards; if anyone hasn’t watched it, it made me cry. But, mainly, you made me cry because I don’t think they got a shot of you where you’re not weeping with familial pride.
Sarah: I know, I know! It was like every shot they used… I thought ‘did I just cry for like three months? What happened here?’ Apparently, I did! But it was a very, very emotional time in all of our lives and then it really becomes a tidal wave when you realize that it’s over and it was a very, very heavy day.
Claudia: Do you ever wonder what’s happening to Twyla now and about what she would do with that lottery? I know that she’s bought the café and decided to stay there, but do you ever think about what would be happening to her now?
Sarah: My dream for Twyla, where I think she is now is just you know, owning the café, she’s in the town, she has a gorgeous little house, she has a child, perhaps, with a wonderful guy. And I hope she’s rewriting her family’s past into an incredibly uplifting and wonderful, happy future. I can’t imagine with her disposition she would be anywhere less than completely content with her wonderful life.
Claudia: I hope that for her, too. I just think she deserves everything doesn’t she? Thank you so, so, so much for giving us your time.
Sarah: This has been so much fun!
Claudia: And, if anyone left on the planet has not scene Schitt’s Creek, you absolutely must, it’s just sublime. Beautifully acted, beautifully written and it just brings so much happiness to so many people, myself included. Thank you for being such a fan of THE OUTNET and thank you so, so much for your time this evening we really, really appreciate it.