Born and raised in a small town in Maine, Heather Hemmens couldn’t have predicted having a leading role on a hit prime time show at just 22 years old. Hemmens stars as Alice Verdura on the CW’s Hellcats, a dramedy about a competitive college cheerleading team. Hemmens plays the sassy cheerleader with multiple dimensions. With a black belt in martial arts and directing credits under her name, there’s no doubt Hemmens too has many layers to her; all of which come from the talented and creative depths. Opposite to Alice, Hemmens is a sweet girl and fun to chat with as she told me all about her great experience with Hellcats, the drama ahead, and much more!
Congrats on Hellcats! It’s been doing pretty well since it premiered last fall.
Heather- It has, yes! Thank you!
What do you enjoy most about playing Alice? She’s the sassy, not so nice cheerleader. What most appeals to you about her?
Heather-I love her bravery. She’s not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. She says exactly what she means and she goes after what she believes in, full speed ahead. And I just really admire that in any person, but I admire that in my character as well.
Do you like playing the mean girl?
Heather– I do like playing the mean girl because she’s got so many different sides to her that I never feel like I’m doing the same scene or anything over again. She’s always fresh, and new, and she always has new drama to approach.
What can fans look forward to with the second half of the season?
Heather- In the episode that comes back on first on the 25th, we meet Alice’s father. He’s in town to watch her cheer at sectionals. However, she isn’t cheering at sectionals, so she has a big dilemma on her hands. And she is back to her old ways of being manipulative and trying to make the situation work for her. And it does include even butting heads with Savannah quite a bit. When she usually only buts heads with Marty. It’s hard to say because there’s a lot of spoilers, so I’m just going to stop there before I get in trouble! (Laughs)
So you can say there’s more drama ahead for her?
Heather- There’s definitely more drama. Even though we’ve seen Alice develop and have more redeeming qualities, sometimes she’s got to pull out her own tricks just to keep things moving along!
What’s a moment or storyline with Alice that has stood out to you for far this season?
Heather- I thought her dilemma with episodes three and four where she was trying to use steroids to heal her arm faster and at the same time she was trying to get over Louis, him being her ex-boyfriend, and she kind of just comes to her breaking point and throws the water bottle. I think it was really fun for me as an actress to find Alice’s breaking point that early in her story and then grow from there. It’s been really great.
How has playing Alice allowed you to grow as an actress? What has this role taught you?
Heather- Playing Alice is demanding for many reasons. The physicality that she does. The college cheerleader, which is no sport to be taken lightly. It requires a lot of discipline. So there’s that side of it. And then also just so many emotions that she has, has been really fun and really challenging to always convey these very complicated situations that Alice always finds herself in.
What would you like to do next with Alice that you haven’t had the chance to yet? Is there anything on your mind with her?
Heather– I think it’s time for Alice to get to sing! (Laughs) I think that would be really great! So that’s a storyline that I think maybe develops, maybe they already have that in mind. But I would definitely be down for that if it was mentioned.
What do you think it is about Hellcats that has allowed it to be a hit with viewers? Television is so competitive now and there’s always new shows premiering and being canceled. What do you think Hellcats has about it that other shows don’t?
Heather– Well it’s true, television is very competitive and I think that’s what Hellcats does right; is that we give the viewer much more than they would expect. We have a lot to offer for any dramedy, especially one on the CW because we’re a college-based show and not a high-school based show so we’re allowed to push the envelope a little bit more. It’s more realistic. And we’re dealing with issues that I think are very true as to what people are going through in college, such as date rape, and all these relationship issues, too. I think we just have a lot to offer. And then we’ve got great dance scenes and it’s more than just short skirts. But that doesn’t hurt. (Laughs)
You have directed two short films. Can you talk about that experience and how you became involved with directing?
Heather– I got into directing when it was a very slow period for my acting. Right before I booked Hellcats. I was looking for something else in this industry that I was passionate about so I tried different things. I tried writing. I was an assistant on a couple different sets. I directed someone else’s script, and it was just so fun and so exhilarating for me, and so different. I used that first short film to get hired actually to do the second short film. The first one I kind of directed and produced on my own and I starred in it. And the second one I was hired just to direct the script and I wasn’t in it. I got to just focus on the directing and it was a lot of fun for me.
Was it challenging for you to be behind the camera and direct? It’s a different pace I imagine.
Heather– It was. It was much easier the second time around though when I wasn’t trying to be in front of the camera. And I could really just focus on wearing the hat of directors. And even though the hat of director is a lot of different hats, it was really, really fun. It was a great challenge I think and it just kind of gave me a new passion for this whole art.
What’s your dream role you would like to play in the future?
Heather– I would love to play some type of super hero! (Laughs) I’m a martial artist so I always picture myself doing these action films. That’s just something that I’m ambitious towards.
What else are you passionate about? How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
Heather– I paint a lot. I study Martial arts. Spending time with my family and just the simple pleasures of going out to eat really, really good food and just spoiling ourselves and then going to a movie. Really just unwinding on my days off.
What do you think you would be doing if you were not involved in the arts?
Heather– I think I would be a teacher for middle school level. One of the biggest influences in my life was my mentor. She was my fifth grade teacher and has just always been really inspiring to me. The impact that she had on my life, just by noticing small qualities that I had and helping me develop them and find what I wanted to do for a career. I think every teacher has the opportunity to change people’s lives and offer that guidance. Not just in a curricular way. So I’d probably be a teacher. I think that would be very fulfilling.
If you could go back in time and spend a day in the life of anyone from history, who would It be?
Heather– That’s a great question! There’s so many people I would want to be. (Laughs) Anyone from John Lennon to Edda James. I guess I’d pick musicians because I think of their lifestyle as very free and wild and never a dull moment in any day. I’d probably pick one of those.