Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Stars I Love: Jenna Coleman

Jenna Coleman actress profile
From television shows like The Vampire Diaries to mega-blockbusters like Divergent and The Hunger Games, a collection of eccentric, beautiful, and talented leading ladies has been born out of Hollywood. While a lot of attention focuses on U.S. stars like Shailene Woodley, Nina Dobrev, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence - and the list goes on, one of my favorite stars happens to be from across the pond: Jenna Coleman.

Born Blackpool, London, Coleman participated in dance during her childhood. Eventually her love of performing transitioned into acting at a local school theater during her early teens. At only nineteen years old, she won her first major role for a British soap opera Emmerdale. During her three-hundred episode arc, she had planned to finish university but performing would lead her elsewhere. Her career may have just been starting out but already she was garnering awards for the heartfelt performance she was producing. Following some three hundred episodes later playing one-half of a normal lesbian couple (a breakthrough portrayal for daytime television), the eager starlet soon moved on to other television series like Waterloo Road and Room at the Top. There was always room to go back to school, but Coleman was destined to go down a different road; one that spanned across time and space.

Though living in England, where automatically one assumes everyone knows about Doctor Who, Coleman ironically hadn't known very much about the Time Lord and his adventures across the universes. In late 2011, the Doctor was in need for a new companion as the current one played by Karen Gillian was on her way out. Contacted by showrunner Steven Moffat, Coleman went through a variety of auditions over nearly eight months. Eventually proving her own against her co-star Smith with witty banter and chemistry, the rising star was eventually announced in 2011 as the new Companion.

Clara doctor who gif
Clara doctor who gif
Clara doctor who gif
Immediately, Coleman's life took on a whole new twist as Clara Oswald. For two years the actress became an unforgettable Companion. The first time I experienced Who as a series premiering a new episode every week (rather than streaming a season all at once) was during 2014 when Peter Capaldi replaced Smith. Coleman stayed on as a Companion, and immediately she became a favorite assistant and actress of mine. Though Capaldi performed wonderfully alongside her despite the touch and go strength the season's storytelling, it wasn't hard to see why she is so memorable.

Every Companion is significantly different from each other; they are adventurous, romantic, funny, headstrong, and determined women rarely seen on television these days. Coleman's Oswald equally treads the line of being a friend to the Doctor, a romantic interest (as selectively seen by fans), and at times, even holding her own as a Time Lord is shouldered with the responsibility of maintaining a 'normal' life among the stars. Coleman delivers a fine balance of independence from her Doctor Who, pining for validation of her importance as his friend, and flirtatiously treading the line of being a romantic interest. It's a lot of characteristics to pack in one Tardis, and Coleman succeeds really well.

Some of the words I'd use to describe Coleman as an on-screen presence is joyful and heartfelt. Throughout the highs and lows of her characters' journey, the 27-year-old actress is refreshingly buoyant - something that I think is a true rarity with celebrities and actors today. She has the ability to delight you with her exuberance in an episode like, have you rooting for her in Kill the Moon, and then devastate you with vulnerability in Death in Heaven.

Whether going toe-to-toe against the Doctor in opposition to his beliefs or letting her curiosity excite where the journey might take her, Coleman is wistfully charming. She easily holds her own almost every scene whether it's called for comedy or drama, and her emotions never feel forced. That type of unique talent is one that by watching her can tell she is quick on her toes in terms of knowing her character, the story, and the ability to play around. It's hard not to get hooked to her infectious energy.

Like many Hollywood actresses whose star status rose in a short amount of time, Coleman luckily remains under the radar. When she turns up on the small screen, it's refreshing and exciting to see her performance. Her acting career, and wherever life may journey for her, is only just beginning. As one of the Doctor's Companions she has easily etched herself in pop culture, and if there's anything to say about her personality and talent, it's probably going to take her even further - to the moon and back.

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