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Riley Voelkel: embark on the journey an Exclusive Interview


Riley Voelkel for Hooks Magazine

Photographer: Tyler Kenny - @tylerpatrickkenny

PR Management: Alessio Filippelli - @ale_ssiofilippelli

Stylist: Alison Hernon - @718blonde

Hair: Corey Tuttle - @coreytuttlehair

Makeup: Liz Olivier - @lizomakeup

With a career as captivating as the roles she plays, Riley Emilia Voelkel embodies the determination and talent that make viewers' hearts vibrate. Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, her journey into the spotlight began on American soil when her family moved to Sacramento, CA while Riley was still a child.

From an early age, she immersed herself in several passions: from athletics to dedication to studies, including warm family life. But it was when she had the chance to participate in a modeling test that destiny began to chart her brilliant path. Without hesitation, she headed to Los Angeles, where dreams are woven with the threads of determination and opportunity.

Riley Voelkel for Hooks Magazine

Her debut on the big screen was marked by a memorable role as the club girl in the acclaimed Oscar-nominated film, "The Social Network", under the baton of David Fincher and the genius of Aaron Sorkin. From then on, her meteoric rise in the entertainment industry was inevitable. Riley won hearts and applause on hit series like "The Mentalist," "Glee" and "American Horror Story."

However, it was in roles like the student who became assistant Jenna Johnson on the award-winning HBO series "The Newsroom" that her versatility shone most brightly. The collaboration with Aaron Sorkin propelled her to new horizons, preparing her for the ultimate challenge: bringing to life the unforgettable Freya Mikaelson in "The Originals" within the universe of "The Vampire Diaries". Among other memorable works by Riley.

Riley Voelkel for Hooks Magazine

With a talent that transcends and lights up our screens, it's impossible not to marvel at the journey of Riley Emilia Voelkel, a true rising star.

It is a great honor to have you with us! Dive a little into the Riley universe with Hooks Magazine:

1. Riley, it's a pleasure to have you with us. Let's start by talking a little about your journey so far. Can you tell us about how you were discovered as an actress?

Good to be here, thanks so much for having me! I was actually on a completely different path before stumbling into Hollywood and the world of acting. Growing up, I wasn’t involved in theatre, but was deeply involved in sports and school, particularly as a competitive softball player. It was only by chance that I heard about an open casting call for modeling on the radio just before heading off to college to play softball and study structural engineering. Last minute, I decided to attend the casting call, which ultimately led me to connect with modeling agencies in Los Angeles. I decided to take the risk and moved to LA without knowing anyone. Through modeling, I booked numerous commercials, which led to my agency asking about my interest in acting. I decided to take my first acting class and that day I fell in love with it. Performing and watching others perform brought me such fulfillment and I decided that regardless of success, I wanted to be an actor.

2. Her first role was as a club girl in the film "The Social Network". What was your experience like working on this project and how did it influence your career later?

Working on "The Social Network" was an incredibly surreal experience for me, especially considering it was my first time on a film set. I booked the role through my modeling agency and before I had an acting agent. Being on set was like stepping into a whole new world, and I was determined to absorb as much as I could. I remember being in awe of the entire process and getting to work with David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin was a dream. Shortly after filming I signed with my first acting agent and things came full circle when I booked the role of Jenna Johnson aka “sorority girl” in HBO’s “The Newsroom”, also written by Aaron Sorkin. Even though it was a small role, working alongside such incredible talent was a masterclass in and of itself. I cherished every moment. I was very lucky to land some amazing roles early on that paved the way throughout my career.

Riley Voelkel for Hooks Magazine

3. You had roles in several successful series, such as "The Mentalist", "Glee" and "American Horror Story". What is it like moving between different genres and characters?

It’s the best! Getting the opportunity to dive into different genres and characters is so much fun. It’s like stepping into an entirely different world and experiencing parts of life that I normally would never experience. I not only learn new perspectives from the characters I’m playing, but often learn things about myself as well. I love the challenge of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and diving into the complexities of each role. The process of building a character is incredibly rewarding – from developing their backstory and life experiences to embodying their mannerisms and style, every aspect contributes to the transformation. A funny example of that transformation was when I was simultaneously shooting “Hightown”, playing an exotic dancer, to a cop in "Roswell." I had to change my nail length and style every time I went back and forth between shows. I became very close to my nail technician haha!

4. Her best-known role to date is as Freya Mikaelson in "The Originals". What was it like playing this character and how did it impact your career?

Playing Freya Mikaelson on “The Originals” was the longest I’ve played a character, so she inevitably became a big part of me. When I initially landed the role, I wasn't aware that I would be playing a Mikaelson, as the details were kept tightly under wraps to prevent spoilers. Finding out I was playing a Mikaelson, filled me with both excitement and a sense of responsibility to do justice to such an iconic lineage. I loved every part of playing Freya, especially the element of her being a powerful witch – I mean, who wouldn't love the ability to snap necks with a flick of the wrist, right? Haha. Having the opportunity to develop a character over the span of four seasons was undeniably a pivotal milestone in my career, and I learned so much along the way. I'm forever grateful to the fans for their unwavering love and support in keeping these characters alive long after the show has ended. Being a part of a show that brought so many people comfort is something I’ll always cherish.

Riley Voelkel for Hooks Magazine

5. As a good fan of "The originals" rumors are circulating about a possible return of Klaus for a new series, do you know anything about it to give us a spoiler?

Wow, that's news to me! Unfortunately, I have no tea to spill, but I would love it if the rumor is true! Although, I’m unsure how that would unfold, maybe it’s an origin story or a prequel? Whatever the case, I think the fans would love it and I'd be right there with them!

6-You recently starred in "Hightown" as Renee Segna. What was it like taking on this role?

Playing Renee in Hightown was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career so far. I was craving a gritty character that would take me out of my comfort zone and the complex characters Rebecca Cutter created were dream roles for an actor. Because the role was so different from anything else I had done, I was forced to be vulnerable in ways I hadn’t before and I was able to push my boundaries as an actor. To prepare for the role I had to really throw myself into a world I knew little about. I tried to understand the perspective of someone who was an ex-addict, a struggling mother, and an exotic dancer. I watched documentaries, went to clubs, and even trained in pole dancing! Although certain elements were emotionally challenging, the entire process was incredibly empowering. I was surrounded by the most incredible and supportive cast and crew and I learned so much from each of them. Every day on set was an opportunity to learn and grow and I can only hope that my next project is as fulfilling as Hightown was for me.

Riley Voelkel for Hooks Magazine

7. And last but not least: what is your voice? What would you like to say to the world if you had the opportunity?

I’d like to think my voice is one of love and my message is to spread kindness. Every person we encounter is fighting their own battles, and often, we can relate. A simple act of kindness can make a world of difference and showing compassion towards one another can truly change someone's day, or even their life. Ultimately, I believe that spreading love is the key to life.

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May 09
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Amazing interview!! ❤️👏🏻🫶🏻


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