Riverdale Actress Tiera Skovbye Talks Life, Love and Staying Focused
Vancouver-born, LA-based actress Tiera Skovbye makes a splash on the hit CW teen drama series, Riverdale.
It’s a sunny summer morning in LA, and Tiera had just finished an audition before picking up the phone for our conversation. The Vancouver native spends her days between both cities, balancing auditions and acting gigs that keep her schedule full. As we begin the interview, Tiera is full of enthusiasm. Equal parts expressive and thoughtful, she offered insight into her world as a young actress out to make a mark in the industry.
At only 23 years old, Tiera already has ten years of acting experience under her belt. Spotted by an agent while at a Vancouver children’s festival when she was 13, Tiera seemingly stumbled into the field. But once opportunity knocked there was no looking back.
“My family never considered putting me into acting or modelling. At first they were quite skeptical. I started out doing commercials, which eventually led to acting. Once I started taking classes, I knew for sure it was what I wanted to do with my life,” she shares.
Tiera took up acting classes on evenings and weekends while still in high school. She immersed herself in the craft in as many ways as she could, pursuing coaching, workshops and the camaraderie of other aspiring actors. “I basically took on as many acting activities as I could handle outside of regular school,” she says emphatically.
All that hard work paid off. “Things started to get exciting when I was cast as a lead in a movie, Forever 16. I played a vampire who was trapped at age sixteen forever,” chuckles Tiera. She went on to be featured in a string of successful TV series’ including Supernatural, Arrow, and Once Upon a Time, as well as a handful of movies. It wasn’t long before her next big role came along – none other than Polly Cooper in Riverdale. “Booking Riverdale definitely gave me recognition on an international level. It’s opened up some amazing doors for my career,” she affirms.
Playing Riverdale’s Polly Cooper
Tiera shared a love for her character Polly, and the inspiration she brings to each role. “Playing Polly is really fun,” Tiera muses. “There is a lot to work through in her character arc as there’s a mysterious element to her. I’m enjoying the process of seeing her character unfold with time."
When asked about how she prepares for a role, Tiera says she pulls inspiration from her own life. “I look for points of connection with the character and bring elements of myself to every role. That’s what makes it most authentic. I always start with common traits, then layer on my understanding of the character’s background, experience and emotional triggers,” explains Tiera.
Between Polly and Tiera, these common traits have to do with strong family values. In Riverdale, Polly goes to great lengths to protect her family, and babies in particular. Tiera shares a strong devotion to her own family and younger sister Ali who is also an actress. “I’m a very family-driven person and would do anything for my little sister to make sure she’s ok,” she says sincerely.
As for what else inspires her, Tiera is quick to reference those closest to her. “The people I surround myself with on a daily basis are some of the most hard working people I know. They inspire me to keep moving and growing. My sixteen-year-old sister just finished filming two movies and she’s still in grade 10. My fiancé, who is a producer, works harder than anyone I know. Many of my best friends who are actors are incredibly dedicated to their craft. Seeing their determination and drive gives me fresh energy and ideas,” she shares.
To aspiring actors, ‘it’s in the hard work’
Energy and ideas indeed, Tiera is full of them both. As we discussed more about what it takes to make it as an actor, Tiera offered some key advice. “Acting is like a muscle,” she explains. ”Athletes don’t take a break on the off-season and then expect to perform at 100%. As an actor, you should also always be challenging yourself to change and grow.”
Tiera is a big advocate for acting classes, citing the benefits they provided her when getting started: confidence and technique. Growing up in Vancouver she made the rounds at acting schools like Austin Tuck Studios and Railtown Actors Studio among others. These days, she continues works with a coach between filming.
In addition to classes, Tiera highly encourages aspiring actors to “read as many books on acting as you can.” Her recommended reading list includes Respect for Acting by Uta Hagen, and Intent to Live, by Larry Moss.
And what about the inevitable struggle and rejection you face as an actor, how do you handle that? Tiera had advice on this too. “As an actor, you’re constantly under judgement and being told no. At times, it’s hard not to take it personally. It’s really important to cultivate a supportive group of people you trust – whether it’s family, friends or other actors – who can remind you who you are and what is important. Heartbreak can come along with constant rejection, so having a good support system will keep you grounded,” she shares.
Life beyond acting
While most of Tiera’s waking hours are focused on acting and auditioning, she has passions that extend beyond the big screen. In her downtime, the actress prioritizes spending time with family. When a single phone call may have her whisked away to film in a new city for months at a time, she soaks in all the family time she can get.
Tiera is newly engaged to producer Jameson Parker. They are set to marry in August 2019 on Vancouver Island. The pair have worked together most recently in Parker’s feature film, Summer of 84, where Tiera plays a lead character. Featured at the Sundance film festival, the film is based on the idea that every serial killer lives next door to someone.
Tiera also loves hanging out with her dog Scout, a Chihuahua-mix that she rescued while in LA. It turns out that Tiera has quite a passion for animals. On her off-time, she sometimes works in a dog daycare for fun. “I really love being around dogs and caring for them. Down the road, I would love to get even more involved in advocating for animal rescue and rehabilitation,” says Tiera.
As her career progresses, Tiera shares that she expects to be spending more time in LA. But even though the glitz of Hollywood has seemed to welcome her with open arms, Vancouver will always be home for the actress. “LA is a great city, but it’s also very big. Vancouver is where my heart is since that’s where my family is from,” shares the actress.