“It’s intelligent humor, it moves fast and if you’re paying attention, it makes some pretty fulfilling social commentary.”
Well, it was inevitable. After a young woman breaks free from being held captive in a bunker and moves to New York City to start her new life – she decides to head to College.
This is the premise for Season 3 of the binge-worthy Netflix series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” As Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) hits the books at Columbia University, she also adds a few friends to her crew, including actress Rachael Meyers as ‘Josie’.
At a towering 6’2”, this Oklahoma City native played Basketball during her real college years, but eventually gave up her hoop dreams to become an actress and singer. Before Rachael’s latest role on “Kimmy,” she also appeared on ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat” and Disney’s family show “Dog with a Blog.”
Rachael has taken a turn on the other side of the camera as an award-winning director, writer and producer. She earned a ‘Best Direction’ award on the festival circuit for her directorial debut, the comedy adventure short film “Highway 15.” She went on to win ‘Best Short Film’ for the dramatic short “My Brother’s Keeper” and recognition at the Best Shorts Competition and IndieFEST Film Awards for her film “Chénmò de péngyou.”
As if that’s not enough, Rachael also recently launched the political parody musical web series “TRUMP’d,” starring as First Lady Melania Trump.
With no slowing for a summer break, Rachael Meyers found time for an interview:
For anyone who hasn’t watched the new season of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” yet, tell us about ‘Josie’.
RACHAEL: Josie is one of Xan’s roommates in college. There are three of us, and we kind of make up this crew clique. We really don’t like Xan. But we love Kimmy.
Did you draw from your own college experiences to get into the character?
RACHAEL: Sure. I was an athlete in college, so I can relate to the intensity of training and what you might call “the jock scene.” Your team is your family – you push yourselves and each other to the limit every practice. You put your bodies through hell together and that creates a bond. Loyalty runs deep.
Why do you think this show resonates so well with audiences?
RACHAEL: UKS has created its own unique tone, in that it’s wacky funny, but there’s also another level to it. It’s intelligent humor, it moves fast and if you’re paying attention, it makes some pretty fulfilling social commentary. And that depth is what keeps me coming back – it’s not glib sketch, there’s something real at work here, points being made in a clever sidestep.
What was your first impression working with this talented group?
RACHAEL: Wow… this is fun!
Do you know if you’ll be back again?
RACHAEL: I don’t know, but I hope so.
You just launched your own web project, what can you share about that?
RACHAEL: It’s called “TRUMP’d,” and it’s totally political, entirely satirical musical theatre. It’s basically the whimsical musings of a thoroughly frustrated musical theatre nerd. Each video comments on our political environment via a recognizable, slightly-altered musical theatre song, introducing new characters as the series progresses. In the first, I portray the FLOTUS unwittingly breaking down. You can check it out here: https://youtu.be/3-WFOJabAHA
How did you get into acting?
RACHAEL: In lower school, a friend of mine was doing a musical with a community theater company back in Oklahoma, and the moms thought I might enjoy it as well. So I joined, loved it, and that was that. I was hooked.
Who do you consider your biggest comedy influences?
RACHAEL: Thanks to my dad, I great up on the greats — Carol Burnett, Don Knotts, Tim Conway. But you also have to love the attack of modern gals like Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Tina
What’s been the biggest piece of advice you wish you would have followed?
RACHAEL: Trust yourself and your instincts as an actress. I’ve spent so many hours worrying, when I should have been enjoying the ride.
We can’t let you go without asking…what makes you laugh?
RACHAEL: Clumsy cats. They’re the best for one of those deep, gut-busting, silent laughing fits.