Sarah Allen is a happy camper. Curled up on a couch after her first-ever fashion shoot at a studio in Toronto’s east end, her eyes still smudged with glam slashes of liner, the actress punctuates an interview with periodic peals of laughter. And, indeed, she has plenty to smile about, as 2014 heralds potentially big career boosts, including starring roles on the new Global TV medical drama Remedy and in film director Bruce McDonald’s festival darling The Husband. Due out this spring, McDonald’s dark comedy stars Maxwell McCabe-Lokos (Lars and the Real Girl) as the titular husband, who’s cuckolded by Allen’s character, Alyssa. A graduate of Montreal’s National Theatre School, Allen cut her teeth doing community theatre in her hometown of Nelson, B.C. Eager to stretch her legs – and flex her acting muscles – she moved to Toronto after graduation, quickly landing roles in television movies and shows such as Murdoch Mysteries. Gearing up for her big year, Allen spoke to Globe Style Advisor about figuring out fashion, keeping it real and being called one of the sexiest vampires of all time.
Someone just told me this was your first fashion shoot. Is that true?
Yes. It’s my first real one. I mean, I’ve had my picture taken for production stills and for headshots and all that before.
So how did it feel?
It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, because I had people looking after my clothes and hair and makeup and lighting and all that, making sure that I came out looking good!
Are you into fashion much off the set?
I don’t know a lot about fashion – actually, hardly anything at all. I have a very loose idea of what I think looks good and I can definitely admire other people’s fashion sense, how they dress themselves and how they put things together. But I feel most comfortable in jeans and T-shirts, things that I can move in.
I looked through many photos of you before we met, and the majority of them were, as you said, production stills and red-carpet shots. Do you enjoy dressing for big events?
I’m starting to learn to embrace it. I feel like it’s really fun, actually. I haven’t done anything too crazy, because I can’t afford to buy a new dress for every red carpet: I am, you know, a Canadian actor who works on Canadian projects! And I haven’t done enough to have people send me things to wear.
Would you be open to that? After they see this cover, there will definitely be some interest in dressing you.
You’ve worked on a lot of projects this past year, and it seems like 2014 is going to be even bigger for you.
It has definitely been an exciting time. In fact, it actually got exciting around this time last year, because I got to do The Husband with Bruce and Max. It was the job that I really wanted; it just really felt right. And I got to work with people whom I’ve always wanted to work with, on a film that I would like to watch myself. For me, that’s different. I haven’t really had the opportunity to work like that before.
What excited you so much about this film?
It’s hard to pin down. It’s a drama. It’s a romantic film. It’s a dark love story, a comedic love story. It’s a mystery, a thriller. You see this man who has been cuckolded, whose manhood has been challenged, and you don’t know what he’s going to do. The most interesting part for me was that you still want, after everything that happens between this couple, to see them back together. You think they belong together, that what happened wasn’t right, it shouldn’t have happened.
And could you relate to Alyssa, your character in the film?
Oh, for sure. In terms of having troubles in love, difficulties like that, definitely.
You mentioned being an actor in Canada. Are you happy with where you’re at? What are you striving for?
Well, I’m doing this series called Remedy right now, and it feels like a real gift. It’s so well written, so beautifully shot. And my co-workers are incredible, just a different level of actor, you know? The guest stars that are coming on are just phenomenal. And from an acting point of view, I just get to be real; I get to be a real woman who’s having problems in my relationship and trying to balance having a family and a job.
And that appeals to you?
Oh, yeah, it’s just very grounding. It’s really simple; it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get to the character.
You’re also on Being Human, the British supernatural series.
Yes, I was on the first season, but the [upcoming] fourth season isn’t about my character. I do come back, but it’s quick, just one or two scenes. But it’s fun.
Do you know that you’re on an online list of the 50 sexiest vampires of all time?
I didn’t know there were that many! I’m definitely putting that on my résumé. Even if I’m near the bottom, being on any list of sexy people is pretty great.