From Theatre Program to National TV: Fordham Alumna in Fox’s New Show

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COURTESY OF OLIVIA MACKLIN

“The show happens because these three outsiders of very different means and backgrounds come and challenge that exact way of being,” Macklin said of "Filthy Rich.” “It is definitely a cautionary tale of what happens when we get everything we want — it always comes with a price.”

By SAFET BEKTESEVIC

Olivia Macklin, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’16, who graduated from the Fordham Theatre program, is part of the cast of Fox’s new show “Filthy Rich,” premiering Sept. 21. A juicy, caustic series, “Filthy Rich” promises to entice audiences with depictions of wealth and excess. Macklin talked about her role in the show, her time at Fordham Theatre and what life after Fordham looks like on set.

The Observer (O): When did you know that you wanted to be an actor?

Olivia Macklin (OM): I have wanted to be an actor since before I can remember. There wasn’t one moment where it clicked; it was just sort of woven into the fabric of my being as time went on through seeing plays and movies.

O: In what ways did Fordham help reaffirm that goal?

OM: Being accepted to Fordham was a big turning point for me as an actor. Before that, while I had a lot of determination to be an actor, I was still just a teenager working on my self-esteem. I deeply admired many alumni who had come out of the program, so knowing I was in their company by being accepted was a big boost for me.

O: In “Filthy Rich,” you are playing Becky Monreaux. How do you prepare to play a character in general and Becky in particular?

OM: Sometimes I start on the outside, understanding how that person presents themselves to the world, and work my way into how they think and who they are when they are alone, but sometimes I do the exact opposite. In the case of Becky, the exterior is so clear. She is very coiffed and has a very specific way of dressing. That, and she is a classic Southern lady from the way she talks to the way she sits in a chair.

O: “Filthy Rich” depicts the conflictive lives of the extremely rich in American society. What, in your opinion, is the purpose of depicting a life of wealth and success through the lens of excess?

OM: What I love about the show is that it is not solely about a wealthy family living in excess and experiencing the conflicts that exist in that realm on its own. The show happens because these three outsiders of very different means and backgrounds come and challenge that exact way of being. It is definitely a cautionary tale of what happens when we get everything we want — it always comes with a price. 

O: Could you tell us one of your favorite memories from your time at Fordham, a memory that resonates with you now that you are a successful actor?

OM: First semester of freshman year, I was working on a scene in my acting class and I was having a lot of trouble. My professor, Tina Benko, was trying her best to help me break through, and at one point she very passionately exclaimed something like, “Dammit, Olivia, if you could just get out of your own way, you would be unstoppable.” The moment really hung in the air for me. I think a lot of actors need to get out of their own way — that’s where the magic happens. 

O: What advice do you have for aspiring young actors?

OM: Oh gosh, there’s so much I could say that I wish someone had told me! I guess that old Dolly Parton quote always comes to mind, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Be flexible and open to notes, of course, but know who you are. Take those unique qualities and try to weave a little bit of that gold into the fabric of every character you play. Give ’em something they just got to have because they can’t get it anywhere else!