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Single white female

Rebel Wilson is starring in hilarious new film how to Be Single. We caught up with Australia’s shining star of the moment.

After trying to make it in her native Australia, comedian, actress, writer and producer
Rebel Wilson had her sights set on Hollywood. Fortunately, it was a welcoming place for the 35 year old and her career has grown from strength to strength…

Was it tough moving to Hollywood?
It was incredibly tough, but I was fortunate enough to be mentored by some amazing people. One of the first women who was really nice to me in Hollywood was Amy Poehler. When I first came to America, I was no one, yet she agreed to meet me at Chateau Marmont and give me advice.

What did she say?
Basically, that you have to generate your own content. You can be funny all you want, but you’ll get to a point where if you want the right roles, you have to write them and develop them yourself. It was great advice. Luckily, I have the skill set to do it, but it was good to hear something like that straight of the bat. You can get lucky sometimes with roles, but usually you have to write them yourself, otherwise you’ll end up playing the sister or the ‘funny friend’ all the time.

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Do you get approached by young actresses wanting guidance?
Not a lot. I don’t think they have my phone number! Australian Theatre For young people, where I studied, occasionally put me in touch with people that they think have the goods. There are plenty of people who want to be actors, so they only put me in touch with the ones they think have more promise.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring actors?
I always advise people to get a good education. I have many young, teenage fans in high school and I always tell them to study really hard. Not everyone is academic, but there should be something that you like at school – sports, music, art. Work hard in that and do your best. The entertainment industry is a very uncertain, risky career path and, realistically, the likelihood of making a full career out of it is small. So, if you have a good education, then you always have something else to fall back on.

What would you fall back on?
I have a law degree. I don’t think I’ll ever need to go to plan b, but it’s a useful one to have!

When did you know you wanted to be an actress?
I think around high school. I was very shy in high school, but I had a fantastic teacher who saw my potential and encouraged me to enter a performing arts tournament. It made me totally come out of my shell and realise I love performing. then, I became obsessed with watching Oprah Winfrey and she inspired me too.

How did your cameo in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie come about?
I’m a huge Absolutely Fabulous fan. Jennifer Saunders was one of the
first women I saw on screen writing and performing her own material. I got the chance to meet her last year in London and I cried when I met her! She’s every bit as amazing as I thought. Then, Matt Lucas actually told me Jennifer Saunders was writing an Ab Fab movie. He knew I was such a big fan of hers and gave me her email address.
I emailed her and said: “If you need me for anything, I’ll be there,” and she cashed that in about six months later. she said: “We’re going to be shooting around November [2015] and would love to have you come on for a day and do some funny stuff.” It was so fun. The show is so iconic in the UK and to work with Jennifer and Joanna [Lumley] was incredible.

Who are your close friends in the industry?
My closest mates aren’t actually in the industry. my best friend, Nick, just moved to London. in the industry, though, i’d have to say Anna Kendrick, my mate from Pitch Perfect. She’s such a great actress and does such diverse work. It’s been great to pair up with her in what has become a big franchise.

  •   You can see Rebel in How To Be Single from 19 February
24th February 2016
Written by Vanessa Margetts