This is Me: Kandyse McClure

Zooey Magazine, Kandyse McClure

Name: Kandyse McClure Age: 33 | Occupation: Actress, “Hemlock Grove”


You probably recognize this South African beauty Kandyse McClure from your television screen. She's starred as Anastasia in the long-running show "Battlestar Galactica," appeared in a list of shows and television movies including "The Client List," "Children of the Corn," "Alphas," and more. McClure can currently be seen as Dr. Clementine Chasseur on the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove.

You spent years on the set of "Battlestar Galactica." What was it like being a part of such an exciting project?

At the risk of sounding cliché, it changed my life, both professionally and personally. I can't say enough about the cast and the invaluable lessons I learned from them and the fond memories I will always have of our time together.

Now tell us about your experience on working on Netflix's "Hemlock Grove." Seems like a fun project to be a part of!

On BSG ("Battlestar Galactica") I was one of the younger actors on the set, this time I realized I was one of the adults! I think we fancied ourselves a group of mavericks. There was a sense of wanting to bring something new to an already established genre and of course Netflix is definitely doing something groundbreaking in my opinion.

Was there a transition process from television to working on a Netflix original series?

Not really. In terms of logistics...production is production. However, it did feel like a really collaborative environment. Actors where given time to work, discussion about character and choices was encouraged, and the writers were also available to adapt dialogue.

You’ve worked with some well-known names in Hollywood, from Jennifer Love Hewitt to Hayden Christensen. What was your biggest starstruck moment?

Actually it was working on a short film (that will never see the light of day unfortunately) directed by Paul Hunter and starring Lenny Kravitz. I got to set and the cast chairs said Kandyse and Lenny. I almost fell over.

Since you grew up in South Africa, was there a culture shock for you when entering into the movie business?

As a kid I dreamed of reaching crowds of people, of being on stage, but I never really thought it was an actual career choice for me. I didn't grow up watching a lot of TV or movies. By the time I started acting I had been in North America for a few years. I think I had already experienced the culture shock. My life already felt like a dream, being in the TV business seemed like another chapter on an already fantastical adventure.

What was the deciding factor for you to move to Canada? Was the intention always to pursue acting?

Not at all. My mother brought us here to pursue a better life for us. Living under apartheid in South Africa was not the safest thing for a politically outspoken young single mother and her daughter. She wanted me to have greater freedom and opportunities. My mother made the bravest choice for us. She is the most remarkable person I know.

That's wonderful. We're so impressed, and love what you've achieved. And because we just have to ask...and it's incredibly common in the industry, what made you decide to change the spelling of your first name?

I began spelling my name differently long before I became an actor. Candice was an incredibly common name in South Africa in the 80s. I didn't like being referred to as the girl with the hazel eyes (hazel eyes having somewhat negative mythology in my culture). So I became Kandyse with a K. When started acting I put that down, kind of as a joke! Seriously, I didn't think I would actual BECOME an actor. Now I'm stuck with it! Kandyse is a corporate entity. Candice is who my friends and family know. It helps keep my private life safe.

And a few years ago, you auctioned of the chance to have dinner with you to support Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society. What exactly happened there?

Babz is sorely missed. Anything I could do to contribute to her legacy pales in comparison to the work she did and her unbreakable spirit. The actual dinner was fun - Tahmoh Penikett and I went together. He's such a big brother to me he didn't want me going alone. We had a blast together. Sean Koo has been a long time fan of the show and continues to support both our work.

Lastly, what is a motto that you attempt to live by, whether it be a quote or advice you have been given?

Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen

It reminds me that there is beauty and truth in imperfection - to get it done then get it right and to take chances before I may feel ready. To accept the world, flaws and all.

Interview by Kayla Aldecoa

Photographed by Jean-Claude Makeup by Jayme Kavanaugh Styled by Ali Levine