Emily De Margheriti stars as Alex in the horror/comedy film Sissy. Following its world premiere at SXSW, the film takes a closer look at the harmful side of social media and its effects on friendships and mental health.
We spoke with Emily about what viewers can expect from Sissy, working alongside a cast and crew that includes Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, and Kane Senes, and her experience working behind the scenes as a producer.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Emily De Margheriti below:
To start off, can you talk a little about what viewers can expect from your character Alex in Sissy and what attracted you to the role?
Expect to see a woman who is over the top, she’s fabulous, loves her friends, and values her popularity even more. But my favorite thing about her is how strong her boundaries are. She’s unapologetically herself.
Instantaneously what attracted me to the role of Alex was that she was a badass sticking up for her truth. It did make me uncomfortable that this character bullies, but it’s what made me more curious about her. I thought to myself “What’s at the core of this?” and dug deeper.
I wanted to stand up for her as she may appear to be “the bully”, but to me, she is the victim. Once I delved into the scientific and factual data to identify the real reasons people bully others, I did in fact feel for my character.
I have suffered from bullying, and I know many women have had similar experiences in their childhood. It was fascinating to understand Alex’s perspective, and I did discover a lot about “the abuser.” To inflict such pain, one must be hurting deeply themselves. Although this doesn’t justify their actions, it does enable me to become their “backbone”. Now I have a newfound love to play the tormenter who is now tormented, both externally and internally scared, but to serve Sissy’s (Oops I mean Cecilia’s) story, the antagonist, if you will.
Did you have to do anything special to prepare for your role?
There was nothing especially unique, the usual acting preparation took place. I did however sit in a chair and spend a few hours getting a mold made on my face and when back in Canberra at the family home, scared the crap out of my mother seeing me on the floor a few times getting into the physicality of her.
What would you say viewers can expect from the film? What are you most excited for them to see?
I’m excited for them to see a true representation of the diverse background of characters in a whacky horror. The nostalgia element of my childhood in the 2000s is something I particularly love seeing up on the screen and takes me back every time!
Sissy is described as a horror-comedy. How was that experience filming that kind of genre when compared to your previous works?
Filming Sissy comprised of late-night shoots, experimenting with prosthetics, stage combat, and even makeup/ lenses! The shoot was more physically challenging compared to my previous works.
How was that experience working with the cast? Are there any fun memories that stick out to you from filming?
The cast was a hoot. I enjoyed my conversations with Daniel Monk (as Jamie) we built a very strong sassy friendship. Unfortunately, I would be giving spoilers but it’s safe to say we had a great time on set together and they are all truly remarkable actors and humans.
Nowadays, social media can be a very powerful tool that can encourage many positive things. Unfortunately, social media has a negative side and its effect on mental health. Can you talk a little about how Sissy addresses those themes and why it’s essential to share that with the audience?
Social Media is such a powerful tool we have been blessed with to feel connected to our friends and family around the world, so I love it for that reason, being the jet setter I am.
Sissy’s themes address the correlation between mental health and social media and shines a light on the extremely negative aspects of it. It’s imperative to remind ourselves that if we are not being sold a product, we are the product. I read this is a social dilemma. But it’s true. Millennials use Instagram in this social media era aimlessly scrolling through their phones. We give these influencers power, it’s important to remind ourselves that this can have an impact on us.
We aimlessly scroll and sometimes don’t think about the consequences of the act of constantly comparing ourselves online. Comparison anxiety is something that I resonate with scrolling through Instagram and it’s important to bring awareness to this so young women can understand this era of social media we are in and how it can negatively impact them, to navigate through it with a greater understanding.
Unfortunately, it is a platform where you see a perspective that may not be reality and that can be quite scary. I think it’s important to be aware that we give influencers power and they may not be someone with credibility to sell or give advice on certain topics.
It’s essential to make audiences understand that these platforms are also tools for companies to sell you products. It’s not just a platform to chat to friends and check out what people are doing.
In addition to acting, you are also a part of DEMS Entertainment working behind the scenes to help craft and create a project can be especially rewarding. Can you talk a little about what inspired you to want to become a producer as well and develop those skills behind the camera as well?
My main love is acting, but I love to create stories and I cannot simply sit still, so why not make it happen too? I think being an artist who is proactive is very valuable and important for one to be successful in this climate. I am fortunate to have a team behind me that enables me to find good projects that I can be a part of, and some resources to put at play to help bring a production together.
In general, how does the role of producing compare to acting? Is there one that you prefer over the other?
I’m passionate about creating thought-provoking and compelling stories. Producing involves finding a story and script that resonates with me, whereas when I’m acting, I’m embodying that empathy. They are both very different but work hand in hand. I prefer acting as this is my true love but producing is sometimes necessary to give expression to my true love.
Moving forward, what’s next for you? What can your fans look forward to from you next?
I am developing a few projects with my team, some films in the US and in Australia. I will be in the film SOCIAL SECURITY by Craig Moss that will be filmed in the US, as well as a play, THE PIZZA MAN written by Darlene Craviotto which I will produce in LA and play the lead role. Other projects include TOBRUK to be directed by Phillip Noyce which is still in the early script stage and yet to go into preproduction. I have a few more that will be either filmed in the US or Australia but cannot go into specific as they are not yet announced. Some will be produced at an Australian studio facility that we are investing in which will have its own virtual production LED volume.
Thank you so much to Emily De Margheriti for taking the time to speak with us!
Be sure to keep up to date with Emily De Margheriti by following her on social media on Instagram.
Check out our previous interviews with Sissy costar Aisha Dee!
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