Sinead Curry Was Told She Didn't Look 'Australian Enough' To Be On TV
Having been away from Sydney's Inner West for two years, there were three things on Sinead Curry's list while she was home.
"The sound of Aussie birds, the coffee and the saltwater ocean," she told 10 daily. "As long as I get to do those things -- listen to birds, drink some coffee and get in the ocean -- once a week, that's all I wanted to do coming back here."
Now 29-years-old, Sinead has been in Vancouver for the last two years, after attempting to crack the Australian market she was rebuffed. Several times she was told she didn't look 'Australian enough' for television.
In an industry that has dragged its feet in representing diverse stories and faces on TV, what on earth is 'Australian enough'? She didn't stick around to find out.
Doing what most in the biz do and looking to the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sinead put together her visa applications for the United States but both times she tried, the regulations would change just before she submitted.
"I thought, this is clearly a sign that that's going to come up one day, but not quite yet," she said. So she looked further north and spoke to a friend who had worked in Vancouver.
A week after she moved, she booked a role on the CW series 'iZombie'.
"All this build-up of me being told maybe I didn't quite look like Aussie TV, and I kept thinking, I'm sure I can do my job. They weren't telling me I was bad at my job," she said. "It was just a tiny bit-role but it was affirming because I realised I was just in the wrong place.
"Essentially, I moved to become the right human being in the right place at the right time."
From there, Sinead stayed in the CW family, jumping to 'Legends of Tomorrow' before booking the role of socialite Tiffany Hudson in 'Nancy Drew'. A reboot of the iconic character and junior sleuth that first appeared in 1930.
The character of Nancy Drew has been one that many influential women cite as one of their earliest inspirations, from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Oprah. The reboot follows an older Nancy than featured in the novels -- one 'Vulture' aptly described as not directly adapting any of the books, "but it will be horny".
When Sinead found out she got the role, she and her agent celebrated a character whose entire job it is to show up and die. The mystery that our super sleuth is solving is Tiffany's death.
"We were like, 'Yay! that's a nice one-liner, the end'. Then they requested me for a bunch more episodes... which was fascinating," she said.
Tiffany is one of two mysteries Nancy is attempting to solve throughout the season. There's Tiffany -- who dies under mysterious circumstances in the parking lot of the diner Nancy and her gang of friends work at -- and the ghost of a young woman affectionately known as Dead Lucy. Oh yeah, this 'Nancy Drew' has ghosts.
"I love playing Tiffany, she's not just the dead socialite. She has a really vibrant inner life and a lovely, kind-hearted, multifaceted backstory," Sinead said. "She's a real human. It's important to have women on screen who are fleshed-out as whole human beings and not just plot devices."
Tiffany has come back to haunt the residents of Horseshoe Bay, Maine -- as well as popping up in flashbacks and occasionally as a corpse on a slab.
"Apparently I'm a very good dead girl," Sinead said beaming with pride, "maybe I should add that to my resume."
In October, she posted a promotional pic of the series with the caption, "Who killed Tiffany Hudson? I literally do not know." When asked about that she laughed, "I still don't!"
The production has been keeping the mysteries at the heart of the show away from the cast, making sure they only find out what twists and turns await them as they make each episode.
"Some people could be frustrated with that, but I find it really exciting," she said, "I'm one of those audience members who looks at a story that's fairly cut and dry and I want to find the most icky, gross, messed-up plot twist before it happens."
She has theories as to who killed Tiffany, she has a Whatsapp group with friends in Australia who have been watching the series where they share theories, but she's not giving anything away.
"There is someone I hope killed Tiffany, and it would be a massive plot twist if that was the case," she said, laughing, "I just want it to be a surprise!"
One thing that was a surprise during the making of the series was how inclusive it would be, from a casting perspective and the stories the show wanted to tell.
"The more inclusive programming can be, the better," she said, "then the audience watching feels included.
"I'm a member of the LGBTQIA+ community," she continued, "and when we found out that Bess was perhaps gay, bisexual or pansexual (at least), that really meant something to me, to see someone who for all intents and purposes look like they might play a straight character on screen the way we're used to seeing straight characters represented, but who is playing someone part of the LGBTQ+ community, I find that really important."
Looking at the Australian film and TV landscape, Sinead said she was proud steps were being made to feel more inclusive back home, leading to more vibrant storytelling.
"Every Aussie has a good story to tell," she said. "We're all special, whether they are an Indigenous Australian or part of the immigrant community, everyone deserves to be represented on the screen."
"I guess being told I didn't look very Australian made me more passionate about asking myself what does an Australian look like? It made me passionate about -- one day if I am given the platform to tell a story -- doing it in a diverse and inclusive way. I'm thankful for the feedback," she admitted.
"It honestly changed my career. Otherwise, I would have stayed here and thought I wasn't any good at my job!"
'Nancy Drew' airs Thursdays at 9pm on 10 Peach or on 10 Play.
Featured image: via Instagram.