Erin Karpluck is gorgeous, charming and hardworking. She doesn’t complain about the blistering record Toronto heat and humidity outside her trailer or the 70-odd takes of a scene she’s just finished. Nothing puts a stop to her sunny optimism. Oh no. The smile is real, the spirit adventurous and open and I think I have a girl crush on her. You could learn a thing or two about positivity from this one.
Karpluck is the star of Being Erica, the hit CBC series that is seen around the world about a young working woman who owns her own business, has a happening social life, a great shrink and a few fellas she’s juggling. We have watched her bloom into a confident woman with a great attitude.
I’m the first person to interview Karpluck in her trailer, a cozy, dark spot reminiscent of seventies camping trips, while she’s dolled up in hair out to here and a sequin tube top. Erica’s on another time travel adventure, courtesy Dr. Michael’s unique therapy in this Season Three episode.
Twenty minutes ago, Karpluck was striding down King Street, flipping her hair and feeling her girl power in the wake of a breakup the previous night. It’s her way of blowing off steam. While flashing that megawatt smile, “Erica” was dolled up in a brilliant orange dress, perfectly matched orange shows and a brilliant yellow purse. Was it a rock star moment or was she over compensating for the hurt of the breakup? Costume designer Luis Sequeirahas a few thoughts.
“What was great about this story and the backstory is that we needed to portray certain things – confidence on the outside although deep inside she was heartbroken that she had split up with her bf the night before. I wanted to really pop the color so we really went as bright as we’ve ever gone with her. I wanted to give her a bold print, so we found this Nanette Lepore print that has selective print in orange and a yellow and a matching yellow bag that has the secondary colors in the dress. It’s almost acid yellow but that color was in the print. We always talk about where the character is within the arc of the series and the episode. There is suspension of disbelief but when you see the show all you’ll understand. Wait till you see the shoe and bag wall! Within the confines of the story we find the best stuff for her that tells the story.”
First question – what decade is this? An important thing to know on this set. Erica time travels as part of her therapy with Dr. Tom. He sends her back to different periods in her life so she can observe and fix things that don’t work for her in the present. And the she can return to the present to work with this new knowledge. It’s quite the concept and it’s a hit with audiences.
Erica’s wardrobe must reflect her time travel. Sequeira has dressed Erin since Being Erica premièred back in 2009. He showed me three rooms loaded with the show wardrobe, racks of vintage clothes for Erin’s time travel sequences and an entire wall just for shoes! There were four copies of the same floral silk, zipless summer dresses for a scene involving food, so if spills on her, voila! She just puts on the next dress. Each had to be customized with identical zippers to fulfill a script direction.
Masses of scarves, belts, jewelry, lingerie, pajamas, every item a fashion savvy girl could want, spanning her time travel decades, her current life and the one she aspires to fill trucks and vast storerooms. And locals are getting used to the sight of bras on clotheslines behind the studio; after all, one doesn’t put a bra in the dryer, because the heat weakens the elastic.
It’s all about Erica. The trucks, the huge crew, the cast of extras walking with Erica on King Street, the team of writers, the wardrobe, the bras flapping in the wind behind the set. It’s all in place because one talented actress has made Erica a beloved TV character around the world. I asked Karpluck about her responsibility to always look her best; that everything shows on TV. She says its hard work.
“Just because my character is in almost every scene it’s equally important for your head and your body to maintain your energy level all day. I’ve found that in the fourth season that I enjoy working out. This morning I was picked up to come in to set at 8 but I got up at 6, and I ran down to the amphitheater and back, an hour there and back. You’re doing scenes where you’re in your bra and you want to look good. The thing is the character is a real character; she’s not Angelina Jolie, so I don’t feel an incredible amount of pressure to be unrealistic. I believe the character should be real. She’s an attainable character. And it’s an evolution. Here we are in season four, and she’s got a boyfriend, so I kind of wanted my body to reflect that as well as the hair, make-up and wardrobe to show this woman coming into her own, and exploring her sexuality. I would feel sexier as myself and the character if I was at my physical peak.”
“I’m also doing the Insanity Workout which you can order online and it’s insane. I have a gym at my condo and I do 40 minute laps in the pool and weight training and jogging. It’s the one chance I get to run my lines and gather my thoughts in the morning. I do it for physical vanity purposes; I also do it to wake up and to be fresh. It helps me get into my body for the acting. That and a cup of coffee and I’m ready to go. Eating healthy is the thing. I limit the sugar I have and vegetables and lean proteins.”
We got onto the subject of the new season of Being Erica and the fact that after years of therapy, she’s training to be a therapist and this season, she gets her own patients. Does it change the show? “It’s refreshing. We spent so many seasons on Erica’s evolution and regrets and experiences. The show would die if we didn’t have her making these mistakes. The show must come to a conclusion. In life you’re always learning lessons and there’s always room for growth. She’s having this time travel therapy that she’s learned from and it’s refreshing to have her training to be a doctor so she can focus on her patients. She’s working through that and being able to help others and help people and the other characters.”
Erica puts her faith in the writers every week, who give words to Erica while she gives her life. “When I shot the pilot I thought it was a comedy and they wrote a drama. We have a dramedy! We didn’t have a lot of interaction, but I trust the writers so much and I think they trust me to take from the page their words and make them Erica. I think the success of the show rides on the writing. When I read the pilot I thought, how many regrets can this woman have? Every season it’s the same show but it has completely different feeling, it keeps fresh and keeps the audience interested.”
Fashionistas Alert! Here is a list of some of the designers who dress Erica/Erin
Issa of London
Nougat (of London)
Alice + Olivia
Giuseppe Zanotti for Balmain
Visit the DVD database for more information on Being Erica: Season Two.