When Tiera Skovbye was first approached about the new Hallmark original series Ride, she was fascinated with the opportunity to explore the ranching community and horse and bull riding, all of which were new to her.
The Canadian actor, who began her career as a child, is best known for her recurring roles on Riverdale, Once Upon a Time, and Nurses, and says that she loved the opportunity to showcase strong female characters as well as explore ranching life, improve her equestrian skills, and the art of trick riding.
The show gives viewers a personal look at the McMurray family’s ranch life, financial difficulties, how to move on after a great loss, and why family is always the center of our lives.
“I love shows that have really strong family dynamics, and to see these dynamics between this family, and also having the element of love and romance appealed to me,” Skovbye exclusively tells Monsters and Critics. “I love that there was so much to explore and figure out as the season went on.”
Read on to find out about all of the ways that Tiera Skovbye was attracted to Hallmark’s new original series Ride, the McMurray family, and why her character of Missy resonated with the viewers.
Monsters and Critics: I know that we all fell in love with the character you play on Ride, Missy McMurray. Why are you enamored with her?
Tiera Skovbye: I fell in love with Missy because [she] has got so many different layers, she’s got so much going on. She’s spinning so many plates and trying to discover herself and deal with grief and find her place in the world again. I think playing a character that’s on this road to self-discovery and really trying to put herself first for the first time is a very interesting character to play.
M&C: Did you ride horses before this show? And how much of a rider are you now?
Tiera Skovbye: I’d been on a horse before, but I never really learned how to properly ride or with any kind of technique. So, before we started filming, I actually got to go to Calgary for a couple of weeks early and ride and get acquainted with the horse that ended up being my horse through the whole season. I took lessons and learned proper technique, how to take care of the horse, put on a saddle, and all these things that I had no idea about before. So that was definitely a new skill to learn, and by the end of the season, I felt quite comfortable and definitely better than when I started. So, that was cool to also be able to learn a new skill.
M&C: Missy is obviously quite the daredevil, even if she has to get her mojo back on the horse. Are you a daredevil in any aspect of your life?
Tiera Skovbye: I’m not a huge daredevil, but definitely, when I’m faced with something that scares me, I take the opportunity to definitely do it, jump into it, and navigate that. So, that’s something that definitely appealed to me with Missy, to be able to step into that fearlessness.
M&C: What would you say has been the biggest challenge, like a scene or an episode that was more challenging than others, and why?
Tiera Skovbye: There were some things that came up later in the season, like we started to get into the winter months in Calgary, and it’s very cold there. And so, there were some times where we’d be filming something outside, and there’d be no snow, and then a day later, it would be covered in snow.
Filming outside in the elements was definitely something challenging. It’s a huge part of the show but also something that made a bit of a challenge for us. And then in the summertime, it’s super hot, so that’s at the other end of the spectrum. But I feel like those things definitely made some of the days a little harder for sure.
M&C: What do you think your story might be telling women about dealing with grief or moving on after something major happened to them? I loved when Nancy Travis’ character Isabel McCurray said, “It’s your story, tell it your way.” That was very powerful.
Tiera Skovbye: Yes, I think it’s definitely something that can be super inspiring and uplifting for people who are struggling with grief, whether that’s the loss of a family member, a significant other, a breakup, a loss of something in their career, or a passion. I think the only thing that we can do is step back into ourselves and remind ourselves of who we are and why we are the way we are, and give ourselves the grace to write a new story.
And it doesn’t have to be that if you’re writing a new story. You’re letting go of the past or somebody you love, but you have an opportunity to grow, learn, and be who you want to be. I think that that’s something that is really hard because it feels like maybe you’re letting that person go or you’re letting them down, but being who you are and being true to yourself is never letting anybody down.
I think that’s something that Missy is really learning and struggling with, and stepping into with this sense of self and not feeling guilty for trying something new or being something new or letting things go. And you don’t have to do it perfectly, you don’t have to have it all figured out, and so I think that’s a message that I think can be really empowering.
M&C: Can you take me a little bit behind the scenes? What’s happening on the ranch when you are off-camera?
Tiera Skovbye: None of us are from Calgary, and so we were all brought there for the show, so we didn’t know anybody else there but each other. It really provided this element of family, and we did a lot of things together. In the early days, we actually went to a couple of rodeos to get an idea of the world that we were portraying. We’d all go out for dinners and drinks.
We have a Ride family group chat, so we’ll be like, “Ride family dinner tonight?” We’d pick a place, and all go for dinner together because some of us are living in the same building, and we’re all really close, so it definitely was a family. We were the only people we had there, and so we definitely spent a lot of time together on our off days, it was really fun.
M&C: One of the taglines of the show is “Family is everything.” How does that resonate with you?
Tiera Skovbye: It strongly resonates with me. I’m super close with my actress-sister, Ali, and my family, and I definitely think that family is at the heart of everything that I do and the reason I do what I do. So, to be able to support my family and make them proud and be there for each other, I think, is the reason that I am an actor, it’s the reason I continue to be an actor. So definitely, family is everything, and I fully agree with that.
M&C: What have you learned from working with Nancy Travis, who plays the McMurray family matriarch and Missy’s mother-in-law?
Tiera Skovbye: I’ve learned a lot from working with Nancy Travis. Obviously, she’s an incredible actress and she’s worked so incredibly hard and she’s funny and she’s grounded, but more than anything I’ve learned from her as a person. She shows up on set full of life and full of gratitude to be there, and she’s friendly to every single person and has so much energy.
She is extremely inspiring. To work in this industry that can be hard for so many years and still show up every single day just so happy to do your job and so respectful to every single person on your crew and that you’re working with, I just think I was inspired by her as a person and want to show up on sets and in the world more like she does.
M&C: I love Missy and Nancy’s characters. How important is it for you personally to be a role model for girls and young women?
Tiera Skovbye: It’s a really big deal. I think it showcases that women can do anything. They can be the head of a family. They can keep a ranch alive. They can work really hard and physically hard too. Just because, typically, those are things that are done by men, doesn’t mean that it has to continue to be that way.
So, I think having three strong females at the heart of our show, and they’re all athletic, and they’re all family driven, and they’re all smart, and they’re working on finances, and they’re working with their hands and all these things that in the past have all been something that men do, I think it’s really incredible and inspiring to showcase that gender doesn’t have to specify the role you have in society or any community.
M&C: Can you share any fan stories about Missy and Ride?
Tiera Skovbye: The fan response has been incredible. People send messages about how much they love the show and Missy and it just warms my heart.
M&C: Do you feel you’re different now than you were before you started the series Ride?
Tiera Skovbye: For sure. I mean, in every character and every job and every opportunity, I grow a little bit and learn a little bit. Being an actor is an amazing blessing, but it’s also hard work. Every time I do the job, I’m always like, “Okay, I did it. I can do it.” So, it’s definitely always a learning experience, always an opportunity to grow, and I definitely really enjoy that aspect.
M&C: Overall, what do you want for Missy?
Tiera Skovbye: I want Missy to not make any choices for anybody else and to really give herself the chance and the opportunity for the first time really in her life to be who she wants to be and find what she loves, and to not be afraid of stepping out of what she’s used to. So, I just think giving herself the opportunity to really write herself a new story, whatever that looks like for her.
M&C: Why do you want my readers who haven’t started it yet to tune in and watch Ride?
Tiera Skovbye: Because there’s so much heart to it, there’s so much love, there’s so much hope, there’s so much strength. It showcases these really beautiful family dynamics between these people. And it also is very real, it shows struggle, it shows heartache, it shows differences in opinions.
Family isn’t always perfect, and family doesn’t always show up the way that we want them to, but it’s always about finding a way back to each other and knowing that at the end of the day, you have each other’s back. Just because you think differently doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be there for each other in the end. I think watching this and seeing these dynamics, there’s family, there’s an adventure, there’s danger, there’s romance, there’s hope, there are all sorts of things. So, I feel like anybody watching can find something to love about the show.
Ride airs on The Hallmark Channel Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
Next, Exclusive: Heading down to the ranch with Jake Foy on the new Hallmark original series Ride