Helena Marie is an award-winning actor born in Montreal, Quebec and is currently based in Toronto, Canada. A born entertainer, Helena found her passion for performing in ballet class at the age of 3. Soon after she was singing in front of crowds at her local church and in regional choirs. By the time she reached high school, Helena was ready to add acting to her repertoire. In her final year, she won the drama award and went on to study theatre at Dawson College in Montreal. Helena booked her first professional acting gig in the dark comedy series BULLET IN THE FACE (IFC) playing a role that was originally written for a man but was changed specifically for her based on the strength of her audition for the show.
A creator as well, Helena co-wrote, produced and starred in the award-winning short film CRAZY LOVE. She portrayed spousal-abuse victim Sam, a role which garnered her much attention and an award for Best Performance at the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival.
Helena’s big break came when she was cast as the gun-slinging bounty-hunter Bonnie Mudd in the western film STAGECOACH: THE TEXAS JACK STORY (NGN Productions). Helena shared the screen with Trace Adkins, Judd Nelson and Kim Coates. The role earned her an ACTRA Montreal nomination for Best Outstanding Female Performance in a Feature Film.
To date, Helena has amassed a significant body of work in several film and television productions including SUITS (USA), A MAJESTIC CHRISTMAS (HALLMARK), THE BOLD TYPE (FREEFORM), EXPLODING SUN (SPACE), A WIFE’S SUSPICION (LIFETIME), and SUPERNATURAL (THE CW).
You can catch Helena as Claire Marlowe, a woman stuck in the middle of a very dangerous love- triangle, in the LIFETIME thriller HIS FATAL FIXATION, as well as in the new HALLMARK MYSTERIES film MATCHMAKER MYSTERIES: A KILLER ENGAGEMENT starring alongside Danica McKellar. On top of her on-camera career, Helena has lent her voice to many ad campaigns for big brands and companies including BMW, Air Canada, and Sephora.
Currently, Helena is starring in the new drama series MY PERFECT LANDING about a family of gymnasts who struggle with a life-changing move. We had the opportunity to chat with Helena about her role, her favorite scenes to shoot and what she hopes fans take away from the show.
Kat: Your character Whitney Cortez, is a former gymnast who loses her job and decides to move her two kids from Miami to Toronto to start a gymnastics club with her father. How did you prepare for your role? Did you find any commonalities between yourself and Whitney?
Helena: I was fortunate enough to be able to go out to one of the big gymnastic gyms and watch Morgan, who plays my daughter Jenny on the show, train for a competition. The time I had there was invaluable. It helped show me how hard the gymnasts train. I don’t come from a gymnastics background, so this was a great introduction to that world. I would say the thing I have most in common with Whitney is a drive to make the best of a situation. Sometimes Whitney stumbles along the way, but she tries not to let it get her down.
Kat: Was there anything about your role that was particularly challenging?
Helena: One of the biggest challenges turned out to be a great gift – the speed at which we shot the show. We did 15 episodes in 31 days, which is incredibly fast. Most shows take twice as long to shoot. On top of that, we also shot out of sequence, which was quite daunting at first. I had to make sure I was keeping track of where my character was emotionally and mentally. Luckily we had a great cast and crew, and everyone seemed to adjust to the pace very quickly. We almost thrived on it. It’s empowering to know that I can handle that kind of shooting pace and am up for any challenge!
Kat: What have been some of your favorite scenes to shoot and why?
Helena: One of my favourite scenes is in the third episode, when we officially open Cortez Gymnastics. We had already been shooting for a few weeks, so the cast was very familiar with the gym. On this day, we needed a bunch of background performers, and when all the extra bodies came in, we felt like we were really showing off our place! We were proud of our little gym, and it felt to me like life intimidating art. Toward the end of the episode we reveal the Cortez Gymnastics sign in the gym. There was so much excitement both in life and in the script that in that moment, when the sheet fell away from the sign and all the BG performers started to clap, I cried for real. It all felt so happy.
Kat: What do you hope fans take away from the show?
Helena: I’d say the biggest message in the show is that you need to be honest with those around you, and with yourself. Especially when it comes to what it is you really want to do with your life. Once you acknowledge that, that’s when you can really go for it and own your power. Too many people don’t get to choose what they want to do with their lives. So if you do have a choice, why not go for it?!
Kat: Is there a type of character that you’d like to portray, that you haven’t had the chance to yet?
Helena: I would love to play the loser-turned-hero character in a big comedy. Someone who is morally compromised and gets away with crude, childish humour – but who eventually grows and becomes a better version of herself. I want the opportunity to be as ridiculous as possible and not have to hold anything back.