Being Erica: Interview With Erin Karpluk

by Lisa McGarry


She’s got the chance to go back and do it all over again…

Back in high school, Erica thought she’d grow up, meet ‘the’ guy, get ‘the’ career, have a couple of beautiful, talented children and ride off into the sunset. But somehow, it never happened. Now she has the chance of a lifetime. After a series of mishaps, she finds herself in hospital where she meets the mysterious Dr Tom – a therapist who seems to know a lot about her.

Dr Tom issues Erica a challenge; if she wants to fix her life he can help, but once she’s committed, she can’t back out. Desperate, Erica accepts his terms, and finds herself flung back into her own past. A young person in full possession of her adult mind, this is Erica’s opportunity of a lifetime. By making different choices can she alter her past and transform her present? Funny, tragic and uplifting in equal parts, this is a drama about the ways we hold ourselves back from following our dreams.

How did you get the role of Erica?
I auditioned and was flown to Toronto for a screen test. I remember flying over the CN tower wondering if Toronto would be my new home.

What attracted you to the role?
I’m attracted to Erica because she speaks her mind, takes risks, isn’t afraid to fall on her face and learns from her mistakes. Most importantly, she is determined to make the most of her life and is willing to take the steps needed to make important changes; that and the idea of time traveling, of course! Who wouldn’t want to re-live the 90s fashions!

Are you anything like Erica in real life?
Yes and no. We both love our friends and family, and are searching to make the most of our lives. I think we share an awkwardness but I am not nearly as accident prone as poor Erica! I have also made my career a priority over many things in my life – Erica takes awhile to find out where she fits in her profession.

What event from your past would you like to go back and change?
I would go back to grade 7 and not take my friends’ dare to stand up on the waterslide… I may have kept my front teeth that way!

Is it true that you are of Ukrainian descent?
Yes, my Grandpa was from England, my Grandma from the United States, and my other set of Grandparents (my ‘Baba’), were from the Ukraine, though I am two generations Canadian.

When did you develop a love of acting?
I think I loved acting before I knew it had a name. I loved playing dress up and make-believe as a kid… Who knew I’d make a living doing it.

Why do you think people can relate to Erica?
I think everyone can relate to having regrets – regardless of age, race, sex, class – we have all done things we wish we could have done differently. The show may appeal to many people because we deal with all spheres of humanity – our spirituality, relationships, family, career – and the time travel element is pretty fun too.

What do you think was the turning point in your acting career?
I was cast by James Cameron in the final episode of his series Dark Angel… at the time I felt like it couldn’t get any better and it was a giant step for me. Being Erica has been a dream part and a wonderful show to work on and I’m so happy we are being seen around the world!

How has playing the role of Erica impacted your private life?
I’ve learned a lot from this series. The crew and I take home lessons every episode, everyone relates to it and I’m always surprised at how much my life is informed by Erica’s experiences. While we are filming, my private life is pretty limited due to our shooting schedule but I wouldn’t give it up for anything right now.

Is there anyone in your life that motivates you like Dr Tom motivates Erica? If so, who?
Dr Mom, Dr Dad and Dr Brother, plus many friends and peers! My family and friends are a part of everything I do, even when I’m across seas or country.

Erica has made many mistakes in her life. What do you think is the biggest issue women face today?
I posed this question to a few of the women on set today… I don’t know that the issues facing women in Canada are the same as women in other countries, so after much debate we all concluded the same thing: multi-tasking and motherhood. The timeless issue that faces women everywhere is balancing motherhood and family, with work and career… and the small task of making the world a better place for our children.

Erica dreamed of being a writer, but instead is working at an insurance firm. If you weren’t an actress, what would you be?
Hard question! Honestly, if I could sing I would want to be a rock star, but that truly isn’t on the cards. I would love to be a Mom someday – that’s a full-time job! Or possibly run a B&B down the road in the town I grew up in Jasper National Park.

What do you hope for in the future in terms of your acting career? What’s next for you?
I plan to live in Los Angeles between seasons of Being Erica and continue to pursue my acting career in film and television.

Watch Being Erica at 10pm on Mondays, E4