With roles including Agent Carolina in Red vs. Blue, Pyrrha in RWBY, as well as hosting the Women in Caskets horror podcast, Jen Brown’s many voices were familiar to many during her latest visit to Supanova. Speaking in Brisbane, Brown revealed the personal reasons she loves acting, as well as her favourite scene from the latest season of Red vs. Blue, and more.
Performing has been an integral aspect of Brown’s life ever since she was a child and saw her first theatrical stage-production.
“When I saw my first theatrical production, what struck me was how you could change people’s minds about other people and themselves just through a really, really powerful performance. And I loved that power to help facilitate change like the arts and acting, in general, can do.”
But it’s not a role she takes lightly, knowing the impact that she can have on audiences.
“I’ve always taken that responsibility very seriously and it really means a lot to me to really invest emotionally in the characters and get it right. Because I know how impactful it can be when you see someone like yourself or someone unlike yourself represented in any media.”
“I’ve been writing ever since I was younger, but I stopped writing in my 20s because I thought no one wanted to hear what I wanted to say because I was basically conditioned by society that the only stories they wanted to hear were from men. And when I was older, I realised I’d internalised that stuff and now I’m like ‘No! I need to get my stuff out there!’ There are people that want to hear from people like me.”
Many of Brown’s fans were introduced to her back in 2011 as Agent Carolina in Red vs. Blue and the latest season had two versions of Carolina face off against each other.
“IT WAS MY FAVOURITE. I had always wanted to act against myself. YES! Spoilers for season 17 if you haven’t seen it, but you should! I fight myself. It’s AWESOME! And you need to watch it. It’s like my favourite thing I’ve ever done on that show. My. Fav-ou-rite. Thing. I’ve. Ever. Done. On. That. Show. I was so happy. I’m an actor, I like challenges, I like stretching myself.”
Brown’s darker or more serious characters, like Carolina and Pyrrha, contrast with her usual vibrant energy, but they’re roles she finds comfortable.
“I prefer playing very, very dark and complicated characters or just people that can be seen as villains but may not be villains. I’ve dealt with mental illnesses my entire life that I really enjoy tapping into — safely, I might add, I don’t do that method thing AT ALL, it’s all physical recall as opposed to emotional recall. Dark is very easy for me. It’s nice to explore those sides without the danger. I like being able to explore the dark without disappearing into the dark. And that actually helps me deal with my own personal darkness.”
Of course, Brown does more than just acting, revealing that her darker tastes inform everything she’s working on next.
“They’re all horror-related projects. Right now, what I’m really focusing on is an animated series where the two lead characters are a black trans goth woman and a pansexual that’s based on me. And it’s all [loosely] based on my time when I used to work at Alice Cooper’s Brutal Planet, which is a haunted house in Texas. Right now, we’re just in the pitching phase; I already wrote the pilot and we’ve done a lot of artwork for it, so we’ll see!”
And of course, the topic of RWBY couldn’t come up without a little fanfiction, with Brown thinking of a unique way that Pyrrha could return.
“I want a Pyrrha-Grimm real bad. I think it’d be really amusing to have Juane try to bring her back but she came back wrong and then came back as a Grimm. I think that’d be interesting but they’re not going to do that!”
Lead image: Jen Brown at Supanova 2019 – Adelaide. Photo by Steven Yee.