Fans of Shudder’s hit horror series Slasher: Flesh and Blood probably assumed Liv (Sydney Ozerov-Meyer) was played by a white actress, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Sydney stars Livina ‘Liv’ Vogel, a member of the wealthy Galloway family who are forced to fight for survival when a serial killer begins picking them off at their isolated mansion.
Liv is the daughter of Patricia, the mansion’s longtime housekeeper, and Seamus Galloway – although his paternity was kept a secret for decades and only revealed when they became trapped on the island.
With Patricia being a Black woman, it means Liv is mixed race but it’s a role particularly close to Sydney.
It’s the first time she’s been able to play her ‘true ethnicity’ despite looking almost completely white.
Opening up about the momentous role, she told Metro.co.uk: ‘It was really shocking and special for me [to play this role] because my dad is Black and from South Africa. He came to Canada because he was born in South Africa when there was still Apartheid and it was not a good situation, so him and his family kind of fled and came to Canada.’
Sydney revealed she’s also a British citizen herself, as her mother is from the UK and moved to Canada with her own mum.
‘She’s like blonde hair and blue eyes, as fair as can be,’ the actress said.
She continued: ‘I’m mixed – I don’t look it, I’m clearly very white passing. For me it’s always been something that’s been so close to my heart that that’s part of my heritage and part of where I come from.
‘But I’ve also been very aware of [the fact that] I’m never gonna get to play that because I’m white passing and obviously I never would want to take a role from an actor of colour, if it’s a [character of colour], that’s not right.
‘When this role came up, it was this mixed character that was kind of white passing and it was part of the script that it was this character that was like caught in between these two worlds. I thought that was so exciting that I was going to play this mixed character for once.’
The casting directors were already familiar with Sydney having worked together before and so were aware that she had mixed heritage, making her perfect for the role.
It became even more special when Sydney realised her former acting coach Patrice had been cast as her mother.
Being a white passing actress with mixed heritage has been conflicting for Sydney – on the one hand, she wants to remain true to her ethnicity but also doesn’t want to take away roles from actresses who are more visibly of colour.
She explained: ‘It’s been a hard thing for me to try and comprehend because I consider myself mixed, I’m very proud of that, I love my culture and heritage and that’s an important part of who I am and I love that about myself. But in this industry I feel like it’s a huge issue that things are being whitewashed and people are being cast to meet a quota.
‘So I never want people to be like, oh I’m mixed and then people be like, oh cast her because she technically mixed but she looks white and then take roles away from ethnic actors. That wouldn’t feel right to me either so I’ve had to be like, OK I’m white and leave it at that because I wouldn’t want to be used as a prop for them to disenfranchise actors of colour.
‘That doesn’t feel correct.’
Sydney added that she doesn’t want to ‘hurt’ other actors by taking these roles but, at the same time, feels frustrated that she doesn’t get to ‘live [her] culture’.
‘That’s part of me but, for me, that’s the choice you have to make and I would rather do that than hurt actors of colour who aren’t getting cast,’ she said. ‘That’s not an acceptable trade off for me so I’ve always been like, yeah I’m getting cast as a white teenage girl and that’s always what I’m gonna be and what I’m always gonna play.’
Slasher: Flesh and Blood is available to stream on Amazon Prime. Seasons 1-4 are available on Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.