If you’re searching for an example of someone who persevered and pushed hard to achieve the #1 spot on the call sheet, then look no further than Abigail Cowen if you’re hungry for inspiration. She has worked on several projects outside of Netflix.
Still, look at the number of projects she has worked on for Netflix alone. You will see that she progressed from having a few lines in Stranger Things to have a supporting role in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, where Kiernan Shipka taught her what it means to be a leading character.
Cowen is now playing Bloom in Fate:
The Winx Saga, and she is just doing that.
The Netflix series Winx Club was adapted from Nickelodeon’s show of the same name, originally broadcast from 1991 to 1993. In the show’s live-action adaptation, Cowen’s Bloom discovered that she was a fire fairy after finding out that she had been living on Earth (aka the First World) for most of her life. As a result, she is sent to the Otherworld, where she is enrolled in the magical boarding school Alfea. Here, she will learn about fairy powers and how to control them.
There’s no doubt that Bloom was thrown into the deep end in the first season. She’s given the task of absorbing a hefty dose of Very Serious Otherworld history and doing everything she can to save Alfea from destruction. However, in doing so, she changes quite a few things about the school that significantly impact its run. Upon returning to class in Season 2, Bloom must figure out where she fits in the context of what she’s done. She must also figure out what her place in the situation is. She must also deal with an emerging threat associated with missing fairies, which requires her to take responsibility for her actions.
During our Collider Ladies Night episode, Cowen talked about her journey from the first time she got the itch to act to headlining a popular Netflix show today, with Fate: The Winx Saga Season 2 now available for streaming on Netflix. While discussing the challenge of finding confidence in one’s craft and place in this industry, Cowen admitted that she still has not reached that point. Still, she credits her Stranger Things experience with confirming that, regardless of how things turn out, she intended to build a career as an actor, irrespective of what happened.
At the time, Cowen had no idea how many more milestones and achievements he would encounter in the years to come. However, before building momentum, she would have to move to Los Angeles and start building a network. In regards to Cowen’s advice to any actor who’s reached this stage of the creative process, what would he recommend to him? She said the following to me:
“Getting an agent is always the first step, in my opinion. Due to the fact that I already had my agent out here, I was able to just get into the swing of things and start auditioning. Having a game plan is the first step, and managing your own schedule makes it difficult. I think it’s also important to treat auditioning as a full-time job and have a game plan of how you want to do it, and your next steps. My approach was similar to that. In my mind, I was like, I’m going to treat this as if it’s my job, and I’m going to study for the next audition if I’m not there, and I’ll be ready by five o’clock. Developing a love for auditions as well. Despite its negative reputation, I find it similar to running if I convince myself to do it. Does it appeal to me deep down? No.”
Taking that approach paid off big time, as Cowen was able to score several roles. This set her up to be able to handle the rather complex character arc of The Winx Saga as well. In the case of non-franchise films, actors are given a complete understanding of the story before they start shooting. As a result, not only do actors often have no idea what will happen to their characters in future seasons, but also they are only sometimes notified about what will happen in the following episodes in advance. Furthermore, did you know that there is more?
There is a tendency not to shoot the material in order as Cowen has discovered a system that facilitates exploring Bloom’s transformation Season 1 saw Bloom transform into a critical role player in the future of the Otherworld by allowing her to grow from a fairy who is incapable of controlling herself into someone pivotal at the end of the Otherworld. According to Cowen, the situation is as follows:
“It is somewhat of a challenge to figure out how to navigate [the episodes] since they are not shot chronologically. I had to learn how to do that. To be able to see what happened before, I will create an outline beforehand, so I can look at what happened before on the screen, like on a piece of paper with a few bullet notes, so on set, I can be like, “Oh, so this just happened.” I can go into more detail about this. However, some cast members don’t even have to do that, and I am so impressed with how they manage.”
As part of the interview, Cowen delved into more detail about the qualities she aimed to emphasize when creating Bloom’s arc for Season 2. She also gave details about the specific attributes she was trying to highlight.
“The current season is such a sad one. It seems she’s always running through and dealing with some bittersweet realizations near the novel’s end. Furthermore, we wanted her to be a little bit different from what she was in Season 1 and a little bit less explosive and erratic, as well as demonstrate the fact that there has been a shift in her and growth in her with these new powers that she has been honed over the past season.”
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