Having served in the US Navy for four years, Veronica Burgess then decided to get into a career in entertainment and has gone on to appear in many TV series including the role of Erica in One Day where she also had the job of executive producer for thirteen episodes. Veronica has recently completed work on the comedy film The Way We Weren’t alongside her real-life husband Ronnie Gene Blevins, who she met on the set of Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink 2. Catching up with Veronica recently, she tells us about leaving the Navy for an acting career, her most challenging role so far and her work behind the camera.
Had you always wanted to join the Navy, and how did you decide to leave to pursue a career in entertainment?
I had never thought about going into the military until I heard about the ASVAB (military entrance exam) happening at school. I was curious to see how well I would do on something like that, and I wanted to get out of my first period statistics class, so I went. I ended up doing very well so recruiters started calling me. I knew I either wanted to go Army or Navy since I had family in both branches, but the deciding factor was that I looked better in blue (not joking) and wanted to travel and see the world while serving my country. After my four year enlistment was up, the Navy offered me another contract for five years with a nice little signing bonus, but I knew I wanted to get out and pursue other things – I never thought acting and modeling would be the route I would take – but here I am!
What was your first acting role and what can you remember about being on set?
My first role ever was a short film produced by my friend in which I played a dream girl; very small part. I remember thinking, wow, this is really fun, and people do this for a living, so why not me? From that point, I worked on other small projects, and then some larger projects, network shows, etc. but the feeling of happiness and gratitude is always the same, project to project.
Is there anything you can tell us about The Way We Weren’t and your character Anaïs?
The Way We Weren’t is a fantastic romantic comedy created by Brian Dimuccio and Rick Hays. I loved working on it and I hope it will be released this year, although no word yet, just my hope. My character, Anais, is the new girlfriend of the lead’s ex-boyfriend and is fun, adventurous, and a bit high maintenance. Fiona Gubelmann, who plays the lead, was so sweet and Alan, my scene partner, was so much fun to work with!
How long were you filming for Monogamy?
The first season, I was simply a one day guest star. The second season was really great because I came back as a series regular and had a lot added to my story! We shot all of my footage pretty quick; I want to say within two to three weeks because I was pregnant and not showing yet, so we were up against the clock!
Have you done any stage roles or would you like to?
Yes! I love doing theatre! I wish I could do more! The most memorable show I did was a Shakespeare-inspired play on horseback! It was so amazing to work with the horses and showcase theatre in LA in a whole new light!
How did you get into stunt work and what training is involved?
Being a dancer, stunt work comes pretty naturally because I am used to moving my body in a lot of unique ways. But I did have to learn a good amount on set, shortly before shooting the tie scene. Luckily, I am a fast learner!
Can you tell us about the episode you filmed for Shameless, what character did you play and how long were you filming?
Shameless was so much fun! If only I could work on that show every day!
I only shot one day, because my character, Trisha was attempting to buy a stolen stroller from Debbie, and that was her story. I was eight months pregnant when I shot that episode. It’s cool to have that time in my life documented by being on a TV show. 😀
When did you work on Hot Bath an’ A Stiff Drink 2, and what was your involvement?
Oh my gosh! That was November-December 2013! Crazy how time flies! I was actually not an actor in this particular project, but it led me to meeting my husband, so that is why it will always be special for me, and for him. I was the assistant to the executive producer which was such a different job than I had ever done before; great learning experience. For a minute there it inspired me to produce more myself, and who knows, maybe I will continue doing more producing?!
What was it like being executive producer on the TV series One Day?
It was the greatest learning experience of my producing career. It literally taught me everything because I was just all of a sudden thrown into making it happen and having a whole crew and cast of like forty people depending on me! It was a little intimidating, but most things you care about doing, are (intimidating).
What would you say has been the best thing to come out of your career so far?
Wow. That’s hard. So many of the things I have worked on have been amazing for different reasons. Probably the one that stands out the most is a pilot I shot a few years ago which will never be seen. I portrayed a vigilante type character and it was a dream role for me. I was on location in Washington, just outside of Seattle, for two weeks creating this thing. Ultimately, there were issues within the production so it never even went through post production, but I will always remember it being my dream character to play and the experiences I had on set, the people I met, etc. were fantastic!
What’s been your most challenging role?
The role of Elaine/the seraph was the hardest role for me because I had to play one character with two completely different sides to her. As Elaine, she was just an everyday, albeit somewhat socially awkward woman, and as the seraph she was this strong, badass vigilante. I had never done anything like that before so it was a lot of fun and very challenging at the same time. I wanted to be sure to give an accurate representation of someone who is courageous and brave and fights for what is just, but her personal life is in shambles.
How different is it working in front of the camera than behind?
In some cases it’s night and day, but anyone working on a set can attest that you’re all there for the same purpose; to create an awesome piece of art! So, behind the camera it is more technical, and more about keeping the production going. In front of the camera it’s all about being another person and breathing life into a character.
Are there any UK TV shows you enjoy watching?
I am obsessed with Black Mirror – I love psychological thrillers and the fact that it mixes with current technology is even more frightening! Game of Thrones, of course, is a must! And, of course, The Office is always a fun show!
Are you currently working on any projects?
I am currently developing my own project actually. I am really excited about it, but cannot divulge any details just yet! But when I can, I will be sure to update my social media so feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter and I also have an actor page on Facebook.
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