Having joined the screen adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers in Series 1, Zoey Siewert plays Alicia Johns in the 1940s-set boarding school show, with filming taking place in Canada and the UK. Series 4 was released last month on CBBC and BBC iPlayer, and Zoey films alongside a cast including Ella Bright (as Darrell Rivers) and Danya Griver (as Gwendoline Mary Lacey). Zoey’s screen work has included playing Young Victoria in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter (with Victoria Gotti being executive producer), and she has hosted The Wacky Word Show opposite Lukas Engel and Finding Stuff Out. As a voiceover artist, Zoey voiced lead role Georgie in the Netflix series Hello Ninja, and her first voice role was playing Chelsea in Nina’s World, which saw her perform and work with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Rita Moreno for the song in the show, and she is a previous member of Acapop! Kids. Recently, Zoey spoke to us about being in the cast of Malory Towers as Alicia Johns, filming in Canada and the UK for the Enid Blyton screen adaptation and her time as Young Victoria in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter.
In the screen adaptation of Malory Towers, you play Alicia Johns, how would you describe the character?
Alicia is very much a prankster and loves to play jokes. She’s also a natural leader on and off the field!
Do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role and how was it returning to the show for the new Series 4?
I remember the day I came home from school, and saw that my mom had bought the Malory Towers books and placed them on the table. She said I had a call for me. She didn’t say from who, but I picked it up to find out it’s my agent telling me I booked the part for Alicia and I get to travel to England and Toronto for filming in the summer!!! Not only was I ecstatic that I booked the part, I was even more excited that I was going to get to travel to England for the first time with my family for a show! One of my biggest dreams come true; getting to travel for work!
What is Alicia like to play and had you read the Enid Blyton books before auditioning?
Alicia is a very interesting and fun character to play. I hadn’t read the books before I booked the show, however, I did start to read them after I got the part. Alicia has a very hard exterior and always puts on a show, however, she also has a soft side to her that doesn’t get shown often, except for when her being far from her family gets brought up, talking about subjects she cares about like the school closing in Season 2, or when she knows she has to hold herself accountable for wrongs she’s made.
How is it having the show film in both Canada and the UK and how do you find the experience on set?
Filming in two different locations is so exciting because they are such different experiences. When we film in England, we get to swim in the rock pools and run on the beach in the beautiful countryside. Whereas in Toronto, it’s so immersive because it feels like you’re inside the school!! Both sets are amazing to work on, everyone on set is so welcoming and the sweetest to work with!
What is it like working with the rest of the cast and filming for a series set in the 1940s?
Working with the Malory Towers cast has been a dream and it really feels like a family! We have become so close in the last five years and I couldn’t be more grateful to work with all those girls and the incredible adults who we work alongside! The best thing about working on a show based in the 1940s is every little detail and prop that you see on set and even some of the things you can’t see but make it feel like you’re in the 1940s!
What has it been like seeing the viewers’ response to Malory Towers around the world and why would you recommend watching the series?
First I’ll say, the Malory Towers fans are the absolute best!! They are so incredibly sweet and supportive and getting to meet them brings all of us cast so much joy!! We had a screening for Season 4 and we had the privilege of having fans come and watch some episodes with us for the first time! Listening to them enjoy the show and react as much as us cast do is so fun and honestly it makes me so proud of each and every one of the cast, crew, directors and everyone involved! I think anyone and everyone would love Malory Towers because it’s a special show that is very empowering, and it’s a fun family show to watch to get a good laugh and valuable life lessons!
Do you have any stand-out highlights from playing Alicia over the years that you can tell us about?
Two highlights I’ve found of playing Alicia is watching her evolve and learn from the beginning of Season 1 all through to Season 4. Alicia has definitely come out of her shell a little bit throughout the show and it’s really special for those moments when she does come out of her shell. Another highlight is getting to play Alicia on the field! I play sports and am also very competitive so getting to pull out that side of me in Alicia when playing lacrosse is so fun because it’s a sport I’ve never played before!
What was The Wacky Word Show like to be part of as the host opposite Lukas Engel?
Lukas and I had a blast getting to play around on The Wacky Word Show! I had done a show similar to The Wacky Word Show, but I was by myself. So, getting to do the show with Lukas brought a whole new level of energy, because we would bounce off each other and get to improv all the time!
You played Young Victoria in the TV movie Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter, how did you prepare for the role and what was Victoria like to portray?
Getting to play Young Victoria in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter, was such an honour and so special to me. At first, I actually went out for a different role, so finding out I got Young Victoria was an amazing shock. We had a readthrough before filming, and Victoria Gotti was with us and executive producing. Getting to watch her read through the script, and be in the room with her was a big part of how I prepared to portray her younger self during filming. The way she talked about her father and that relationship helped me understand a little bit more of how Young Victoria would’ve interacted with him. It was a very complex role to play but the whole cast was fabulous. Maurice Bernard and Rhonda Dent played Victoria’s parents and working with them was amazing because I was able to feed off the incredible energy that they bring in such intense and emotional scenes.
Can you tell us about your time working on Finding Stuff Out?
Finding Stuff Out was the first show I ever hosted for TVO Kids! It was a very different show than anything I had worked on but it was so great to gain that experience while getting to have fun!! I got to do so many wild things like swim with stingrays, while interviewing professionals to find answers submitted by kids. During every episode I also sing a song related to that particular episode and I always have the best costumes! I was the only cast, aside from the special guests we would bring in every episode. However, the crew was the sweetest, so funny, and worked hard, so for being the only kid on set, I never get bored! After three years, the show got nominated for a CSA and I was so proud and excited!! All the hard work payed off and I was so thankful to have been able to work on such a great show!
How was it voicing the lead role of Georgie in the Netflix series Hello Ninja and was there anything you enjoyed most about recording for the show?
Personally I love Georgie! She is such a spunky character and brings this exciting flavour to the show! My favourite thing about recording her is either her little tag lines like “HATCHI MAMA” or getting to act out all the ninja moves in the studio while recording!!
For your first voiceover character, you voiced Chelsea in Nina’s World, what do you remember most from this project?
One of the most memorable parts of recording Nina’s World was the song for the show that I got to sing and work on with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Rita Moreno!!
We understand you were a member of Acapop! Kids, what are some of your favourite memories from being in the group?
One of my favourite memories from Acapop! Kids was when we all came together in a studio in LA for promo and just created videos, took pictures and sang songs together from all over! At the end of the day, we all sang the songs from the Acapop! album and it was so special and surreal to be singing with a group of talented kids where we had become a family!
Where does your love of acting and performing come from and how did you get into the industry?
My love for acting actually comes from my family. I grew up having the opportunities to act with my family all together, and be able to create projects together! My mom started as a singer songwriter in the industry which stemmed into my two brothers and I becoming actors and moving into the city to pursue that!
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Some of my favourite films of all time are 10 Things I Hate About You, The Sandlot, and Top Gun: Maverick! I also love watching the TV show Friends! Luckily, I get to do a lot of the things I love when filming or anything to do with my career. However, outside of that, I love to be with friends and family hanging out, playing board and card games, beach and court volleyball, and I will say I love my school environment when we all get together to plan and organise a pep rally or anything like that!
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
Something very exciting coming up that I’m working on is we are going to be filming Season 5 of Malory Towers!! Aside from that, I’m hoping that 2023 brings lots of new memories, some clarity in my life, as well as new chapters and milestones in me and my family’s life!
Follow Zoey on: