For her first regular screen role, Chi-Megan Ennis-Mclean joined The Beaker Girls as Jordan Whitely, working alongside a cast including Dani Harmer and Emma Maggie Davies in the Jacqueline Wilson screen adaptation for CBBC. Having further screen experience, Chi-Megan played Ria in the short film Margin last year, which led to her being nominated for Best Actress at the British Short Film Awards, and in 2017, she was a contestant on Series 1 of The Voice Kids, reaching the Battle Rounds on Team Pixie Lott. We caught up with Chi-Megan, who answered our questions about playing Jordan Whitely in CBBC’s The Beaker Girls, working on short film Margin and her time as a contestant on The Voice Kids.
Can you tell us about your character Jordan Whitely in the CBBC series The Beaker Girls and what is she like to play?
Jordan Whitely, I would say, is quite a complex character. There are many elements to her as a character. She’s quite misunderstood, which makes her quite interesting and enjoyable to play, as I get the chance to experiment acting-wise with her character and play around with her emotions dynamically.
Had you read or seen any of the Tracy Beaker books/series before auditioning and was there anything that drew you to the role of Jordan?
I wouldn’t say so, I have read a few Tracy Beaker books and watched the series meticulously. However, in terms of playing Jordan, I wanted to build her character from scratch. I wanted to create Jordan’s story and character without the influence of the previous Tracy Beaker books/series.
How is it working on a Jacqueline Wilson screen adaptation and seeing the fan response to the show and your character?
It was such a dream working on a Jacqueline Wilson screen adaptation, as I grew up reading Jacqueline Wilson books, and also watching the Tracy Beaker franchise. It was such a privilege being a part of the Tracy Beaker legacy and being able to continue the Beaker story. One of my favourite parts of playing Jordan is seeing how the fans responded to the show, and Jordan’s character, I feel like you don’t realise as an actor how many people the show is going to touch emotionally.
It was such a lovely experience filming with Dani Harmer and Emma Maggie Davies, they are like my family. I call Dani my TV mum and Emma my little TV sister. As it was my first TV series, there was a lot for me to learn about, such as the technical side of filming, and each one of The Beaker Girls cast were willing to support and help me throughout the whole process. We became a family through the making of The Beaker Girls and created such a bond when filming, I’m missing them all to pieces.
What have you enjoyed most about filming for The Beaker Girls and how has it been developing your character over the two series?
I would say, what I enjoyed most about filming The Beaker Girls would be seeing Jordan’s character develop and watching her story grow. It feels like she is a piece of me as a person. So, I would say that was my most enjoyable moment.
Do you have any favourite highlights from your time playing Jordan in The Beaker Girls that you can share?
I would say one of my favourite highlights from playing Jordan would be being able to combine my love for music and my love for acting. As Jordan was a vocalist, and had a love and passion for music, I was able to display my passion and love of music through playing her character. I loved the scenes when I was able to sing and express how Jordan was feeling within the scene through music.
You play Ria in the 2022 short film Margin, can you tell us about the film and your character, and what was it like to be involved with?
Margin focuses on a 16-year-old student’s struggles to better herself. The film explores the touching subjects of race and societal issues. In Margin, I play a 16-year-old whose character name is Ria. I would say Ria is quite a complex character. She is very misunderstood by her peers. She is extremely intelligent, but tries to play down her intelligence to fit in. It was a fun experience experimenting with Ria, as dynamically, I wanted to showcase her fear of fitting in but also her need to speak out against what is wrong. It was a phenomenal opportunity working on Margin. The cast and crew were a dream to work with and the storyline and writing was amazing to work with.
How was it seeing the completed film for the first time and being nominated for Best Actress at the British Short Film Awards?
That was truly a surreal experience, seeing all the team’s hard work on a big screen. I felt so blessed to watch the outcome and see it all come together, as well as being nominated for my first award. It was a blessing from God, and it felt like all my hard work from a child, all the training that I had completed leading up to that moment, had been recognised. It was an awesome experience and one I will treasure for the rest of my life.
In 2017, you were a contestant on Series 1 of The Voice Kids, how did you find the experience being part of the show?
The Voice Kids was my first television experience. I went on The Voice Kids when I was 12. It was a making opportunity, where I was able to showcase my love for singing, and learnt so much from my experience on the show. It shaped me into the person that I am today.
What are some of your favourite memories from being a contestant on The Voice Kids and reaching the Battle Rounds in Team Pixie Lott?
I would say that one of my favourite memories would be being mentored by Pixie Lott. That was such a blessing to have the opportunity to learn so much from such an industry icon. It really inspired me to continue within the creative industry as I looked up to Pixie Lott. Meeting her, as well as getting to work with her, made me truly understand anything is possible with hard work and determination. It was a very rewarding experience and it was so nice seeing how proud my family was, it still warms my heart to this day.
How did you get into acting and singing and did you always want a career in performing?
I got into acting and singing at a very young age, but started both at different times. I first started out singing in my church when I was seven, this was where it all started. From there, I continued training in music, whilst also completing various singing competitions, grade exams, singing events, charity funding events, any opportunity for me to sing I would take it! I then gradually started getting into acting at around the age of nine. I trained in musical theatre first, then began auditioning for various different parts, which helped me to gain experience within the acting industry. As I got older, I worked on perfecting my acting and my singing via training in TV and film, and commercial singing. This was the stage where I began to truly develop as an artist and as a creative individual. I then went on to study music full-time, whilst also studying acting via short courses that I would complete. I would say that I have always wanted a career in performing, it has been a part of my life since longer than I can remember. I can’t imagine a world where I wouldn’t be able to be my creative self.
What are some of your favourite films and TV shows to watch?
My favourite film of all-time is Girl, Interrupted. I love the storyline and Angelina Jolie is one of my favourite actors of all-time. It’s one of the only movies that I can watch over and over again without getting bored of it, and my favourite series of all time is Stranger Things. I am obsessed with Stranger Things and have been since the first season.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Away from my career, I spend most of my time designing and creating garments, as that is another passion of mine, along with styling clothes for other people. So, when I am not acting or creating music, I spend most of my time working with a range of designers creating different clothing looks or creating garments for various people from scratch. I have also started developing my career within the modelling industry, so I do spend quite a lot of time focusing on different skills when I am away from acting.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about and what are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
As a creative, I love experimenting with different career paths, whether it’s working on music, designing clothing pieces or auditioning for acting roles, or even modelling. As a whole, I like to follow where my creativity takes me in that moment, which isn’t always planned as such or set in stone.
I guess you’ll just have to wait and see…
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