Sofia Oxenham x OVERDUE

Open­ing Imagedress Milo Maria shoes J.E. CAI

Inter­view Lily Delmage

Due to star in the sec­ond series of Disney’s EXTRAORDINARY, Sofia Oxen­ham opens up to OVERDUE on her act­ing career, its chal­lenges and dis­cuss­es all things Fashion. 

Extra­or­di­nary S2 is stream­ing from March 6 on Dis­ney+. Stream the first series now on Dis­ney+ or ITVX.

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First­ly, please tell us about your jour­ney get­ting into act­ing. Did you find it a dif­fi­cult process or quite smooth sail­ing? What advice would you give to any­one try­ing to find their feet in the industry?

I found it dif­fi­cult. I audi­tioned twice for RADA and got in on my third time. I took advice from the head of the school that I should go out and spend a year work­ing in a job not relat­ed to act­ing. I should trav­el and gain some life expe­ri­ence (as I was quite young) as he said right­ful­ly that all life expe­ri­ence feeds back into the work you do. That was real­ly use­ful. And then an old­er actor I worked with told me to watch as many things as pos­si­ble. Plays, films, com­e­dy, street the­atre. It enables you to devel­op your taste and dis­tin­guish what you like and what sort of sto­ries and per­for­mances you admire.

You have an impres­sive ros­ter of on-screen roles, but also have expe­ri­ence on- stage. How does act­ing on-screen dif­fer to on-stage, and which (if you can choose) do you pre­fer, and why?

I think the beau­ty of the­atre is that you have a long rehearsal peri­od in which to be able to devel­op bold choic­es and try dif­fer­ent things. You real­ly col­lab­o­rate togeth­er to fig­ure out how the sto­ry works in each pro­duc­tion and you get the chance to re-do and maybe even change it every evening. There’s a per­ma­nen­cy to film and TV work and there often just isn’t the time to take as many risks. But I also love the imme­di­a­cy of film and TV.

I haven’t done a play for a while now and would love to do one again soon. In terms of which one do I pre­fer that’s like ask­ing me who my favourite child is (if I had any) I love them both equal­ly but in dif­fer­ent ways.

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A mas­sive con­grat­u­la­tions on the sec­ond sea­son of Extra­or­di­nary! How did you feel when you heard the series was get­ting renewed for anoth­er sea­son? What was it that ini­tial­ly drew you to the series?

I was so excit­ed when I found out we had been renewed for a sec­ond sea­son. We had such a good time mak­ing the first I real­ly hoped we would have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to do it again, so I was thrilled! A lot of the crew came back for the sec­ond sea­son as well which made it feel real­ly famil­iar and fun to fall back into those estab­lished rela­tion­ships. Ini­tial­ly I was real­ly drawn to Emma’s writ­ing. I hadn’t read a script that fun­ny for so long . I felt that she per­fect­ly cap­tured a time of being in your 20’ and the ups and downs of start­ing out and try­ing hard to be a young adult. I also loved the how each char­ac­ter devel­oped as the show went on.

You’ve pre­vi­ous­ly men­tioned this was your first role with­in the com­e­dy genre, how did you pre­pare for this project? Did you find this daunt­ing, or were you excit­ed for the new challenge?

After get­ting cast we had an incred­i­ble rehearsal peri­od with two act­ing coach­es (Miran­da Hart­court and Sarah-Jane But­ler) and our direc­tor (Toby Mac­Don­ald) We spent time get­ting to know each oth­er first and form­ing rela­tion­ships and a con­nec­tion. We then start­ed to tack­le our char­ac­ters and fig­ure out how we all relat­ed to each oth­er and what was the world we were build­ing. We did lots of impro­vi­sa­tions and activ­i­ties. Miran­da and Sarah-Jane sent us off into East Lon­don in char­ac­ter which pro­vid­ed much hilar­i­ty espe­cial­ly when it involved Jiz­zlord try­ing to buy sweets. They pro­vid­ed a real­ly safe, explo­rative envi­ron­ment so much of the prep was done in the room. It was the first time I had worked this way but I found it so useful.

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Extra­or­di­nary is not your typ­i­cal addi­tion to the super­hero genre, what makes the show dif­fer­ent to con­ven­tion­al films in this cat­e­go­ry? And do you think this con­tributed to the show’s suc­cess? If so, why?

I think most of the super­hero films are about one per­son being Extra­or­di­nary and sav­ing the world and our show is about the oppo­site of that. Its flips the genre on the head and asks us if we have to have some­thing that makes us ‘spe­cial’ to make us hap­py.
Real­ly it explores how our imper­fec­tions and flaws make us won­der­ful­ly human… It’s the explo­ration of flawed human­i­ty that makes it so fun and relatable.

I think it has a unique appeal for everyone:older peo­ple who have been through that peri­od of their life can relate to it as well as those who are right in its midst. The themes are uni­ver­sal and Emmas writ­ing is hilarious.

You play the role of co-lead, Car­rie, was there any­thing about her char­ac­ter you found par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing, or did her char­ac­ter come quite nat­u­ral­ly? Did you do any­thing to prepare?

Car­rie can exhib­it some quite dis­parate aspects to her per­son­al­i­ty. Naive, sweet with a lot of self-doubt. But she is also intel­li­gent and holds down a demand­ing job.… Nei­ther Emma or I want­ed her to become the stereo­typ­i­cal “ditzy friend” so keep­ing that bal­ance believ­able was cru­cial.
It sounds real­ly obvi­ous but I read the scripts a lot to under­stand her bet­ter. When I was younger I read that Antho­ny Hop­kins reads a script 100 times before start­ing shoot­ing. Not sure I man­aged 100 times but still…

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Car­ries super­pow­er is she can com­mu­ni­cate with the dead; is this a super­pow­er you would like to have in the real world? Why/why not?

It’s such a fun pow­er to have in the show but in real life I don’t think I would want to have that par­tic­u­lar one. Main­ly because I think I would be real­ly irre­spon­si­ble and friv­o­lous with it and just bring it out at social occa­sions rather than to do good.

The show sees a wide vari­ety of super­pow­ers; from more desir­able ones like fly­ing, to oth­ers maybe not so use­ful… Out of all the super­pow­ers seen on the show, which would you want the most and least? And why?

I’d like invis­i­bil­i­ty I love peo­ple watch­ing but always get told off for star­ing so I think that would be the per­fect coverup. Least I’d prob­a­bly say PDF print­er one as I don’t real­ly under­stand or enjoy tech­no­log­i­cal things.

The series serves as a metaphor illus­trat­ing the strug­gles of nav­i­gat­ing our 20s, and strug­gling to live up to expec­ta­tions to fit in. Why do you think this show is so impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate the hard­ships of feel­ing like ‘the odd one out’?

I think because every­one feels like that at some stage in their life. Espe­cial­ly in today’s world where we have the fake ver­sion of real­i­ty on social media which we might be in dan­ger of believ­ing is the real one. We often want to feel safe and to fit in and I’m sure all of us have times in our life when that does not hap­pen and it can be hard to feel like an out­sider when you are young.

Young adult rela­tion­ships are also explored through Car­ries friend­ship with Jen. Through dis­agree­ments, for­give­ness, self­ish­ness, and depend­abil­i­ty, do you believe this is an accu­rate pre­sen­ta­tion of the highs and lows of friend­ships in our 20s? If so, why/ why not?

Yeah I do. I think friend­ships can be real­ly com­pli­cat­ed at this point in our lives. Friend­ship groups are your cho­sen fam­i­ly and the bonds are often intense but peo­ple are grow­ing and chang­ing a lot as well dur­ing this time . We may not always com­mu­ni­cate with as much hon­esty as we would a real fam­i­ly mem­ber because we are scared we might lose the per­son as a friend. It can be a dif­fi­cult tightrope to tread.

Despite her reserved nature, Car­rie does not shy away from a fab­u­lous colour­ful gar­ment! Is this reflec­tive of your per­son­al wardrobe, or do you pre­fer a more neu­tral palette?

She does. Her clothes are so eclec­tic and won­der­ful. Buki and Yahir (our heads of cos­tume) and the whole cos­tume depart­ment cre­ate the most incred­i­ble looks I gen­uine­ly get excit­ed each day to see what we are all wear­ing. (Watch out for Mairead’s hot dog T‑shirt this series which became a firm favourite.)
Car­rie has a makeover this sea­son so that was a lot of fun. She has moved more into more edgy stuff like leather and fish­nets. I per­son­al­ly usu­al­ly wear a more neu­tral palette though play­ing Car­rie has encour­aged me to explore more and be braver with pat­terns and colour.

Can you tell us any­thing about what to expect from sea­son 2? Will Jen final­ly find her superpower…?

I can tell you that it’s big­ger and bold­er.. it has some fan­tas­tic new char­ac­ters (with great pow­ers) and that we see the four house­mates face their biggest chal­lenges yet.
Will Jen final­ly get her super­pow­er.
AAAHH.. I can’t say THAT…You will have to watch and see.

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A lit­tle birdy told us you have an excit­ing role as Princess Euge­nie in Amazon’s upcom­ing ‘A VERY ROYAL SCANDAL’, is there any­thing you can tell us about this?

Yes. The series will fol­low “Emi­ly Maitlis’ pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al jour­ney as a News­night jour­nal­ist, lead­ing up to her acclaimed inter­view with Prince Andrew
It was so inspir­ing work­ing with Michael Sheen who plays Andrew and the rest of the cast. And I learnt a lot from watch­ing them work. Oh and there’s some great wigs. I think I can say that.

You recent­ly shot for OVERDUE with our Edi­tor-in-Chief, images look great! Which was your favorite piece to wear that day?

Thank you, we had a fun day and he has a great music selec­tion which made every­thing eas­i­er.
For me, I loved wear­ing the green leather match­ing set and sky high heels. It felt very intergalactic/ avatar– esque.

Is there a design­er you par­tic­u­lar­ly admire in the Fash­ion indus­try – any brand that appeals the most to you ?

I’m real­ly drawn to peo­ple who use dead stock fab­ric and make their fash­ion envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly. Like the lin­gerie com­pa­ny Fruity booty. Oh and I love Sub-suns sun­glass­es. They always make me feel like a boss. In terms of design­ers I think Stel­la McCart­ney as she has been a real pio­neer in this movement.

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Can you describe the Fash­ion styling on Extraordinary?

I would describe it as wild, inspir­ing and extreme­ly cre­ative! Buki and Yahir are geniuses!

Last­ly, what’s next for Sofia Oxenham?

There’s a few things in the pipeline but noth­ing I can dis­cuss just yet… apart from I’m think­ing of learn­ing the sax­o­phone because why not!

Thank you so much for your input and get us to know you bet­ter, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

Thank you so much for hav­ing me!

Dress Milo Maria shoes J.E. CAI

Tal­ent Sofia Oxen­ham
Pho­tog­ra­ph­er Andrew Kim­ber
Styl­ist Adele Cany
Make-up John Christo­pher
Hair Lau­ra Chad­wick @ MMG Artists
OVERDUE Assis­tant Mar­i­an­na Nadolska