I always find it hard to summarize each Frankee in a few sentences. Meaghan Rath is someone I cannot put in a box because she is one of the most unique and authentic people I know. From the outside she may appear like just a gorgeous face. And while her beauty is undeniable (hello, the girl is STUNNING), she has so much more going on: she has a genuine heart of gold, an insane sense of style, a priceless sense of humor and she’s unapologetically herself, something that inspires me daily. Get ready to fall in love with this gem.
Amanda: So we met on a YTV show called 15/Love, which was my first acting job. Was that your first acting job?
Meaghan: That was my first real job. Before that, I had just done this indie movie called Lost and Delirious when I was 12. Then I finished high school and-
A: And went through puberty.
M: [laughs] Yeah, I went through puberty. Although I kind of feel that I was still going through puberty on that show.
A: I definitely was.
M: Wasn't either of our best looks.
A: I've never looked worse. And so a little bit after 15/Love you were doing a more dramatic show called Being Human. How many seasons did you do?
M: Four. Definitely a transitional time of my life. I was 23 when we started.
A: And now you're doing comedy, and I'm sure people who knew you from Being Human… well actually, I feel like your fans knew how big of a goofball you are. You guys had, by far, the best group photos at the conventions. You made it look like so much fun, and so memorable for the fans, too. Instead of having just a photo of you guys awkwardly standing with your fans, you set up these very-
M: Very elaborate. It started slow, we eased into it. The first time the three of us did a convention together we started playing around, but no props or anything, no green screen. And then, as it went on, we just got more and more invested in making these pictures amazing, because these people pay an obscene amount of money to take a picture with you, which is... I mean, I'm conflicted about these images because it's like, "Yeah, meet me at the elevator and we can quickly do them for free." But it's the whole industry, right? And so we're like, "We need to make this worth it for people." It got fairly bizarre. At one convention, there was a green screen blanket. And it was so inspiring to us. We would hide in the blanket so you'd just see our heads floating. It was pretty amazing.
A: [laughs] So now you're doing comedy, which to me feels like such a natural fit for you because you’ve always been so funny.
M: [sarcastic] I am hilarious.
A: You are. You're one of the funniest people I know. What do you like about doing comedy?
M: Well, I always felt that comedy was where I was supposed to be. I knew that that was where I wanted to find myself. I love doing comedy. And you know, it's easier, at the end of the day, to just leave the heavy stuff at home. One thing that I do find is that doing a half-hour sitcom, you're not really tapping into the all of your emotions. I'm not getting out my cries. So some might argue I'm actually more of a nightmare in my personal life. Because I've got to get it out somehow.
A: Were you shy as a kid or were you outgoing?
M: No, I was so shy. I just wanted everyone to like me.
A: I can't even imagine that. Because to me, you are, in a really humble way, so confident. It's comforting to me because your confidence gives me permission to be confident, if that makes sense.
M: That is insane for me to hear and so flattering, but I assure you it's all fake. I swear to God.
A: But even when we were doing 15/Love, you had this really awesome sense of style. You had those cool Kangaroo shoes.
M: Oh yeah, those boxing shoes. Those were cool.
A: Yeah, I immediately bought the exact same pair. Straight up copied you. But in a different color so it wasn’t an exact copy. [laughs] I do remember thinking you were bold with your fashion choices back then. The girls I went to high school with, we all wore the exact same clothes. Like, the EXACT same clothes. You have such great style that is so authentic and it's not a copy of anything. Where does that come from? Where do you get your fashion taste and inspiration from?
M: That is such a good question. I feel like it's pretty eclectic and it's always changing. I love the grunge look, and I think that's an easy one to build on because you can go really casual with it, and then you can dress it up. You can be, kind of, a classy grunge if you want. I love flannel and leather, and I love big vintage t-shirts. I hate a tight t-shirt. I like things that make me feel comfortable. I'm uncomfortable if my skirt's too short, or something is too tight. I’m a big believer in dressing for your body, and so for me, I just like being comfortable. I've never really thought about "How do I put things together?" I just go with my mood.
A: It just comes naturally to you.
M: A lot of it is just my mood. If I want to feel relaxed and tomboyish and, sort of, easy-breezy. It's usually a lot of looser things. But sometimes I want to feel really girly and pretty and...
M: Yeah, florally. I wish that I could wear long maxi skirts-
A: Oh, I know.
M: I just don't feel like it's me.
A: I feel like a giraffe in them. I just feel really, really tall. It just elongates my freakishly long legs.
M: Imagine you with a maxi skirt and a turtle neck.
A: Oh, wow, like a walking condom. [laughs] I don’t feel like I've ever seen you insecure in anything.
M: Oh, my God, Amanda!
A: What? I don't!
M: That's crazy.
A: What's an example of "I feel insecure when..." or "I have weird days where I just feel not good enough,” or “I feel like I'm having a bad ‘body’ day?” What do you do when you feel insecure?
M: What's amazing to me is that you don't see that at all, because it is such a big part of me. I still struggle with it so much, feeling insecure. I have so many bad 'body' days and body image is something that's affected me for a long time. But honestly, as I get older I sort of realize that it doesn't really matter. And I think it's such a matter of perspective. Our criticisms of ourselves are so much more intense than anyone else’s. We’re so hard on ourselves.
A: 100%. If I talked to anyone the way I talk to myself in my head, no one would be my friend.
M: Yeah. It's a struggle for me. I do get really insecure. I'm competitive. That's a big part of it, so a lot of my insecurity comes from me comparing myself to other people. Whether it's how I look, what my body looks like when I'm going on auditions and I'm on a run where things are not going well in my career, it really affects me, and I find that I carry it with me. It's a goal of mine to stay on a high vibration, because I find that that's when the best stuff comes in, when you're doing good and you're happy, and you're happy for other people, and you're supportive. But, the struggle is "How do you get to that place when you're in a rut?"
A: When you're in the dark hole.
M: Yeah. It's really, really hard. I find that I have to make a real conscious effort and work hard towards getting to that higher place again. And it usually takes me like a solid week or two.
A: I can definitely identify with that. I am so good at falling into that dark hole and can be stubborn about coming out.
M: It almost feels easier to stay in that dark place, because you know the amount of work it takes to get out of there, but once you're back to where you should be it's easy to stay. So I mean, I find that exercise sometimes helps, and I have crystals.
A: I love that! You're such a spiritual person. And I mean 'spiritual' in the sense of, crystals, psychics, zodiac signs.
M: Yeah, I have good intuition. I get it from my dad. We both have it really strong. And as I've gotten older I've learned to trust that even more. I rely on it, and it's really helped me and it's served me in what I do. Some people think it's all hokey and ridiculous, but I really feel like it works for me. I don't need to push it on anyone, but that's something that I really love.
A: Speaking of your dad, where are your parents from?
M: Well, both my parents are Canadian. My dad's family is from England and Austria, and they're Jewish. And my mom's family is from Goa, which is in the south of India. Her and her family moved to Canada when she was 13.
A: I didn't know that. That's crazy. Have you ever been to Goa?
M: Yeah. We went when I was 22. It was really amazing. My whole family went and we did a tour of India and finished in Goa. It was really interesting for us going, because for my dad, brother and I, we were like, "This is incredible. This is a completely different world.” But it was interesting to see my mom's reaction to it, because I think she struggles with it a bit. I think there were a lot of memories that came back that she was not comfortable with. It's a crazy story, my mom's family moving to Canada. My grandfather, who has now passed away, but was a really, really special guy. My dad always talks about him like he's the most amazing, beautiful person ever. My mom comes from a family where there were three girls and two boys. She's the oldest and they had a really comfortable life. They had servants. When they moved to Canada, my mom said she had never looked inside a fridge before because food would just appear.
M: There was a lot of political unrest going on in Goa at the time, no one was allowed to leave. No one was allowed to have passports. It's a Muslim country and they're Catholic, so my grandfather, knowing the way women are treated in that culture, he wanted to get them out of there. So he literally got passports, sort of on the black market and they just left their entire life, and they moved to Montreal into a one-bedroom apartment. They came with my great aunt and my great uncle, too, and my mom's grandmother and grandfather too, I think. A whole bunch of them came, and they would have to take turns eating dinner because they didn't have enough plates. So one group would eat, wash the plates and the cutlery, and then the other group would sit down. My mom said she had never seen hardwood floors before, because she just knew marble. It was just such a culture shock. That's why my mom's family has all done so well for themselves. It’s that work ethic that they had to put in because they started from nothing. It's really amazing to see the family now, we're so close obviously. But just to see how far everybody came is pretty amazing.
A: When you went to Goa, did you feel a connection there?
M: Yeah, they're amazing people. I thought I was going to go there and be like an "Indian princess" and everybody was going to be like, "You're one of us." But they didn't. They were like, "You look weird."
A: Because you're half-white? Is that why?
M: Yeah. And they really see the difference. Whereas here, everyone’s favorite question is "What's your mix?" And now I've started to say, "Oh, I'm half white." That's what everyone is wondering about, I'm half white. People don't think it's as funny as I do.
A: Did you have that kind of sense of humor about ethnicity and society when you were younger?
M: Growing up, it was something that I struggled with a lot, because I just wanted people to like me, I wanted to be accepted. And I knew that I didn't look like everybody else. The high school I went to was 90% white Italian girls, and I just wanted to be like them. I just wanted to look like everyone else. And I felt so insecure. It's something that I have grown to really love about myself, that I look different, that I don't look like everyone else. I like that people wonder where I'm from, as annoying as it is sometimes.
A: I remember talking to you not too long ago about diversity casting. It really fired you up in a way that struck a chord with me. You were talking about how white actors will say, ”Oh, she got that part because they needed to go ethnic,” and how offensive and insensitive that is. Does that come up often for you?
M: Yeah, it does. The industry's definitely changing. They're casting way more diversely and it's amazing. I sometimes get frustrated hearing my white actor friends saying things like, "It's so hard for us now." That is a serious conversation that is genuinely happening with me. "It's so hard. All the roles are going to ethnic people." And I’m like, "Oh, I'm so sorry! Things must be so hard for you as a white man."
A: Especially a white man.
M: Yeah. How do you think the rest of us felt forever and ever? Especially women, on top of it. I think it's really great the direction we're moving in, but I think now people tend to use it as an excuse as to why they didn't get the roles. It's because "They needed to go ethnic." That sentence is so offensive to me. And who knows what the politics actually are when you're going for a role, but I've been up for a bunch of roles where it's me and a bunch of white people and I get it. And there's another diverse person on the show, so I'm not checking off a box.
A: Right. It's like, "I earned this, and I ended up being the right person for the role, not because of the color of my skin but because of my talent." I’m baffled that a white guy would say that to you.
M: Yes. Like no awareness. "Hey, know your audience, okay?” But it's so important, because now at least we're seeing more people of different backgrounds being represented. For me, as a kid, I would always go watch Shakespeare in the Park. I would see these plays and there was no one on the stage that looked like me. And the message that it sends is, “You're not important." I internalized it, and thinking back on how I looked at the movie industry and theater when I was a kid, I knew that I would never get the leading role, because the leading role looks a certain way and I don't look like that. So I find it really amazing now that I can do those roles and that there's a spot for me. But that's why it's so important that we continue to show that. It's almost irresponsible not to, because there is a little girl in the audience watching, feeling like she doesn't feel that she has any value, or doesn't feel like she has something to offer.
A: That must feel so good to be on a show like Cooper Barrett’s Guide to Surviving Life, which is on a major network, and there are girls watching that, looking at you and thinking, "Oh my God, she looks just like me and she's cool and she's not playing—“
M: Just a stereotype.
A: Exactly. Just seeing you being you, and not having to play into a stereotype. And them being able to identify with you and then aspire to be you, and know that they can achieve that too. What does the future for you look like? What are your goals? Would you ever start your own fashion line? Selfishly I want you to have your own fashion line so I can look half as cool as you.
M: Have you seen “Gaycation”?
A: I haven't seen it yet but I've seen the trailer and it looks amazing.
M: It's so, so good. And what Ellen Page is doing, and her best friend, Ian, is just so brave, amazing, and inspiring. And just to see somebody who has recently come out who is making a difference, spreading awareness. Traveling around the world and seeing gay culture in every different city, and really examining the problems within. The good things too. They go to Brazil, which is a huge place for gay culture in South America, but there's also a lot of gay people being murdered there. I watched that whole show and it just made me feel like I want to do something more with my life and I'm trying to find what that is. But I do know that I'm supposed to do something more than just what I'm doing now. I know that I have a higher calling, and I haven't figured out what it is.
A: If there is anything I know about you, you will definitely figure it out… But just to clarify, it might not be your own fashion line?
M: It's a fashion line. It's bustier tops and it's going to change how women feel about themselves! My gift to the world, you’re welcome, America!
// meaghan's favorite songs at the moment \\
all images by amanda crew except the scan of meaghan's personal photo.
interview edited & condensed.