When the going gets tough, get tougher. In the wise words of rising actress Chelsea Frei, when there are limited opportunities available, make the opportunities that you want for yourself. After quickly figuring out this ideology through limited acting jobs following her college graduation, Chelsea took the brave leap to expand her own future through creating her own sketches, along with lighting the path to her future. After gaining enough traction in the industry to make it stick, Chelsea can now be seen showcasing her talents on the FOX series, The Moody’s. In this exclusive interview, Chelsea discusses her past in the comedic realm of the industry, how her early years impacted her infatuation with the arts, and what she has planned next.
Megan Morgante: Did anything or anyone, in particular, inspire you to pursue acting?
Chelsea Frei: I was definitely inspired during the first elementary school play I performed in, which was truly the first time I caught the, “acting bug.” Immediately I knew that acting was what I wanted to do, while also having the ability to make people laugh. After years of trying to crack jokes around the house, my parents had finally caved and placed me in acting classes. I was also very inspired by the film, Rat Race. That's one of my favorite movies and I remember not being able to wrap my head around the fact that people get to do this for a living.
MM: Can you give an overview of your past in the entertainment industry and how it led you to where you are now?
CF: I kept doing theater all throughout high school and when it came time, I applied to NYU and by some miracle, I got in. I was mainly studying Shakespeare and classical works. Eventually, I had the crazy privilege of being able to intern at Late Night with Seth Meyers and then for Saturday Night Live my senior year. That experience was the first time I got to see sketch writing and the ultimate execution up close and personal. From there, I knew that was what I wanted to ultimately end up pursuing. When I graduated college and couldn't get an acting job, I started creating my own sketches, which is how I met my writing partner. We began by running around New York City and making sketches on whatever was in the news or was interesting to us. These sketches eventually turned into a web series I created called Hostess. I decided that if I couldn’t get a job, then I would make one for myself. Those sketches were my way of taking back control because, in this industry, not much control is in your own hands.
MM: You now star on the FOX series, The Moody's...congratulations. Can give readers some insight into what we can expect from the series?
CF: This year, I think a majority of us have experienced moving back home and learning to live with our parents again. It’s the experience of turning into a kid again, expecting everything to be done for you, and fighting with your siblings in the ways that you did when you were younger. I think the show reflects that and the amount of shenanigans that ensue in these situations.
MM: What was your experience working with the cast and the crew? Are there any memorable moments that come to mind from filming?
CF: We were all so lucky to come back and work after the pandemic. We haven't seen each other in over a year, but we all really became family. Obviously, the first season was so fun, but it was quick. This time around, we were all feeling very, very lucky to be there and we all just became so close. I looked up to Denis [Leary] and Elizabeth [Perkins] my entire life, so getting the chance to work with them and realizing that they're the most amazing people on earth was so cool.
MM: You're heavily involved within the comedic space. Did anyone, in particular, inspire you to get into that realm of entertainment?
CF: I feel like everyone says it, but I grew up watching Saturday Night Live and Friends every Thursday night. While watching those shows, I always just knew that this is what I wanted to pursue. I always had the mindset that if I wasn’t going to be cast in something funny, that I was going to make something funny. So, that led me to create my own work and getting to work with other really funny people within the industry.
MM: Do you have any new or upcoming projects in the works?
CF: I don't know if I can talk about this yet, which is annoying [laughs], but I just wrote a horror-comedy feature that I'm trying to get off the ground. My goal is to hopefully make it within the next year, so I'm really excited about that.
MM: Do you have any outside passions or hobbies that you enjoy partaking in outside of the entertainment space?
CF: Well, it was a running joke, because I became addicted to knitting. I couldn’t stop knitting everyone hats and scarves, so it became this great thing I could do while watching TV.
MM: Have you ever experienced any notable challenges throughout your career?
CF: How long do you have? I think the challenges never really go away. I was recently talking to somebody about this because it really is true. As an actor, I think we're trained to be alright with never fully breathing a sigh of relief. I believe it's always important to find a way to live through that uncertainty and realize that this is part of the job, rather than it’s you not working. It’s a huge mental shift to make, but I think it's really important, otherwise, you can get so lost in the waiting game. You have to find a way to be in the moment and appreciate that everything that is currently happening is great and find what you're grateful for.
MM: If you could hope to see yourself in the next few years, what would that look like for you?
CF: I'm excited to explore some darker characters. I've been doing a lot of comedy, but I'm definitely hoping to explore that darker space more. I love drama and the dark kinds of characters, so I'm hoping I get more opportunities in that realm. If not, I'll probably just make them for myself, [laughs]. The best advice I can give is to make your own opportunities.
Photography by Victoria Stevens
Styling by Britt Theodora
Makeup by Jessi Butterfield
Hair by Marco Santini