The title “Scream Queen” became popular in the late 70’s & is still popular today. But in actuality they’ve been around since the fifties, they just weren’t given the title of “Scream Queen”. Beverly Garland (The Alligator People), Mara Corday (Tarantula) & Yvette Vickers (Attack Of The Killer Leeches) are perfect examples of actresses who became very familiar to moviegoers in the fifties & sixties who frequented horror/sci-fi films. The tradition continued through the sixties (Barbara Steele) & seventies (Caroline Munro, Jamie Lee Curtis). But the eighties was the decade that the title “Scream Queen” became very well known & many actresses vied for the title of “Best Scream Queen”. In addition to the aforementioned Jamie Lee Curtis we were entertained in films of varying quality by Linnea Quigley (Return Of The Living Dead), Michelle Bauer (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers), Maria Ford (Necronomicon: Book Of The Dead), Julie Strain (The Unnameable) & my personal favorite, Brinke Stevens (Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity). All of them were extremely popular throughout the eighties & were mainstays at horror conventions worldwide.
Today we still have a group of young actresses who are making their names known by appearing in low budget films. But, thanks to the digital age we live in, they can maintain contact with their legion of fans through the internet. Always busy, these young ladies are working their way to the top by plying their trade in as many movies as they can fit in to their busy schedules. One of the most well known Scream Queens today is Monique “Original Gata” Dupree, who has made more movies in a year than some actresses have made in their entire careers. Of course, some of these films are of dubious quality at best but these young ladies know that to make it to the top you have to work your way there. All of them have massive fan bases & actively maintain their web sites to keep connected to the legions that worship them. You might not know them by name (just yet) but more than likely you’ve seen their faces before and believe me…you’re going to see them again.
One of the newer faces on the scene is actress Sierra Holmes. Young, smart, beautiful & talented, Miss Holmes has been at it for a few years now & is starting to see her hard work pay off. Her exuberance on screen & off is making her a face you can’t help but notice. She was gracious enough to take a few minutes from her busy schedule to speak with me & tell how she got into the business and what her dreams & aspirations are. Sweet & vivacious, it was a true pleasure for me to talk to her & learn a little bit more about why she decided to make acting her career.
HN: Let’s start at the beginning, what was it that made you decide to become an actress?
SH: Ever since I was a little girl, I craved attention. I always wanted to be in the spotlight! So my mom put me in a production of “Beauty And The Beast” when I was six years old. I played the baker’s wife & ever since that experience on the stage in front of an audience I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I was so happy acting and being in front of people that I went to my mother right after my first performance & told her that when I graduate from college I planned to go to California and become an actress. And I followed my dream!
HN: I was going over yor credits and I saw a lot of stage work that you have done. Among the shows you performed in I noticed “Barefoot In The Park”, “A Chorus Line” & “The Crucible”. All of them pretty heavy shows to be in, especially “The Crucible”. Do you have a preference between stage & screen work?
SH: The town that I grew up in was very small so I tried to do whatever I could get my hands on. I was born and raised in NY and that means you have to do a lot of musical theater so I auditioned for as many musicals that I could. I auditioned for the lead in all the plays that were produced in my middle school & high school as well. There wasn’t much to do in my town so I auditioned for anything & everything that I could. Luckily, I ended up snagging these really good roles. I think it’s funny that when I started getting these roles I was always playing the girl next door or the sweet & sexy girl. But when I got to Hollywood I started booking a lot of “Bad Girl” parts and now I’m getting a lot of “Killer Girl” roles. I think the transition from one type of role to the next is very interesting. But I’m definitely more geared towards being a straight up actress though. I love doing musical theater and I can sing & dance but it was just a way for me to get more straight acting roles. I knew that acting was the thing I wanted to do…not just musical theater.
HN: Where in NY are you from?
SH: A small town about 30 minutes from NYC called Suffern.
HN: Looking at your bio one thing that stood out a lot, The fact that you’re certified as a “Unarmed Fighting” & “Stage Fighting” Expert. What exactly does that mean? If you’re certified in unarmed fighting does it mean you can beat my ass with your bare hands?
SH: (Laughing) I’ll kick your ass! Actually it’s the complete opposite, I’ll fake kick your ass! I graduated from the American Musical & Dramatic Society and those were two of the things we had to get certified in. We had to get certified in sword fighting (Fencing, Daggers, Rapiers, Broadswords) and stage fighting which is basically making it look like I’m kicking your ass when I’m not touching you at all.
HN: (Laughing) Oh! Now I get it. I was getting worried for a second there…
SH: Movies like “Fight Club” are movies that feature a lot of stage fighting. Basically I could walk onto the set of a movie like that and fit right in! I got a scholarship to attend the American Musical & Dramatic Society right after High School. It’s an acting conservatory much like Julliard. It was a two year program and that was one of the classes we had to get certified in.
HN: There are a slew of talents listed on your bio besides the fighting skills you are certified in. Sketch Comedy, improvisation, singing, dancing & motion capture. Was that a class as well?
SH: Actually that was something I learned to do while I appeared on “Scream Queens”. We got trained how to use a motion capture suit on episode three I believe. I actually won that challenge! I’ve been trying to look for roles that include some motion capture work because it’s so much fun.
HN: I’m glad you mentioned “Scream Queens”. How did you get involved with that show?
SH: I actually auditioned for season one. I went on an audition and I thought I did really well but I didn’t even get one call back. One year later, I was appearing in a Vampire play when I overheard someone at a rehearsal mention “They’re having an open casting call for Scream Queens 2”. It turns out that the casting call was till three & we got out of rehearsals at 2:30. I was supposed to go to work right after rehearsals but I got a call from my boss telling me I didn’t have to come in! So I asked where the auditions for the show were being held & it turned out it was in a building that was literally right next to my apartment. I just thought “Wow! Things could not be any better!”. So I run to the audition and I got there with literally five minutes left. The audition was comprised of two different parts. I had to do a monologue & I had to act like I was possessed by a demon! It was awkward for me but two weeks later I heard from them & I changed my look up a bit. I went back with Black hair as opposed to the Blonde hair I had the first time they saw me. After that first call back there were literally, & I’m not exaggerating here, THIRTY call backs before they finally told me that I had won a spot on the show. The day before we started filming they had put us up in a hotel and then we found out that they were STILL having auditions!
HN: Thirty separate call backs? That seems a bit excessive.
SH: Oh my gosh…There was call back after call back after call back! Because they had so many girls to audition. They had traveled to a few different states & they were getting audition tapes from different countries. They said they had something close to 3,000 different auditions! So it took them quite a while before they could narrow it down to the final ten participants.
HN: The pressure on all of you had to be so intense…
SH: It was so nerve wracking, everytime they would call I was quite literally shaking! When they picked us up they told us to have our bags packed and I thought that I had made the show. When we got to the hotel I found out there were 12 of us there so two girls were going to be leaving that night! They were taking it down to the wire but luckily I wasn’t one of the two that were cut that evening.
HN: I cannot imagine the pressure all of you felt when you found out that two of you were not going to be there the next morning…
SH: It got even worse when I got into the house!
HN: But all of your hard work paid off in the end. You made it to the show and you got some great exposure to a national audience as well.
HN: And now that it’s all said & done, how would you rate the experience?
SH: The experience was a lot different than what I thought it would be. I thought it would be a lot easier. This was the first time I had done all out horror acting. I was used to being the “Sweet” girl as I mentioned before. Acting in a horror film was vastly different than anything I had done before. It’s a lot more difficult than it seems because it’s very easy for it to look cheesy or over the top, you have to do it at just the right magnitude. I’m thinking “I got this! I’m a good actress and these girls have nothing on me!” I quickly found out that the other girls were very good actresses and that acting in horror was something I really knew nothing about. So what I thought was going to be easy turned out to be the complete opposite! I was constantly stressed out & most of the time I couldn’t sleep despite the fact that I was perpetually exhausted. And to make matters worse I was constantly catching myself overacting as well. So it didn’t go as I had planned but if it wasn’t for the show I wouldn’t be sitting where I am now, doing what I’m doing & having the success that is starting to come to me. All of this came from being on that show so I’m glad that I did it. It’s still so weird to me…actually living the dream that I had since I was six years old. I still have to stop and pinch myself sometimes to be sure I’m not dreaming!
HN: It must feel really good to be able to say that! Can you tell me about a television project you’re involved with called “Legacy Of The Masque”?
SH: Legacy Of The Masque is a superhero show where I play Diana Bowman aka The Masque. We just wrapped at the end of July actually and it was so much fun because I got to use my stunt fighting skills a lot. I am totally bad ass in it! I go around fighting crime, rescuing people & so on. It’s gonna be an amazing ride! I think they’re down to the final edit right now.
HN: Is it going to be a syndicated series?
SH: I’m not too sure but I know they’re pushing it to the SYFY network right now. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed! I had a great time making it & I love it to death. It definitely has the potential to be really big. Hopefully it’ll be picked up by a network soon.
HN: Let’s talk about some of your other projects. What can you tell me about “Scream Queen Campfire?”
SH: I filmed the trailer for that one. You can see the trailer online right now.
HN: That hasn’t gone into production yet?
SH: No, We start filming next Summer.
HN: How about “Prey To God?” There are some pretty big cult names attached to that one.
SH: Yeah, Lynn Lowry & Ed Neal are attached to appear in that one.
HN: Those names stood out to me the moment I looked at the poster art.
SH: There was a problem with the financing but it got sorted out and we start filming it very soon. The script is the bomb and I’m so pumped to start working on it. As a matter of fact I’ve already signed up for the sequel!
HN: Really? That’s a good sign! Can you give us a quick synopsis of the plot?
SH: Sure! Me, my best friend, our boyfriends & my little brother go camping for a weekend. Unfortunately for us we decide to camp nearby a family of religious fanatics who don’t approve of our behavior. You know, we’re making out & partying…etc. We get kidnapped one by one & are summarily tortured by them. There’s going to be lots of blood and tons of gore being tossed about!
HN: It sounds like a party!
SH: Definitely! And it has a really nifty twist at the end that no one will be ready for….
HN: Awesome! And now we know you survive at the end of it as well. What was it like to appear in “Pirahna 3DD”? I have such a hard time trying to say that with a straight face. Even over the phone…
SH: (Laughing) It’s hard to take the film seriously with that title huh?
HN: I actually heard about it last year and initially I thought it was a joke. Not that a sequel was being made but that title! I actually liked “Pirahna 3D” a lot. It had everything a good exploitation film could have: Blood, Boobs & tons of severed appendages torn off by ravenous prehistoric fish! And it was all in 3D as well! How could they go wrong?
SH: Exactly! I actually had just finished wrapping “Scream Queen Campfire” when I got the call to appear in “Pirahna 3DD”. I got the call the day before my scenes were to be shot! The director, John Gulager, had seen me on the “Scream Queens” TV show and liked me enough to ask me to come down, and I got a nice little feature part. I can’t say what it is because I don’t want to give it away but it’s definitely hard to miss!
HN: It has to be very gratifying for you to know that John thought of you because he liked what he saw on “Scream Queens” and remembered your work on it. You must have made quite the impression on him.
SH: He actually came up to me and told me that he remembered me from “Scream Queens”! He was such a sweetheart to work with as well.
HN: That’s how he got started in the business as well actually. He got his big break in the “Project: Greenlight” series which was in essence, a competition show as well. Only this time for young directors and the film he directed was a horror film called “Feast” which was quite good and gave birth to two sequels that he directed also. So you two have a lot in common! I also noticed an interesting sounding film in your bio called “Hollow Earth”. What can you tell us about that film?
SH: “Hollow Earth” is a film that I’ll be shooting in a little while. It’s not a horror movie but my character is a very strong one. It’s going to be directed by Travis Bowen. I met him at the Halloween expo in Ohio & I’m really excited to work with him! So I’m definitely going to have a full plate soon because it seems like all of these films are going to be filming at the same time!
HN: You got that right! I see another show that you did called “Reality Hell”. I love that title.
SH: Oh my god, that was so embarrassing! That actually aired on the “E!” network on the night that I first auditioned for “Scream Queens” and I mentioned it to the producers of the show as I was leaving the audition. I was told I’d be appearing on a show resembling “The Bachelor” where a bunch of girls would be vying for the same guy. But in actuality the show was a variation of MTV’s “Punked” and it turned out that I was the one who was being fooled the whole time. The whole joke was the guy I was fighting for ended up being gay! I was so embarrassed when they revealed that I was being pranked.
HN: Were you upset at all when you found out it was all a goof?
SH: No! Actually I was truly embarrassed but relieved that it was just a big goof. I handled myself pretty well I think, I didn’t go all psycho on them or anything like that. He kept telling me there was something he had to tell me & when we were at the dinner table a man approached us and he introduced him as his “Ex”! I was mortified, sitting there with my mouth wide open, thinking that this is being seen on national television and literally shaking when they told me “Sierra, you’ve just gone through reality hell!”
HN: That’s a great story! Let me ask you one last question before I let you go, What is it you want to accomplish as an actress? Where do you envision yourself in the future?
SH: My goal is to be a working actress. I don’t need to be especially rich or famous but I definitely want to be making my living as a working actress. Right now I’m getting paid to do what I love. I love making movies! I’d love to be a regular on a TV series, that would be phenomenal. I want to be known as a versatile actress. I know I’ve been booking a lot of horror films back to back & I love doing them but I also want to show the world that I can perform in a wide variety of roles. Tough girl, sweet girl, sexy girl, innocent girl, singing & dancing girl. These are all roles I can take on and do a great job doing them. That’s my dream and I’m definitely very driven….hopefully it’ll all work out.
HN: Well I can tell just by the tone of your voice that you are an extremely driven young lady. It’s very evident to me that you are a tough cookie and you’re going to go places. I’m just glad I got to you before you get too big & famous! What is your next move? I mean as soon as you hang up the phone…what are you going to do next?
SH: Well I actually fly out next week to go film teasers for “Echo Lake” & “Unlucky Night” with director Jonathan Moody. We’re trying to get 3,000 hits on Facebook for “Scream Queen Campfire” by Christmas. We’re at 2,600 right now. And I’ll be at the “Blood On The Beach” convention at Virginia Beach. Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris and The cast of “The Lost Boys” will be appearing there as well. It’s going to be an awesome show & I hope to meet a lot of fans there!
HN: I’m sure it’s going to be awesome for you & your fans. Thanks for taking some time out of your schedule to answer some questions for horrornews, I really appreciate it!
SH: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me!
HN: You’re very welcome Sierra. Good luck to you!
I just want to say that The Black Saint was completely enchanted by this lovely young lady. I could tell how excited she was to be doing what she’s doing over the telephone as we spoke. She was nothing but a complete blast to speak with and I truly wish her all the best as she continues climbing up the ladder to stardom. Her graciousness & honesty were genuine and heartfelt. And she’s extremely easy on the eyes as well! I’m going to keep an eye on her and I exhort all of my acolytes to do the same.
You can learn more about Sierra at www.sierraholmes.com
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And you can follow Sierra on Twitter: @SierraMist27