Shenae Grimes dives back into acting

After a self-imposed hiatus, the former teen star films gritty indie flick


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Shenae Grimes

A few short years ago, Shenae Grimes was the young star of a TV show beamed around the world, her face graced the cover of many a glossy magazine, and she was crowned Most Beautiful by People Magazine. It seemed like a fairy-tale life but in fact Grimes needed a serious break. 

Burnt out and lacking creative energy after the show finished in 2013, Grimes took a self-imposed two-year break from acting. 

“I took like a two-year break from acting after 90210 wrapped to get a little perspective and to step away from something that I’d been doing since I was a kid,” explains Grimes. “Getting back into it now as an adult, I have a refreshed perspective and attitude for the career that I’ve built for myself.”

Recently a script for a Canadian indie flick brought the young actress back to the craft she fell in love with.

The Bequest is set on an island at a family’s hunting lodge, where Grimes’ character returns to help her siblings care for their dying father. “I read the script and immediately sent an email back to my agent saying I plan to do it,” says Grimes. “It was a great story with elements of surprise that even surprised me as a reader.” 

The film, set for release in early 2016, also stars a few well-known Toronto actors, including Don McKellar and Gil Bellows. “Don was awesome,” says Grimes. “The way he brought his character to life was unexpected because you read things on a piece of paper and you can hear the delivery in your own head, but he did something unique with it that I really loved.” 

She explains that shooting the film on an island in Georgian Bay was a feat in itself, as Mother Nature was giving them a thriller of their own during production.“It was absolute chaos, the elements up there just change like every 10 minutes!” says Grimes. “It was crazy, like torrential downpour one second and then it’s blue skies again. We even had hail one day.”

During her break from acting, Grimes and husband, British model and musician Josh Beech, started a vintage punk–inspired clothing line called Two Halves. Although, with her recent return to acting, it’s been a bit of a juggling act. “[Two Halves] has definitely slowed down,” she explains. 

As busy as she is, time with her husband remains top of mind. “Our priority is being together all the time,” says Grimes. “We do our best to juggle our calendars so we can both be there for each other, not just in spirit”

Although Grimes now lives in L.A., she makes a point of coming home to Toronto whenever she can. “I can’t stay away for too long,” she admits. When she does come home, she still likes to hit up some of her old favourite hot spots. “When I first brought Josh back here, I had to show him Kensington Market,” she says. “And we love to play pool, so we’ll go down to the Rivoli on Queen Street where I used to see my friends.”

As for what’s next for Grimes? 

“I’m excited to try my hand at comedy, maybe do more meaty drama,” she says. “I’m just really amped on exploring what I am capable of as a performer.”

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