Rhian Blundell on Vampire Academy
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Rhian Blundell on Vampire Academy

Ahead of the launch of new Peacock's new fantasy series, we meet one of its stars

With both the Game of Thrones and the Lord of the Rings prequels to get our teeth stuck into, we’re already spoiled for fantasy shows this autumn. But let’s not forget about Vampire Academy, Peacock’s new adaptation of Richelle Mead’s novels of the same name, which focuses on a school where vampires learn the ropes. Playing one of the leads, Meredith, is rising star Rhian Blundell, who made her screen debut in feature film Nobody Girl. Check out our interview with her below.

Q&A with Rhian Blundell

What can you tell us about Vampire Academy?

Vampire Academy is the story of this world that lives alongside our own. In it vampires of different classes and breeds have formed their own society. The show follows students from this society as they’re approaching the end of their education and starting to realize exactly what entering this society is going to mean for their lives and friendships. It’s action packed, it’s scary, it’s got romance and political intrigue – everything you could want! 

Any funny stories from rehearsals?

We laughed so much on set. Admittedly we did eight months of night shoots in the cold so most of it was probably us being over tired! But we all had the best time together. There was one day we were shooting and Joseph Ollman, who’s incredible, was driving this car and it was fighting him the whole day. The car alarm would go off in the middle of takes, at one point he managed to lock himself in the car during a take. And every time something would go wrong we’d lose it and have to calm down before we could start again. I think he had the key taken off him in the end. 

Favourite person you’ve worked with on Vampire Academy?

There’s an argument for me to mention everyone in the cast and crew – the whole ensemble is honestly incredible. I’d probably have to say Mia Mckenna-Bruce though. We had a lot of emotionally charged scenes together. We both come from completely different backgrounds in this industry but it always felt so fluid and natural working with her. She’s so incredibly talented and humble, I learnt a lot from her. Also she’s ended up becoming an amazing mate outside of work so it was a win win. 

Favourite role to date and why?

It would have to be this one. And not just because I still feel very much in the throws of it but because I got to pour so much of myself into her. I was incredibly lucky that I got this role just as lockdown was coming to a close for the UK and so two years of all those emotions we’d all gone through I poured into Meredith.

Role you’d cut your right arm off to get?

Getting to work with Guillermo del Toro. I think he’s a visual genius. And I’m a huge supernatural horror fan which he does so well. I’d love to tell a really, really great ghost story. And, hey, Neil Gaiman? If you’re looking for a Delirium of the Endless, let me know?

What demands do you have during rehearsals? 

A two hour nap in the middle. In all seriousness though, we shot for eight months at night – there were a lot of trailer naps. 

What qualities do you think have made you successful? 

I have been incredibly lucky to have a family who would never let me give up even when I was ready to. They are as much responsible for where I am now as I am. I’m also a world class player at Seven Degree’s of Kevin Bacon. I couldn’t tell you how that’s helped but I feel like it has!

Film you think everyone in the world should see?

Labyrinth. The practical effects are just insane, the puppets are incredible and the whole thing is just so gorgeously bizarre. Jim Henson made something that will live on forever. And Bowie? Come on? That film is a right of passage. 

What’s your relationship with social media like? 

I definitely spend more time hating it than liking it. I don’t think it escapes anyone how fake and toxic it can all be. And I’m terrible for doom scrolling. But I have so many friends who are able to promote their art or music or small businesses through it so I definitely appreciate that I can support them through it. 

Rhian Blundell

If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be? 

Don’t worry about what the world thinks. Easier said than done but if I thought I would have listened then that. And take some dance classes because that clumsiness is only going to get worse over time.

Three books you’d take to a desert island and why? 

The Haunting of Hill House is my favourite book of all time, so that for sure. And my favourite books growing up were the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix so I’d probably glue them together to make the one large book – that’s not cheating, right? And I just bought the complete Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan so that’s the third. I’m probably going to sink with all that weight before I even make it to the island.

The most challenging moment of your life?

When my mum got really ill a few years ago, I’d always felt pretty invincible before that. But on the flip side it definitely encouraged my whole family to enjoy the now more. 

How can we all live a little bit better?

Little acts. Little acts of kindness everyday. And I know that that barely scratches the surface with how crazy the world is but I know that if I do that everyday then I’ve done something. 

What’s your interior design style?

I like to say minimalist but that’s probably a lie! I like to try and keep my space as clean and clear as possible. But then again I’m the person who will justify Halloween decorations being out year round so what do I know!

What are your indulgences? 

Shoes. Specifically boots and trainers. And coffee. I’m a sucker for good coffee. 

What would your best friend say about you? 

I would hope she’d say I make her laugh. And that I care very deeply for the people in my life, I’ll do anything for anyone. But I’m the worst person at texting back!

How do you relax?

I love to swim and I grew up spending a lot of time in the garden. But I fell in love with this industry because I loved movies so much and that honestly has not lessened. They’re still very much my escape. 

If we’re coming to your area for a visit, what should we do?

I’m lucky that I grew up about an hour away from the Lake District and I still think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country. I’ve always been a bit of a wanderer so it’s pretty perfect for someone like me to just disappear into the quiet for a while. 

Are you a rule breaker or a rule taker? 

Rule taker. My mum’s a primary school teacher – I wouldn’t dare!