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Jessica is a contributing writer for The Hudsucker. You can usually find her dissecting the latest season of 'Game of Thrones', or singing along to Taylor Swift's '1989' in the car at stop lights. Feel free to say hi. Personal motto: Live every day like you're Glen Coco.

‘Van Helsing’ Actress Rukiya Bernard Talks Syfy’s Female Reboot

It’s not surprising to hear talk of vampires in October, but this year it’s thanks to more than just Halloween. Syfy’s reboot of the popular vampire film, Van Helsing, continues to make waves since its premiere earlier this year.

To get more insight on the female-driven show, we spoke with one of its actresses, Rukiya Bernard. Bernard let us in on the reboot, the new path for women in entertainment, and why you may buy her couch in the future.

Actress Rukiya Bernard. Source: Liz Rosa

Actress Rukiya Bernard. Source: Liz Rosa

Van Helsing is an action packed horror-drama about the vampire apocalypse, and one woman’s special abilities to potentially save the world. There’s tons of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally,” says Bernard.

 In the new series, Bernard plays the role of Doc, a survivor of the vampire apocalypse and a crucial part to Vanessa Van Helsing’s venture to end the vampire takeover. When we spoke to the seasoned actress, Bernard was quick to point out the foil between Doc and Vanessa.

“Doc is a survivor of the rising, as is Vanessa. They are kind of book ends of each other,” she says. “Doc is a vampire and Vanessa discovers she has the ability to turn a vampire back to human.”

Bernard found Doc to be quite the relatable character, despite her un-deadly behavior.

“There are a lot of things I relate to as Doc. She’s highly curious and determined to get answers and I’m the same,” Bernard shares. “I loved my role as Doc as she’s this introverted, socially awkward, highly intelligent person who gets to play both vampire and human. It’s quite a range and lots of fun.”

The Toronto-born actress certainly did her homework on the broad role, without even realizing it. Having been a fan of the original film and vampire tales as a whole, Bernard was more than prepared to bring Doc to life and end the vampire take-over.

Source: Liz Rosa

Source: Liz Rosa

“I had already read Bram Stoker’s Dracula many years back, and I just love the vampire genre,” Bernard tells us. “I was most excited for the show as it’s a modern take on the tale, set in the present day with a female lead.”

The female-driven remake is something happening more and more in the entertainment industry. With the release of the all-female remake of Ghostbusters this year, it’s certainly not unheard of to see a male-originated role go to a woman. This is a topic Bernard knows all too well, and she was more than happy to discuss the high hopes she has for women in film and television.

“I feel it’s changed in that traditional gender roles are being questioned, which gives me the opportunity to play roles outside of the typical damsel in distress, or as a black female, the best friend, sidekick, etc. There’s still a lot that needs to be changed [such as the] amount and size of roles for women, types of role, pay inequalities, disparities of roles for females of color. But it’s really nice to be part of a generation that is changing and causing some awareness.”

The show, which often carries a very serious tone in nature, had an audition process that was quite the opposite. At least, for Bernard. She recalls a light-heated mood in the room, a departure from the show’s typically serious mood.

“It was actually quite funny. Everyone was in the room, writers, director, execs, network execs, assistants, casting of course, which is quite rare. Everyone was crammed in this little room sitting shoulder to shoulder. We were all joking around and laughing ahead of the audition so it really lightened the mood. Then I did my audition. And that was it.”

Bernard may be focusing on her role as an actress for now, but don’t count her out to step behind the camera sometime soon. She has her hand in nearly every facet of television and film, including set design.

Source: Liz Rosa

Source: Liz Rosa

“I’ve already written, produced and directed a short film and I still write a lot. I also plan on shooting more. I’m a very visual person and love creating stories with images. I think in this business, it’s important to be multi-faceted and to understand and respect what the different positions do too,” she says.

Her passion for design extends past the studio, as Bernard has a knack for interior design as well.

“I feel interior design is actually quite relatable to directing, especially art direction. But with interior design, you’re always telling a story of the person who is using the space. I now know that’s what drew me to that art form. I would love to have a line of home furniture. I remember years ago designing a bathroom vanity for a house I was interior designing and it was really fun to go through that process.”

So what’s next for the actress, who has also appeared in shows such as Supernatural and The L Word? Perhaps fans should prepare themselves to have a few laughs.

“I would love to do an indie comedy film. I’m a huge fan of indie films.”

Van Helsing airs Fridays at 10/9c only on Syfy.

Keep up with all of Rukiya Bernard’s upcoming work on her IMDb and Twitter!

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