Actress, who grew up in Waldo without a television, now stars in a Hallmark Christmas movie



Many people can recite lines from their vacation special or their favorite movie that they watched on TV each year growing up. This is not the case for Maine-born actress Heather Hemmens, although she now plays one.

Hemmens, the Hallmark Channel ‘Christmas in my Heart’ lead actress grew up in the woods of Waldo, a small town near Belfast, in an off-grid house. Thus, his family had neither electricity nor television, which meant that there was no rerun of Christmas movies. But Hemmens believes that the discipline and focus she learned from her childhood in Maine contributed to her success as an actress. So, in a way, her lack of TV helped her get on TV.

“There is so much that I think I gained growing up this way, including a strong work ethic. You can’t be lazy when there is firewood to bring or things to collect in the garden, ”said Hemmens, 33, who now lives in Los Angeles. “I also read a lot of books, which really improved my imagination. When I watch a script, I visualize everything I read.

Over the past decade or so, Hemmens has starred in several movies and TV series, including “Hellcats” on the CW network, the Tyler Perry-produced soap opera “If Loving You is Wrong” on OWN and the sci-fi drama by CW. “Roswell, New Mexico,” which will enter its fourth season next year.

Hemmens says his childhood in Maine made his life in the city now seem “very easy and luxurious.” As an adult, she got to watch more holiday movies and pick a few favorites as well, including Will Ferrell’s comedy “Elf”, romantic comedy “Serendipity” and Jim Carrey’s live-action version of the classic story “How the Grinch I Stole Christmas.”

Hemmens is now part of a holiday tradition that has been developing for more than a decade. The Hallmark Channel began running a list of original holiday movies around 2009, filled with holiday cheer and uplifting themes, much like Christmas comfort food for the eyes and soul.

The number of original Hallmark films released each year has increased as their popularity has increased. This year, the cable channel plans to air more than 40 new holiday movies by Christmas. “Christmas in My Heart” debuted on the Hallmark Channel in October and will air five more times this holiday season: Wednesday at midnight, Saturday at 10 a.m., Dec. 12 at 10 p.m., Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. and Christmas at 8 p.m.

Hemmens plays a violin teacher who helps a young girl get ready for a holiday concert. The girl’s father is a country music star who has isolated himself emotionally since his wife’s death. At the same time, the character of Hemmens is grappling with a death in the family. Through the music and the magic of the holidays, the couple connects.

“I’m so happy to be involved in a Christmas movie, I know people love to watch Christmas movies all year round,” Hemmens said. “It’s just nice for me to be a part of something like that.”

ROAD TO HOLLYWOOD

Hemmens grew up the youngest of four children. Her father was a carpenter and her mother “a domestic engineer,” she said. Hemmens was drawn to theater and performance from an early age. She played Dorothy in “Wizard of Oz” while in fifth grade at Morse Memorial School in Brooks. One of her teachers, Dale Breau, encouraged her to get involved in community theater, including the Belfast Maskers. She started out in a wacky comedy called “Here Comes the Judge” and appeared on several shows as a teenager, performing and singing.

“She was natural, but she also worked really hard on it,” said Meg Nickerson, artistic director of the Belfast Maskers. “When you work with a lot of people in community theater and in high school, you know when someone has it. And she does.

Nickerson has followed Hemmens’ success over the years, as have other local theater actors she worked with as a teenager. A few years ago, Nickerson asked Hemmens if she would be willing to do an online interview for a video series called “Where are they now?” Profiling former Belfast Maskers players and focusing on what they’ve been up to since. Hemmens agreed and Nickerson found her as “lovely and lovely” as she had been as a teenager.

“It doesn’t seem like Hollywood had an effect on her at all,” Nickerson said.

Hemmens attended Mount View High School in Thorndike for two years, but was later accepted to Walnut Hill School for the Arts, a boarding school near Boston. She showed the teachers that she was “passionate and motivated,” said Joe Cabral, theater director at Walnut Hill and one of Hemmens’ teachers when she was there. Cabral said he had followed Hemmens’ success in film and television and “was not at all surprised”.

Hemmens moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career and began securing small movie roles, most notably as “# 1 girl” in “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Between 2005 and 2010, she had other small roles in movies and TV shows, most notably in the CBS dramas “CSI: Miami” and “Without a Trace”. Her first major role was playing Southern college cheerleader Alice Verdura in the CW Network drama “Hellcats.” In 2014, she landed the role of Marcie Holmes, a real estate agent on “If Loving You is Wrong” on OWN, also known as the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Hemmens said shortly before getting the role in “If Loving You is Wrong,” she had auditioned for another role that she really wanted and was very disappointed that she didn’t get it. But this series was never made. Because she didn’t get the role, she was able to do “If loving you is wrong,” which kept her employed for five years.

From left to right, Michael Trevino, Heather Hemmens and Steven Krueger in a scene from “Roswell, New Mexico”. Photo by John Golden Britt / The CW

In 2019, she landed one of the lead roles in the CW sci-fi series “Roswell, New Mexico,” a drama about aliens living among the city’s humans, based on the “Roswell High” book series. “by Melinda Metz. The city of Roswell has been a center of kitsch and alien-related tourism since UFO debris was reportedly found near here in 1947.

In “Roswell”, Hemmens plays Maria DeLuca, who runs a bar in town called The Wild Pony and is the best friend of Liz Ortecho (Jeanine Mason), whose family is intimately linked to the city’s alien past and present. Hemmens’ character was unaware of the existence of aliens in town until recently.

“She’s the one having fun with the group. She’s always up to something, ”said Hemmens, of New Mexico, where the show is currently filming its fourth season. Although she lives in Los Angeles, Hemmens returns to Maine to visit family and friends, sometimes while on vacation.

In the role of Maria, Hemmens can also sing and she has directed an episode of the series, something that she hopes to do more. As for other projects, Hemmens says she’s not looking too far. She says she feels grateful to have appeared in several long-running TV series, for the stability they have brought to her and her career.

“Working on television has always been a dream for me, and I appreciate the consistency of it. It’s like a family that you work with year after year, ”said Hemmens. “I am very happy to do this.”


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