For Isabella Richardson, acting is more than just a rewarding job. It is what excites her. It is her passion. She wakes up every day and has the opportunity to live her childhood dreams to the fullest. This Australian native has seen international success, working on projects that she is not only proud of, but are important to her.
As a child, Richardson was extremely shy, but her life changed when she was nine years old, and she immersed herself into theatre. Everyone around her was confident, and that quickly rubbed off on her, excelling in public speaking and becoming the lead in the school play. That first time on stage, she knew she was doing what she loved, and never wanted to pursue any other career path.
“I never really thought of acting as a job. In Australia, there is quite a big ‘stigma’ around acting and having that as your main focus of a job. Unfortunately, most people who dream of pursuing a career in the creative arts her, have their dreams broken before they even begin. I was lucky enough to have so many incredible people believe in me and what I do as an actor,” said Richardson.
Richardson’s role on two seasons of the comedy sketch show You’re Skitting Me has been the highlight of her career, but at only nineteen years-old, she has worked on several esteemed projects. Her film, Next of Kin, made its way to the Byron Bay Film Festival, and her commercial for BeyondBlue shed light on the important issue of youth depression and suicide. The actress even had a successful singing career, with her country single ‘Pin Up Girls’ going to number four on the iTunes Country Music Charts in just 24 hours.
“I would describe my acting style as naturalistic. Everything I put my all into is always going to have a little piece of me in it. Whether that be the way I speak, the way I move etc. I will always, no matter what, try to make the character believable. The more realistic emotions that you evoke, evoke realistic reactions from viewers. Whether that be comedy or a dramatic role I pursue, I want it to be as naturalistic as possible,” Richardson described.
In last year’s Sprite commercial, Richardson just does that. Her role as a “Sprite Girl” captivated audiences in Australia and New Zealand. The commercial was not just a feature on YouTube, but also was shown at soccer stadiums, airing before and throughout the matches, and in movie cinemas.
“This project captured my eye through its brand, Sprite. I am an avid sprite drinker and being able to be a ‘Sprite Girl’ was a very exciting concept that I really wanted to be a part of. I loved working for such a reputable worldwide brand; that was probably the most exhilarating part. But also, just being able to work with such an incredible team who had fun with everything, we never took anything to seriously,” she said.
The commercial is based on a date situation going wrong, but Sprite saves the day. Richardson’s character goes on a first date with a boy who she really likes. She loves spicy food so she picked a Mexican restaurant for their first outing. Unfortunately, her unsuspecting date pours a little too much hot sauce on his quesadilla and starts to have a strange reaction. His face turns a bright red, steam starts to come out of both his ears and he breathes fire. A Sprite comes into frame saving the date from turning all kinds of horrid.
“It was so much fun working on this project. We were in an old building in Melbourne’s City that was dressed up to look like it was a Mexican restaurant. We were drinking sprite the whole day whilst filming so that added a real cool vibe to the atmosphere of the shoot. The process of this character was very simplistic, I just pretended I was on a date, in an awkward situation, which straight away brings up all kinds of normal feelings you would have on a real first date. I could very easily relate to this character and her awkwardness,” said Richardson.
Of the fifty girls who auditioned for this role in Sprite’s ‘Hot Date’, Richardson was easily the stand out. Her unique and beautiful look created an intriguing aspect to the character. She used expressive faces and her unique understanding of comedic timing to impress the producers both in the audition and again while filming.
“Isabella is so professional to work with. She is a natural at acting. She has heaps of really impressive experience, and it is all of this past experience that drew the producer and I to want to work with her. She has a very strong work ethic and is always very dedicated in what she does,” said Matthew McCaughey, who worked alongside Richardson on the commercial. “From my short time working with Isabella, I can tell why she is so successful. She has so much drive, and that is what gives her so many wonderful opportunities and opens so many doors.”
Richardson’s character in Sprite’s ‘Hot Date’ was described as a girl with a distinctive look, but approachable. She’s a more relaxed, down to earth person that still retains an air of confidence. She gives the hero character curious and concerned glances without seeming nasty. As with the hero, she possesses a strong proficiency in physical comedy. Many that saw her in the commercial recognized her immediately, making an even more enjoyable experience for the popular actress.
“It was very fun. I had so many people send me photos of them seeing it in the movies, before YouTube videos, and I loved telling people that I could annoy them when they least expected it. It was a really thrilling experience,” Richardson joked.
With her success, Richardson remains humble. She doesn’t like acting for the accolades or awards, for her, it goes back to that feeling she had the first time she stepped onto a stage. Now, she looks to inspire others looking to follow in her footsteps.
“Don’t be anyone but yourself,” she advised. “It’s sometimes hard going for auditions, because you show up and there are so many girls sitting in the waiting room that look exactly like you, and you can hear someone auditioning in the other room and they are doing the scene a completely different way to how you interpreted yours. Don’t change it, don’t change you. You never know, the way you do the scene might actually land you the role.”
“Always trust your instincts,” she concluded.