As an actor, Dionne Neish sees her role as a combination of three things: she is an artist, she is an entertainer, and she is a storyteller. She aims to make people realize emotions they may have been keeping in, she hopes to enchant her viewers and provide an escape, and she aims to move her audience.
“I love to help an audience see sides to a story that they might not have access to or even have thought about the pain, suffering or joy it is to live in the circumstances set forth in the script. I want to challenge an audience’s perception of the world and the world they surround themselves in,” she said.
As an in-demand actress in England and abroad, Neish has worked alongside Oscar winning actors like JK Simmons and Renée Zellweger and appeared in iconic productions like ABC’s long-running soap opera General Hospital. No matter what role she takes on, Neish is reminded why she loves what she does. She gets to play so many unique characters, with different lives and life challenges, and she is constantly learning how best to get in the mind of various individuals. It’s thrilling for the Brit.
“I often get to have conversations with audience members and fans who have been touched in some way by my performance; whether they disagree with the choices of the character or that they get to see a side of life they haven’t thought about or encountered. The amazing people I’ve met on my journey as an actor has been enlightening and I don’t think I would have encountered that had I not been an actor,” she said.
One of Neish’s favorite projects to date is FX’s comedic drama series Better Things. The show follows Sam, played by Pamela Adlon, an actress raising her three daughters while juggling the pressures of working in Hollywood and being a single parent.
Neish starred in the ninth episode of the second season. Titled “White Rock”, Sam and the girls go on a three-day trip to visit family in Canada. Sam learns a family secret about an aunt she never knew she had. The episode was one of discovery, not just for Sam, but also for her kids. Neish plays Letty, who fills in some of the blanks that Sam’s family can’t. It’s a very touching episode and it also brings the relationship with Sam and her daughters closer together.
“I love the story and the show. I believe it shows that it’s hard trying to have it all and a lot of the times when one part of your life might be winning the other sides are failing. I love Pamela’s character Sam as she shows us that she’s just as flawed as her kids, even though she’s meant to have her life together as an adult and its hard trying to be everything when most of the time you have no idea what that is. She is just trying to stay afloat and be a good mum and provide for her family,” Neish described.
Neish has always been a fan of Pamela Adlon, so getting to work alongside her was a dream come true for the actress. From the moment they met, Adlon was singing Neish’s praises and saying how much she enjoyed Neish’s audition and how she looked great on camera. Such comradery on set made every day of shooting fun and easy. Her favorite part of filming, however, was seeing all the women around her, as the showrunner, lead actress, and creator is a woman.
“Pamela’s own voice is out there and that's important today. It fires my soul to see that so many of my female peers are taking leads and we’re starting to see different types of women leads in shows. We’re seeing different portrayals of women, not us just being the props to our men, and we’re just as flawed and scared and strong and boss-like as the men. These images in the media are important for young women growing up who can watch these shows and recognize themselves in these characters. Pamela Adlon amongst all these other amazing women who have opened up the door for actresses like me to not only see myself as an actor, but also as a creator,” said Neish.
Better Things has been a vast success. It was nominated for a Golden Globe, and won a Peabody Award, amongst many other accolades. Neish is proud to be part of such a show and be a part of its tremendous success. She hopes that young girls in the audience are motivated by what they see on screen.
“It’s wonderful to know that people love the show and that it’s been given such honors. It’s nice to know that the work you do is respected and admired, it’s encouraging,” Neish concluded.