When Romy Teperson steps onto a film set, readies herself for the camera, and embodies a character, she feels truly alive. This renowned actress knows how to create unique and compelling characters, each with their own story to tell, and just as impressively, how to evoke raw emotional responses from an audience (who are usually barreled over in guttural, hysterical laughter). Acting, for Teperson, is a reflection of life, and she loves that her work involves showcasing the complexity of the human condition to audiences all over the world.
Millions around the world have seen Teperson’s work. Whether in her home country of Australia, or in the United States, this native South African knows how to captivate an audience. This is evident throughout her work on shows like Busy Tonight and Swift & Shift Couriers, as well as films such as Devil’s Cove and The Turned.
“I have always been more in love with television than film. I love the idea of an audience inviting me into their homes every week and going with me on a journey, whether it be thought provoking or laugh out loud funny. If I can be that form of relief or enjoyment, to barrel roll laugh out loud after a hard day or week, I have done my job and I am grateful for that,” said Teperson.
Teperson has worked with many high-caliber talent in the industry throughout her career, but the highlight for her came last year when she was hand-picked out of a nationwide audition search by Oscar Winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Teperson won the coveted spot of being directed by and starring alongside Gooding Jr himself in a national iPhone XS campaign, beating out thousands of actors, based off of an improvised original character she created. The spot was promoting Optus, one of Australia’s largest mobile carriers. To go one on one in studio with this Academy Award winner was definitely a proud feather in Teperson’s cap.
“When I received the news that I was picked from literally thousands nationwide, it was a moment of utter pride and elation. Not only had I been successful through an insanely large-scale audition process, but I had been picked by an Oscar Winner. To have the professional opinion of an Oscar Winner be that you should be in their project is humbling to say the least,” she said.
Gooding Jr. both starred in and directed the commercial, so he was looking for top Australian talent to work with him on the same level. He wanted someone to not only personally direct, but improvise alongside him, in studio, one on one. This caught Teperson’s attention straight away, as she is known for her extraordinary improv and sketch skillset.
Teperson created a heightened version of herself for the commercial, bringing all the elements he was looking for – humor, character, energy, and charisma. She went big and loud with her character and did so completely improvising. Her skills in this arena were of the utmost importance to the success of the high-budget campaign for this iconic product and brand, as the whole shoot consisted of Teperson and Gooding Jr. improvising off each other one on one.
“As an actor and improviser, you can feel when something really lands. A delivery of a line. The timing of a reaction. The energy in a room. But to have someone of that stature stand up and pick you and your version of a performance, is what I can only imagine it would feel like hearing your name called out at the Emmys. I felt proud of my work. Proud of my drive throughout the rigorous process. And proud to have been selected to star alongside such a talented acting icon. The only direction Cuba gave for the audition was ‘Let-me-see-you-do- what-you-do-when-you-do-what-you-do-baby’. There’s a way in which Cuba speaks that I feel I understand on a comedic level. From that alone I knew we spoke the same comedic language”.
When Teperson saw the commercial on television for the first time, it was a dream come true. The entire process was amazing for the actress, from seeing the smile on her dad’s face when he heard she was cast, to having her mom and sister wait outside the studio while she was filming, it was extremely rewarding for her entire family. At the end of the day, it was her comedic instincts which led to making this campaign a success, speaking volumes to the innate talent Teperson possesses.