If young Hollywood has a perfect ambassador to represent the all too rare combination of wisdom and beauty, then 23-year-old actress Danielle Campbell would be at the top of the list. We caught up with the star as she is halfway through filming her highly anticipated CBS All Access series, Tell Me A Story, in New York. For her BELLO cover feature, Danielle opens up about her summer adventures in the Big Apple, her passion for painting, and her renewed appreciation for the power of now.
“Summer’s been crazy,” Danielle tells us after a busy day of filming. “We’ve been shooting Tell Me A Story in two-episode blocks at a time, so it’s been really hectic. It’s a big cast and we’re shooting all over New York which has been amazing. It’s really giving the show a special quality because you will get to see the entire city explored on screen.”
While some stars are able to relax and unwind this summer, Danielle has chosen to stay busy filming season one since May, and continuing straight through November. All that hard work is more than worth it for Danielle, as she bubbles with excitement when she discusses the show. “It’s based on three different fairy tales set in modern day New York,” she says. “The first season is based on The Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, and Little Red Riding Hood. I play Kayla, a California girl who moves in with her dad and grandmother in New York, and she’s a bit of a wild child. She skips school, she parties, she drinks. Her father moved her there so she could get a fresh start, but she ends up meeting a guy who turns her world upside down. It starts airing around Halloween on CBS All Access.”
Ask any actor and they will tell you how thrilling it is to shoot in New York. Not only does the city offer some of the most exciting locations to film in, but it also comes with a nightlife that’s second to none. Danielle shares one memory in particular that stood out above the rest. “The weather in New York has been pretty crazy, and once when my friend Michelle was visiting, it just so happened to be a day when me and my crew were filming in Manhattan. We were all let off from work because the rain and lightning was so intense. So Michelle and I went out and had an amazing night. We had an incredible dinner, and were running around care free in the rain storm! It was one of my favorite summer memories by far.”
But it’s not all just work and play for Danielle. Her summer has been rich with fertile personal growth as well. “This summer has been a great time for me personally in the sense that I’ve come to truly understand the power and beauty of living in the present moment. It’s an invaluable tool in how it gets you through almost any difficulty or hard time.” She adds, “Being truly present is the greatest gift you can give yourself. My boyfriend and I, for example, were recently in New Orleans and we had a deep conversation about this very idea. When you’re living in the moment your mind is never preoccupied with what the next moment will be — you’re completely immersed in the beauty of what’s right in front of you, instead of wasting your time living in the future.”
This wisdom has not only served Danielle well in her personal life, but also her career. “I love this business for the acting and the acting alone,” she says. “There’s a lot of peripheral goings-on in this business that can be distracting and some people can get taken over by that. My advice to those starting out would be to focus exactly on what you want, and your motivation will get you there. Surround yourself by good people who are supporting you with the best intentions, and be confident in knowing that you are enough just the way you are.”
Unlike some starlets who are just in it for ego, Danielle is here for the craft itself. And just like the very best in the business, she has a fearless work ethic, combined with mentors she looks up to as her ‘northern stars’. “Marion Cotillard is one of my favorite actresses,” Danielle tells us. “Not only is she so supremely elegant, but her choices are remarkable. I also admire Margot Robbie. She’s been working in film for a long time and is not the kind of actress who had instant breakout success. What she accomplished with I, Tonya is certainly impressive, but it’s an achievement that was validated by the incredible body of work she’s built over the years. She started her own production company and she’s bringing her own films, choices, and wisdom into the world for all of us to enjoy.”
So does Danielle have any dreams of producing her own series and films one day? “It’s a personal choice for any actor,” she says. “There’s a lot to be said for women who want to focus primarily on acting. Other women, on the other hand, aspire to combine their work in acting with other ventures in fashion, business, directing, writing, producing, etc. It’s a very personal decision. For me, my goals change over time. When I first started out I only wanted to act, whereas now I can definitely foresee myself becoming a producer at some point. And furthermore, although right now I am not at a place where I want to direct, in the future I might definitely want to. I’ve learned it’s important to never lock yourself down into one thing — you need to remain fluid and open to all possibilities.”
Danielle also maintains a healthy balance of work and play. And right now, it so happens that one of her favorite hobbies perfectly dovetails with her acting career. “Being in New York I have fallen in love with walking and listening to podcasts. I absolutely love it. I’ve also started painting this year which has been really therapeutic. Painting is such an easy art form for me to get lost in, and it’s very similar to acting in many ways. In painting, you are able to go to so many different emotional places with color — from the brightest to the darkest — and it’s the exact same experience when I’m acting. Last week, for instance, I was in a very intense, emotional scene and it was a challenge to navigate. Me and the other actor both enjoyed it so much because it was such a vibrant experience. It’s the same feeling when you get lost in a painting.”
Tell Me A Story premieres on CBS All Access around Halloween.
Photography ARTHUR GALVAO | Creative Direction STEPHANE MARQUET
Styling LO VONRUMP
Hair JOSH LIU
Makeup NICOLE WALMSLEY
Production Maison Privée x BELLO Media Group | Interview Brent Lambert