When Rachel Skarsten swaggered onto the scene during the second episode of Lost Girl’s third season, we knew right away that we were going to like her. Maybe it was the way Tamsin put Dyson in his place the first time she opened her mouth. Maybe it was the way Tamsin hopped into the boxing ring to go toe-to-toe with the fellas. Maybe it was because we still have a lot of love for Skarsten’s Birds of Prey character, Dinah Lance. Or maybe it’s her one-paragraph biography that boasts a degree in English Literature and Classical History, and a hockey championship. The more we get to know Tamsin and Skarsten, them more we love them. Lucky for us, she took time out of her busy schedule to chat about the upcoming Lost Girl finale, about Tamsin’s relationship with Bo, and about what she loves best about her badass (anti-?)heroine.
AfterEllen: Let me kick this off with a question I’m sure you’ve been asked a million times, but what was it like for you to join Lost Girl‘s cast in such a prominent way in the third season?
Rachel Skarsten: It was great. You know, normally you have to say nice things in interviews. Nobody wants to be that actor that’s like, “Oh, well, you know, it sucked.” [Laughs] Coming into a show in its third season presents challenges because usually the actors are already best friends and super tight, so it’s difficult to come into that, or there’s already existing drama on set and you have to deal with that, but Lost Girl‘s reputation preceded it. I’d heard that everyone on the cast and crew loved the show, and that they all wanted to be there, and they all really liked each other. So, I was nervous, but they truly embraced me and welcomed me into the gang. I’m not only friends with them on-set, but I’ve been hanging out with Anna [Silk] here in Los Angeles, and I saw [executive producer] Jay Firestone out recently, so it’s been like being adopted into a family.
AE: Let’s talk about Tamsin. You must be thrilled to be playing that character. There are so few women like her on TV.
RS: Oh, I know. I love her. You know, it’s funny, people are always telling me on Twitter “You just have the best one-liners!” Like I came up with them. But no, I just get to say them!
So, Jay created the character of Tamsin in his mind and pitched it to the network and they said, “That person just doesn’t exist.” But when I went in and met with him, he said, “You are this character. You don’t know her, but you are her. You have to do it.” And of course I already trusted him because he has a history of writing strong, empowered, smart female characters. I think all of his characters on Lost Girl are great, but Tamsin kind of takes the cake. She’s so vivacious and bold and almost bordering on ridiculous in her self-assuredness, but she owns that ridiculousness. She’s wonderful.
AE: How much did you know about Tamsin when you started filming? She has got quite a backstory that has unfolded as the season has progressed.
RS: Well, I was supposed to sit down with the producers before we started shooting and they were going to tell me everything about Tamsin. I didn’t come in until the second episode. I had been in Norway visiting my family, so I came in the day before we started shooting, and we just went right into everything and it was crazy and busy, so I didn’t sit down and talk to them. So, I would say for the first five episodes, the producers would come up to me and say stuff like, “Oh, she’s a Valkyrie! Or, “Oh, she has this crazy past!” So I knew Tamsin had this backstory and all these other motives, but I wasn’t quite sure what they were specifically. I learned her from the scripts as we went along, early on, which was fun for me because I could put that layer of uncertainty underneath her confidence.