A Conversation with Alexa Mansour
I spoke with actress and musician Alexa Mansour about her role in The Walking Dead: World Beyond. She told me which Walking Dead co-star she had a crush on. We also discuss her journey with anxiety as well as her promising music career.
RLJE Films will release The Walking Dead: World Beyond Season 1 on DVD and Blu-ray on June 15, 2021.
Yanis: What can fans expect from The Walking Dead: World Beyond and your character Hope.
Alexa: Well it’s the first season that’s coming out on Blu Ray, so just kind of seeing an arc of her going from being a sad teenager to someone who realizes she has the potential of saving humanity.
Y: I understand The Blaze of Glory was a particularly interesting episode. What was that like to film?
A: It was extremely hot, but it was really great. It was just a really intense episode and I think that the set and the way they decorate everything really brought out the intensity of what was going on. It kind of felt like you were living in it and not just acting in it.
Y: You were quite a fan of Nico. What was it like getting to know the original cast of The Walking Dead.
A: It was pretty amazing. They’re so kind and I’ve learned a lot from them. It’s been surreal and we’ve gotten really close throughout the past few years. Nico’s more like a big sibling now than a co-star.
Y: Did you tell Nico you had a crush on him?
A: Yeah I did. That was the first thing I ever told him when I met them. But like I said, now they’re family and I think that crush faded very rapidly.
Y: He’s your older brother now.
Y: How did you bond with your co-star Aliyah Royale? Was the chemistry instant?
A: The chemistry was right away. I’m an introvert in real life for the most part, but when it comes to work I’m pretty open and out there. Aliyah I had read with a lot of different possible Irises and Aliyah was the one that really felt the most sisterly. It was very easy breezy to portray being sisters on the show.
Y: You were almost ready to quit acting prior to being cast as Hope. How did your parents convince you to not quit acting?
A: My parents have been really supportive of all my decisions. I think they respected the fact that I’d been trying for like a year and hadn’t booked anything.
I’d been auditioning maybe two times a day, almost every other day, so it was taking a toll on me. I just didn’t really have the energy to keep doing it. But this gave the reassurance that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and they were extremely happy for me when they realized that I was getting the chance to do what I love.
Y: What was Hope like in comparison to the other character’s you’ve played? You’ve mentioned being cast as the “exotic” girl quite often.
A: It just felt like I was playing myself in a way when I got the role of Hope. At the time I thought I didn’t really like being typecast, so looking back I’m pretty flattered they thought I was able to pull off all these different ethnicities.
I guess you kind of grow and you learn from everything. You realize that maybe what you thought was not a good thing tends to be a blessing.
Y: Let’s move on to your music. You worked with Jon Lundin on your EP Turbulence.
Y: What was that experience like?
A: He was great. He was amazing. We were able to meet in the middle with a lot of things. His ideas were always spot on. He knew what I wanted to write about.
He knew the emotions that I wanted to evoke. He just helped me bring everything to life when I was stuck. He would help me get out of the rut and was always understanding about everything. I can’t recommend him enough.
Y: How did he help you get out of ruts?
A: Sometimes I didn’t know what to write and getting stuck with melodies and stuff like that. He was like an endless supply of ideas.
Y: I love your song Closure. Did writing the song give you closure?
A: Oh, Thank you. Yeah definitely. The person I wrote that about was a musician and he had written a song about me that was a very big jab.
It wasn't the nicest song. It was actually pretty terrible saying a lot of personal things. Closure was kind of my way of saying “OK well this is how I feel. I don’t want to talk to you about it, but I’m gonna put it in a song and now everyone can know what really happened.”
I mean, the relationship was great in the beginning, but people grow apart and people make mistakes. This whole EP was a way of getting closure for me.
Y: Why the title Turbulence?
A: I’ve been very vocal about mental health and all that kind of stuff.
I suffer from really bad anxiety and panic attacks. Turbulence was a song I wrote about my anxiety and how crippling it can be sometimes and just kind of how it feels on a day to day basis.
Being on a plane and then you never know when you’re gonna hit that little bump. You get over it and you land and everything’s OK.
Y: Do you think your anxiety was catalyzed by childhood bullying?
A: I’ve always been a pretty anxious person. The bullying just derailed me into doing things that worsened the anxiety and whatnot.
I don’t think the bullying was a direct cause of the anxiety. I think some people are just anxious people and some people aren't. I mean it definitely didn’t help it, but I don’t think it made it way worse.
It definitely busted my self esteem a bit, but you know kids are mean. You grow up and hopefully you get over it.
Y: I hope the experience is in the rearview mirror for you.
A: Thank You.
Y: Your mother saw you were an anxious child and decided to put you into acting classes. Did that help?
A: Yeah definitely. It got me talking to other people and opening up and being able to be myself a little bit more without any judgement. So acting was definitely a saving grace.
Y: Did your mom get you a show at the Viper Room?
A: Yes. She had a personal trainer for me, and then I would talk to the personal trainer.
We told him I like music and he had some minor music connections and he helped me put together this show at the Viper Room.
And yeah it was a cool little experience. I would love to do it again someday when I have a little more time.
Y: You’re looking forward to performing live again?
A: I’m definitely looking forward to it. I don’t know when that would be for me because my schedule is so crazy right now, but it’s definitely something I would love to do one day.
Y: Will you be comfortable with an audience staring at you? Do you have any anxiety about that?
A: I mean a little bit, but I feel like the more you do it the more you get over it. It scared me to be in front of a camera for a while and now I have no problem it. So I guess practice makes perfect.
Y: Agreed. Do you have any mental health tips?
A: I think just in general prioritize yourself.
A lot of us get caught up in trying to please other people and being there for other people, but you know if we don’t take care of ourselves then the rest isn’t gonna matter because we’re not going to be healthy enough or strong enough to be able to deal with the outside factors.
So I think always make sure that you come first. It’s not selfish at all. It’s probably the healthiest option for everybody.
Y: Which lyric of yours do you resonate most with?
A: In Can’t Stop Myself, the first three lines.
“Take a risk/I tell myself/It’s just one night/What you got to lose?”
I try and live by that to an extent. Obviously I’m not saying go crazy and scale a building or something like that.
Just take little risks everyday big or small something that challenges you and then one day the things that you thought were really hard are gonna come super easily.
Y: Thanks for sharing that. What’s next for you?
A: Hopefully music in the near future. I have a show that just came out called Home Before Dark the second season is on Apple Tv that I did also last year. Um and then I’m not entirely sure I guess we all will kind of find out together.
Y: I’ll be sure to catch your show in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena. That’s the big arena in Toronto.
A: Thank You.
You can follow Alexa Mansour on Instagram.