Welcome to On the Rise, a BAZAAR.com series featuring the breakout talents everyone will be talking about. Get to know these fresh faces on the verge of stardom.
Sophie Skelton started acting onstage when she was only seven years old.
"I love the rush of being onstage," the now-Outlander actress says in the latest episode of our series On the Rise. "You just look out and you can't even see the audience, it's just sort of a black hole, and there's something really liberating about performing to that. But I think with being onstage, I did sort of crave that discretion of TV and film acting."
She would get that opportunity years later when she landed the role of Brianna MacKenzie on Starz's hit series Outlander. Serendipitously, the person overseeing her "first real audition" was also the person to later cast her on the show.
"My very first real audition was actually with Suzanne Smith, who, interestingly, is the one who cast me in Outlander years later," she says, recalling that she was about 13 or 14 years old at the time. "I took the train to London. My dad went with me and I remember being in a side street rehearsing my lines with my dad—I think it was for a Nickelodeon show."
She also adds that she quickly grew fond of her character. "I always do a lot of research when I'm auditioning for a role, so this TV series wasn't out yet," she says. "I just had the script to go from, but I called this local bookstore where I was staying and asked if they had the books and if they could sort of ship them in overnight. And I went and picked up the books, and then read as much about Brianna as I could. I just sort of fell in love with her. She's one of those characters that you feel quite protective over all of a sudden, and I think she's funny."
Despite her instant passion for Brianna, she didn't immediately hear back about the role. "You do so many auditions that you can't really think about it, but there are some that actually really sting," she says. "And with Brianna, I was really quite gutted that I didn't get the role."
But her Outlander journey was just beginning. A year later, her agent let her know that Outlander was again seeking just the right actress to play the fiery redhead.
"And I was like, 'I did audition for this about a year ago,'" she says. "And then I just found out that they never actually brought her into the series like they were going to. And then, yeah, that was that."
Outlander airs on Sunday nights on STARZ at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
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