Emily Hampshire, who plays Stevie Budd in the side-splitting overnight sensation that is Schitt's Creek, is just as quirky and infectious in real life as she is on screen delivering dry-humor-galore at the Rosebud Motel.
The 38-year-old Canadian actress has flourished since her show has gained popularity, but she still isn't taking any of it for granted. She told AOL that she's constantly reeling over some of the celebrities she's discovered are fans of hers, and she couldn't have been more excited to be featured in her first Super Bowl commercial - a hilarious Tide ad - alongside It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Charlie Day.
The ad shows Hampshire encouraging Day to deal with the massive stain she's made on his shirt "later" (à la Tide's #Laundrylater theme), which she told us was actually completely 'on brand' for her.
Hampshire was thrilled to work with Tide not only because of the enormity of the brand (and of the Super Bowl), but also, it seems, because she's taking everything that has come her way since Schitt's Creek with a refreshing sense of gratitude and humility.
As the show's final season comes to an end, the actress got candid with AOL about what being a part of Schitt's Creek has meant to her and much more, below:
AOL: Schitt's Creek was a bit of a late bloomer, but it's had explosive overnight success. What has that been like?
Emily Hampshire: "Obviously when you do a show you want it to be a hit right out of the gate, but in retrospect I'm so happy that it happened this way. We've been doing this show for a long time and at first no one really cared, but we really did. We loved these characters and so it wasn't about being popular or being paid, it was just about the real stuff. To suddenly become popular in our later seasons... it's validating that what we've been doing all this time really was great! And it feel like as opposed to being popular because of some big initial marketing campaign, it was word of mouth. It was the show itself."
Do you think there's a reason it got popular when it did?
"I don't think it's not to do with the fact that at the time it was a shi*** political time, and people wanted a safe space. If there's ever been a safe space, it's Schitt's Creek. People wanted something nice and kind and good-hearted to watch, and it comes without sacrificing [the show's] humor at all. It's not cheesy or anything, it's just good!"
So many celebrities adore the show - anyone that made you especially excited?
"We're at the SAG Awards and all of a sudden Nicole Kidman wants to take a picture with us! Kelly Clarkson! Every day we're actually dying. Tom Hanks and his wife came by at the SAG Awards and said they wanted to be at our table. Tom Ford sent Catherine [O'Hara] an email about the show. I got a DM from Cameron Crowe. I nearly died! Lin-Manuel Miranda posted a gif of me too, and told me he was a fan of mine! It's surreal."
The last season of Schitt's Creek is obviously coming to an end. How does that feel?
"Bittersweet. We ended a while ago so we've had some time to be real sad about it, but now that I know the ending I have even more respect for Dan for ending it. We all genuinely like each other, we'd work together forever and I'm sure we'll all do something else together. He wasn't ending the show because he didn't like doing it, he was ending it because it was right for the characters and the show. It's rare that you get to know when your show is ending! A lot of times you're just cancelled. So, he wanted to do it in the right way. It's easier to leave something that you got closure on, and it ended right."
As someone in the LGBTQ+ community, what does it mean to you that the show has broken with heteronormativity and celebrated other kinds of relationships?
"To me it's everything. It's the thing about the show. Dan from the beginning had this mandate that there will be no homophobia on Schitt's Creek, and the townspeople and the town will never be the butt of the joke. I just think it's such a massive move to set that precedent because I would think, if I was doing it, you'd show someone being bullied for being gay and then have someone else come and say, 'No that's wrong!' But it's so much better to show a world where it doesn't exist. It works great, no one misses it! ...Normalizing it has been the biggest thing. We get DMs all the time from parents who say, 'I thought my kid could never find love until David and Patrick.' Or we hear about kids coming out to their parents because they watch with their parents... that effect that the show has had isn't just reserved for the audience. I got that from it. [Prior to the show] I had no idea what pansexuality was. I had to ask, I didn't understand it. Cut to 5 years later, I fell in love with a trans woman... People online would say 'Oh my god, Stevie's a lesbian?' And someone said 'No, I just think she digs the wine, not the label.' I don't think there's a better way to describe that, and we did it."
What was it like working with a brand as iconic as Tide for a Super Bowl commercial?
"Insane! I can't believe that I was in a Super Bowl commercial, and not just a Super Bowl commercial, but one for Tide, and I say that because I watched the Super Bowl commercial they did before and they won an Emmy for it! And to have been in it with Charlie Day, he knows I'm a fan of his, but he doesn't know how much because it'd freak him out. I'm a massive fan, like a stalker! So I feel like I must have gone through some bad bad stuff or something to get to this. This is my first commercial... I'm definitely bad at selling something I don't legitimately like or use... so when I read the script I actually asked my manager, 'Do I know someone at Tide, do they know me?' Because it's so on brand for me. I actually use Tide, and I'm lazy (laughs)! I'm a procrastinator. [This commercial] seemed like it was written for me!"
Do you think you'll do more commercials?
"Recently because of Schitt's I've been offered a bunch of commercials all of a sudden, and I'd love to do a lot more but it's all downhill from the Super Bowl. I'd love to do more with Tide... I'm used to craft trucks that are nice and quaint. When I was on this commercial set, the craft truck was like a supermarket! ...We shot for like two days. I can't believe this is commercial life! I don't mind it! I'm so thankful for the things like this coming my way."
If you had to stay at the Rosebud Motel with one person from the show (in real life) who would it be?
"My first instinct is to say Dan, maybe Annie too though! Ugh -- I want the whole group!! As a group we never have more fun. But then there's Chris Elliott! GOD I don't know, I want them all!"