INTERVIEW: Danielle Rose Russell Discusses Season 3 of The CW’s ‘Legacies,’ the Character of Hope, Female Leads, Self-Love and More
Season three of Legacies premieres Thursday, January 21 at 9 – 10 PM ET on The CW, and star Danielle Rose Russell spoke with us about growing with the character of Hope Mikaelson.
Fans of The Vampire Diaries universe are taken to The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted in The CW’s Legacies, where we are introduced to a new generation of supernatural students. Vampires, witches, werewolves, and other new creatures alike, study side by side, as they put aside their differences to protect their academy. In the new season, we see Hope Mikaelson, Mystic Falls’ resident hero tribrid, set to battle a dooming prophecy as she once again fights to save the school. Monsters, magic, and turmoil run rampant, threatening the school and those she loves most.
Read our exclusive interview with Danielle Rose Russell below to find out more about what she wants to explore for her character, her advice for Hope, Hope’s relationships, social isolation, and the message she wants to give those who look up to her.
GLITTER: Over the years, you’ve grown with the character of Hope Mikaelson from your time on The Originals to Legacies. What has that journey been like for you and what is your favorite part of bringing Hope to life?
DANIELLE: This journey has been life-changing. I’ve learned so much about the nature of the industry and about myself. Hope has taught me so much these last three years.
GLITTER: What has been the biggest difference between filming The Originals and Legacies, and if you could bring one The Originals character to make an appearance on Legacies, who would you pick?
DANIELLE: Filming The Originals felt a bit more sophisticated. The cast was older, the material was different. Legacies is a fun, goofy show that has a totally different vibe. But I’d love if any of the Mikaelsons or Marcel came back to give Hope a backstory.
GLITTER: Season three of Legacies premieres on January 21, what can fans expect from the new season?
DANIELLE: Some new characters, some more monsters, lots of Hope and Landon in the beginning. As we’re filming I’m sensing that this season is definitely going to change the nature of our show a lot, which I couldn’t be more excited about.
GLITTER: What has been your favorite storyline of Hope’s that you’ve gotten to explore so far? Are there any you wish you could’ve gone further with?
DANIELLE: I would love to explore Hope more all around. She’s really enamored with the Malivore plotline and saving everyone else, but I would love to see Hope become everything she was built up to be in The Originals.
GLITTER: If you had to describe Hope with a television quote (from any show), which would you pick and why?
DANIELLE: “It is so weird being my own role model” – Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project.
I use this quote because Hope likes to say that she’s “better off taking matters into her own hands” and figuring her own problems out.
GLITTER: What has filming this new season been like with all of the necessary safety precautions?
DANIELLE: Definitely weird, much more isolated. But I’m mostly just so incredibly grateful to be working in such challenging times. Not everyone has been so lucky, and I feel very fortunate.
GLITTER: If you could give Hope any piece of advice, what would it be?
DANIELLE: I would say to learn to put yourself first more. She’s SO involved with everyone else, particularly Landon, that there’s no space left to tend to her own development as a character.
GLITTER: Fans are very passionate when it comes to their ships, and Hope is one of the characters that fans like to pair with a lot of other characters on the show. What is something you like about each of Hope’s relationships, either canon in the show or hinted towards?
DANIELLE: I think there’s so much space to explore some of Hope’s relationships. I love the friendships she’s begun to develop with the twins and her fellow super squad. I have wanted to explore Landon and Hope outside of the monster-hunting duo we’ve always seen them in and in a more real way. However, I’m open to exploring Hope with other characters, too, whether that’s romantically or not.
GLITTER: The Legacies fandom raised over 1K for The Green Ribbon Club in honor of you and Kaylee Bryant’s birthdays. You saw it on Twitter, but what was your reaction in person to that act of kindness?
DANIELLE: I’m still so blown away by how amazing our fans can be. Every year they do something similar for our birthdays, and it’s the greatest gift we could receive.
GLITTER: You and Karen David did an Instagram live baking fundraiser. What was your best and worst baking attempt, and do you have a favorite recipe?
DANIELLE: HA. I’ve had so many failed attempts! Particularly with bread. But I recently made an apple crumb cake for Christmas, and it might’ve been my best creation yet. One of my favorite recipes is from “A Cozy Kitchen,” and it’s a brown butter carrot cake that is SO delicious.
GLITTER: You were part of the beautiful film Wonder; what was your first reaction when you read the script?
DANIELLE: I love telling this story. I read the script years before it was being made into a film. No one was signed on, and I told my team that I needed to be a part of it. Years went by, I got a self-tape for it and worked on it with my coach for like six hours. I remember telling my mom that I was going to be a part of it; I didn’t care who I played. The rest is history.
GLITTER: What did that film teach you, and what message did you want audiences to take from it?
DANIELLE: The film taught me so much. Working with Stephen Chbosky remains to be one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in the time I’ve been an actor. I think it’s an important film with an important message.
GLITTER: What was your time in social isolation like, and how did you keep yourself positive? What was your favorite thing to read over quarantine?
DANIELLE: Like everyone, it had its ups and downs. I lost a family member to the virus that I couldn’t be with, so it was challenging initially. I didn’t leave my house for almost four months straight, and I did a lot of reading and DIY projects to bring some joy into some extremely difficult times. I’ve read so many great books, but one of my favorites was The Song of Achilles because I really enjoy Greek mythology and A Promised Land by Barack Obama. But my guilty pleasure read was A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas because I’m a total sucker for romance.
GLITTER: Did you discover any new favorite shows over quarantine?
DANIELLE: I watched a good amount of content over quarantine. Some of my favorites are The Crown, The Queens Gambit, and Sex Education.
GLITTER: What message do you want to give those looking up to you?
DANIELLE: To find love within yourself and be nice to yourself in these times.
GLITTER: Have you had any memorable fan interactions that have stuck with you?
DANIELLE: All of them! I’ve had few fan interactions that were negative. Meeting the fans makes this worth it.
GLITTER: What do you think the entertainment industry needs to work on when it comes to shows with female leads and writing female characters correctly?
DANIELLE: Female leads are too often made to be one dimensional. I love romance and think it can serve as a fantastic supporting storyline that gets characters to where they need to be, but when female leads are written up to be made only for a romantic storyline and not given the character development they are deserving of, it can be extremely frustrating and defeating. Not to mention the pay gap and discrimination that still, unfortunately, exists.
GLITTER: Where is the first place you want to travel to when it is safe to do so?
DANIELLE: Literally EVERYWHERE. Both Iceland and Italy are top on my list.
GLITTER: What is something you’ve always felt passionate about?
DANIELLE: Body positivity. Circling back to a female’s presence in the entertainment industry, there’s an extremely unattainable standard of how the female body “should” look when portrayed in film and television.
I’m super passionate about making it known that as long as you’re happy, healthy, and a good person, societal standards for how you “should” look or “should” live your life are utterly useless.
GLITTER: Do you have any dream roles or projects?
DANIELLE: So many. I want to do everything. Legacies has been wonderful, but there’s so much more I would like to do as an actor.
GLITTER: What was one moment in your career that really shocked you (in a good way)?
DANIELLE: Honestly, I’m surprised every single day with what I do, in both good and bad ways. It’s too difficult to pick just one moment!
GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign. What does self-love mean to you?
DANIELLE: To me, self-love means prioritizing peace and balance within my life.
GLITTER: Do you have any new projects coming up that you can tease?
DANIELLE: With COVID-19, it’s really challenging to find work as an actor right now. This isn’t being talked about as much as it’s actually affecting the entertainment industry…. so for now, I’m grateful that I’m working, and when the time is right, other things will follow.