Eyes on Starz’ Stars

Lead actors reveal their heroes, favorite scenes and what they love about their characters.

By Mekeisha Toby

Caitriona Balfe

Claire Randall Fraser, “Outlander”

What I love about Claire: Her immense capacity for love, empathy, compassion and passion. Playing a woman of this intensity and depth allows me to explore all aspects of emotion and stretch myself continuously.

Favorite scene from this season: Claire learns of Brianna’s rape and realizes she is pregnant. It’s a harrowing scene where she fully understands the pain and torment Brianna has been going through. The balance between being a mother and a doctor was interesting to explore.

Heroes: My acting heroes are Gena Rowlands, Glenda Jackson and Charlotte Rampling. There is an honesty to their performances that I admire. I’ve also been hugely inspired by women behind the camera and through “Outlander” have had the pleasure of working with fantastic female directors like Denise Di Novi, Anna Foerster and Charlotte Brandstrom.

Melissa Barrera

Lyn Hernandez, “Vida”

What I love about (my character): I love confusing the audience. It’s easy for people to judge beautiful women, immediately dismissing anything happening on the inside.But hidden in those judgements, like a bittersweet gift, comes the possibility to surprise someone.

Favorite scene (this season) and why: From season 2, episode 4 –the rooftop conversation with Doña Tita. Lyn always connects with older, wiser women because she’s an old soul. It’s an intimate scene that starts in pain and ends up in the celebration of oneself.

Heroes: My biggest hero is my mom. She is the definition of Chingona. She believes in me sometimes more than I believe in myself, and if it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Ricky Whittle

Shadow Moon, “American Gods”

What I love about Shadow: The fun part is building a character so different from myself that I can truly get lost in his world. I’m a British goofball and Shadow is so brooding and stoic. I started with a vulnerable broken shell of a man and added colors and layers.

Favorite scene from this season: The Sam Crow scenes in episode 2. This is the first time we see Shadow interacting alone with another actual human. It’s also the first timeShadow is the smartest person in the room, so to speak.

Heroes: My father was always my role model, my mother my queen. They taught me about embracing all cultures and backgrounds and staying strong in mind and body. To spread love and positivity, as I never know anyone else’s journey.

lela loren

angela valdes, "power"

What I love about Angela: I most love playing with Angela’s contradictions and dualities. She is rife with them.It’s a delightful challenge to find a cohesive truth that holds her extremes.

Favorite scene from this season: The four of us (Ghost, Tommy, Tasha, Angela) meeting in the classroom. There was never a moment when we’ve all been together and I so enjoyed the high stakes absurdity of it all.

Heroes: Hands down, Jane Goodall. She was my first hero. However, my mentors, heroes and role models who made the most impact on me are my parents, my family and my teachers. Without these people guiding me,I would not be where I am.

Avan Jogia

Ulysses Zane, “Now Apocalypse”

What I love about Uly: I think it’s really exciting to play somebody who is a wanderer who doesn’t necessarily have a central ambition. He is a lover of life and of people.

Favorite scene from this season: The scene in episode 9 when Issac gives Uly the key to his apartment. It was a really vulnerable moment from a character who usually doesn’t get to be so vulnerable. Uly doesn’t play it cool and in the current dating world that is sort of beautiful to see.

Heroes: They are vast and unrelated, but Nina Simone, Nick Cave, Wong Kar Wai, Gary Oldman, Ben Kingsley and Gregg Araki.


jaMIE fraser, "outlander"

What I love about Jamie: Having a wealth of material in the form of Diana Gabaldon’s books provides a real source of inspiration. That, plus I’m playing an honorable, emotionally intelligent Scotsman from the 1700s really resonated with me because of his love for Scotland, his family and partner. It’s what he fights for. Jamie continues to surprise me each day.

Favorite scene from this season: The Fraser clan’s first interaction with the Native Americans was fascinating, to see the similarities in these warrior cultures and their shared respect for each other.

Heroes: I’ve been lucky to work on several movies recently with amazing talent. Watching how my peers and idols work is incredible. To learn from them and share our experiences has been so rewarding.