Actors get into the biz for a whole host of reasons: iconic idols, favorite movies, a love of the craft, or, if you’re Manifest‘s Melissa Roxburgh, Hayden Christensen is reason enough.

“I hate to admit this, but I was in love with Hayden Christensen from Star Wars and I just wanted to be in a movie with him,” Roxburgh told EW’s Shirley Li during SCAD aTVfest’s Wonder Women: Acting for TV panel. “That’s really how that started…he’s still hot.”

For Robin Givens (Ambitions, Riverdale, House of Payne, Head of the Class), it was a dislike for a certain instrument that motivated her. “I hated the violin,” she said and promptly realized she had to do something else with her time. Heléne Yorke (The Other Two) felt she had no other option but to act. “I didn’t really know how to do anything else,” she said. “So I’m glad this worked out. I think that if you’re a performer, it’s evident when you’re a kid and you sort of just throw your body at it and hope that you land somewhere soft.”

Landing somewhere soft is not as easy it is might sound, however. The actresses of the panel discussed the brutality of making it in the industry and the extreme lows that can come with what appears to be a highly-gratifying job. “I thought that I was going to win an Oscar by 22,” said Roxburgh. “That did not happen, but that’s also the fun of it. It’s a ride you never would’ve imagined. There’s so many lows and then there are so many highs that make it worth it. That little thing that you thought you wouldn’t be excited about is so exciting because of how you got there.”

Credit: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for SCAD aTVfest 2019

Sonequa Martin-Green (The Walking Dead, Star Trek: Discovery) echoed Roxburgh’s sentiment. “There are so many lows, you don’t expect the lows,” she said. “I had a pretty difficult time in school; it was an amazing education, but I had a difficult time because I went to school in the south so I didn’t get a lot of opportunities, so I already had that experience as a student. It was hard for me to find my place.”

The actresses also talked about the difficulty involved in the auditioning process and shared some insight and advice with the SCAD students in the audience on how best to approach those situations. “Learn to enjoy and remember to enjoy the process,” said Givens. “If you can wrap your mind around that, you can be present in the work. Forest Whitaker told me that…it’s hard because we’re always thinking of the end result.”

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