We talk to actress Melissa Lianne Woods about “life imitating art” with her latest role in the series, ‘Sysegi’.
In ‘Sysegi’, a brand new ‘Sex and the City’ type series, Melissa Lianne Woods will play Margaret, an up-and-coming writer bored of her life in the UK. After relocating to LA, she befriends two different women who are also embarking on a similar life journey.
We caught up with the actress and writer to talk about the show, living in a foreign city and making new friends.
LIFESTYLE: In ‘Sysegi’ your character moves to America to make a fresh start. You are also planning a move to LA, is this a case of life imitating art?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: I can totally relate to Margaret, my character in ‘Sysegi’. I feel like, for the past few years, I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut, both personally and career-wise. So a move to LA to seems like a complete fresh start for me. I’d like to think I have put a little bit more thought into the move than my character Margaret did. She literally quit her job and just upped and left overnight.
LIFESTYLE: What else do you have in common with Margaret?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: I am usually very organised and very much a planner down to the last detail but occasionally I’ll do something completely out of character and on a whim, which is exactly what Margaret does in the pilot episode.
I think Margaret is a dreamer; she believes in pursuing her dreams and making the most of her life. My biggest fear is looking back on my life with regret. I think that’s why I am making the move to LA now, because it feels like a “now on never” point in my life.
LIFESTYLE: How did the idea for ‘Sysegi’ come about?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: Sofya and Syra, my co-stars in ‘Sysegi’ were probably two of the first people that I met when I was visiting LA. I already had the thought, in the back of my mind, that I wanted to move to LA more permanently.
All three of us went out to dinner one day and we just got talking about where we were in our lives. We are very much, three girls who in our normal walks of life would probably never have met or be friends. Our lives, our backgrounds and cultures are all very different, but we shared one thing in common and that was moving to LA to “find ourselves”. We talked and talked (and talked…) and by the end of the dinner we all agreed that there was a story in this. A story that needed to be told; that would hopefully be relatable to other girls and maybe inspire them to do something about their own situations.
LIFESTYLE: In what ways, do the other girls relate to their characters?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: ‘Sysegi’ basically starts with three very stereotypical girls from the UK, India and Russia. They are in fact, complete exaggerations of the stereotypes.
What we all have in common with our characters and each other, is that we don’t necessarily relate to our stereotypes and what is expected of us from our own societies. I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist, I believe in equality for everyone, but there is a real sense of female empowerment with this series.
Sofya and Syra are both fantastic, strong women and it’s a pleasure to not only work with them but to be able to call them friends.
LIFESTYLE: Your character in ‘Sysegi’ is a struggling writer. If you could have any other career what would it be?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: Since I was little, I have wanted to try every career possible: a nurse, an astronaut, a zookeeper, a lawyer (I have a law degree!) and a princess.
I think the amazing thing about acting is that you can be and do anything you want. Each day is completely different, so I can live each of those careers choices, vicariously through my acting career.
LIFESTYLE: Who do you think this series will most appeal to?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: I grew up watching “Sex and the City” and I think this series has a similar vibe; strong female characters who share a unique bond and a special friendship; women who are dealing with various issues all whilst living in an amazing city.
Fans of sex and city would definitely enjoy this but there’s also a lot of stereotypical humour to it as well and I think it will be something that is easy to watch and very funny.
LIFESTYLE: What can viewers expect to take away from this series?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: I’d like to think that anyone who is watching the series who has a dream that they’ve been scared to follow, or a decision to make that they’ve been putting off, will be inspired to take action and hopefully change their lives for the better. If we wanted to promote anything with this series, it’s the fact that anything is possible if you just have the courage to pursue it.
LIFESTYLE: If you could move anywhere else in the world, where would you move to?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: I absolutely adore New York City. Me and my best friend, Holly go every single year for my birthday. It honestly feels like a “home away from home”. The vibrance, the energy, the excitement, the fashion is all so euphoric.
LIFESTYLE: What are you most, and least, going to miss about the UK?
MELISSA LIANNE WOODS: I most definitely will not miss the weather in England. I’m very excited to experience the “California sunshine”.
I guess I will miss home comforts, like walking my dog in the countryside, having nice home cooked food and being around my friends and family, but it’s just such an exciting time and there is a lot to look forward to. I think I’ll be so busy with work that I won’t really have time to miss home too much