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Erika Christensen ('Home Room') Erika Christensen ('Home Room')
"Dangerous Minds"

Born in Seattle, Washington on August 19, 1982, Erika Christensen trained as an actress for many years prior to her rise to fame in 2000's critically acclaimed Steve Soderbergh film 'Traffic', in which she played teenage drug user Caroline Wakefield. Before her role in the hugely successful and acclaimed film, however, she spent many years honing her skills in live theater in Southern California, not just acting, but also dancing and singing. She worked with both the Serendipity Theatre Company and Pasadena Dance Theatre, but before long she decided to become a professional Hollywood actress.

Taking some time out with the fast rising star, I first wondered why she would have taken such dark character roles so early in her career? "Because they are some of those on an actor's wish list. You want to play someone who is just over the edge, and I've had a blast doing it. I mostly have fun wherever I go and whatever I do, and I really did have great fun playing this character in 'Home Room'... although she's actually not a dark character. Moreover, an over-achiever searching for something or someone to ground her a little," she smiles. "But you're right, the role that I played in 'Swim Fan' was not exactly the most endearing role, but these things balance out. In 'The Perfect Score' [a college crime comedy, co-starring Scarlett Johansson] my character is a much nicer person."

Did you realise that 'Traffic' would be such an important film for you? "I had a clue, yeah," she laughs. "I practically hyperventilated when I got the job!"

And since then you've done such films as both 'Swimfan' and 'The Banger Sisters' "Yeah, 'The Banger Sisters', that was a blast. Oh my God, you can imagine the experience of watching these women, Goldie [Hawn] and Susan [Sarandon] who are both just legends. Just watching them work was really great for me. They had a great balance between being a real pro, and having fun and having a great sense of humour."

You acted all through your teen years. Did you feel that you missed out on school life? "I think I gained in other ways. I have absolutely no regrets because I knew so strongly that this was what I wanted to be doing. And I'm so glad that I was able to. I mean, my life would have been so different if I had only started acting a year ago when I was 18, but as it turned out I did home schooling, I got my diploma at 16, I made 'Traffic' at 17, so my life is much more on the course I wanted it to be on - acting."

Do you look very much to the future? "I do. I take things on a day-to-day basis when it gets really hectic. But I do think long term, and I'm looking forward to the next couple of years when I start producing my own films with my production company and playing some characters that are older. That's really exciting to me."

Interviewed by Thorne Alexson for Exclusive Magazine

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