"She has an unknown future," says the actress of her character, "Scarlett is kind of a wild card"
Every week, a member of the Nashville cast will blog about the latest episode of the hit show. This week, Australian actress Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett O’Connor, chats about her character’s journey from being a people pleaser to a more self-aware individual.
Scarlett is a very accommodating individual. She had an abusive upbringing. Her mother was a figure of tyranny. She screamed at her and caused chaos all the time. That was Scarlett’s entire childhood – trying to take care of her mother who was incapacitated by grief or emotion. So Scarlett grew up trying to be quiet, trying to hide and be as unobtrusive as possible. She is terrified of people. She is frightened of being yelled at. She doesn’t like being the center of attention because every time she’s been the center of attention, it’s been abusive. So she is a people pleaser.
She was told she had this beautiful voice and that she belonged on the stage. That’s what everybody said. The majority of people say they worship celebrity, but Scarlett is not one of those people. Just because she has the talent doesn’t mean she is one of those people who is clamoring to get on stage. So she was thrown into this very high level, working with Rayna at the top of the country music industry. For someone who is really shy, she really did it for the wrong reasons. She did it to make other people happy. She doesn’t like letting people down. She stopped doing that, she stopped hurting herself to make other people happy.
It’s a wonderful thing to be able to portray. She’s a lot stronger now. Nobody really looked after her, she didn’t have a manager, she didn’t have someone step in and say you’re not okay. She dealt with it all herself.
It’s not that she doesn’t belong on stage, its just that she’s all emotion. She needed a really good manager. Scarlett is a part of me. I know that if I didn’t have really great managers behind me, I would be lost. What I’m doing wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. In fact, I think it would be really stressful. I’m not a person who likes a great deal of attention. I just like to make people happy – that part of me I gave to Scarlett.
She has an unknown future. Scarlett is kind of a wild card. She has this talent for writing music and her voice is different and people seem to enjoy it. It’s weird because I’m talking about the voice that comes out of me. I don’t want to brag, but Scarlett has this really unusual thing. So anything could happen. She could do whatever she wanted.
Scarlett has variations in her voice. Her accent gets thicker when she’s angry. She talks very fast when she’s upset. I’m not linguistically trained. I learned by listening. When I read the script in 2012, I fell in love with Scarlett and thought, there is no way I’m ever going to get this. It’s going to be so much fun for some really lucky person. So I was really flattered they wanted to see me. I walked in with the accent that Scarlett has today. It hasn’t changed at all. They kept her that way, which was flattering to me because honestly, I had never met a southern person. I’m glad I’m doing it justice because now I’ve met a whole bunch!
As told to LYNETTE RICE