‘Eilidh’ starring Zenith Ander is one of the coolest YouTube shows you will ever watch.
You know me, I’m a huge YouTube rabbit-hole fan. I’m “that guy” clicking between videos for hours, allowing the ‘Tube’s algorithm to send me into places I’d never even considered to exist. And then one night back in August, down a deep well of endless comedic videos came ‘Eilidh’, a cool series about a Scottish girl and her passion to make it in Hollywood starring Zenith Ander as both Eilidh and her sassy sister. The pilot episode hooked me in — this crass, makeup-less, smoking and gruff Scottish woman being translated by an American Chloë Sevigny-type (also Ander) had me laughing so hard that I ventured further into the ‘Eilidh’ tunnel. The second episode (which is actually the first, after the pilot episode) introduces us to Eilidh’s sassy and aggressive Scottish sister who is doing a terrible job of coaxing her existential sister out of bed after she “wisnae invited tae the Trainspottin’ 2 premiere”. The show is full of hilarious quips and references to working class Scotland with the allure of Hollywood and Los Angeles as it’s aspirational backdrop. There is mention of T.K. Maxx (the U.K.’s version of the U.S. store T.J. Maxx), Buckfast, an iconic tonic wine made by Monks that has a reputation amongst Europeans for regrettable nights and terrible hangovers, described in the Guardian link above as “a drink with almost supernatural powers of destruction”, and Revels, a delicious yet perplexing British chocolate selection consisting of orange and coffee flavored chocolate.
There’s some great Scots slang in there too. At one point her sister accuses her of being “a wick”. YouTube user adam Browne asked Zenith to clarify.
YouTuber Letisha Marr asked if there would be more Scottish videos. I wanted to know too, so I went on the search for Zenith.
‘Eilidh’ had me in stitches with it’s niche and nuanced references to an almost impenetrable Scottish-specific culture that I just had to find out more about this sharp, talented, and as it turns out incredibly well established actress - Zenith Ander. I was expecting to find a Scot or American on the other end of my impromptu request through the contact form on her website for a Zoom call. However, to my absolute surprise I was met with an Australian, and a typical Australian at that; A blond haired, green eyed beauty, full of gregarious confidence, a giant smile and a hit of that internal Aussie toughness that don’t-quite-fit with her glam-casual exterior.
Here’s what we spoke about:
Me: Hi Zenith! Thank you for Zooming with me. And wow, I can’t believe you have an Aussie accent!
Zenith: (Laughing) Yeah that’s often the reaction I get. Thanks for reaching out to me. I’m stoked you loved ‘Eilidh’. She’s a real special part of me and one of my favorite characters to play.
Me: (Shaking my head)…
Zenith: You ok?
Me: Yes. Sorry, my mind is trying to figure out how you play an American and a Scot in the pilot episode of ‘Eilidh’, yet you clearly have an Australian accent, and on this Zoom video you look very Australian. But somehow you look very Scottish in the show!
Zenith: Would you like me to repeat what I said before? You seem distracted!
Me: Let’s carry on. I’ll get used to it I guess. Tell me more about yourself! When did you move to Los Angeles and can you please explain where you are actually from and how you got to L.A.?
Zenith: I call myself Scottish-Australian because I was born in Scotland and my parents emigrated to Melbourne in Australia when I was 6 months old. I didn’t really have an Aussie accent until I was well into primary school, and I hated Vegemite so my initiation into Australian culture took a little time. I’ve been in L.A. now for 5 years or so, which is interesting for me because when my parents were applying to emigrate from Scotland, they applied for Canada and the U.S.A. before trying for New Zealand. Last on their list was Australia and that’s where we all ended up.
Me: Do you feel as though there is a specific place for you that is home?
Zenith: It’s a real trip to think about the concept of home as a multi-national, “bi-accental” (is that a thing?!) person with a creative career that has taken me to so many places. I feel at home when I am around people who feel like family. Sometimes that is just for a few weeks on set, sometimes it is actual family, and for me mostly it has been friends who are with me wherever I am.
Me: How did you end up in Los Angeles?
Zenith: As an actor I obviously always wanted to be in L.A., so I came here and continued to do what I do best; act and create. I am lucky to have worked hard through my career to have a body of diverse screen acting and voice work behind me which allows me to continue to be cast and work here in Hollywood. Creating ‘Eilidh’ was hard work but a great decision as it has got me roles, such as the film I am headed to San Francisco to do called ‘In the Forest of Nisene Marks’. I was really inspired to create my own work after watching other professional actors doing the same thing. ‘I Miss Drugs’ was the first online series with great acting that I fell in love with and truly is the reason ‘Eilidh’ exists. My Australian agent and Manager here in Los Angeles were super supportive of me creating screen work. I’m a pro, y’know? I like to see other professionals taking their skills and applying them to modern mediums. I was lucky to land a few starring roles when I first got to L.A. which then got me excited about creating my own material when I had the time. Before the lockdown, I was in chats with a great show-runner about pitching my series’ ‘Eilidh’ and ‘Roommates’ to a couple of very well-known production teams, and then everything stopped suddenly. So that is on hold, which is honestly a good thing for me right now with all the amazing, yet demanding roles in big projects I have coming up. Did you see me on the ‘People Magazine Investigates’ series when you were stalking me online?
Me: Yes, I had already seen the Long Island Serial Killer episodes and was amazed during my re-watch to see you with your fluorescent blond hair as Melissa! I reviewed the Film Independent screening of ‘Lost Girls’ which is about the same case. Regarding your philosophy of using your acquired skills to do your own thing, I also believe creating your own content online is a great way to inspire people. I had the same thoughts when I started writing for myself and for my own audience, and I’m sure ‘Eilidh’ inspired other established actors to create online content and to do the same as my writing did. When I googled you Zenith I found a bunch of interviews, along with your IMDb page before I contacted you. I also found a YouTube playlist with your Australian television work. Speaking of past television work and being a pro, I was very impressed with Tania Morgan.
Zenith: (Laughing) You watched Blue Heelers? That was one of my first screen roles out of Acting School and a big deal for me because it set me up to meet other major casting directors in Australia who brought me in for television and film roles. I loved Tania to be honest. That character was such a sh*t! Tania definitely likes Vegemite. Have you ever tried it?
Me: Vegemite? Yes. But I won’t ever again.
Zenith: It’s an acquired taste. You need to be reared on that stuff to enjoy it.
Me: (Laughing) Ew. I also wanted to mention that I loved ‘Roommates’ and that I checked out your resume on L.A.Casting and saw that you have done a bunch of theater, some commercials and voice acting for radio too. What medium do you like best, and how do they all relate to each other?
Zenith: Thank you, and good questions! I would have to pick on-screen acting as my favorite medium, followed very closely by the rest. The reason is that I love the down-time on set (laughs) — I have some of my best moments on a job in the waiting times between shooting scenes, whether it be getting to know someone in the cast or crew better, coming up with some solid ideas for my character’s motivation, or having a nap on a concrete floor, I honestly love being on a film or television show set the most. I find it really conducive to my personality. I work best as an actor when I feel connected with somebody I’m working with, have taken the space and time to relax, and to have built some trust and shared a giggle. So it has always been and continues to always be important to me to be present on a human level in my work first before “playing a role”. I love to feel that “actor’s dream” thing of the character and intent coming from within and being natural. Over the course of my decades’ long career, I have found that for me it comes from connecting.
Me: What do you like about the other mediums?
Zenith: Theater is a rush. Live audiences and that moment you step out as the curtain opens… It’s wild! The truth is that I just love to work, so give me any medium any day. They all require different skill sets. For example, on-camera work is much more subdued than theater because you can look like a raving lunatic on camera if you gesture to the same degree as on stage. Voice work is amazing, because you have to use your voice to emote as you have no ability to convey through your body or your face what you are communicating. All types of performance are challenging and exciting in their own unique format.
Me: Will we see more Eilidh soon? And what is next for you?
Zenith: Yes! You’ll see a lot more of me everywhere soon. I can’t even begin to explain how busy I am over the coming year, which is truly a delight. I have had such great press and critical acclaim from my work that new roles are popping up for me every week. I am literally complaining about none of it, especially considering the state of the world right now. So keep an eye out!
Zenith: I appreciate you.
I agree with YouTube user Pina Colada’s opinion on ‘Eilidh’.
Season 2 of ‘Eilidh’ drops this week. The new season has been submitted into a bunch of film festivals, so keep an eye on Zenith Ander’s YouTube and website for more from this talented actress. All her social links are below.
Til next time.