Danni Shepherd is a freelance model and actress who hails from West Yorkshire in England. She has been working in the acting/film industry for 12 years and she has been modelling since 2016. She’s currently being represented by the agency Y2K Promotions based in Nottingham and she has recently starred in a feature film called Flower Boy on Amazon Prime as well as gotten featured in a small role for a comedy sit-com “Keeping Wood” on Amazon Prime as well.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Danni to discuss her journey in the entertainment industry and here’s what went down:
What do you like most about acting?
I have always wanted to become an actress since such a young age. I love the escapism of becoming someone else. I find it so fulfilling and it’s something I felt I have always needed to do. I have studied acting over the years but I am mainly self-taught at the moment (due to the lockdown) and I am finding the time during this pandemic to focus more on my craft and practice as many self-tapes/characters/accents as I can. As well as the escapism, I love meeting new people within the industry and creating those lifetime bonds with them. There’s something really beautiful about that.
How different is it to act in a movie and to act in a TV series? And which one do you prefer?
They’re not much different in my personal opinion. I find them equally as significant but I find more with a tv show, you have more to play around with. Such as character development, understanding the journey of that character throughout the course of the seasons, where is the plot going to take you next, etc… I find with films, you have an endpoint so you have something to focus your energy on, that end goal. They’re both equally fun for me from experience but I have to say, I have done a lot more films so I have much more excitement with that.
What are your weak points when it comes to acting? How do you try to improve them?
I find my weaknesses are mainly stemmed from self-doubt. I have struggled for years on and off with my confidence, almost on the verge of quitting it has been that bad at times. I know I would never quit this industry, I have come too far to go back. However, I just find that sometimes as an actor, you portray a character a certain way then when it comes to rewatching what you have created on screen, you pick out faults within that role you could have done better. I think every single actor goes through this. To say I am a model as well, I struggle with my appearance and rewatching myself because of that. There are so many insecurities at times that I have to keep reminding myself how I am feeling is normal. Everybody goes through it and experiences that self-doubt.
What are your strong points as an actor?
My strongest points as an actor are that I push myself to my limit with every single role I portray. Whether that’s a victim, a girl next door, a comical role, etc. I always push myself and really get into the mindset of that character. Sometimes it can be difficult to do but with tonnes of practice, tonnes of patience, I always come out on top which is the main thing. Another strong point as an actor are accents. I love vocal/voice work and I have always found this one of my strongest assets; most accents I have been trained in, I originally learned myself which can’t always be easy. Like I said earlier, I love a challenge and I always push myself further.
What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?
So much! They have all been really different to work with, that’s another reason I love this industry. You are constantly learning new things, meeting new people, and gaining more and more knowledge. Most of them have reassured me a lot of the time that I am doing really well and I need to stop questioning my talent. Sometimes it’s easier said than done but it really helps to have that push. You learn so much about method acting, so much about realism when you are in front of the camera; the industry is just an ongoing education. It’s amazing.
What are some of the difficulties of the acting business?
The reality of the acting business is quite harsh, you will get knockbacks and it will be hurtful at times when you know you have done all you can for that audition/role. However, you have to look at it as a positive. When one door closes, another one opens. There are always things out there for you but you can’t give up. The whole fun of this industry is the practice, is the knockbacks so you can further better yourself. That’s what keeps teaching you to become better at what you do.
What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
I find a lot of the difficulties of bringing the script to life are being present within that character when you have never experienced a situation they have. Understanding those emotions, those thought processes, those real-life situations. It can be challenging but it is also very doable when you really place yourself in that mindset. Your mind is such a powerful tool, you can convince yourself to do absolutely anything if you wanted to (except turn into a dog, we aren’t THAT advanced). But you really have that power to do something beautiful with that role. Some of the challenges this industry makes you face are some of our greatest blessings.
What do you do when you’re not filming?
I usually do a lot of freelance modelling in my spare time when I’m not filming. I am a worker at heart. There is no stop button on me (laughs). I also like to spend as much time as I can in nature, going for walks, exercise, meditating, and socializing with friends, exploring new things. I work full time as well on top of everything I do, I just like to keep busy. I don’t know what a rest day is.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
I have starred in two productions which are now on Amazon Prime. That for me is a huge success and both productions have been put on Amazon Prime in the same year… so it just goes to show that you can do anything you set your mind to. I have been extremely lucky to have worked with the directors/crew that I have worked with. They really are striving to be the success they deserve; there is no stopping them. I find surrounding myself with individuals like them really enhances my game. It makes me want to push myself more which is a good thing.
If someone is going to make your life into a movie, who would play you?
100% Mila Kunis. She is just as crazy as me and I reckon she would nail my character/persona! (She’s way cooler than me but a girl can dream right?).
What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.
Travel, travel, travel! Travelling on the job is a massive aim of mine. I am already ready and set to go to Canada this summer to do some acting in a Summer Camp. That’s just one exciting thing on my bucket list, there are plenty more but I am hoping one day I can start a full film acting career ahead over there (if life is on my side). But until then, I am just gonna keep riding my way up.
The “Lightning fast” round:
1. Last good movie I’ve seen: Obviously, it’s a Disney movie! – Christopher Robin (no I didn’t nearly cry at the end at all even if the movie has a happy ending).
2. What do you consider beautiful and why? Nature. It’s so innocent yet so beautiful. Even when it’s autumn and the leaves are falling off the trees, the colours are the nicest colours to look at when you go for a walk/jog. There is beauty everywhere you go, as long as you’re surrounded by trees.
3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? I can’t believe I am about to say this because I am terrified of the thought of it… but I have always wanted to Scuba Dive. The idea of my head being under water for that length of time terrifies me but I can’t help myself but to need to do this one day. It’s on the Danni Shepherd “bucket list” (laughs).
4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” skydive. (I have a strong phobia of heights).
5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? The fact that I laugh at the end of everything I say. Even if nothing is that funny, I would always lighten up a miserable sentence with my laugh. I wouldn’t consider it a flaw although it is quite annoying now I have noticed it after it being pointed out to me so much. Now I can’t undo it, it’s stuck with me (laughs)!