Helfer’s acting career expands with Walk role
mark davis/getty images
Sometimes it takes more than just worldwide recognition to keep a person happy.
For more than a decade Canadian supermodel Tricia Helfer was at the top of her game, modelling for uber-fashion houses such as Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren, while at the same time gracing the covers of some of North America’s most influential fashion magazines including Vogue, Flare and Elle.
But in 2002, fully aware of the fickleness of the industry and the relative brevity of the average model’s career, the native of Donalda, Alta., decided to leave her success on the runways behind and carve out a new niche under the bright lights of Hollywood.
Helfer wanted to make it as an actress and knew her only shot was to quit modelling cold turkey. The next logical step, she assumed, was to make the move from New York City to the West Coast.
“I didn’t know anybody in L.A. I needed to challenge myself, stop modelling and start this new career. I thought it would be too easy because I didn’t know anyone (in Los Angeles), to keep running home to New York and continue modelling,” Helfer recalls. “The hardest thing is to get your agency to take you seriously and not just put you up for the girl-walks-by-in-a-bikini-and-bounces-up-and-down kind of role.”
As the 33-year-old explains, models-turned-actresses tend to be taken less seriously than classically-trained career thespians by many in the film establishment.
Persistence paid off for Helfer, whose major break arrived soon after relocating when she was cast as Number Six in the cult hit sci-fi television series Battlestar Galactica. More parts followed, including a return-to-roots job for one season as the host of Canada’s Next Top Model.
Several small film roles and a strong television career later, Helfer is set to star as the determined and driven dominatrix Celene in the new film Walk All Over Me, co-starring The Wicker Man’s Leelee Sobieski.
Helfer — who spends much of Walk All Over Me clad in skimpy bondage outfits — knew little about S&M before taking on the part and delved head first into researching the subculture, all the while dispelling myths she held about fetishism.
“There are misconceptions and the general idea people have is that (a dominatrix is) basically a hooker and it’s not. I think most dominatrixes would be insulted by that.
“I don’t judge it,” she continues. “I think it’s something between consenting adults and if it’s something that floats their boat, then why not?”
Walk All Over Me opens in theatres tomorrow.