The stage actor and indie-music darling swaps roles as easily as she does costumes.
By Caroline Gault | December 1, 2011
photography by venturi + karpa; Styling by Jared Tabler; Hair by Kirsten Klontz Mousy Brown; Makeup by Nickol Walkemeyer
The Look: Bebe belt and shoes; feather earrings from Dream Boutique in Vancouver;vintage wool skirt borrowed from her mother.
Molly Flood tells stories. Molly Flood plays dress-up. Molly Flood lives in a world of transformation and tall tales and, with a name like that, she was meant for the stage. Earlier this year, she played Fleur-de-Lys in Catalyst Theatre‘s epic musical Hunchback and had a supporting role in the Gemini-winner, Blackstone. She’s also one half of electro-rock-pop band Christian Hansen & the Autistics – the other half being her husband, Christian. Until recently, the band consisted of two other members, Ava Jane Markus and Scott Shpeley, also an item and accomplished theatre actors. So, from four members to two, and FM radio to XM, husband and wife have decided to cash in on their musical accolades and a growing reputation from constant touring, and depart for Toronto.
They are in pursuit of the dream: bright lights, big city, fancier shoes – and more opportunities to wear those shoes onscreen. Come January, though, Flood will return to Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre bunker for two months to prepare Hunchback for its Vancouver premiere in March. It seems the city is not yet done with her.
From a fabled stage character to a sequined, crowd-pleasing keyboardist, Flood is a multi-faceted performer. What guise she will take on next? Well, it just depends on the “Tickle Trunk” of outfits with which she travels around.
The Look:H&M skirt and coat; Wolford Versailles tights; and suede boots from a Winnipeg vintage store.
Why do you act?
I like the stories, and I like the sense of community that a play can evoke. Specifically to doing Hunchback with Catalyst, it’s a style of theatre that blows people’s minds. When they see it, it’s different than anything they’ve ever seen before, and that’s exciting.
Definitely Hunchback – working with Catalyst and Jonathan Christenson was a huge goal of mine. One of the first plays I saw when I moved here from Calgary in 2000 was one of his shows, and I was just totally awestruck. Also, performing a solo trapeze routine with Firefly Theatre.
If you had to decide between music and acting, which would you choose?
I’d probably pick something different!
What’s your typical, daily outfit?
I’ve been living out of a suitcase for the past six months, with touring, playing shows and moving, so my go-to has been a pair of black boots I picked up in New York, my Acne jeans, Cheap Monday T-shirt, leather jacket and leopard print scarf for the changeable Edmonton weather.
What’s your favourite thing about fashion?
Attitude. Especially in Edmonton, we’re a bit tougher up here. Dress-up has been my favourite game for a while – it still is – and I always had a dress-up trunk growing up. An outfit is an expression of self or an exploration of character; however you want to say it, fashion can transform. That’s what I love about it.
Do you have a style icon?
I’m sure a lot of people say this, but my mom is super stylish. My sisters borrow her clothes, I borrow her clothes, all the time – and I’ve got three sisters. My mom’s always had a really unique sense of style.
The Look: One-piece from True Value Vintage in Vancouver; Nine West shoes; andpurse, made by Molly Flood.
You like shopping at vintage stores. What era were you meant to live in?
Lately – and I’m sure fashion trends are influencing this – but I’m sure it’s the ’70s. I’ve always really liked that era. When I look at old pictures of my mom in the ’70’s, she just looks so cool. And the music, like what the Rolling Stones were doing then, I love. And, I like the shapes: the long hair, the long pants, the long shirts.
Have you ever “borrowed” an outfit from your theatre wardrobe?
Oh God, yeah. When I was first getting into the theatre scene, I was a costume designer for A Doll’s House at the Walterdale. I was young, young, young. I had to go through the whole costume room to pull outfits, and there was this red corduroy skirt-jumper, and it just clicked with me. So, I thought, “Hmm, maybe I’ll just borrow this for a day.” I wore it to school, and I ran into the artistic director of the Walterdale. He looked at me, and I’m sure he probably wouldn’t have noticed, but in my head, I thought he totally knew!I put it back pronto after that. That was the start and the end of my costume-stealing career.
Your band is known for having lots of energy on stage. What do you wear to concerts?
Sequins – I usually incorporate sequinned cuffs, a sequined skirt, or whatever, something with sequins. I was thinking that maybe I should step away from my sequins, that I should probably change it up, but Emily Haines [of Metric] just performed at Sonic Boom, and she was wearing a big, gold, sequined vest. And I was like, “Oh no, I’m good, I’m good.”
I think, also, doing a lot of shows, and being the only girl in the band now, it’s fun to think about what to wear, because the guys [including back-up players] usually wear dress shirts or collared shirts with black jeans, and so it’s fun to kind of add some flair to the visual.
Do you still get people calling your band name controversial?
Once in a while, but we may hear it again in Toronto. The word “autistic” isn’t a bad word. So, with people who react like that, that’s kind of the point, right, to bring in that dialogue. We’re not using that word in a negative way – so why are you assuming we are? Like any art, you put it out there and people respond, and hopefully it sparks discussion and maybe makes someone change their thinking about something.
You’ve kept a lot of the clothes made for you for the stage. Do you often wear them out?
There’s one dress that was made for me for a show, Hello…Hello by Karen Hines, at the Roxy Theatre. It’s a grey dress that April Viczko made, and it’s a one-shoulder she made just for me. It’s definitely one of my favourite pieces.
How would you describe your style?
It’s really playful and funny, but I like dark stuff as well. Maybe it’s the acting side of me, but I do think that you can really transform yourself with an outfit. And, that’s really fun, to start off the day with a creative decision. Because it is a decision – what shirt you put on, you’re making a choice.
When it comes to your style choices, are there rules?
Maybe it’s the rock and roll in me speaking, but I’ll just say: Rules are made to be broken.