Continuing our interview series, Womb Envy co-creator Champagna interviews Storm Steenson.
Champagna: At the top of the flashback episode, we kind of get a glimpse of what life was like for Max and Maggie as teenagers. In the aftermath of one of these experiences that happens, they discover a new movie to watch, which ultimately becomes a big bonding point for them throughout the show. What were the movies that you and your friends were obsessed with in high school? Storm: I remember a friend of mine convincing me to read the Hunger Games. I wasn’t a huge reader back then but she somehow always ended up recommending books I couldn’t put down! When the first movie came out, I remember a big group of us all going to see it. It was so fun, all of us so excited afterwards to chat about what we loved, what we missed from the books, etc. We also would have little marathons. We really enjoyed Lord of the Rings, and Pirates of the Caribbean as well.
Champagna: The inciting incident of the entire series is ultimately Maggie’s arrival and big ask of Max, and we follow the two of them for a few months which meant as an actor, you had to wear various-sized pregnancy bellies the entire shoot. What was that like? Storm: I’ve struggled with body image issues and body dysmorphia my whole life and have only, within the past few years, started to learn to love my body as it is. I was a little worried about seeing myself in the mirror once I had the belly on, but turns out it was the breast cutlets that messed with me a bit, in the best way. The first time I turned around in the pregnancy belly I actually didn't feel too weird about it. I was like "Oh, so that's what I might look like some day. Weird peek into the possible future". Once I had to put the breast inserts in for the bigger belly, all I could think was that they looked too big for me. I had always considered what it might be like to get implants and not be so worried about my small chest. Turns out, I actually missed my chest size once I had the cutlets in, the opposite of what I thought I’d feel. The teen outfits were what actually threw me for a loop. It definitely brought back a lot of those negative memories I had towards my body back then. Strange how that was the harder one to get through, the belly look turned out to be the easiest thing for me to get used to seeing! Champagna: One of my favourite days on set was when we were filming this particular moment at Lamaze class, not because I was present for it, but bc I was upstairs listening to the screams which killed me. Have you ever said or done something embarrassing around a crush and had them see it? Storm: I remember being on the third date with this guy I liked more than anyone I had ever met, I had felt like love at first sight. I was gaga over him and our date had been going super well, yet again. We had gone to a little music event first, then left to go grab some food and see some comedians perform afterwards. I remember walking into the comedy bar and it was pretty dark. Now, I’m known for being a clutz on a good day, but put me in the dark with my heart fluttering over someone and it’s difficult for me to pay proper attention to where my feet are going. I had already tripped over nothing on our walk from the music venue to the bar (figures), so I had given him the heads up that I’m known for tripping over nothing, walking into poles, but also having quick recoveries. When we followed our waitress to a table close to the stage we had to go down a few steps to the lower level. Low and behold there were no steps, it was just a little ramp down. My brain had already decided it was steps though and I lost my footing and then my balance, you know that feeling of panic when you think there’s a step and there’s not, or vice versa? Ouf. I felt myself going down quick but I didn’t want to hit the ground face first in front of everyone so somehow I managed to swing my other leg underneath and out front, taking the lowest, longest step of my life. I took some more giant obnoxious, loud clown steps forward and caught my balance, then popped right back up. Pretty smooth if you ask me. We had a long laugh over that, and dated for a few years after that too. I guess sometimes being a clutz works out in your favour.
Champagna: Your star is on the up and up. Where can people search for your work? Anything to catch you in in the near future? Storm: My first feature film, Cup of Cheer, is now available on CBC Gem for the next many years for all your Christmas laugh needs! I also have an episode out in the newest season of The Boys on Prime. I am also the lead in a TV series, Sunshine City; the first season is out on Bell Fibe and we have been green lit for a second season which will be filming sometime early 2023. There’s some other possible projects in the works for 2023, so we’ll see where they go soon enough!
Champagna: What’s a surprising fact your cast mates may not know about you? Storm: I used to be an Irish dancer. My papa was always so proud of his parents being from Ireland, which was the original spark to give it a go for me as a kid. I did competitions for a little while and also participated in a group that did little shows for festivals, events, etc. I absolutely adored my teacher, she really helped me build my confidence as a young person which I so desperately needed. Going to class was so exciting because I got to be around people I really liked, I felt like it was something I was good at, it challenged me, and it was always such a positive and uplifting environment.
Champagna: This is a series that is heavily dependent on the two of you as the backbones of the entire piece, did you two get along on set? Storm: We got along SO well. Dan is such an absolute joy to be around, I felt comfortable with him right from the moment we met. He’s such a sweet, warm, inviting person; I always felt included and accepted. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much with another cast member on set before, it was so relaxing being able to be silly with him on and off set. I especially loved doing our dramatic scenes together because he somehow always made me cry, all I had to do was listen and watch his eyes and I was a goner. I haven't had that happen before with someone, there were even a few times where it wasn’t scripted I was supposed to tear up, but I just couldn’t hold it back. He’d also get me in stitches on set, crying from laughter. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more caring scene partner and cast-mate. Dan carried this show like a champ and I was very proud to have the opportunity to stand next to him. Champagna: Episode 6 is a really big turning point for our characters, and we really get to see how their friendship has evolved emotionally since they were younger, but also how they’re repeating some of the same patterns. What is it like having to share so many emotional moments with someone you’ve only known for a few weeks? Storm: As an actor you have to try and find your connection with someone pretty quickly. With some it’s instant, and with others it can take a little time to build up. Luckily since Dan and I clicked so quickly, the dramatic scenes almost came easy. I think we trusted each other to bring it, and trust allows for vulnerability. I never felt I had to worry about that episode since Dan always made me feel safe and heard. That episode ended up having some of my favourite scenes of the series I think!
Champagna: Moving onto episode 7, which is one of my favourite episodes for obvious reasons, it’s THE CHRISTMAS CAROL EPISODE! What were your favourite moments to film, but also watch? Storm: I think we were given a lot of challenges with that episode because of all the oner’s we ended up doing, which can be quite the feat to accomplish. I think my favourite moments were the excitement we all felt after getting through some very long takes with so many of us involved. It was great when we would all make it through the take and felt like a little machine.
Champagna: And of course, I have to ask…what were your favourite Divine looks of the episode? Storm: Ok, this might be a weird one, but I think my absolute favourite was the after shower towel look. The colours, the makeup, it was so well put together. The swan outfit was fantastic, and I still cringe thinking about going up and saying “Oh this is so great, from Hannah Montana, right?”. Can you feel my eyes rolling into the back of my head while reading that, cause they are. I was so embarrassed. Of course, I also have to shout out the gold and white dress, the red Christmas ballgown, and the Grim reaper inspired look (that hair was to die for)!
Champagna: If you could meet any of the Christmas Ghosts, who would it be and why? Storm: Honestly, as long as it’s The Divine I’ll take any meeting I can get. I guess maybe I’d choose Christmas past. I have such fond memories of my childhood Christmases with my family, I’d love to be able to see everyone together again. My Grandparents were always a huge impact on my life; I’d love to see them again, all of us smiling and laughing and hugging and cuddling. Maybe I could revisit the moment when my mom asked if I wanted to decorate a Christmas moose instead of a tree. It’s our new tradition together and I think it’s hilarious. I feel like Divine would have some great insight on those moments, maybe a read or two if I was lucky.
To learn more about Womb Envy visit the showpage: https://www.border2border.ca/womb-envy