Actress, model, and (as she puts it) self-employed rock star Shannon McDonough was featured here back on St. Patrick’s Day, as I thought it appropriate to have an Irish lass in top spot that day. I recently got in touch with the multi-talented Minnesota native for for this follow-up interview.
Even though Shannon has starred and looked great in such retro sci-fi films as Terror from Beneath the Earth, Attack of the Moon Zombies, and The Giant Spider, she’s more a fan of classic musicals and doesn’t aspire to being a Scream Queen. (In fact, she hates spiders.) Her versatility has also landed her roles in which she’s showed her comedic and dramatic sides in non-horror films, such as Jarrod Crooks’ Thieves Like Us and Dispatched. As a singer, Shannon has appeared all around the Twin Cities area, currently with Elvis tribute performer Anthony Shore.
One fact about Shannon that she seems to understate, is that she’s also a very talented artist. An example of one of her drawings, as well as info on where others are available, in her interview after the break. The above photo is from a recent shoot with Old Abbot Photography.
CHRIS CHARLES: I was first put in touch with you by our mutual friend and your fellow redhead, Kelly Barry-Miller, who’s been featured at this site on a couple of different occasions.
SHANNON McDONOUGH: Kelly is great! A real sweetheart, it’s always a joy to be on set with her. And she’s gorgeous, to boot.
CHRIS: I definitely can concur with that. So, I featured you here on St. Patrick’s Day, as I thought it would be cool to have an Irish girl for the occasion. Would you say you’re close to your Irish roots?
SHANNON: Yes, I have a large Irish family, lots of cousins. We’re all really close. I might be a bit too close to my Irish roots though, I’ve been sober for six months and one week now.
CHRIS: Ahh, sober since St. Patrick’s Day. Well, congratulations on that. Now, you were born and raised in Minnesota. Have you ever considered living anywhere else?
SHANNON: You’re correct, I’m a born and raised Midwestern gal for sure. But I really despise the cold, I would love to move out to California but it’s always either been a matter of no time or no money!
CHRIS: While I was doing research on you, I found another Shannon McDonough in the Twin Cities area who’s a prominent realtor. It looks like she’s now attached “Nelson” to her name, probably to avoid confusion with you. So, have you even gotten calls from people asking about a house listing?
SHANNON: Ha! No, I’ve never received any calls for real estate assistance. But I’ve seen her listings around. She had her picture on a park bench near where I used to live and her number was right next to it so I don’t think there was much room for error.
CHRIS: You have a lot of theater experience. Is the stage is your first love?
SHANNON: Definitely. Theater was a natural step for me since I began with ballet classes when I was really young. When I started high school, they had audition postings all over looking for dancers for the musicals they were staging and I gave it a shot. From there I started doing straight plays.
CHRIS: What was your very first role?
SHANNON: Technically, my first role was as a little mouse in the Barbi Lee School of Dance’s production of The Nutcracker when I was about eight years old or so. I’m not sure, I’ll bet my mom could give you the exact age. My first role in a full theatre production was as a dance lead in Hello Dolly. But the first production I actually had lines in was as Vera in the female version of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, and I was terrible. I’d always get a severe case of the giggles on stage.
CHRIS: You’ve been in several retro horror and sci-fi movies such as It Came from Another World, Terror from Beneath the Earth, and Attack of the Moon Zombies. Did you grow up watching films like that on TV?
SHANNON: Not so much the corny old sci-fi films but definitely the old classics and musicals. We would watch them at the dance studio and I just fell in love with the elegance and romanticism of how they spoke and moved.
CHRIS: Ahh, so what are some of your favorites?
SHANNON: I would watch any Fred Astaire film I could get my hands on, I Love Lucy, anything with Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. I love It Happened One Night. I could list a million of them. If you want to talk old 50’s sci-fi The Queen of Outerspace with Zsa Zsa Gabor is fabulous as is The Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman. And who could forget Godzilla?
CHRIS: Despite an aversion to bugs, particularly spiders, you were also in The Giant Spider. Was there a “no real spiders” clause in your contract?
SHANNON: I wish! Mihm, the director, has known for years that I’m terrified of spiders and he always teased me that he was going to make a movie about a gigantic mutant spider and have me in it. And one year he finally did, I’m glad too, because it’s one of my favorites I’ve done. Luckily, there were no real spiders involved during filming, but my co-star is an actual tarantula which is a pet of Mihm’s son. I have met him in person, but safely from the complete opposite side of the room.
CHRIS: I saw you in makeup as a zombie for a music video you recently did. Tell me about that.
SHANNON: I honestly don’t know too much about it. My good friend, Jimmy Keebs, told me the day before the shoot that I was going to go work on this music video and didn’t give me much choice in the matter (laughs). But I’m glad I did it, it was a really fun day and I worked with a lot of really cool people. It’s for a song sung by Katana, I believe, and it’s really catchy. I was one of the zombie dancers. The video was directed by the very capable Paul Von Stoetzel. I’m excited to see it finished.
CHRIS: You’ve also done some of your own stuntwork?
SHANNON: If you can call it stunt work, yes (smiles). I work with a really talented guy named Jarrod Crooks once in a while when I’m lucky enough for him to call me with a role. He choreographs really amazing fight scenes and I love doing them. They’re hard work and you usually get a little bruised in the process, but it’s so worth it. You can catch me fighting with him in Thieves Like Us and he just released one I have a smaller role in called Dispatched. I believe he said that one would be available on Netflix in the near future. He called me not to long ago to chat about a role in another feature he’s currently writing, so I hope he’s going to put in some more fighting for me!
CHRIS: As this goes to press, you have a short entitle Fantazio in pre-production. Tell me about that one.
SHANNON: I unfortunately had to bow out of my role in Fantazio. I’m unsure of how production is progressing, but they’re a great group of kids, I wish them a lot of success.
CHRIS: Do you turn down a lot of the offers you get for nude shoots or roles that require nudity?
SHANNON: I have done nude work in the past, sorry mom and dad, and would do so in the future as long as I feel it’s going to be done tastefully and is warranted in the project. I have turned down many roles that require nudity, however, because it felt it was in there just for the sake of having boobs appear and I’m just not comfortable with that. Nothing against the girls that take those roles, more power to them, that’s just not my flavor.
CHRIS: You’re quite a singer as well, and I know you’ve performed at many of your local venues. Are you currently appearing with a band?
SHANNON: Right now I’m solely appearing along side the internationally awarded Elvis Tribute Artist Anthony Shore. There’s a few other groups I’ll sit in with occasionally and a few projects in the works, including possibly a Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute group in which I’d be appearing as June, but nothing certain yet.
CHRIS: Yes, I’ve seen you on stage with Anthony Shore. Are you a big Elvis fan?
SHANNON: I love Elvis. I mean, who doesn’t? I grew up watching his movies and listening to his music with my dad, he’s always been close to my heart. So when I was offered the chance to grace the stage with Elvis it was a dream.
CHRIS: I understand you’re learning to play the ukelele?
SHANNON: Ha! No, not yet. I’d like to though! I found a pink one at the state fair that really caught my eye.
CHRIS: Are you still involved with the Minnesota Renaissance Festival?
SHANNON: No, I worked there for seven seasons and boy, did I have a lot of fun. But I haven’t been employed there for nearly a decade. I understand they might be closing so the city can tear up the grounds for a quarry and that really would be a shame. I hope they can come to an agreement.
CHRIS: Halloween is near. What are your plans?
SHANNON: I love Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday. No plans as of yet, I was booked to appear at a convention in Kentucky over that weekend but sadly I had to cancel. Just too many things going on and it’s not a good time to travel. But I’m sure I’ll find some sort of trouble to get in to (smiles).
CHRIS: I’ve noticed some tattoos. Any interesting stories behind them?
SHANNON: All my tattoos have a story. I get them to be reminded of my background, my story and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Well, except maybe for the Assassin’s Creed logo. That one is just because it’s awesome.
CHRIS: So with that I thank you again for doing this Shannon. It’s been a pleasure. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
SHANNON: You know, this business isn’t easy. It requires a lot of sacrifice and support from friends and family. I couldn’t do it without any of them and I could never even begin to thank them enough. As for plugging projects, be sure to check out SaintEuphoria.com for those awesome 1950’s style homage films and ElvisMN.com for my schedule with Anthony Shore. Also, go ahead and find me online somewhere. On twitter, my handle is @ShannonActs, you can find me on Facebook at my fan page. On Instagram, you can follow my performance life on prettypeaches518 and I’ve recently started a little business selling the geekery art I create so check out PoorLittleCraftGirl there as well for updates on pieces and prints as they become available. (Also find Shannon at Model Mayhem.)
CHRIS: Oh, just one last question: I understand you love osculating. When was the first time you did that? SHANNON: Oh darling, a lady never kisses and tells.
Shannon is know for the outstanding retro look photo shoots, like this
one she did earlier this year with Old Abbot Photography.
In June at the Father Hennepin Festival in Champlin, Minnesota,
where she performed with Anthony Shore
Emma Frost” is just a sample of Shannon’s artwork that can
be found at her Etsy online shop, “Poor Little Craft Girl.”
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Chris flirted with the music business there and in Nashville before joining the U.S. Army and serving in South Korea. He remained in Asia for several years afterwards, teaching English and covering the regional entertainment scenes. Currently in a mindset between Seoul and San Francisco, besides Idol Features, you can also catch his writings in the print edition of the quarterly magazine, Effective.