Born and raised in Nebraska, actress and model Schuylar Craig has been branching out to make quite a name for herself in indie films, while still calling the Cornhusker State home. Her recent and most notable role to date, has been as Ari Frost in Dustin Ferguson’s Nemesis 5: the New Model, the latest entry in the Nemesis franchise.
Schuylar’s earlier credits show that she doesn’t mind getting bloody for a role as horror is her favorite movie genre. They include the titles Shockumentary, Blood Claws, and Camp Blood 4 and 5, the latter in which she starred in, reprising her character from part 4. She’ll soon be seen in Matthew Kister’s recently completed horror short, Blood Model.
Schuylar was also the 2016 Ms. Worldwide United. The Worldwide United Pageant is a unique and special one as it’s 50% platform based, which means the contestants help support a cause of their choice. Schuylar’s cause was supporting veterans, which is something close to this author’s heart. She’s worked closely with the Lincoln Veteran’s Administration and she’s a member of the Southeast Community College Student Veterans Organization. Read on to learn more about this lady in her exclusive interview with Idol Features. All photos courtesy of Schuylar herself, unless otherwise noted.
SCHUYLAR CRAIG: Nemesis 5: The New Model was definitely challenging but rewarding. It gave me an experience to learn how to fight, and take a hit to the face, but it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears during practices and training. Probably my favorite film to shoot, so far. The cast and crew were fantastic and I appreciate their hard work and dedication to make Nemesis 5 incredible.
CHRIS: Did Sue also train you off-camera?
SCHUYLAR: We did work some one-on-one combat before we filmed our scenes, but Sue is so great already. I just loved watching her work on set.
CHRIS: Would you say Ari Frost has been your most physically challenging role, so far?
SCHUYLAR: Yes. 16+ weeks of combat training, Wing Chun Kung-Fu training and martial arts plus tons of cardio, weight lifting, balance and flexibility training. I was in shape for the first time! I am a yogi, so this was a huge change of scenery for me.
CHRIS: Ever been injured while shooting a scene in this or any of the other films you’ve done?
SCHUYLAR: Nothing major. A few cuts and bruises. However, I did almost fall off a hill and ended up rolling my ankle filming one of the sand dune fighting scenes. I’m a clumsy person anyways, so my trainer and Sifu, Shaun, was probably having a heart attack watching me on this tiny patch of dirt while I’m doing some major kicking scenes.
CHRIS: Had you seen any or all of the previous Nemesis films before signing on to do Nemesis 5?
SCHUYLAR: I had heard of the series, but when Dustin told me to audition for the lead, I had to learn what I was getting myself into. I watched Nemesis 2: Nebula, so I could really see how Sue fought against the Nebula and I was like; “Wow! She is so badass. How am I going to compare to this?”
CHRIS: I know you were born and raised in Nebraska. Do you still live there?
SCHUYLAR: I was and yes! I’m currently in Lincoln.
CHRIS: Nebraska isn’t exactly a hub of the entertainment industry. Are you often traveling for auditions, shoots, etc.?
SCHUYLAR: I love it here, but I do travel a bit for modeling and filming. My agent is in Kansas City, so I end up doing a lot of work there and in surrounding states.
CHRIS: Any plans to eventually move to LA?
CHRIS: I read that your current “day job” is as a bridal consultant. How did you get into that line of work?
SCHUYLAR: Randomly! I actually did a photo shoot for a prom store, which led me to my boss. I ended up doing like three photo shoots for her, then I joked with her and said; “I might as well just work for you!” and she hired me the next day. I love working with brides and I have a degree in marketing/sales, so it seemed like fate!
CHRIS: I understand your first acting gig was a commercial you did when you were eight?
SCHUYLAR: (Laughs) Yes, it was wild. I was in second grade. They came to our school looking for kids to be on TV. I ended up doing a commercial for PBS and it ran for like 10 years. I still have it on VHS somewhere and my mom never lets me forget it.
CHRIS: Did you do any stage acting when you were in school?
SCHUYLAR: I did. A ton, actually. I was a theater kid and being on stage is my natural habitat, so when I started filming, it was strange. I have like 10 or so productions under my belt and will be doing more in the future, for sure!
CHRIS: I see you’ve done mostly horror, so far. Is that because it’s your favorite genre?
CHRIS: You also worked with Dustin Ferguson in Camp Blood 4 and 5, the latter in which your character from part 4 was the lead role. At the time you were filming 4, did you know you were also going to do 5 and have the lead in it?
SCHUYLAR: It was up in the air, but we had a pretty good idea Camp Blood 5 was happening. We didn’t have a lot of time to film 4 and 5, so we had to make do with what we had. It was insane trying to pretend it was summertime in the middle of a Nebraska winter!
CHRIS: Are there any actresses in indie films you haven’t worked with, whom you’d really like to work with?
SCHUYLAR: I know she started off in indie films and now she’s pretty popular, but I’ve always had much respect for Saoirse Ronan. I’m also into a lot of J-drama and Korean films, so I have a major girl crush on Yuki Furukawa. I’d definitely love to work with Jennifer Lawrence and Christoph Waltz, if I had a chance.
CHRIS: How about directors you’d like to work with?
CHRIS: Shifting gears here; you’ve also competed in pageants. What was your first?
SCHUYLAR: Yes! I first competed in the “Hometown Holiday of Lincoln” pageant and ended up winning a national title and some major perks. Pageantry gets a bad rep, but it really builds up your confidence, community involvement, and public speaking techniques.
CHRIS: I see there is a “Ms.,” “Miss,” and “Mrs.” Worldwide United and you were the 2016 Ms. Worldwide United. Please tell me about that.
SCHUYLAR: I am formerly Ms. Worldwide United 2016 and have passed down the title to a very deserving lady last year. The Worldwide United Pageant system has a large space in my heart because it is 50% platform based, meaning, you’re helping a cause of your choosing, and mine was “Support the Veterans.” It was a great platform, because so many vets need help and support. I worked closely with the Lincoln VA and SCC Student Veterans Organization. It was an indescribable moment watching soldiers, who have served our country, walk across a stage to receive a diploma. Wearing a shiny crown or a fancy dress just doesn’t beat that feeling. But more people are willing to listen to your cause when you are wearing the crown, so that’s why I did pageantry.
SCHUYLAR: Yes, the organization is a great place for veterans or currently enrolled, active duty students to have a place to study in quiet. Some vets or AD students may have PTSD or other limitations that don’t allow them to study as easily. So, the SVO provides a safe space of quiet for members to come do homework, participate in VA events, and hold fundraisers. I got to help with a lot of the fundraising for the VA and the SVO students. We were able to raise money for bus passes, so students could get to school every day for a whole year. It was awesome.
CHRIS: Do you have any skills, interests, or hobbies that most people don’t know about?
SCHUYLAR: I have a ton of interests and hobbies! I’m very into anime, cosplay and Eastern Asian culture. I plan to go to Japan this year, actually! I also am a horseback rider and a ballet dancer. Mostly, I like being outdoors, playing Pokemon and enjoying nature. I can also whistle like a pro, thanks to my Dad.
CHRIS: With that, I thank you again for doing this Schuylar. In closing, any shout-outs to anyone?
SCHUYLAR: Thank you so much, Chris, for interviewing me! Yes, I have a thousand people to thank! To all the wonderful cast and crew of Nemesis; THANK YOU. You guys rock so much! Major shout outs to our director, Dustin Ferguson, our producers; Randy Scornavacca, Mark Popejoy, John R. Walker, Edwin Garcia, Mike Reeb, Zach Muhs, and Jason Bracht; Executive Producer, Albert Pyun; Writer, Mike Reeb; Mark Thimijan on camera and our sounds guys, Brian Roma and Guy White; my trainer, Shaun Vetick and many thanks to our publicity peeps, Joe Williamson and my co-star, Dawna Lee Heising. Nemesis 5 would be nothing without all your help and it’s been such a fantastic journey, I love all of you very much! A thank you to all my fans, friends and family for the endless support in this journey! I hope you enjoy our film!
Video from a 2015 photo shoot Schuylar did in her hometown
of Lincoln, Nebraska with photographer Dylan Tilley.
Thanks to Dawna Lee Heising at Eye on Entertainment