Celebrity Interview: Clare Bowen
When she’s not on set in Tennessee, find out Nashville star, Clare Bowen’s must-visit Los Angeles spots.
You’d never know it from watching her sweet and sensitive portrayal of country wallflower Scarlett O’Connor on Nashville every week, but Clare Bowen is pure Aussie. The Australia native made a name for herself on some of her country’s iconic television shows, such as Home and Away and All Saints. Then, at the urging of an Oscar-winning actress, Bowen packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles.
“My first experience, I was terrified. But now I find L.A. a really beautiful place. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with,” says the cherubic star, who spends most of her time in Nashville, Tenn., where the ABC drama tapes.
Now, the classically trained singer, who made her film debut in the western Dead Man’s Burden, can’t imagine being anywhere else. She sat down with Where to discuss her L.A. must-visits, and life on the Nashville set. —Jessica Radloff
What made you decide to leave Australia for Hollywood?
It was Cate Blanchett … who told me to come to the States. She’s really cool. If Cate tells you to do something, just do it. [Laughs]
That’s incredible. What do you remember about your audition process for Nashville?
Looking like a drowned rat. I was late to the audition, because when it rains in California, no one can drive! But they were so lovely and waited for me. Meeting [Oscar-winning creator] Callie Khouri was probably one of the highlights of my life.
Your hair—it’s like out of a Disney movie it’s so gorgeous!
[Laughs] Thank you. It’s my hair. It has been damaged, fried, and broken off half-way … all the things from being in this industry, but it’s always been blonde!
As an Aussie, how difficult was it for you to perfect your Southern drawl?
It was actually more fun than difficult. When I was little, my dad used to bring home films like Steel Magnolias. [The Southern accent] was just my favorite accent. I figured if I was going to get the role, I’d go all out and make Scarlett as Southern as possible.
How nerve-racking is it performing in front of everyone?
When I have to play the banjo, I get a little nervous, even though it’s something I have always wanted to do. But we have a really friendly atmosphere, which helps a lot.
Scarlett is very shy and reluctant to adapt to the country superstar culture. What similarities do you both share?
We both wear secondhand clothing, and we both scuttle! I think she’s going through a lot of stuff, and in a way, we’re going through the same trajectory where people are looking at you at all times. It’s something I’m still really not used to, but people are always so nice and lovely.
You visit L.A. quite a bit. Where do you love to go when you’re here?
I love Runyon Canyon, and parking on the top of Mulholland Drive, where you’re not supposed to park, haha, and looking out over the city and listening to music. I went down to the Santa Monica Pier with one of my best friends and we ate Dippin’ Dots and it was really lovely. [Laughs] I’ve walked along Rodeo Drive, and it’s really beautiful, but I’m just not much for high-end shops.
What stores are more your style?
My favorite one is called Slow on Melrose. It’s all secondhand stuff. You have to hunt a little bit, but it really is lovely. I also love the Fairfax Market. And I went to the Rose Bowl market and that was crazy. It’s like eight football fields of stuff!
What about a favorite hangout or restaurant?
My favorite place is the Bourgeois Pig in Franklin Village. I curl up on the couches and just chat and chat and chat. That was one of the first places my dear friend showed me in L.A.
Bourgeois Pig 5931 Franklin Ave., L.A., 323.464.6008;
Fairfax Flea Market/Melrose Trading Post 7850 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.655.7679;
Rose Bowl Flea Market 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, 323.560.7469;
Runyon Canyon 2000 N. Fuller Ave., L.A., 323.644.6661;
Santa Monica Pier 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, 310.458.8901;
Slow 7474 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323.944.0195