Isabel Oliver Marcus Talks This is Us and Her Biggest Inspirations
Isabel Oliver Marcus has been performing for pretty much her entire life. From the stages of her elementary and middle school auditoriums to her breakout role as Randall’s girlfriend on NBC’s hugely popular series, This is Us, Isabel’s success story has been somewhat overnight. The reality? Isabel has put in a lot of hard work, focus, and dedication to get where she is today. She’s worked on everything from theater productions to music videos and student films and now television, but Isabel dreams of one day making it to the big screen. With the passion, positivity, and energy we experienced from her through this interview, we know that she is absolutely destined for greatness and we bet you’ll be seeing her in lots of roles very soon.
Get to know Isabel as she shares her experience working on This is Us, the ways her grandmothers have inspired her, and how she always keeps a positive outlook even when things don’t go her way.
Get to Know Isabel Oliver Marcus:
Tell us a little about the moment you found out you got the part on This Is Us. How did you react?
ISABEL OLIVER: My manager called me. I was still in my pajamas.
Him: “Hi how are you?”
Me: “Oh I’m doing just dandy” (read subtext: I’m freaking out!!!)
Him: “Well you got it”
Me: “I got it?!?!?”
Him: “You got it.”
Me: “I got it?!?!”
I got it!! I didn’t get out of my pajamas that day—just jumped around a bunch. The downstairs neighbors weren’t thrilled…
What has it been like working on the show? Do you have any favorite moments on or off set?
ISABEL: It’s really just been such an incredible feeling to be on that set working with such professionals. Every moment is memorable and cherishable. I had particularly nice conversations with Amanda Leighton about dogs and younger brothers. Oh! And I got to hug Mandy Moore!
You’ve been considered an “overnight success” since you landed a role on a wildly successful show, but you’ve actually been acting for quite awhile. Can you share a little on this and how it feels?
ISABEL: Yeah, the actual auditioning and hiring process for this role all took place in less than a week, but I’ve actually been working toward it for 6 years. I think it’s important that I acknowledge how unusual it is to have gotten this kind of opportunity at this moment in one’s career, and how that’s in large part about luck and opportunity (thank you, Emma Stone for that apt quote). But I also think it’s worth noting all the hard work that’s been put into the last few years, not just on my part, but on that of my mom, my family, and my community. So thanks everyone!!
What are a few of your favorite shows?
ISABEL: Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, New Girl, and Netflix Comedy Specials.
What’s a series you’d love to guest star on?
ISABEL: As Grace’s imaginary or future daughter on Will and Grace. #nbcfamily.
A lot of the acting you’ve done has been on the stage, do you ever get nervous before a performance?
ISABEL: Oh I definitely get the jitters. But I’ve learned to either use them or ignore them. There was one show when I wasn’t nervous—don’t remember which one. I blocked it out. Worst stage performance I’ve ever given. The butterflies are how I know the energy is alive in the room. I want them!
What are some things you’re hoping to achieve in the future?
ISABEL: I’ve got big dreams for my future, but right now all I can concentrate on is getting through high school and finding enough roommates to lower my rent for when my mom moves out. Then I can start thinking about that Nobel Peace Prize.
How do handle an audition gone wrong or a rejection? How do you learn from each experience and turn it into a positive?
ISABEL: For me, my mantra has become “Do everything in your control, and then let go of the outcome”. I can’t control whether I “look right” for the part, or if the male lead is a foot shorter than I am and they can’t fit us both in frame, or if I’m sick that day. I can’t even control what the casting director is looking for. But I can do everything I know to do to prepare, get as much sleep as possible the day before, and go in with a positive attitude about the whole experience. Then I can let go of whatever happens because it won’t be my “fault”, while still maintaining hope that it comes my way. You gotta still send out the good vibes, you know?
Who is someone that inspires you?
ISABEL: My grandmas have always inspired me. They are all such different women (I have three), but each of them is/was so very good at heart. My Lulu gave me my drive to always be a better person, my Grandmama gave me my strength and endurance, and my Robbie gave me a place I can always return to.
What advice can you share with other young aspiring actresses out there?
ISABEL: Keep your definition of success flexible, but don’t let anything stand in your way.
Feeling inspired by Isabel’s kind and positive spirit? Nickelodeon actress Lizzy Greene shares the importance of spreading kindness!