Netflix's groundbreaking 13 Reasons Why with its controversial storyline involving suicide and a community shaken by the loss, took the world by storm when it first premiered in 2017 on the streaming platform. Amid a string of controversies, candid discussions and growing viewership, the show has undeniably created an impression with audiences for years to come and actress, Kate Walsh admits its frank and genuine relation to the subject was a big reason why she joined.
In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Walsh, who has starred in all three seasons of the series as Olivia Baker — the mother of Hannah, determined to uncover the truth surrounding her daughter's suicide — shared not only where she stands on the show's contentious subject matter, but her choice in taking on the role in a "very important show."
"I got to play an incredible role in I think a very important show that was very helpful and disruptive to the culture," Walsh said. "13 Reasons Why is talking about mental health, about bullying, about sexual assault, about suicide, about rape culture, about you know, gender and sexual identity issues, and racism. I mean, everything that's really, really not comfortable to talk about."
After stating how there's a lot of "misinformation" surrounding the topic of suicide and "bullying" happening with young kids and teens, she admits for her to take on the role of Olivia, it was much more about taking on something very real.
"For me personally, as an actor, just to be able to play, to try to do honor to parents who have endured the unimaginable, which is losing a child to suicide, that for me ... was a very personal choice [to join the cast]," she said.
While Season 3 steered away from the story of Hannah Baker's (Katherine Langford) death by suicide, Walsh's Olivia made an unforgettable guest appearance as the investigation into Bryce Walker's (Justin Prentice) murder intensified.
"I was thrilled to go back. I love everyone involved with the show," she confessed. "[Creator] Brian Yorkey is such an extraordinary writer, but also to be able to work with the kids again, Alisha Boe and Christian Navarro, and of course Dylan Minnette. They're all so wonderful and talented and delightful."
When Walsh initially signed up for the role, she said it was extremely important to her that her character be shaped in such a way that parents who were watching the series could feel the impact.
"Tom McCarthy who directed, who is the executive producer, and he directed the first couple of episodes, I signed on with him and Brian Yorkey, and so when we talked originally about me doing the show, I thought I wanted to do it if there was going to be an impact for parents as well, you know, and not just within high school stories," she said. "If I'm going to play the mom, I want it to be real and to be expansive enough to affect and touch parents."
Adding how that was an aspect which was "really important" to her, as well as the entire cast and crew, she shares it was all about them being mindful with the subject matter and conscientious of its direction.
"Tom is a father to a beautiful little girl. We just wanted to try to be observant and make a good show, so I'm really proud of the work, really and I felt really excited I got to be part of it," Walsh added.
As for Season 4 details, the 52-year-old actress doesn't have any, but says she knows "it'll be good."
Aside from her work on the Netflix series, the actress is recently taking up partnership with the company, EQUELLE, after she was diagnosed with menopause at the early age of 39 during her transition from Grey's Anatomy to Private Practice. Promoting non-hormonal supplements clinically shown to alleviate the frequency of hot flashes and muscle aches associate with menopause, the now 52-year-old says she's excited to join forces in their new campaign "Live Hot Stay Cool" in hopes of bringing awareness to a topic that isn't often publicly discussed, similar to the topics covered in 13 Reasons Why.
"I was super excited because it's a natural supplement, and I think one of the things that freaks women out is like, 'Oh, I either have to do hormone replacement or nothing.' And so it's a choice between, you know, one fear or another, and I love EQUELLE — it's plant-based and it just reacts with our natural estrogen receptors in our body and helps alleviate symptoms," she said.0comments
While Walsh is busy with her new collaboration, she's also continuing to keep her plate full in the acting world with the upcoming film 3022, as well as a "top secret" project she's not allowed to discuss just yet.
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