Imagine a world brimming with magic, monsters, fantasy, and wonder. No need to envision for too long, as you’ll soon be able to immerse yourself in such a world, with the premiere of Netflix’s The Witcher. The highly-anticipated series—which revolves around a mutated monster hunter named Geralt—is set to herald a triumphant release for the streaming platform on December 20. Actress Freya Allan, who stars as Princess Ciri, gave us an exclusive look into the epic, enchanted world of The Witcher, as well as the world beyond the show—her world.
The wonderful world of Freya Allan began in her birthplace of London. At the mere age of 18, the actress has already expanded her territory, having resided in countries such as Australia and France—though, currently, she considers Oxford to be home.
The rising starlet began honing her craft early on, participating in various acting activities throughout school. When she was 11, Allan was cast in the young company of Rapunzel Ballet Lorent—and it is this experience which ignited her desire to pursue acting professionally.
“It was my first experience of working with professional actors, or dancers in this case, and I cried and cried once it was finished—I caught the bug.”
Since catching “the bug,” Allan has landed gigs in major titles such as Into the Badlands and The War of the Worlds. And despite the fact that she isn’t necessarily a fan of the word “success,” calling it “subjective and multi-dimensional,” we think it’s fair to say that Allan is well on her way! This December, the young actress takes on what is, perhaps, her biggest role yet in Netflix’s The Witcher.
“I got an audition,” the actress recalls, “met Alik [Sakharov] (director) and Lauren [Schmidt Hissrich] (showrunner) and got the role. It was a time of excitement and hope!”
Upon casting, Allan dived first into The Blood of Elves, one of Polish author, Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, on which the show is largely based. What further fuels the fantasy fire is that the world of The Witcher already yields a hefty fanbase, due to Sapkowski’s books, as well as the widely popular video game adaptations. And yet, there’s still an air of mystery surrounding the new Netflix series—even with its built-in audience and their, at times, obsessive knowledge of the source material. Granted, this enigmatic nature is part of The Witcher’s charm, as fans have been speculating show details since 2017. Carrying the mystery further, Allan comments that while “the series is based off the books… there are some things that are different or have been added.”
Allan’s character in the upcoming fantasy series is Princess Ciri, who, by destiny, is linked to Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter, portrayed by Man of Steel actor, Henry Cavill. Though the show has essentially been categorized within the fantasy genre, Allan hints at a grittier, more grounded approach to the drama.
“What’s so great about the show is that yes, it has all those fun fantastical elements, but it also has a strong sense of reality to aid it,” she reveals. “You can’t easily label the ‘goody’ and the ‘baddy’—everyone believes what they’re doing is right and characters are flawed and complex, which is how the real world is. That’s what I love.”
And who wouldn’t love that? Knowing the show’s characters have realistic intricacies imparts a sense of likability among viewers, who will be watching, while simultaneously—and maybe unknowingly—drawing similarities to some of the characters.
Even Allan herself highlights an intersection of themes between her on-screen world and her real world, likening herself to her character. When asked which three words she’d use to describe herself, she replies: “adventurous, stubborn, and hopeful.” Allan notes that her Witcher character is “also quite stubborn,” and she laughs while distinguishing that, unlike Ciri, she doesn’t “live in a castle.”
In further discussing Princess Ciri, Allan liberally dispenses more of their commonalities: “We’re quite similar. She has a fierce determination and sees her voice as having a purpose and strength, it’s there to be used, I’m like this too.”
Naturally, given Ciri’s fierce determination, the experience of playing the character has taught Allan “to keep going, and know that things will get better.”
A valuable lesson, indeed, for a busy, young actress, juggling multiple projects. Since filming the Witcher series, Allan admits her schedule has picked up significantly.
“My schedule has definitely got more manic. Especially as I’m doing other projects at the moment, too, but I’m learning lots and taking each day as it comes.”
Further unfolding her off-screen world, Allan articulates that there “isn’t ever really a typical day” in her life, but if so, it’d likely include the question: “who knows what is happening today?”
Clearly, Allan knows how to switch things up and roll with the punches, so it’s fitting that her personal credo and message to the world is to “learn, adapt, and be kind.”
Besides taking things one day at a time, Allan’s other mechanisms for staying grounded involve expressing gratitude and taking breaks. “I try to appreciate every break I get,” she says. “I make sure I’m around the people I love.”
The actress also acknowledges the importance of sometimes “doing anything that’s not attached to the industry… to allow [for] breathing space.” It is this “breathing space” that she believes protects her “from getting eaten up by [the] industry.”
Allan particularly loves spending time with her friends, doing things like vintage and charity shopping. “Or even just going for lunch and chatting for hours about everything,” she adds. “We usually have a lot to catch up on!”
More specifically, when she is not filming or working, she enjoys the opportunity to “watch documentaries, [and] go to galleries.”
“Inspiration keeps me going,” Allan claims. “I love fashion. I’ve been loving traveling in my free time, experiencing new people and environments.”
On the subject of travel, Allan reveals that Paris is her favorite place she’s visited, so far. Recalling her recent birthday trip to the city, she says, “it is just beautiful. You feel like you’re in a movie; the architecture, the art, the people, the food—what’s not to love?”
As for destinations the actress has yet to visit but would love to see someday, North Vietnam is at the top of the list.
In terms of life goals, the actress keeps it pretty simple. “I want to be in projects that I enjoy and play characters that I enjoy playing,” she divulges. “But my ultimate dream is to have a family and be happy.”
Family is a focal point in Allan’s on-screen world, as well. With regards to her Witcher co-star, Henry Cavill, Allan speaks highly of him, describing the actor as a “very kind man,” who “creates a real camaraderie on set, whilst also being focused.”
“He’s given me some great advice and made me feel supported,” Allan reveals. The actress also opens up about her Netflix family, noting that “the people [she’s] met and worked with have all been sweethearts.” The tight-knit nature of the Witcher workplace is appropriate, as Allan details how family is a huge theme in the series, too.
“Whether it’s the loss of family, the searching for family, or who you’re destined to be with, family is prominent in the shaping of all the three leads,” she explains. And yet again, we see the influential force of intersections between Allan’s various worlds.
But, despite her time spent in the fantastical world of The Witcher, surprisingly, Allan confesses that she is not sure she believes in the magical elements, though she certainly “likes the idea.”
“Who knows,” Allan says. “My 9-year-old self, being a Harry Potter fan, would have most definitely said yes [to believing in magic]!”
When it comes to mystical creatures, the actress expresses a similar sentiment. When asked her personal thoughts on monsters and how she defines them, Allan mysteriously replies, “ask Geralt of Rivia.” As for what she considers a real-world monster, it is the giant praying mantis that terrifies her most. But for now, as a carefully placed distraction, let’s happily adopt the show’s tagline about monsters: “the worst monsters are the ones we create.”
Aside from The Witcher, Allan shares that she is currently working on an HBO series, titled The Third Day.
“I’m playing a role that is totally different to anything I’ve ever played before—an actor’s dream.”
If we’re to take anything from this fearless approach alone, it is clear that Allan is up for any challenge thrown her way.
In an alternate world, if she wasn’t an actress, activism is a profession Allan would truly consider. “Anything involving speeches and talking about subjects I’m passionate about—I always loved doing this at school,” she says. “Oh, and I love art, so I would love to write and illustrate books someday. Oh, and I’d love to produce. So many things!”
Allan’s innate sense of zealousness manifests itself when she discusses her passions—which is part of what makes her so alluring and keeps us wanting more!
In anticipation of her upcoming role in The Witcher, we leave you with a few of Allan’s real-world favorites and fantasies:
Three of Allan’s favorite foods are Chicken korma, stir fry, and hummus—though she elucidates that she wouldn’t have them together.
The person Allan admires most is her Grandpa, revealing that he “was a pioneering figure in both emergency and health development work within Oxfam and helped many people.”
Eddie Redmayne is someone Allan would love to work with in the future, claiming that “he’s a fantastic actor and seems like a lovely person, too!”
The most interesting thing she’s seen/done recently was visiting Krakow and going “to a museum, which had a section on Josef Czapski—he’s an interesting man.”
Follow Allan on Instagram @FreyaAllan and look out for her as Princess Ciri on ‘The Witcher’ series, coming to Netflix on December 20.
Photographer: Stella Morais
Makeup Artist: Chantal Amari
Hair Stylist: Patrick Wilson @ Caren using Bumble & Bumble and GHD
Wardrobe Stylist: Amii McIntosh
Talent: Freya Allan
Writer: Sandy Aziz
Find this story in the Autumn 2019 Issue of MOD Magazine.