February 5, 2015, 10:45 am
From gracing the covers of glossy fashion magazines to appearing in a critically-acclaimed period drama, it’s safe to say Alyssa Sutherland is living the dream.
Having built a hugely successful career on the international fashion circuit after winning Girlfriend magazine’s annual model search in 1997, the Brisbane- born beauty has since made her mark in the acting world as ethereal Nordic Princess Aslaug in The History Channel’s gritty Dark Ages drama, Vikings.
Although she has enjoyed her years as a globetrotting model, Sutherland says acting has always been her true calling.
“I was very lucky with modelling, I was able to work pretty consistently with some really great people but it wasn’t necessarily something that I was really, really passionate about,” Sutherland says by phone from Brisbane, where she spent Christmas with family.
“I was very happy to be working and travelling but it wasn’t something that I really had a bug for. When I was younger, I was taking drama lessons but diverted from it and it came back to me a few years ago. I put myself back into classes and realised how much I loved it and it’s taught me to work really hard, and I’m really appreciative of that.”
While starring as Aslaug in her first big acting role was the opportunity of a lifetime for Sutherland, another drawcard for the 32-year-old was working with acclaimed writer/ producer Michael Hirst, the mastermind behind the award- winning film Elizabeth and the period TV series The Tudors and The Borgias.
“I was definitely drawn to the fact that it was Michael Hirst who was writing the series, I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth the film. I’ve loved that movie forever and to get to work with him is a dream come true,” she says.
“It’s kind of a no-brainer, you kind of just put your hand up for it and go ‘Yep, done!’ It’s a pretty simple decision to make.
“And to be completely honest, this is the biggest thing I’ve done so far in my acting career and you can’t just turn your nose down at it, you’ve got to start somewhere and start working your way up.
“So for me, for this to be my first really substantial role for my acting career, I pinch myself every day, I’m so grateful.”
Season one ended on a dramatic note, with Ragnar (fellow Aussie Travis Fimmel) forced to face-off with his once loyal brother Rollo (Clive Standen) in bloody combat.
Amid the sibling rivalry, a heavily pregnant Aslaug who is carrying Ragnar’s child, arrives on the scene fuelling resentment from Ragnar’s fiery shield maiden wife Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick).