Molly Hawkey feels like she’s about to barf. She’s fielding calls from E!, Buzzfeed and Self but she takes a second to thank everyone on her Facebook for their support. A few days ago her friends, mostly in the tight-knit improv community and members of her basketball team, The Pistol Shrimps, were sharing this great video she made. Those friends shared it, some celeb friends tweeted it and then Buzzfeed picked it up and before she knew it she was fielding all those calls.
They say if you want to make it in Hollywood in this day and age that you have to create your own projects. After being in Los Angeles for 12 years, having trouble getting auditions and battling the ageism we’ve all come to know and love in this business, that’s exactly what Molly did. She has been editing herself into episodes of this seasons “The Bachelor” on ABC. I’ll admit it, I fell for this trick. When Molly created the FB page for Molly from the Bachelor and posted the trailer for the first episode of the show, which she was IN, I was so excited! I even tuned in and watched the first episode expecting to root on and cheer for a friend. It was only until I got through the entire episode with no sign of Molly that I realized that I had been had, in the best possible way.
Molly is a comedian who moved to NY and then LA after college to pursue her acting dreams. She found improv in 2003 and carried on a torrid love affair with improv, which “At first it seemed like magic…creating character, relationships and scenes in the blink of an eye. It was so thrilling to perform that it satiated my acting bug for over 10 years.” But like any love affair, the magic started to wane and when her one liner roles on TV and in films couldn’t fulfill her anymore she started making her own projects. Molly says, “I started writing and taught myself to, light, shoot, and edit, generating my own material that would showcase my off beat and sometimes off the planet sensibilities, but most importantly, material that would make me laugh and make me proud.”
This isn’t the first time Molly’s edited herself into something. She flawlessly edited herself into The Hollywood Reporter’s Actress Roundtable for 2015, replacing Reese Witherspoon with herself. That video got over 30,000 views and turns out that it was the impetus for editing herself into The Bachelor. “Somehow, I inadvertently fooled and confused everyone who saw it. This tickled me to no end so I knew I had to keep cutting myself into anything I could. Last season, when Chris was the Bachelor, I realized I HAD TO try and fool my people into believing I was on the next season. When an idea makes me giggle and snort that’s when I know it’s a good idea.”
Molly didn’t expect that anyone would actually believe that she would go on The Bachelor, or that anybody would think that they would actually cast a contestant like her. “I mean, I’m 37 and my hair extensions aren’t nearly long enough.”
Molly’s jokes are sometimes silly, though true, like in this video:
…where she proclaims that Ben Higgins, The Bachelor, “ . . . looks a lot like my nephew, he’s 23, so there’s like a two or three year old difference, so there’s a familiarity there with him.” While one of the biggest reasons Molly chose to poke fun at The Bachelor carries a little more weight to it.
One of the biggest jokes in Molly’s videos pokes fun at the fact that she’s 37 years old, at least 10 years older than all of the contestants on the Bachelor as well as Ben, himself. She misses a group date, in this video:
…because she was taking a quick shower, “to shave her pits, because my hair grows really long in my arm pits really fast, because I’m 37 and hormones are weird at that age.” It’s a funny joke, but one that resonates on a deeper level with Molly. She told me that, “It bums me out that women feel the need to conceal their age. Whether you’re an actress or not, there’s a pressure for everyone to hide who they really are to appear more appealing and it’s just not fun.”
Molly’s felt beholden to that idea in the biz, even when she was “young”. She’s using these videos as well as her Instagram account to break the molds that she was trying to fit into by parodying her “idiot self”. She’s found that people love it, but most importantly, she’s more herself than she’s ever been and she’s having a ton of fun doing it.
I asked Molly a few questions that I had as I watched this unfold online. Here’s what she had to say.
ELIZABETH: How did it feel when your video started going viral?
MOLLY: Has it gone viral?! At what point do we consider a video viral? At first, of course, I was SO EXCITED that people were actually seeing my work! I’m used to 1K views and I’ve had over 200K combined views on my Bachelor vids in the past 7 days. It was also so great to see everyone SHARING my videos and to read all the wonderful comments everyone was writing. I’m just so flattered and grateful for the support of my community.
BUT my excitement is very cautious and dubious. Will anyone see my videos now that the news outlets aren’t posting about me? Will this actually change the course of my career or will I just end up making more vids for family and friends to laugh at?
ELIZABETH: Did you know/hope that it was going to?
MOLLY: I had no idea and could never have imagined that this would happen. I just thought it would be hilarious to see myself on the Bachelor and to see if any of my friends would believe it for a second. Or even a millisecond.
ELIZABETH: What is the most surprising thing that has come out of this so far?
MOLLY: I’ve been so busy shooting and editing and so behind on work-work that I had to hire a personal assistant. I think that’s pretty shocking!
ELIZABETH: What’s your ultimate goal with your Bachelor videos?
MOLLY: I just want more acting opportunities. I’ve been working my ass of for years and years and just want to act.
ELIZABETH: What advice can you give fellow actors/creators about when your video goes viral and all that attention is on you?
MOLLY: Stay on top of it! It’s not easy to keep up with the social media but I’m guessing you need to continuously feed the machine to keep it alive. And you know what else? I want to reply to every comment and thank every single person that has shared or tweeted my videos but most of the time I’m not even seeing the posts! So let me just say it here…THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for the support. It really means the world to me. Oh, and please keep sharing if you’re not sick of me yet. LOVE YOU.
ELIZABETH: How has all of the attention helped your acting career?
MOLLY: We’ll have to wait and see…