Unless you are a huge movie buff, the name Chelah Horsdal might not ring a loud bell, but a photo of her is most likely to seem familiar thanks to her extensive filmography. The Canadian actress has been in the entertainment scene since 1993; she had a brief break that year but returned in 2002 and has since remained a staple in TV shows. Her first major recognition in the industry came in 2005 when she received a Leo Award nomination for Best Performance by a Female in a Short Drama for her role in Dark Room.
Fast forward to 2013, her years of active service began to gain much recognition, and following many nods, she finally won Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female Dramatic Series in 2017 for her role in The Man in the High Castle, her most popular outing in recent years. The success of the show has brought her under the radar of many people and has generated their interest in her life beyond what she does on screen.
A Career In Entertainment Was In Sight For Young Chelah
Chelah Horsdal is one of those actresses that grew up around entertainment influence. She describes her parents as “hippies.” Her father Paul Valdemar Horsdal is a popular Canadian folk and country musician, who is commonly referred to as Valdy. His career dates as far back as the ’60s, and he is best known for the song “Rock and Roll Song,” which was his first mainstream hit. He has won at least 2 Juno Awards and sold over half a million records.
Due to her father’s extensive touring, Horsdal was raised by her mother, Lindsay Whalen in Kitsilano, Vancouver. She did inherit her father’s artistic side, and from a young age became interested in a career in entertainment. When she turned 18, she began modeling and appearing in TV commercials. She would later spend a year living in the Caribbean.
Deciding on An Acting Career
Though Chelah Horsdal had become interested in an entertainment career from an early age, she did not exactly have her path figured. In addition to modeling, she waited tables and worked as a voice-over talent. Horsdal also worked as an events manager and publicist before settling into a career in acting.
It was while working as a voice agent that she decided on an acting career. As she revealed in an interview, after the close of work one day, she made her way to Lyric School of Acting in Vancouver, where she auditioned before Kate Twa and Michelle Lonsdale Smith. This marked the beginning of rigorous years of studying under the two women in addition to Gina Chiarelli, Ben Ratner, Ivana Chubbuck, John Cassini, and Larry Moss. Ready to face the professional acting world head-on, Chelah Horsdal kicked off her carer in 2002 when she was 29.
Chelah Horsdal For a Prolonged Period Acted Mostly In Small Roles
Atypical of most actresses, Chelah Horsdal began her career with small roles. Her first credited role was as Misabo Ahm in an episode of the science fiction television series, Andromeda, while her first credited film role was in 2004’s The Truth About Miranda. For the next decade that followed, Hordal seemed to struggle to make a huge impression in the movie industry, when she got a part in a big feature film, it was a small one, the same was the case for TV shows, safe for a few recurring roles.
Her major roles only came in short films where she earned a couple of recognition like in 2004’s Dark Room and The Hostage (2010), both of which earned her Leo Award nominations. Horsdal’s first recurring role as Lt. Womack in Stargate SG-1 lasted for 5 episodes from 2004 to 2006. Some of her small parts came in popular shows such as Criminal Minds and Smallville. Her next recurring role came in The L Word, Blackstone, Level Up, and Arrow as Kate Spencer from 2012 to 2014.
Some of the big feature films where Horsdal had small parts include The Pink Panther, X-Men: The Last Stand, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, and Passengers. Though the latter was a flop, the rest recorded moderate to huge successes in the box office. Within the same period, Horsdal starred in a string of TV films, mostly between 2008 and 2011, they include Flirting with Forty, Lying to Be Perfect, and The Client List.
Her Mainstream Success with Hell on Wheels and Other Popular Works
After what looks like a rigorous 10 years, Chelah Horsdal finally earned her first major success with her role as Maggie Palmer in Hell On The Wheels, an American/Canadian Western television series about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. The series premiered in November 2011, but Horsdal’s role as Maggie Palmer began as a recurring role in the show’s third season before getting upgraded to a main role in the season finale in 2016.
Starring in Hell on Wheels seemed to open more opportunities to the actress. While on the show, she booked the recurring part of Cat Montgomery in When Calls the Heart for which she received a Leo Award nomination for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series. She also had a brief recurring role in 5 episodes of The Returned in 2015.
While rounding up on Hell on Wheels, Chelah Horsdal got what would become the biggest role of her career yet, the role of Helen Smith in The Man in the High Castle. Described as an alternate history web television series, the show depicts a parallel universe, where the Axis powers win World War II.
The dystopian series, which is produced by Amazon Studios, has received largely positive reviews and is Amazon’s most-watched since the original series development program began. The show has a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2017, her role won her a Leo Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Horsdal’s breakthrough with Hell on Wheels also opened the doors to better movie roles. Some of the notable ones have included Patterson’s Wager and Candiland. Her recent works include a recurring role in You Me Her, and guest appearances in The Good Doctor, and the hit post-apocalyptic science fiction The 100.
The Actress Has Made a Considerable Amount of Wealth
Chelah Horsdal might have started her acting career late compared to her colleagues in the industry. However, she made up for that lateness by staying busier than most, and with time, it paid off. Her filmography now includes over 100 works across the big screen and TV. One of the ways she earned money in her early years was starring in over 70 commercials.
In a bid to exercise more influence and control over the trajectory of her career, Horsdal in 2017, revealed her intentions to venture into writing, directing, and producing. To fulfill this, Horsdal has established a production company named Phoebe Films, Inc. Under the company, she produced a documentary about her father Valdy and his music career.
Though it is not clear exactly how much Horsdal earns per movie role, her increased activity in the mainstream can only mean that she is earning big. Estimates put her net worth between $1 million and $5 million.
Her On-Screen Chemistry With Rufus Frederik Sewell Have Sparked Dating Rumors
Chelah is a very private person, and as such keeps her personal life away from the public. She has never been married nor had kids. That said, curiosity into her personal life was ignited following her on-screen romance with Rufus Frederik Sewell, who played her husband, John Smith, in The Man in the High Castle. Their on-screen chemistry has been described as one of the keys that have made the series great.
Some fans have wondered if they are an item in real life, but they are not. Horsdal frequently takes to her Instagram account to post photos of her and Sewell much to the excitement of fans. While Horsdal completely shields her love life from the media, Sewell is known to have been married twice. He divorced from his second wife scriptwriter and producer, Amy Gardner, in 2006 just after two years of marriage.