The Aussie Actress Talks Career, Keys to Success and Mental Health
Written By: Emily Torres
Photographed By: Giuseppe DeMasi
Styled By: Johnny Chavez and Jennifer Patterson
Makeup By: Lisa Leedy
Hair By: Kristee Tamulis Adelaide Kane
Sassy, loyal and endlessly curious (and armed with a gorgeous Australian accent—she’s a native of Perth!), Adelaide Kane is a force to be reckoned with. You may recognize 26-year-old Kane as Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, in the CW’s “Reign,” which debuted its final season this past February. The female-led historical fiction follows the early exploits of Mary, Queen of Scots. The show is chock-full of both romance and girl power (not to mention: incredible vintage period dresses).
While Kane is best known for this recent leading role, she’s been a performer since she was young.
“According to my mother, I was always a natural performer. I was always asking people to watch me put on shows, demanding people let me play nurse and be my patient. I was a very high energy child and needed constant monitoring. It was a good way to get my energy out,” says Kane, bubbly as ever. She still retains this youthful high energy she talks about.
Kane began her career at the age of six with commercials, extras work and modeling. However, she pressed pause on her acting career throughout most of her teens. When she returned to it, her mom and friends encouraged her to enter a talent quest for an Australian soap opera “Neighbours” hosted by Dolly Magazine, a local Australian magazine. Kane reluctantly submitted her tape while sick and expected to go home early on in the competition. She was stunned when she won the role of Lolly Allen on the TV show after a few more rounds of the competition at the young age of 16.
After this transformational role, Kane began to pick up a variety of roles, including spots in “Power Rangers R.P.M.” and “Pretty Tough.” On the heels of this early success, Kane took a leap of faith and moved by herself from Australia to Los Angeles at age 19.
Kane admits that she was not a savvy 19-year-old and that this move (and subsequent culture shock) took a heavy toll on her. She struggled with homesickness and loneliness in the City of Angels.
“There was a moment when I was 21, and I’d been in LA for two years. I went home, and I was so broke and miserable and tired and unhappy and I got really sick. I ended up with a three-day migraine. It was not good,” says Kane when asked about her first few years away from Australia. “I essentially had a nervous breakdown over the stress of being in LA. I went into intensive therapy for a week because all of my symptoms were psychosomatic. I came out the other side being like, ‘Alright, if this is something you really want to do, you got to be able to stick it out.’”
Following this breakdown, Kane gave herself three more months in Los Angeles to assess whether it was worth staying. In those months, she took charge of both her health and career and booked three films back to back and “Teen Wolf.” She signed onto “Reign” the next year. In the meantime, she began to make friends and feel increasingly more comfortable in the US.
While Kane admits that those roles and the ones prior were all valuable personally and professionally in their own unique ways, she credits “Reign” as the most formative and the most fun role in her career to date. In addition to long working hours, Kane portrayed love triangles, marriage and motherhood—all experiences she personally has not gone through. Over and over again, Kane repeats that it was the most rewarding experience with a cast that became a giant family.
“I got to play a queen. How many women get to do that?” says Kane. She is both humble and confident at the same time.
On the role of playing Mary, Kane admits that her and the character share a strong sense of stubbornness and an intense loyalty to friends and family. She does make it clear, however, that Mary is far more impulsive (and has a great deal more responsibility) than she is. In contrast to her character, Kane needs to think things through before making decisions and taking action.
When asked what she would do with this amount of responsibility if she were queen for a day like Mary Stuart, Kane carefully ponders for a minute and replies that she would implement permanent social welfare and health insurance. She follows up by adding that she would provide free education forever.
This general outlook carries into her strong opinions regarding mental health, which she is outspoken about with the press and on her personal Twitter feed. Kane opens up about her struggle with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and her issue with the stigma surrounding mental illness. She urges people to be more considerate and kind to people struggling with any form of mental illness. She also encourages a larger discussion, as silence keeps the topic of mental health stigmatized. She wants her fans to know it is okay to talk about—and she clearly leads by example. She often provides advice—like managing sleep, hydration and walking—to others suffering, as well. Kane is similarly compassionate about LGBTQ rights on her social feeds.
Not only does she utilize her social network feeds for activism and outreach, Kane has become a fashion icon on Instagram and Twitter, though this came as an honest surprise to her.
“I didn’t know that was a thing! I definitely streamlined my personal style a lot more. I told myself I needed to stop dressing for comfort and start dressing for what flatters myself. I can be comfy when I’m home in my house. I went through my entire wardrobe and assessed what was flattering after looking at my body shape in the mirror. What can I get away with? I think there’s room for experimentation and fun in fashion, but you have to know your baseline first. Use that as your sounding board,” says Kane. She notes that brands like Madewell and Aritzia (a Canadian brand) are among her favorites, while also noting that she hopes her shoe choice can be as impressive as Mary Stuart’s one day.
Kane’s portrayal of Mary Stuart is coming to end, and while she may have held royal power, her greatest power in life is her drive and work ethic.
“You have to believe you can do it. You have to believe you can do it, even in the darkest days and hardest hearts. The only thing holding you back is yourself,” says Kane. “I’ve always felt like the world is a land of endless opportunity for me, at least, and the only reason I’m not getting where I want to be is because I’m not working hard enough. And sure enough, when I work harder, things happen. You can’t expect the world to hand you things.”
Notable Kane Roles
The Purge (2013)
“Teen Wolf” (2013)
Louder Than Words (2013)
Blood Punch (2014)
Can’t Buy My Love (2017)
Kane’s San Diego Comic-Con Connection
When asked how her friends would describe her, Kane notes “fiercely loyal” at the top of the list. Case in point: Kane brought her young brother with her as a guest to “Reign” at San Diego Comic-Con in 2014. He left his costume at her apartment in LA and Kane noticed he was disappointed. She woke up at 4 a.m. and drove back to get his costume before her press began for the day.
Cosplay From Back in the Day
Kane won’t be working at San Diego Comic-Con next month, but she plans to attend as a guest. While we couldn’t track down photos, she notes that she dressed up as Wonder Girl the first time she attended at 19!
Her Favorite “Reign” Moments
While Kane can’t pinpoint a favorite episode, she enjoyed any episode that included an opportunity to ride horses. Here’s the catch: she’s highly allergic to horses!
What She’s Watching
Kane binges on “South Park,” “Family Guy,” “Bob’s Burgers” and “Archer.” Animated cartoons are her go-to, though she will watch hyped shows like “13 Reasons Why,” “Mad Men” and “Stranger Things.”
The Final Day on Set
While shooting the final scene of “Reign,” the cast members and wardrobe staff dressed up in the set’s furs and dresses to watch Kane shoot her final scenes in solidarity, rather than go home. The cast was truly a family that only grew closer year after year. Kane says, “It was incredibly sweet and moving that everyone wanted to be there for me.”
At this point, Kane can’t disclose what’s next in her pipeline, but did note that big opportunities are headed her way. In the meantime, Kane is working as a co-producer on an indie film Acquainted. She is also working to create a cookbook designed for individuals cooking for one (head to her Instagram to see videos and photos from her home test kitchen, but don’t do it on an empty stomach!) and is learning to play piano.
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