“I was one of those kids who as soon as I could walk, I was dancing,” says Durant, who first got noticed in 2010 when she made the top 20 of So You Think You Can Dance. “Mum and dad have no idea where it came from but it’s like it was just in me. I also took it so seriously even as a pre-schooler – the videos are hysterical! I was always serious about dance and only dance growing up. I moved into acting when I was 19. It was far from intentional. It’s only been as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that it wasn’t necessarily a passion for specifically dance that I had. It was a passion for creativity in general. Since then I’ve been pursuing photography, writing more and now even taking up creative hobbies like pottery.”
Born and raised in Sydney, soon after SYTYCD Isabel landed gigs on Dance Academy, Camp, MAKO Mermaids, and in the US on the incredibly popular This is Us, and most recently her first feature film, Life, Itself.
“Shari is the comic relief of the film,” Isabel says of her character in the Dan ‘This is Us’ Fogelman film, which stars Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde and Annette Bening. “She’s a super entitled Jewish American princess from Long Island. She’s so ridiculous and it was incredibly fun. We did a lot of improvisation on set, so it was super fun to dive in and play. Dan Fogelman made the whole experience a dream.”
How has Isabel found LA? “It’s been a roller coaster of ups and downs,” she admits. “But overall, it’s been very good to me. It’s important when moving to any new city to allow yourself time. Time to meet your people – your chosen family, time to explore properly the hidden treasures beneath the touristy surface layer of the city, and time to be home sick then find ways in which to find happiness again. I find myself now in a place where L.A is definitely going to be home for at least the next few years. Though in saying that, spending summer in Australia has made me realise just how lucky I am to be able to come back to this marvellous place. I still call Australia home!”
Whilst in LA, Isabel has built up a network of fellow Australians giving the US a crack, including musical act Rüfüs Du Sol, and fellow actors Dena Kaplan, Lily Sullivan and Jordan Rodrigues, who have all acted as sounding boards, support network and subjects for Isabel’s most recent creative obsession, photography.
So, which of these artistic pursuits does Isabel favour? “Dance is so taxing on the body. It’s relentless! Acting is literally dressing up and playing make believe and it seems there’s an endless list of skills you’d like to acquire. Accents, dialects, acting styles and so on! And the photography I’ve taught myself so there are still many things to learn! Of course, with all art it’s subjective and it’s not the most stable source of income and employment! But it’s all worth it! Wouldn’t have it any other way!”
And what does the future hold? “I just want to keep riding the wave. I want to keep being challenged and keep living this wildly magic and mental creative life!”
Life, Itself is in cinemas February 14, 2019