While there are some big names involved in the Paramount+ TV series, the 21-year-old budding actor is making quite the impression.
The new Paramount+ TV series 1883 premiered on December 19. This is a prequel to Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone that followed the Dutton family, owners of the largest ranch in Montana, while delving into the family drama as well as the bordering Native reservations and national parks.
1883 is about the previous generation of the Dutton family. It follows their journey from Ft. Worth, Texas to Montana to establish what eventually become the Yellowstone Ranch. The prequel stars Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sam Elliott, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett, Marc Rissmann, Audie Rick, Eric Nelsen, and James Landry Hébert.
While there are some big names involved, 21-year-old budding actor Isabel May in her role as Elsa Dutton, the family matriarch, is making quite the impression. Even though she is a newcomer, she has a vital role in the TV show and it is her character's voice that can be heard narrating the story. Here are some things you probably did not know about her:
May revealed that she had always wanted to pursue a career in acting but was inspired by two of her friends. One of them was a dancer and the other a singer. Her sixth-grade teacher had even encouraged her to pursue something in the creative field to express herself.
When May decided to start acting, she had no experience at all. But that did not stop her from auditioning anyway. For three years, she went to auditions and did not land a single role at all. When she was in 10th grade, her parents decided to take her schooling online so she could concentrate on her acting. Finally, in the next six months, she landed a lead role in the Netflix show Alexa & Katie as Katie.
If there's one thing she has learned from her own experience, it is to accept rejection. She endured years of rejection before landing a big role. May managed to bounce back from the rejection and wants others to know that "rejection is not a bad thing" and it can be used as an opportunity to learn and grow. She understands the importance of not being bogged down by rejection and persistently trying.
May's first major role was as Katie Cooper in Alexa & Katie. She also landed a role as Veronica Duncan in Young Sheldon, playing Sheldon's elder brother's love interest. At the same time, she was working on film projects including Let's Scare Julie, an indie thriller about a group of teen girls who plan to scare their reclusive neighbor during a Halloween party, and Run Hide Fight, another thriller about a high schooler who tries to save her classmates from a group of school shooters. Run Hide Fight even premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
May's second big break came in the form of her role as Elsa Dutton in Paramount+'s 1883. This would also make it her second time starring in a series that is a prequel to a different hit show. The first one was Young Sheldon which was a spin-off prequel to the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory. 1883 is the prequel to the hit drama series Yellowstone.
May as Katie Cooper can be considered a Netflix star in her own right. And her favorite show also happens to be one of Netflix's biggest titles, The Crown. The period drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times. May also revealed that she enjoys Arrested Development.
May has shared that she has a passion for fashion and likes to express herself through the clothes she wears. She believes that fashion plays an important role in properly portraying a character.
“I was an avid reader, at a young age, completely engrossed in fictional worlds," she said in an interview. "I love to write, as most actors do, they find other ways to express themselves, and my English teacher pulled my parents to the side in sixth grade, and said you gotta get her doing something else, cos she has to express this in some way.”
Elsa is James and Margaret Dutton's 17-year-old daughter and oldest child. The expedition that the series revolves around, starts on her birthday, and in preparation for the series she had to learn horseback riding. Her character is undisciplined, innocent, and looks forward to the expedition as a great adventure.