In the small town of Cáceres, Spain filled with Gothic towers, Renaissance architecture and cobble streets, Lashana Lynch was working on the biggest role of her career.
The 29-year-old is set to star in ABC's new show Still Star-Crossed being executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. As Rhimes' first period drama for the network, the show focuses on the warring Capulets and Montagues after Romeo and Juliet take their lives in the name of love.
Lynch's character, Rosaline Capulet (Juliet's cousin) is betrothed to marry a Montague in order to restore peace in their shared home of Verona. Only problem is, she's in love with another man.
The production for the show is said to have been the most expensive in the network's history, spending money on the secluded European location, hand-stitched garments and decadent set design. And for Lynch, she couldn't be more humbled to be a part of the final product.
"Rosaline is bold, fierce, a feminist, ahead of her time," Lynch told ESSENCE.
"I didn't actually know this was a ShondaLand project. I auditioned, sent the tape in and got a Skype meeting with the pilot's director. And when I got through my agent was like, 'You're going to have a Skype meeting with Shonda.' And I was like, 'Which Shonda?! I know you're not talking about Shonda Rhimes?! Oh my God.' He said her name was in the emails, but I had no idea. I read them at like 2 A.M."
"I didn't actually get to speak with her but I heard they loved me from the first take."
From West London, the beauty comes from a strong Jamaican home where she was acting and singing since childhood. Lynch went on to the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School and then drama school for performing arts.
"There's a lot of us that support each other. I wouldn't say it's a secret society but if you have something big and you're repping the UK, everyone just flocks to it. We support you, don't even worry about it."
"It's so hard to get in the room. When you get that role here, it's like you're flying. Your'e doing it, you're doing it for us. If one person wins, then we all win."