Her sister in Boston rented a big screen. Her dad threw a party here. And everybody else who knew her had their eyes glued to their television sets on November 11, when Trinidad-born, Canada-based actress Vivien Elizabeth Armour appeared in the 200th episode of cable channel CW's Supernatural. The series stars teen heartthrobs Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester).
The 23-year-old former Bishop Anstey student did not have many lines in the episode, but she believes although her scenes were short, it was enough to open the door for more gigs in the future.
Speaking in an interview from her Vancouver home via telephone, Armour explained the episode, titled Fan Fiction–which was in the 10th season of Supernatural–was a tribute to the army of fans the show had attracted since its introduction back in 2005.
"Fan Fiction was like a huge love letter to the fans, coming from the team of Supernatural," said Armour.
What probably helped Armour land this role was that her background as a highly trained vocalist was put to good use in the episode which was, coincidentally, a musical one.
Armour played the character of Katie, one of three girls from a private girls' school who decide to stage a musical about Supernatural. Dean and Sam, who are brothers in the series, are seen in the episode watching the musical which depicts their lives as demon and ghost hunters.
Armour, a musical theatre graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) in London, got to perform some of the show's original material, as well as cover several songs including the unofficial Supernatural theme song, Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas.
She actually played the role of a man–Bobby Singer–in the musical. Though her character required some cross-dressing and wearing a beard, Armour said the experience was phenomenal, just having the support from all the cast members.
"It was a special episode so a lot of us had to cross-dress, playing the characters of the Winchesters. But I know I am speaking for my co-stars when I say that we never felt more comfortable and appreciated as we did on that set," she said.
She described the Supernatural team as a family, having formed a strong bond over its ten-year existence.
"The two main characters Jared and Jensen, were so welcoming and they're pretty funny too. Sporting that huge beard earned me a lot of nicknames on the set. But all of it was just pure fun," she added.
Getting the part
Being cast on Supernatural was the first audition that came through for Armour, a Vancouver Film School film production major.
"I have done countless auditions for commercials before. I'd get callbacks and sometimes it just would not work out, which is okay, because it's all part of the territory," said Armour.
The role was also her first musical audition in Vancouver.
A longtime fan herself of Supernatural, Armour studied the show's penchant for classic rock and auditioned singing Somebody To Love by Queen and the emotional composition I Dreamed a Dream which was sung by Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables.
In less than a week after her audition, she got a call from her agent Debbie Mahood telling her she had got the part.
"I was at Victoria's Secret shopping with my mom when my agent called. I had seen her a couple hours before and there was no word yet about the part, so when I got the call I just freaked out," Armour recalled.
Like two little girls both Armour and her mother Elizabeth, were screeching in excitement, crying with joy and jumping up and down right there in the store. Armour even knocked over a lamp. But they weren't charged for it: once the store attendants found out what all the commotion was about, they also joined in the celebrating.
"It was truly a profound moment for me because CW is such an intimidating network and for that to be my first opportunity was in itself a major accomplishment," she said. "At the same time a very humbling experience."
The episode airs
It was a surreal moment for Armour when the episode aired on November 11. She doesn't have cable television, so had to watch it at a gathering at a friend's house. Armour said she was mostly teary-eyed, just thinking about how it all came together.
"When I saw it I just totally cried," she said in her slightly American Canadian accent.
"It was a very funny episode and I looked hilarious with the beard. It was just so funny to see it how it all came together, even if I wasn't in this episode I would still have loved it," she added.
Armour, who is named after Vivien in the Tennyson poem Merlin and Vivien, also felt the love from the fans who took to Twitter with a huge number of tweets about the episode.
"The producer made us do live tweets during the show and the response was amazing. I actually tried to individually respond to as many tweets as possible.
"I am just so grateful and humbled by the sea of support I have had from everybody here and back home. It's enough to make me giddy," Armour joked.
How the journey began
As early as five, Armour was singing, mainly in the choir at Bishop Anstey Junior School. She continued with the senior choir when she entered Bishop Anstey High School and would often participate in an August vacation artistic camp put on by the late Lydians choir conductor, Pat Bishop, who herself was an old Bishops girl. There, she would learn the arts of music and performing, theatre, costume designing and visual arts.
"I can still remember the choir going to Long Circular Mall to perform for Christmas and that time when we sang at the President's House. It was President ANR Robinson at that time," she says.
But by age 12, a big change would take place in Armour's life. Her mother Elizabeth Solomon, a former journalist and human-rights activist, began working with the United Nations. Armour and her younger sister Tara were soon off to the International School of Hague in the Netherlands. Armour joined the school's choir, which travelled around Europe to perform and compete in festivals.
At 16, she moved to London, where she joined another choir and jazz band, which also competed against other choirs in places like Glastonbury, where the popular Glastonbury Festival is held.
Armour later decided to get her feet wet in theatre. She got accepted into Rada where she participated in a summer musical theatre course and an intensive workshop.
Armour enjoyed the experience so much, she decided to develop a career plan and go fully into theatre.
"I decided I had to have a specific plan. So I would go from music into theatre, then into film. That way I will emerge much more well-rounded," she said.
Armour attended the Berridge Conservatory in Normandie, France before moving to New York, where she enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to study film. Finally she went to Vancouver, to the Vancouver Film School.
Today, Armour has to her credits six appearances in film and television and has been in a number of theatrical productions.
She is currently completing her first self-written and directed short film, called Dorian, which is an experimental interpretation of her favourite book, The Picture of Dorian Gray. According to Armour, the film was also heavily influenced by her memories of Carnival and the Blue Devils and J'Ouvert.
"What makes this project so special to me is that on top of writing it and directing it, I was also the cinematographer, and it was a pretty experimental and ambitious shoot using a lot of lighting and camera techniques that I was excited and nervous to attempt, but the nearly-finished product is looking great so I'm very excited to be able to share it early next year," said Armour.
Another short film she produced, Captain Ballantine and the Painted Lady, was just accepted into the Whistler International Film Festival which takes place in December.
"This is super-exciting and I'm so proud of my team and so grateful to all of the people who supported us making this ambitious short film."
Family means everything
The young actress said the auditioning season slows down in Vancouver around this time of year and she plans to spend every bit of her free time with family.
"For the next four years I will not be flying anywhere for the summer, because that is pilot season for actors. Auditions are rolling in like that at that time.
"I know that time will be really hard for my family because we are really jetsetters and love to go on adventures together. It is hard for me to have a consistent lifestyle in film. It can be hard on relationships and scheduling your life in a consistent way so when you do have breaks, take advantage of it," said Armour.
Armour will be back home in Trinidad in December. "Yes, I will be home on the 20th, to visit and spend Christmas with my family," she said excitedly.
Armour intends to make films in T&T. She explained that in Vancouver a lot of productions are joint tax ventures with America.
"Productions are a collaborative effort. So half of the production will be done in LA and half in Vancouver and they share the taxes. I would want to do that for T&T and Canada.
"I think it would be a really great thing because we are part of the Commonwealth. It is a great way for a more developed country and industry to find the smaller stars and try to boost them. So if I were to be involved in a production, I would want to bring the money to T&T and utilise the local talent there."
She added, "I believe in pushing local talent 100 per cent. It really peeves me when big businesses move in on small organisations and try to take over everything. You know there is this sort of stereotype that third world or smaller countries may not know what they are doing when it comes to film and I would certainly like to dismiss to notion, hence my decision to push for local talent."
That move is an absolute among her future plans, but for now, this Trini rising star is building her resume and her experience to take the world by storm.
?FILM & TELEVISION
SUPERNATURAL (Dir: Phil Sgriccia)
THE KLAN (Dir: Santiago Le�n)
IDIOTS CAN SURVIVE (Dir: Travis Hansen)
CAPTAIN BALLANTINE & THE PAINTED LADY (Dir: MG Baker)
HEART IN A BOWL (Dir: Pratiksha Srivastiva)
THE WOMEN OF LOCKERBIE as Woman–Marry McArthur Theatre, New York, NY
THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA as Bernarda Alba - Manny Greenfield Theatre, New York, NY
ONCE A CATHOLIC as Mother Basil Marry–McArthur Theatre, New York, NY
MOONCHILDREN as Kathy - Manny Greenfield Theatre, New York, NY
THE ART OF DINING as Nessa Vox - Manny Greenfield Theatre, New York, NY
TWO PRECIOUS MAIDENS RIDICULED as Magdelene - Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS as Smeraldina - Majorie S Dean Theatre, New York, NY.