‘The Winx Saga’ star says showbiz isn’t all fairy dust
In the Netflix series “Fate: The Winx Saga,” Abigail Cowen plays Bloom, a teenage fairy with recently-discovered powers. The second-season show has ranked on the streaming service’s Top 10 lists in several countries, finding its footing among similar teen dramas.
It’s a great gig with a passionate following that has taken Cowen to Ireland for filming and given her a steady job. Despite the success, she wants people to know that working in Hollywood is not easy or magical as one might think.
The 24-year-old admits to bouts of doubt where she asks herself, “’Is this crazy? Is it going to work out? Is this actually going to be sustainable?” She also is forthright that regular rejection is common and she hears “no” a lot. “It never stops, I think, until you’re Brad Pitt or something.”
The fact that Cowen found her way to Hollywood could be as rare as discovering you’re actually a fairy. She grew up on a farm in the small town of Oviedo, Florida, where she says choosing to go into the entertainment business is “definitely not common.”
“I grew up in kind of the middle of nowhere. We had land and animals and stuff like that. It wasn’t a neighborhood where you had your next door neighbor that you go ride bikes with. I had my brother and we were like, ‘What do we do today? Let’s go create a story outside and go use our imaginations.’ I fell in love with that and wanted to do it as a career.”
Cowen’s mom let her sign with an agent at age 12 who encouraged her to remain a kid in Florida and experience normal life before moving to Los Angeles.
“I got to go to high school and experience the stuff that Bloom is experiencing and draw from that which I am very thankful for now,” she said.
When she did move to Los Angeles, Cowen said it took time for her to book a job that made her feel some security — a recurring role on “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” in 2018.
“Leading up to that, I was living on a mattress on a floor in a little old apartment in North Hollywood with a roommate who literally slept next to me on another mattress on the floor, I also slept on friends’ couches. It was definitely a journey.”
In “Fate: The Winx Saga, Cowen’s Bloom, a fire fairy, goes to school to learn how to handle her magical powers. While there, Bloom and her core four friends experience familiar themes such as friendship, love, and rivalries.
The education of young people with special abilities, as in “Fate: The Winx Saga,” is a popular backdrop in storytelling. Harry Potter’s Hogwarts may be the most well-known school for magical arts, but there are also current plotlines. The upcoming spin-off of Amazon’s “The Boys” called “Gen V” will be set around a college for superheroes. In Peacock’s “Vampire Academy,” vampires and their guardians attend a special school called St. Vladimir Academy.
Cowen believes these shows, including “Fate: The Winx Saga,” resonate with viewers when the mythology is met with realism.
“Even though we’re in a fantasy land, Brian Young, our showrunner, does a really good job of grounding it and and bringing in real-life issues that a lot of young people face, that I faced growing up. Even my parents were like, ’I could relate to that when I was younger. I could relate to that even now.”