She was always a performer, even at a young age, but she never thought of making a career out of it.
But now Vernon-born and Vancouver-based actress Hannah Pederson can’t imagine life without acting.
Pederson, now a career actress, is steadily building her identity as a household name and has scored her first lead role in the form of Aimee Lee in Hallmark’s Garage Sale Mystery: The Mask Murder, which is set to air on the Hallmark channel Aug. 12 and for release beyond the channel in the near future.
“This was my first lead role in a Hallmark movie,” Pederson said, adding that her relationship with the company began early on in her acting career.
Filmed approximately five months ago over the course of a month in Vancouver, Garage Sale Mystery follows Lori Loughlin of Full House’s Aunt Becky and 90210’s Debbie Wilson fame as her character, Jennifer, unravels a mystery.
“Murders mysteriously continue to happen in front of her,” Pederson said of Hallmark’s Garage Sale Mystery series.
Pederson first stepped into the TV movie series in 2015.
“I booked a Garage Sale Mystery in 2015, but it was a super small role,” she said.
However, over the past three years, Pederson said she has continued to build that rapport with Hallmark.
“I just felt like I connected really well with produces, with fans of the show,” Pederson said. “I feel like they kind of took me under their wing. It’s been pretty consistent. I feel at home with them and their content.”
From the content to the producers and fan base, Pederson said it’s a relationship she is happy to have cultivated.
“People meet me in real life and say, ‘You are like a Hallmark movie,’” she laughed.
Over the course of her career, Pederson has starred in several shorts, series and TV movies such as Murder, She Baked: A Deadly Recipe, Summer Love, Every Christmas Has a Story and When Calls the Heart and has made appearances in several Vancouver favourites like The Good Doctor and Supernatural.
However, one genre that has consistently crept into her filmography was simply by chance: sci-fi horror.
“In Vancouver, we do a lot of sci-fi, murder mysteries, we have Supernatural — I think it just worked out that way. I want more Christmas movies,” she laughed.
Even though the genre she often appears in is a mere coincidence, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I absolutely love doing it. It feels like something I connect with,” Pederson said. “I think I connect really well with emotional characters.”
And for Pederson, that connection is half of the fun.
“I love to connect with new characters. You just learn what it’s like to walk in other people’s shoes. I really care about it and I really try to honour the characters. I think it’s important to honour the stories,” she said. “All these people are real in some way. Everyone can relate to the characters — that’s why we watch TV.”
While she has become fully enamoured by the craft, it was a career choice that almost didn’t happen. During Pederson’s high school years, she was an avid athlete and sports were her No. 1 priority until she decided to give acting a try. Pederson moved to Calgary for a theatre intensive and learned the Meisner technique at the Playhouse.
“When I first got there, I didn’t really fit in,” she said. “Taking those courses and learning about acting truly swept me off my feet.”
After her two-year intensive, Pederson moved back to Vernon briefly before heading to the west coast.
“I didn’t know much coming here. I knew the film industry was booming at that time,” she said. “It’s just really amazing to come from a small town and have a city that has so much opportunity so close by. We’re really fortunate for that.”
Pederson has seen success in her career in Vancouver but said she has started the process to break into the Los Angeles scene.
“I have a family and mom who always told me to dream big,” Pederson said. “I just want to be a full-time actor. I would really like to be a series lead. Long-term, I just want to be a series actor and in a couple feature films.”
And, with a lead role Garage Sale Mystery: The Mask Murder under her belt, Pederson said that dream is closer than ever.
“It was so exciting,” she said. “It’s like tasting sugar for the first time.”