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Introducing: Elizabeth Dowden

Elizabeth Dowden is an absolute GirlBoss who is passionate about supporting the next generation of female changemakers.

We had a chat with the former Shortland Street actress to discuss her passions, the challenges of being a female actress, and her new role on Westside.

Tell us about your role on Westside?

I play Theresa, she’s the new girl on Lefty’s arm after his break up with Ngaire. She seems like the sweet, doting girlfriend but she’s got a bit of a dark side.  

What do you love about the work that you do?

Honestly, I love it because it doesn’t feel like “work” - its fun. Every job is unique and challenging and when you have the opportunity to work alongside hugely talented actresses like Antonia Prebble, every day can be an inspiring one. 

Have you faced any challenges as a female actress?

One of the challenges I’ve found lately is the pressure to be sexualised in the role. It can be really tough sticking up for yourself when you know that you could possibly lose the job because you’re not comfortable with the sexualisation of the character. 

What has been your favourite role and why?

I’ve loved all the characters I’ve played. But there was definitely something special about playing Dorothy Stratten in American Playboy because her story was extraordinary and also very tragic. 

What career advice would you give to the GirlBoss members?

Figure out what you love and get cracking. You’re never too young to start building your career.

What would you like to change if you were in government? What issues are you passionate about?

Ha, where do I start. Better support for single parents, especially solo mums. 

Finally, do you have a message for New Zealand's young women?

Be brave, achieve for yourself, speak up and support one another. 

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