Skyler Wright had to check her phone twice when she picked it up this month and saw that she was the 11th most searched actor/actress out of 2.2 million on IMDB, the leading online database for information on films, television series, actors, and actresses. Wright, who moved to Nantucket when she was one years old, has seen her following on Instagram almost double in one month from 23,000 followers to nearly 42,000.
“I knew the show was huge,” Wright said. “I knew the impact it was going to have. But I didn’t know my character specifically was going to have this much of an impression on people.”
The show she is talking about is “Dexter: New Blood”, a new miniseries that is a continuation of the original hit series Dexter that ran from 2006 through 2013. Wright plays the role of a young woman named Chloe, a green-haired runaway who makes her first appearance in episode four.
The build-up to the show was extreme and the results haven’t disappointed. The series has garnered over 8.2 million viewers to date since its Nov. 7 launch. The seventh episode released on Dec. 19 drew a season best 2.34 million viewers. That number is the highest mark for a Showtime series telecast since the season 8 premiere of Shameless on Nov. 5, 2017.
“These numbers are pretty unheard of for a premium network because it isn’t like this show is available on cable television,” Wright said.
Wright and her character Chloe have been one of the primary reasons for the shows strong viewership.
Chloe is a character with very little money who is living on her own. Her bold decisions and brazen approach to life and the situations that come her way captivated an audience that found themselves actively rooting for her to finally catch that much-deserved break in life.
That optimism was shattered following her sudden, gruesome death in episode six at the hands of Kurt Caldwell (played by Clancy Brown) who shot her in the eye as she ran towards him.
Following her first big break in the entertainment industry, Wright is beginning to reap the benefits of her performance through a growing fan base and national recognition from those affiliated with the business.
“For the first time I had a casting office from a major network reach out to my agent and say hey who is this,” she said. “They asked my agent to send them my materials because they wanted to know who I was.”
On its face, Wright’s career is just getting started and her future is bright. But what many fans don’t realize is how long Wright has been in the business, the grind she has gone through to get to this point in her life, and how a decade full of relentless dedication and thankless work on sets has helped her prepare for this moment.
Wright said she began her acting while in elementary school on Nantucket.
“I started my career on Nantucket doing community theatre and shows with the theatre workshop,” Wright said. “I was eight or nine when I started and it just turned into what I did. I am not very athletic so as a kid you spend your time playing sports or theatre. Since I wasn’t athletic I picked a lane and did theatre.”
Wright began to fully dedicate her life to acting in middle school. She has been a professional actress since she was 14 years old.
“I remember telling my Mom when I was around 12 or 13 years old that I wanted to be an actor when I grew up,” she said. “My Mom basically said ‘okay for eighth grade I am going to take you out of school and homeschool you. We are going to spend two months in New York City and you are going to do extra work for movies there. If you don’t like it I will forget this happened. But we will see how it goes.’”
Wright spent two months doing extra work in New York City, standing in the background of sets for 12 hours as a teenager immersing herself in the environment to better understand how things work and what it took to be successful in the business.
“I didn’t complain once while I was there so she said we would take it seriously,” Wright said. “I had her full support and always have.”
Wright moved to Duxbury, Massachusetts when she was 14 and signed an agent (Tim Ayers) of Model Club in Boston. He has been her agent ever since.
After completing high school Wright moved to Los Angeles, California where she continued her career until moving to New York in 2019.
“I decided I would move to New York and do theatre since I hadn’t done it since I was 17,” Wright said. “Then March 2020 happens and my parents called me saying I was in the epicenter of this new thing called coronavirus. So I moved back to Nantucket for a week. That week turned into being there till the end of the month. Then it turned into staying until May and getting a job for the summer. Then things just never got better and the entertainment industry was at a complete standstill.”
Wright picked up a bartending job at The Tap Room in the meantime, often working 50 to 60 hour weeks. She has worked both at the Tap Room and at Dune since moving back to Nantucket in 2020.
Around the time of Thanksgiving in 2020, Wright said she felt like she was going through an ‘existential crisis’ at a time where many people were going through difficult, uncertain times living through the pandemic. It was at that moment when she decided to make a sudden, noticeable change.
“I remember just waking up one day and deciding I was going to dye my hair green,” Wright said. “My parents thought I was insane but I was like f*** it, I’m going to do it.”
One week later Wright received a phone call. She had been invited to audition for a role in a Massachusetts’ based film, which would end up being “Dexter: New Blood”, but at that time it was under a secret project name.
“The whole point of dyeing my hair green was that the industry was closed and in my head I was saying to myself I’m not getting work for a really long time so screw everything I’m going to do it,” she said. “At the time I had been a platinum blonde and all of my photos of me online were me as blonde or even before I went blonde. But I didn’t have green hair in any photos. So I was definitely very nervous and concerned.”
“I kind of just showed up to the audition that day with this bright green hair and then a couple weeks later they called me and asked me if I would be willing to keep the green hair. I found out in early December of 2020 I got the part and it was super surreal. I didn’t even realize at that point what was happening because obviously Dexter has been off the air for nearly ten years. I didn’t even realize they were doing a reboot at that time but had an idea that could be it through things I was reading.”
The series was cast by Boston Casting, an entertainment agency Wright has had a relationship with since she was in high school. Her first film with the agency was The Forger featured by John Travolta, but all her lines were cut out of the film.
“I learned after that not to mention or announce anything until it has been confirmed,” Wright laughed.
She didn’t have that issue with “Dexter”. Wright said she knew her character had a specific plot and as it turned out, none of her lines were cut.
When it comes to shooting a film or series in Massachusetts, Wright said a certain number of local actors need to be hired. “Dexter: New Blood”, while based in the fictional town of Iron Lake, New York, was shot in several towns across Massachusetts including Devens, Hadley, Whately, and Lancaster.
Wright said they began shooting the episodes in the middle of February. She worked at the Nantucket Tap Room and lived on Nantucket while simultaneously shooting these episodes.
“For six months it was just me traveling to western Massachusetts every three weeks and I think my last day was in the middle of July,” she said. “We knew the schedule was going to be from February through July so we wanted to get all of the exterior shots out of the way while it was still winter because the show takes place during the winter.”
Wright was thrown right into it during one of her first days on the job. She was called in for a meeting with the special effects team to help create a body double for a scene where she is shot in the face.
“They covered my whole head in silicon and plaster,” she said. “You have little nose holes but at one point I couldn’t really breathe and would have to raise my hand to communicate that to them. It was a wild first day. It was at that moment when I kind of realized what I was getting myself into.”
Wright said she was ready to do whatever it took to make the most of this opportunity and she made that clear to them. She ended up doing all of her stunts, making her body double useless.
“They told me they would love for me to do as much as I was comfortable with and I said ‘throw me around and into anything,’” she joked. “Then the next thing I know Clancy Brown, who plays Kurt, is tossing me into the dirt and I have a harness on underneath my clothes. At one point I am running towards him and he shoots me so they had a rope attached to the harness and just yanked me backwards.”
Wright said it was a very interesting and sometimes stressful experience living on an island while shooting a TV show in western Massachusetts but wouldn’t change a thing about it.
“I was so happy to be here,” she said. “I had a place to live. I was bartending at two places that were so flexible with me while I was dealing with my filming schedule. Here I had my job, parents, friends. It wasn’t always easy. This summer getting a car on and off was next to impossible so I would often times just get on a flight to Logan (Airport) in Boston and Uber to the film site. It added another layer of high stakes. But living out in western Massachusetts wouldn’t have made it much easier because I am so comfortable and happy here.”
Wright said the response to her character Chloe has been beyond anything she would have imagined.
“It has been really cool and surreal,” Wright said. “I am still a bartender and I have such a normal life in many aspects. This is just a new part of my life.”
Wright said she has no intentions of ditching the green hair and thanked Nantucket hair salon Melissa David for keeping her hair the exact same tint of green for six months and healthy. She added that she recently bought an apartment in California and will be moving out there with her boyfriend to continue her acting career. She will also continue to bartend on the side.