DC’s Stargirl actress Stella Smith chatted to Courageous Nerd about her recurring role as Artemis Crock, daughter of supervillains Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) and Tigress (Joy Osmanski). The hit DC Comics-inspired drama is currently airing Season 2 on The CW.
Welcome Stella and thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
Stella Smith (SS): Of course, thank you for having me.
In your growing career thus far, you’ve appeared in two DC Comics-inspired projects – Stargirl and Black Lightning. Going back to the beginning, however, when did your acting journey first start? When did you realise you wanted to act professionally?
SS: I don’t really know the reason, but when I was about 4 years old I asked my parents, “How do I get to be on TV?” They were just kind of dismissive of it and thought it would be a really hard business to get into. When I was about 10 years old, I started modeling, doing print modeling for advertisements. From there, I signed with a commercial agent and started taking acting classes. I got signed with that agency also as an actor and have been acting ever since.
Before doing either of those projects, had you been at all familiar with DC Comics beforehand?
SS: The more mainstream things – I guess Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman. My family always liked superhero movies. Since getting the role of Artemis Crock, I’ve expanded my knowledge of the comic world. There are so many different versions of each character, so it was kind of confusing at first. “Wait, there’s this Earth and this Earth, it’s like a multiverse. What’s going on?” I’ve definitely gotten more into comics recently.
On Stargirl, you play the role of ‘Artemis Crock’, a competitive high school student and daughter of recurring villains Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins) and Tigress (Joy Osmanski). How was your audition process to land the part?
SS: It came in from my agent, like any other normal audition. I sent a self-tape in for it. I didn’t hear back for a few weeks, so I just forgot about it. In my audition, they used a fake name – I think the name was Caroline Smith. It said it was going to be for Stargirl, but didn’t say it was going to be Artemis Crock. For the audition, I was a quarterback on the boys’ football team so it kind of had that feel.
So I taped it, sent it in and didn’t hear back until I got a message from my agent saying that I had been approved for the role. I didn’t really understand what that meant. They called it ‘Angela Crock’. Using the last name Crock, I was able to look up the project, look up Crock and find out, “Oh, I’m playing a character called Artemis Crock.” Even a week later, that’s when I found out the dates of the time I’d be working.
In the past, Courageous Nerd has had the pleasure of speaking with your onscreen father Neil Hopkins about his role on the show. From being cast to meeting Neil and Joy, how would you describe the process of becoming an onscreen family?
SS: Neil and Joy, they’re both great. They’re both parents, they have children so it was honestly a very easy process. I love our family dynamic, it’s so fun, it’s kind of parallel to the Whitmore-Dugan family in the sense that they all love each other but the only difference is the Crock family are a bunch of psychotic killers. Neil and Joy are both great people and easy to get along with.
Despite being a recurring character since Season 1, Artemis has had very little contact with series lead Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl (Brec Bassinger). They’re not really on each other’s radar. Without giving anything away, is that dynamic something you would want to see more of on the show, considering their contrasting personalities?
SS: Actually, in episode 4 [of Season 2], there’s a scene between Tigress and Barbara talking about, “Oh, our daughters, we love them but they have this drive in them and it’s kind of frustrating.” Also in episode 4, she tries to be nice and give me an apple, but I’m not putting up with it. They’re honestly kind of similar, in some ways, as their moms talked about. I think it would be an interesting dynamic to see them clash and butt heads all the time.
When we’ve spoken to your fellow Stargirl castmates playing teenage characters, many thought about their character’s life before Courtney Whitmore arrived in Blue Valley. How well do you think Artemis knew the JSA, Cindy, Cameron and everyone else prior to Season 1, episode 1?
SS: I don’t think any of those characters were much on Artemis’ radar. Artemis is so into sports and we’ve seen all of her other friends are jocks, guys on the football team or whatever. I don’t think really Artemis has any other friends besides that or many other interactions.
In the first few episodes of Season 2, we see Cindy Burman (Meg DeLacy) intends to recruit the other children of fallen ISA members – Artemis, Isaac Bowin (Max Frantz) and Cameron Mahkent (Hunter Sansone) being among them. What can you tease about this potential dynamic going forward?
SS: Well, as of episode 5, we see they are planning something with Cindy at the head of it. It will play out in episode 6 and it’s really cool. That’s all I can say!
As a whole, Stargirl features a large ensemble cast. Is there anyone in particular you are/were hoping to have more scenes with?
SS: Well, of course, I love working with Neil and Joy and I’d like to explore our family some more. Also, I think any high school-aged character would be cool to have some scenes with because like I said before, I don’t think Artemis has many friends. She doesn’t really have a true friend. It would be cool to see her branch out and make other friends outside of her football team.
Acting is an infamously competitive industry to get into and stay employed in. In your opinion, what’s something more people should be aware of before committing to pursuing acting as a career?
SS: Just always be working at it, always be working on your craft. Acting is so subjective, you know. What would be great acting to someone is horrible acting to another. Just be the best you think you can possibly be, keep working at it and enjoy the auditions you get. Enjoy the characters you get to play and then just let it go. You can’t focus on every audition you get or you’ll feel crazy.
Other than Stargirl, are there any other upcoming other projects you would like to mention at this time?
SS: No, I’m just looking forward to starting back Season 3. There’s going to be a lot of cool things happening.
Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
SS: Just bettering myself as an actor, keep training, working on different styles of acting. Maybe like, more comedy and expanding my knowledge of that. Just continuing to read about it and just working every day to better myself in some way.