Clements debuts in Work In Progress

Sofia Cole, staff writer

Clad in beaded jewelry and vibrant makeup, junior Fiona Clements sat in an on-set hair and makeup trailer, staring her transformed self in the mirror as she waited anxiously behind the scenes of her first professional acting gig, ready to jump into character and bring her role to life.

Clements had the opportunity to play a younger version of a character that her mom, Karin Anglin, plays on Showtime’s Work in Progress. Anglin regularly appears on the show, playing Alison, the sister of the main character Abby. Clements is featured in two episodes in the show’s second season, both of which are flashbacks to the ‘80s, when Alison was a senior in high school.

“Everything was so exaggerated, especially the makeup,” Clements said. “[I used to watch] shows that take place in the 80s and I would always be like, ‘Oh my God, that looks so fun and I would want to do it’, so it was really fun being on the other side.”

Clements spent much of her childhood involved in musicals and improv and had always dreamed of being involved in a professional production. Clements expressed that growing up she always admired her mom’s career as a full-time actor, so being able to join her on set was an unforgettable experience.

“When anybody asked me what [I wanted] to be when [I grew] up, I would always say actress because I loved [my mom’s job] and I still do,” Clements said.

When season two of Work In Progress aired in August, Clements worried about seeing herself on TV and what takes they used. Despite Clements’ nerves, Anglin wanted her to celebrate her achievement and focus on how big it was.

“It takes a lot of grace and composure to do the work that she did as someone that young,” Anglin said. “There [are] a lot of moving parts when you’re on a set, so to give the performance that Fiona gave, which was really authentic and honest, was cool to watch.”

Anglin recalled Clements in her childhood, explaining that she was always a bold and energetic child, despite the pressure young girls often feel to be quiet and act a certain way. She credits The Laughing Academy, an improvisation school in Glenview, for helping Clements learn to rely on those intrepid senses and be unapologetically herself.

“I just loved seeing her speak to her creative instincts and not be held back,” Anglin said. “[Seeing her do improv at The Laughing Academy was] the first time I [realized that] she is naturally a creative spirit.”

Kim Greene Hiller, owner of The Laughing Academy, taught Clements from third to fifth grade and was delighted to have her in class. Hiller recalled Clements having natural confidence and positive attitude.

“She has that ability to make others look good in the scene, because she goes right out there with bold character choices, and is unafraid,” Hiller said.

Anglin identified the same sense of fearlessness in the performance her daughter gave during the filming of Work in Progress, noting that the casting directors told her that Clements looked at ease behind the camera. Anglin believes that being “a natural” is the best compliment an actor can get.

“You don’t want to seem inauthentic and I think Fiona has a natural authenticity about her as a person, and it comes through as an actor,” Anglin said.