Welcome to ACTING UP, the place where we celebrate standout performances in TV, streaming and film. Other than spotlighting exceptional work from recent projects, this feature also shines a light on how certain actors got where they are today. Have a peek and then check out these notable performances to help hone your craft.
The Performer: Allegra Edwards
The Series: Upload
When your boyfriend dies, you can go two ways with it.
You can choose to move on – find someone else with an actual physical body on planet Earth. Or you can “upload” them to Lakeview, the lavish virtual heaven that exists in the afterlife filled with “timeless Americana,” too many bellhops, maple bacon donuts and maybe a few glitches.
That’s the world of Upload, where Ingrid Kannerman (Allegra Edwards) does the latter for the man she technically loves (Nathan played by Robbie Amell) after a self-driving car accident leaves him with little time left. All this, despite the fact that he’d maybe like to keep his options open – even in the afterlife – but admittedly has few options left given this brush with death.
No exchange better sums up Ingrid and Nathan’s dynamic than the one that happens as he’s being rolled through the emergency room. He’s faced with a question that will affect his very existence: To upload or not upload (hence meaning he could die a conventional death).
Ingrid: We could be together forever…
Nathan: That sounds amazing, but forever is just soooo long.
Ingrid: Oh, so you’d rather die than be with me?
But Nathan does reluctantly agree – to upload, that is – meaning the uber-controlling Ingrid will essentially be the chief banker of his afterlife. This leaves him in a pickle as she micromanages everything from his level of accommodation to the wardrobe for his virtual funeral – where interestingly, Nathan barely gets a mention. Throughout the journey, Ingrid can “visit” Nathan using virtual reality and at one point, dons a VR sex suit so they can spend the night together.
Though she must sleep in a bathtub to do it.
But because this is a series from Greg Daniels (The Office, Parks and Recreation) – and a concept that feels different from most things before it – endless creativity is in play here.
There’s also a mystery at its heart fueled by whatever caused Nathan’s self-driving car accident. It’s one Nathan recruits his “angel”/customer service rep (Andy Allo) to help solve, casting doubt on Ingrid’s intentions and resulting in more than a few memorable moments from Nathan’s life 2.0.
It’s through these developments that we get to see a side of Ingrid that challenges her character and pushes the actress to comedic excellence. Can’t say much more ‘bout that but know that Edwards’ portrayal of Ingrid is expertly layered and leads her to unlikely places – like fishing for a hard drive in a city a fountain wearing fashion you won’t find in any swimwear collection.
Suffice to say, it’s all one helluva ride.
Born in Palo Alto, California (and raised everywhere from Colorado to Virginia), Edwards got her start at 18 months – yes, 18 months – when she first performed as a model. She found that this life of model child suited her and according to her website, was “hypnotized by the trendy clothes and Craft service” and the “chance to get into character kept her coming back for more.”
After landing her first paid gig at 10 (a commercial), Edwards continued to expand her arsenal by way of improv, dance and musical theater classes. These interests eventually led her to study at Pepperdine University in Malibu where she received her bachelor’s degree in theatre and TV.
Soon after, the ambitious actress who was inspired to no end by Les Miserables received her MFA in Acting, training at the American Conservatory Theater, graduating in May 2013.
That’s when the phones started ringing. Her comedic chops evident, Edwards landed roles in Friends From College, Orange is the New Black and The Mindy Project (all in 2017) before starring in Briarpatch and Alternatino With Arturo Castro on Comedy Central (both in 2019).
Other than Upload, Edwards can also be seen in season two of Homecoming, the anthology series starring Janelle Monae (which also premiered on Amazon Prime in May).
But with Upload, her metamorphosis to series regular is complete – and convincing. The show has already been renewed for season two so Ingrid’s adventures in the afterlife have only just begun.
Gregg Rosenzweig has been a writer, creative director and managing editor for various entertainment clients, ad agencies and digital media companies over the past 20 years. He is also a partner in the talent management/production company, The Rosenzweig Group.