What do you get when you throw a bunch of teenage fairies with little to no control over their intense powers all together into a magical boarding school? Pure chaos, according to Fate: The Winx Saga. The new Netflix series, based on the Nickelodeon animated show The Winx Club, operates on that exact premise, highlighting the whirlwind of emotional and physical destruction that ensues when you combine untapped magical powers with general teen angst.
At the center of the show is Bloom, who grew up on Earth (aka the Firstworld) believing herself to be a regular old human like her adoptive parents. That belief is shattered after a mysterious incident involving her uncontrolled ability to create and manipulate fire, which lands her a one-way ticket to the Alfea College for Fairies in the Otherworld to get said powers under control. (Meanwhile, her still-clueless parents think she's somewhere in the Alps.) Perfectly capturing Bloom's supernatural coming-of-age journey from self-doubting teen to ultra-powerful fire fairy is Abigail Cowen, a 22-year-old actress you've definitely seen before and will surely be seeing plenty more of soon. Here's where.
This isn't her first stint at a magical boarding school.
Cowen is probably most recognizable for her role as Dorcas Night, one of the three Weird Sisters at the Academy of Unseen Arts in Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. She played this role for more than two dozen episodes throughout the show's four seasons.
Prior to her witchy turn on CAOS, Cowen appeared in yet another hit fantasy show on Netflix, as high-schooler Vicki Charmichael in two episodes of Stranger Things's second season. Next up, proving she's not quite done with the supernatural world, Cowen will star in Witch Hunt, which imagines a modern-day America that not only is home to actual witches, but also never stopped holding witch trials to persecute them.
In an interview with MTV News, she explained what keeps drawing her back to magic-infused projects: "These types of projects are just fun because there are no limits. You'll read a script one day and one thing will be happening, and you'll get the next script and something completely absurd and crazy will be happening but it's allowed to happen because you're in a fantasy world. You're allowed to really use your imagination, and that's really fun for me because I definitely have a huge imagination," she said.
Cowen added, "I also feel like, with fantasy, it's a nice escape from reality for a lot of people. It's fun to dive into another world just for a little bit and forget about the world that we're in. I think there's always room for fantasy and for these types of shows because it gives people a break from life, good or bad."
She grew up in Florida.
Much like Bloom, before being transported to the realm of witches and fairies, Cowen was just a regular teenager. She was raised on a farm in Gainesville, Florida, and studied public relations at the University of Florida for "about a semester," she told Flaunt magazine, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time.
During her time as a Florida high-schooler, Cowen ran track, a hobby that has continued into her adult life. "Running, for me, is my escape from reality. It is the only time my mind really feels quiet and at ease, especially in such a loud, very stimulating world. It is not always fun or something I want to do, but it is an act of self-love for me, as it benefits both my physical and mental health," she told Glamour U.K.
She used Nicki Minaj and Blink-182 to get into Bloom's mindset.
Cowen told MTV News that she built a playlist full of songs that she thought best fit Bloom's roller-coaster of emotions throughout the show; highlights include hits from Post Malone, Blink-182, Kendrick Lamar, and Nicki Minaj, plus a sprinkle of Mumford & Sons to complement Fate's idyllic Ireland set.
"I would put my headphones in and listen to these songs before I would shoot certain scenes," she explained. "Actually, Danny Griffin, who plays Sky, would show me songs and I would show him songs, and then we would listen to them both together on speakers and act out what would happen in those moments. We would speak through those songs, like, 'This is where they would fight!' It was so dorky, but music was a very big part of discovering Bloom for sure."
No major spoilers here, but the first season of Fate: The Winx Saga ended with Bloom and her fairy friends showcasing everything they'd learned about their powers and themselves to rally together against a murderous army of Burned Ones. If the series returns for a season two, Cowen is hoping to see Bloom discover and take hold of even more of her powers.
"I'm excited to see, again, if we get a second season, where she goes with that and what that does for her and her self-esteem and her overall sense of self. And if she is really able to hone in on them and be a really huge force in the Otherworld," Cowen told The Wrap of how the first season finale perfectly sets up future episodes.
"The nature of this show, the minute that you think things are going right and things are finally on track, there's a curveball that's thrown at you," she continued. "There are a lot of things to be uncovered about the school that people don't know. I feel like there might be a battle of power. I don't really know actually, but it's definitely opening up some room for conflict, I would say, for the coming year."
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Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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