Interview with Rachel Hendrix: Star of October Baby & The Perfect Wave

{By Ellery Sadler}

I think it is her eyes that move me most.

Rachel Hendrix interview

Something about the way Rachel looks, the depth in her voice, and the way her eyes speak to the screen, haunts me.

I first saw Rachel Hendrix as Hannah in October Baby, and was blown away by the passion of that film. And then when I saw that she was in The Perfect Wave, I was so excited and knew I had to watch it. It was really wonderful to see Rachel’s ability as an actress in becoming someone so totally different from Hannah. She gave an arresting performance. Her talent and authenticity on the screen are inspiring.

So when I got the chance to talk with her, I was thrilled!! And her voice on the phone sounded (surprise :)) exactly like it did in the movies, clear and genuine and full of life. Isn’t she the coolest?

Here is my interview with Rachel Hendrix:


Me: When did you first know you wanted to be an actress?

Rachel: It kind of happened to me before I really knew what was going on. It was never like I ‘always wanted to be an actress’. It sort of just fell in my lap. I’m an artist, and I get really nervous speaking in front of people. I ran for class president in high school and my knees were shaking – I was terrified. But film is very intimate, very close. You become sort of a family. I met the right people, and worked on some short films and pilots to start out.

I’m a believer in seizing opportunities. And I tend to take risks.

Rachel Hendrix The Perfect Wave interview

elephant rides with Rachel & Scott

Me: What is your favorite part about being an actress?

Rachel: I love doing the work. I love being with the people. Making a movie is a major emotional journey, you become really close to the people you work with. I like being in front of the camera, telling the story so it becomes real and it isn’t about fame. It’s about doing a great job with the gifts you’ve been given.

Me: How does your faith impact/change your work?

Rachel: When you’re given a passion, recognizing where that comes from and seeing the bigger picture is crucial. Knowing that my Maker approves of my work, and keeping myself accountable in my relationship with the Lord and my husband keeps me grounded. It isn’t all about me – I participate. And knowing that God is the one in charge keeps me humble.

Me: October Baby was incredible, when I saw it a few years ago I never thought I’d get to be talking to you! What was your favorite part about being Hannah? And what was the hardest part?

Rachel: Oh well thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I was very challenged by the emotional spectrum I needed to portray. It really pushed me to my absolute limits. It did a whole number on my heart – trusting that I wouldn’t come across stupid or fake. You have to be your authentic self on the screen, and that can be hard. Learning and watching the other actors was so fun and I love watching the crew and behind the scenes stuff. My favorite part has to be the impact that October Baby has had – it still blows me away how many people were and are touched by that story. I gained so much from playing Hannah, and I carry that into my other projects.

Me: And here is a question from one of our readers: I would like to know what her stance on Christian forgiveness is? In the movie, the most triumphing part for me was when her birth mother crumbled from her forgiveness. When do you think one has truly forgiven someone for an offense?

Rachel: Forgiveness is so much more about you being set free, than about you setting them free. It’s about you being released from the abuse against you. They have no power over you once you’ve forgiven them.

To truly walk with Jesus you have to forgive.

We are not designed – physically or emotionally – to hold onto bitterness and unforgiveness. Whatever your beliefs, if you can grasp the gospel and His forgiveness – you are set free. A huge problem in our world and culture is unforgiveness. We can’t let go because they define us. (And ‘they’ – whatever the issue may be – will define you if you let them.)

That moment in October Baby is all about Hannah being set free and walking away. It’s hard to ask for forgiveness and it’s hard to forgive, but it is the best way. Not a good way. The best way. It’s God’s design.

Me: In The Perfect Wave, you play a very different character, one who isn’t a Christian and who doesn’t really have a happy ending. Was it hard playing Annabel since she was so different?

Rachel: No, it’s much easier playing someone who is nothing like you! Kind of more fun, actually. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the actor from the character – people see me and they instantly think October Baby – and I understand that. But it was fun to play someone different. It wasn’t hard at all. What was hard was all the traveling and time zones and a new team and new country. [The Perfect Wave was filmed in South Africa.] I was so outside myself and my comfort zone already, I fit right in.

Rachel Hendrix The Perfect Wave Interview

on set for The Perfect Wave

Me: I kind of wanted to know more about Annabel, it didn’t seem like a real ending. Do you know what really happened to her?

Rachel: Yeah, her part did get cut down a bit. I think everyone wanted to make sure the attention and energy went to Ian, and it was hard because she didn’t get developed as well because of time constraints. But we didn’t want her to elevate into more than she was in Ian’s life. In real life she was Dutch with short blonde hair, so obviously there was some artistic license involved in the role. But she did exist and she was part of his life. She was his first love. I think it is important to show that you can’t find fulfillment in some other person. But I don’t know what really happened to her afterwards, I’m not sure if anyone does.

Me: I fell in love with this movie! What was it like working with Scott Eastwood? Had you ever met him before?

Rachel: No, I had never met him. They cast him immediately, without even meeting him. He was just so perfect for the role. I think he did a superb job. I think was comes across most is his authenticity and willingness to really become Ian. He would get up so early, at like 5 in the morning, to shoot surfing shots. I seriously don’t think he had any sleep. So there wasn’t much preparation when we went through our scenes, it just sort of happened organically.

Me: Ok, here is another question from our readers: what do you think was the secret to keeping your relationship strong prior to marriage?

Rachel: Well, my husband Gabe and I fell in love writing letters to each other. So I think the most important thing is a direct line of communication. I’m a fixer and a changer and a helper, so what’s been really interesting and hard, but beautiful, is resting in exactly who you are. Make your relationship a safe place. And you have to learn to let go of things you can’t change. My job is to pray for him and love him well.

The Perfect Wave Interview

between scenes for The Perfect Wave

Me: What is your favorite movie & why?

Rachel: The Village. It’s advertised as a thriller/horror movie, but it’s really not. It’s a beautiful story of a blind girly named Ivy, it’s like early 20th century, simple life in this tiny village. And this tragedy happens and they need medicine, but they’ve created this safe world where no one leaves the town, to keep evil out. But they realize that evil exists on the inside. Bryce Howard is captivating in it. It’s really a lovely film. It changed my life.

Me: What’re your latest projects? 

Rachel: The Coffee Shop is a really cute romantic comedy coming to TV on September 14th. It’ll be playing on UP Network. And Jason Burkey and I actually play a couple in this one, so I think October Baby fans will love that.

I’m also really excited for Mountaintop to come out in August. That’s based on a great novel, and was so fun to play in.

And 77 Chances is a film I’m really proud of that was made with Liberty University. It’s about a young man who wakes up to the same day every day for 77 days. And he meets this girl (me) who dies in a car crash, every day. So it’s the story of him trying to figure out how to save her.

Me: What is your favorite song to turn up loud when you’re driving down the highway with the windows down?

Rachel: Oh now that is a fun question! Helen Stellar’s IO This Time Around. It’s used in the film Elizabethtown. It’s a wonderful song, but it needs air so you have to roll the windows down. It will rock your world.


What do you think? Comment below! Rachel is very interactive with her fans, so be sure to follow her on Facebook & join the conversation.


Photos copyright The Perfect Wave Unit Photography & Kayla Johnson.