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Scarlett O’Connor is one of those characters on television that you can’t help but cheer on. The budding star on ABC’s Nashville is a poet-turned-songwriter with porcelain beauty and some serious pipes. On a show that features two larger-than-life female leads (played by Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere), Scarlett’s storyline of heartbreak and triumph is refreshing. And behind that likable everywoman is the quiet presence of 23-year-old actress Clare Bowen.
As she sits curled up on a weathered chair inside the Peter Nappi studio, it’s hard to tell where Clare Bowen the actress ends and Scarlett O’Connor begins. Long blonde ringlets, a second-hand dress. Even when she reveals a pronounced Australian accent, Scarlett’s drawl peeks through. “I got handed this script and I saw who wrote it and read the thing and just said, please can I just read for Scarlett? I don’t want to go in for anyone else, I loved it so much,” she recalls about her audition.
Both Bowen and her character share a love of storytelling and singing but there’s also the storyline. Scarlett is thrust into the spotlight almost by accident, thanks to a fellow musician. Bowen, meanwhile, attributes her current success to that same fate-driven momentum plus the guidance of several key people. And just like Scarlett, Bowen is on the fast track to breaking her own musical career.
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