Like countless actors, Victoria Blade got her start in Hollywood appearing in commercials. But she never would’ve expected that starring in yogurt and bank ads would directly prepare her for her breakout role … as a pitchwoman.
WandaVision began as a mystery to even the most dedicated Marvel fans. And in those early episodes, as Wanda Maximoff and Vision stumbled through era-appropriate, sitcom-style high jinks, the episodes’ “commercials” proved to be a breeding ground for Easter eggs and potential hints (and comic relief). Blade was the face of these interstitials—popping up in a handful of ads within the series selling a toaster, a watch, bath soap, paper towels, and antidepressants. The sequences, which like the show’s classic television homages were a construction of Wanda Maximoff’s subconscious, contained references to traumatic events both in the character’s life—and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.
It’s an oddly interesting role. Wanda traps an entire town in the bubble of her mind. The unnamed “commercial woman” exists in an even smaller bubble within the larger one. Like a real-life TV hawker, she’s ever-present but not actually part of daily life. As for Blade, she was part of WandaVision without ever actually having a scene with Wanda or Vision.
Blade didn’t initially pick up on the small visual clues sprinkled into her scenes. Growing up in the 1990s and 2000s, she loved Batman: The Animated Series, but before joining the cast of WandaVision, the only MCU installment she’d seen was Black Panther. In the end, though, that lack of familiarity with superhero movie minutiae made the big-budget production feel as low-key as any commercial shoot. “It’s a very straightforward approach of ‘Oh, I’m here to shed good light on this product,’” says Blade, a singer-songwriter who’s also had parts in Brockmire, Watchmen, and Antebellum.
Blade’s deadpan delivery added a fun layer of surreality to an already surreal show. And though she still may not have encyclopedic knowledge of the MCU, she at least knows how to avoid revealing any spoilers.
How did you land the role in WandaVision?
I got an audition for a different townsperson role that only appears, I think, in the first two episodes. So I read for a completely different role; I sent them a tape. I never auditioned for the commercial woman role. What happened was very mysterious: I got a call about a month after I sent that initial tape. They were like, “We need you to come in tomorrow and you’re going to read the scripts with the cast.” They didn’t give me the title for the show, they didn’t give me a role. That was it. So I was like, “OK, tomorrow my job is to show up and help with the Marvel project.”
I just showed up and met the director, and met the cast, and I basically was there from the very first table read with everybody. I didn’t know the name of the show till I was literally sitting down with the scripts. I had no idea what was happening, but I was like, “Whatever, I’m down for the ride.”
I know you’ve been in Brockmire and a bunch of other shows. But was there kind of a “holy shit” moment when you realized that you’re now part of this huge franchise?
I really had zero understanding of what the Marvel Universe is. Everything in the meetings were totally going over my head, and I had never seen those actors in those roles. So I just kind of walked in. I was like, “Hey, I’m here for my job. Lovely to meet you all.”
Was this just in a conference room on the lot or something?
This was in Atlanta in a conference room. I met the director and the whole cast. Then they were like, “Oh, we’re going to set.” I have no context for what is happening. And someone came up to me and was like, “Hey, we loved your tape. You’re so playful and funny,” and I’m just like, “Thank you.” I’m not even quite remembering what tape they’re talking about. Maybe like a week after that they offered me the role of the commercial woman.
I once interviewed Marvel’s casting director, and she talked all about the lengths they go to keep plot details from leaking—
It was kind of cool because it wasn’t very secretive. Once I was there, I literally sat down and read the entire show.
Did you find it tricky to play that part?
I think that’s a really interesting question. I had a little bit more of a comedic instinct than what we ended up honing in on during shooting. I received direction toward playing it a little bit more earnest and a little bit more straightforward and letting the comedy kind of come from the bizarre scenario of the world.
Was it bizarre doing send-ups of commercials? Did you feel like you had good experience as a commercial actor?
I didn’t think of it at the time, but thinking of it now, yeah, it’s like, you’re there to just show up. Commercials are fun because they’re really short commitments and usually they tend to be more inspirational or funny. So your job is just show up, have a good attitude, do whatever the director needs, and that’s it. For me, it was very similar to how I would approach a normal commercial.
The whole concept is very unique: fake commercials buried within fake sitcoms that are filled with Easter eggs and potential clues about what’s happening on the actual show. Did somebody have to explain what was going on to you?
Here’s the funny thing: No one explained that because it didn’t matter to the scene, so all of those Easter eggs are going over my head and I’m just looking at it as “Oh, I’m selling a product.” Then all of the Easter eggs were explained to me by the fans.
Which of the ads is your personal favorite?
I love the Hydra Soak commercial. I like the quippiness of it and the music and the ’70s style. It’s just bouncy and fun and matches my personality.
Had you ever been part of a production this big?
I did a few days of work on a movie starring Dwayne Johnson that hasn’t come out yet, so once I was shooting WandaVision, I wasn’t so much overwhelmed by the scale of it. But I did know that it was going to be a huge deal because there was such a lag in time between the last Marvel release and WandaVision. And because there’s a lack of content because of COVID, I just knew logistically that it was going to be an insane hit.
Was there a moment after episodes started coming out where you were just like, “Oh man, this is huge”?
There are these ways you can sort of gauge internet buzz, and those moments were the ones where my jaw kind of dropped. I signed up for TikTok a week ago. I was like, “Oh, I’ll just get on TikTok because there’s lots of fans out there and I just want to say hello.” So I signed up for TikTok and one of the first videos I posted got 330,000 views, going on like, half a million.
And also, the star meter on IMDb—you can see how many people are clicking your name or whatever. I went to my manager’s IMDb page and saw that I was her no. 2 on the whole roster, and this actor that I love was right by my name.
I’m just like … that made my jaw drop, and realize the power Marvel has.
This interview was edited and condensed.