With Manifest making headways as one of network television’s best new dramas, it’s lead, Melissa Roxburgh, certainly has her hands full. At only 26, the Canadian actress finds herself the face of NBC’s next generation of primetime shows.
Since her debut almost a decade ago, she’s made a name for herself playing minor, yet noteworthy characters on a variety of movies and television shows. Now the top-billed star of a rating’s darling, the sky’s (no pun) the limit for this once relatively obscure actress. Here are 10 things you probably didn't know about her.
10 Her father is a minister and her mother played tennis professionally
Very little is known about Melissa Roxburgh’s upbringing, as she prefers to keep her private life, well, private. However, she occasionally drops some information every now and then. She has revealed is known is that her dad is a minister and that her mother played tennis at Wimbledon.
She said that her religious upbringing influenced her decision to play Detective Stone, who was also brought up in a religious household. She was also born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and is the second of four siblings.
9 She got her start in The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
Roxburgh’s first acting gig was in the 2011 movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, wherein she played a character named Rachel. The roll itself wasn’t very large, but it must have made an impression on the series’ producers, who casted her in the film’s sequel.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days came out a year later, however she ended up playing a completely different character named Heather Hills. Maybe the supernatural forces at play in Manifest had something to do with that.
8 Before catching her big break, she was in a few duds
Remember 2014’s Leprechaun? No? Good, because Roxburgh probably doesn’t want you to remember that either, or the fact that she starred in it. Like many actors and actresses before her, Roxburgh had to star in a few stinkers before she caught her big break.
In addition to Leprechaun, she also starred in a number of lower-profile films, along with a minor bit roll on the TV show Supernatural. She would later appear as Agent Thea in the CW’s war drama, Valor. While the show was panned by critics and was eventually canceled, it was nonetheless one of Roxburgh’s first starring role, and ultimately cemented her position in the world of network tv.
7 She was once fired from a role because of a fake accent
During a game of ‘never have I ever’ with exTRA, Roxburgh revealed that the only time she had ever been fired from a job was on a production shoot, and it was all because she couldn’t master a Russian accent.
According to Roxburgh, she had already made it through the auditions and had been hired to play, fake accent and all, but somehow or another she wasn’t convincing enough, and was, therefore, let go. Which is strange, considering that, if the clip is any indication, her Russian accent is not too bad.
6 6. Her first big-budget role was Star Trek Beyond
Yes, it turns out that Manifest isn’t the first time Melissa Roxburgh has dealt with the fanciful. After years of toiling in minor roles, Roxburgh finally got a chance to star in the latest addition to the Star Trek cinematic universe, Star Trek Beyond, her first big budget feature.
5 She clicked with her Manifest character, Michaela Stone, almost immediately
For Roxburgh, it was love at first sight, or at least first script reading. In numerous interviews spread across the web, Roxburgh has reiterated how much she feels she has in common with her on-screen counterpart, Michaela Stone. Her character is a natural-born sleuth with spiritual sensibilities, two aspects that match up perfectly with Roxburgh’s real-life persona.
In addition, Roxburgh is quick to point out a number of uncanny resemblances she shares with her fictional representation, such as the fact that Michaela is the ‘black sheep’ of her family, and the aforementioned tidbit about their shared religious upbringing. It’s as if the showrunners had her in mind when they wrote Michaela Stone. Perhaps ‘the calling’ is real after all.
4 She’s fascinated about where the show is going
Manifest's creators already have a plan laid out for how the show will continue, and also how it will end. Not content to sit back and wait for a script to come in, Roxburgh makes it a priority of hers to find out as much as she can. Roxburgh has admitted in interviews that she is obsessed with figuring out where Manifest will go next and what will happen at the conclusion. Whenever she gets ahold of a script, she scours it for new clues that may answer questions she has about the storyline. If that doesn’t work, she resorts to chatting up the showrunners, waiting until the end of a shoot when they’re tired and less likely to hold anything back. Ironic, seeing as she plays a detective and all.
3 She reads all of your fan theories
Think Roxburgh doesn’t have the time or desire to venture online and read fan theories? Think again. She’s read them all, from the preposterous to the realistic to the just plain silly. And don’t think she doesn’t know which two characters you’re shipping.
Thankfully, though, Roxburgh doesn’t seem to object to much of what fans are posting, and at worst, they usually just give her a good laugh. So keep at it, boys and girls, and be creative. Roxburgh really likes it when you use your imagination in your theorizing.
2 She is a vocal supporter of the International Rescue Committee
Roxburgh is a member of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian organization that helps people in third world nations recover from natural disasters, war, or other calamities. She frequently takes to social media spread awareness of the IRC’s missions and objectives and is one of the organization's highest-profile supporters.
On International Women's Day, Roxburgh raised awareness of an IRC-affiliated short film called Brave Girl Rising, about a female Somali refugee who was held in a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. The Instagram post where she shared that story later gained over 3,000 likes.
1 She may be dating a former co-star
While Roxburgh is hesitant to open up about her personal life, eagle-eyed followers of her Instagram feed have noticed a few photos showing her and fellow actor Andrew Jenkins appearing to be more than just friends. Roxburgh met Jenkins on the set of Lost Solace, a science fiction film from 2016 that was one of her first starring roles. While the movie mostly flew under the radar, it seems that she has maintained contact with her co-star, Jenkins, and that the two may be in a relationship.
As of now, Roxburgh has remained tight-lipped, leaving fans to speculate over any and all clues she posts to her feed. Seeing as she has shown herself to be an amateur sleuth who loves mysteries, perhaps this is part of a clever puzzle she has concocted to challenge fans. Or maybe she just likes to keep her public and private lives separate. Who’s to say.