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June 12, 2017

Know and Go

John Griffiths
  • Jenna Greene/WWD/Rex/Shutterstock

A few days after wrapping the sixth season of Veep, Sarah Sutherland ponders the country's political divide: "How do we bridge the gap with people we don't agree with in a way that isn't volatile, dismissive or alienating?"

Sutherland's alter ego — former first-daughter Catherine Meyer on the HBO comedy — would probably love to debate that question.

An idealist, Catherine nonetheless suffers from constant glum face, forged by the countless foul-mouthed cynics — including her mother, Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus — who surround her. Selina mocks her daughter's vegan diet, scoffs at her lesbian relationship and  blithely dips into the family's charity foundation, which Catherine oversees.

Yet the millennial keeps on moving. "We're both unwavering," Sutherland says of herself and her character, "but she's more bogged down than I am. I'm very open, flirtatious, exuberant!"

Sutherland has flourished in the limelight, which is not surprising given that her father is Kiefer Sutherland and her grandfather is Donald Sutherland. Growing up in Los Angeles  in a family of "smart and colorful storytellers," the actress I learned a lot "by listening and watching." In her preteen years, she interviewed guests at family dinner parties while wearing rhinestoned cat-eye glasses. "I wanted to know people."

She took her first acting class in the ninth grade while attending Crossroads, a progressive private school in Santa Monica. As a theater student at NYU, she wrote and starred in a one-woman play, The Skin of a Grape, the surreal, but ultimately "happy" story of an agoraphobic.

While Sutherland has no plans to guest on her dad's presidential drama, ABC's Designated Survivor, she did flex her dramatic chops as Tim Roth's estranged daughter in the 2015 film Chronic.

Away from acting, she's keen on the L.A. music scene. And when it comes to eating out, she votes for "hardy food" at dimly lit spots. "I like places with waiters who look like they've lived nine lives."

This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 6, 2017

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