A Fresh Face: Chapman Grad Rachel Redleaf Lands Netflix Show and Tarantino Film

Photo credit: Ken Dolen


Though her first love is musical theater, Redleaf landed her breakout role on Netflix’s “Atypical” (which is expected to return for a third season) while studying at Chapman. This summer, she portrayed “Mama” Cass Elliot in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Now the 22-year-old actress has her sights set on more roles on the big screen and perhaps even Broadway.

All In
Redleaf’s first role was in a local production of “The Wizard of Oz” at age 4. Her dreams of acting professionally haven’t wavered since then. “People would always ask, ‘What’s your backup plan?’ and my answer is, ‘My first plan is Broadway, and if that doesn’t work out, then movies, then TV, then news anchor,’ and it goes on. All my backup plans are in the industry. If you don’t have 100 percent confidence, you’ll die in this industry.”

Casting Calls
Redleaf clinched both of her big roles by submitting audition tapes. She didn’t even have an audition or callback for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” “My manager said, ‘You look like Mama Cass. Let’s film you singing and dressed up like her.’ Then I forgot about it until one day he called me and said, ‘You got the Tarantino role.’ I had to be at Universal Studios in an hour. I jumped in my car and on the way I got all my information. I couldn’t even process it. When I got there, they dyed my hair, and I got my script. That was on a Friday, and I started filming that Monday.”

A Working Actress
Though she says it was “a golden experience” working on the film, befriending actress Margot Robbie, and learning from Quentin Tarantino, Redleaf says her ultimate goal is to perform on Broadway. “I love live audience. I love their reactions. I love building off of their reactions. I love to make them feel something.”

Glass Half Full
Working in the industry while finishing college earlier this year was challenging, Redleaf says. “I had a hard time. I kept saying, ‘If I just get an agent, I’ll be happy’ or ‘If I just book a TV show, that’ll make me happy; that’ll show them,’ and I did and it didn’t. Success is amazing, but it’s not happiness.” Redleaf says she stays positive despite the struggles because she’s living her dream: “This is what I was born to do. This is what I wanted to do my entire life. Haters gonna hate, and it doesn’t matter. It’s the other stuff that drives me.”

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