Being a mom isn’t easy. Being a single mom to a brilliant kid after being burned by your even more brilliant husband is worse. And yet, Donna Smoak survived. She raised a daughter that would go on to do amazing things, lost and reconnected with said daughter, and opened up her heart to falling in love again.
Donna Smoak is a survivor.
We got a chance to speak with Charlotte Ross about her character on The CW’s Arrow this past weekend at Heroes and Villains Fan Fest. After being interrupted by John Barrowman’s exuberant panel we headed outside to chat about working with Emily, her relationship with Quentin, Olicity baby names, and what she’s looking forward to in Season 5 in respect to Donna’s journey.
As soon as Charlotte Ross came to our screens, it was easy to see that she had chemistry with her on screen daughter Emily Bett Rickards. The anger and confusion at not understanding the others motivations came off a raw and a truthful portrayal of two people who had become disconnected from the other and we couldn’t help but want for more of the Smoak duo.
“There’s a natural chemistry and I just feel really blessed to have and continue to work with somebody like her (Emily.) She’s really just a beautiful person. Along with obviously being very talented. But we fall into a natural rhythm. I think we did right away. And I think the fans really caught onto that really fast. I think the fans were really supportive of that right off the bat which was really surprising to me and I was really taken by it. And again I’m just so grateful.”
And in an industry where you don’t get to pick who you get to work with, Charlotte feels like she has been blessed with the opportunity to work with someone she finds as beautiful on the inside as the outside.
“I think you guys all probably can assume that Emily’s a beautiful person inside. And I don’t say that lightly or just for press. I mean I really think that she’s, I think people call her a unicorn, and there’s a lot of truth in that. She is just an old soul and I think that when I look into her eyes it just feels so natural.”
Another relationship that comes off as natural to viewers is the one she has with Paul Blackthorne and his character Quentin Lance. In an unexpected turn for fans, that we’re part of the hashtag ‘GetLanceLaid’, we saw two people who had been previously burned, give love another chance.
Charlotte explained that she loved portraying a mature relationship because it’s a part of life. “As much as it hurts and sucks to get burned there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I think that it makes you appreciate when the good happens or makes you wanna work for it. So I think there’s a real realism to the fact of two people coming together, young or old, that have been burned. You have your walls up to a certain extent and the trick is not to become hard and have them up so much that you don’t let love in.”
Others would give up on love and retreat into themselves, but not Charlotte’s character Donna Smoak. She’s realistic to the fact that love can happen again. Maybe it took her character and that of Paul’s, a long time to realize it, but it’s alive and not going anywhere. SmoakNLance are fighters who know you’ve got to keep swinging even when life throws you curveballs.
With Season 5 just beginning to film, we’ve also been wondering what the future holds for Donna Smoak. Last we saw of her she was driving off into the sunset with Quentin, taking a much needed break from the mayhem of the finale. And despite Quentin’s dismal from the force and the return of Donna’s husband, they both belong in Star City.
“For Season 5 I would love to explore my relationship with Emily more.”
As they’ve reconnected, they’ve also built a friendship full of respect and love for each other that has allowed them to put aside the annoyances of the past. They can now share the things that scare, excite, or frighten them. The one person that encompasses all of these things is her daughters ex-fiancee Oliver Queen, who just so happens to be the Green Arrow.
“You know, I think it’s amazing that she hasn’t found that out yet. I think it’s overdue. I think a lot of people have been asking me that. I think that it’s gonna happen soon.”
And while a lot of people might think she’d make a comment about the leather being part of some kinky role play, Donna’s first instinct would be the safety of her daughter. Despite her bubbly nature, and the fact that Oliver is handsome and fabulous, Donna knows a dangerous situation when she sees one.
“At the end of the day the safety of her daughter is what’s most important. So I think she might be really worried and concerned about that.”
Not that she won’t be rooting for Felicity and Oliver. If you peel back the layers of being burned you’ll see that Donna holds a naivety that believes in love and how it can change your life. Oliver and Felicity have that love. So it might take some time until she feels comfortable enough to start planning their wedding or what she’s going to name their first child if she had the chance.
On that baby note, Charlotte pointed out that Donna wouldn’t have a preference on the sex of an Olicity baby if the chance ever came up. She would want, “a really healthy baby that is able to enjoy life in a healthy way. So it would be a blessing to have a grandchild.”
And as for names for the Olicity baby, Donna’s fun and crazy personality shines through a little bit more, “Maybe as a girl Sunshine. Maybe as a boy, I can’t think of anything. Maybe Jeffrey.”
Rest assured Donna Smoak’s journey is just beginning. Like Charlotte, we want the writers to explore her relationship with Quentin Lance, that of her ex-husbands, and what Donna had to go through to raise Felicity as a single mom.
“I think that I’d like to know more about Donna in general in terms of her life and what her background is. I don’t know. Maybe she can open a club or something. Teach a workout class.”
We’d sign up for that class in a heartbeat.
Arrow returns for season 5 Oct. 5 on The CW.