You may recognize actor Caroline Arapoglou from her debut role in Donald Glover’s hit series Atlanta on FX back in 2016, a scene which ultimately paved the road for other incredible acting roles to follow. To date, she’s landed roles in Stranger Things, FOX’s medical drama The Resident, AMC’s The Walking Dead, feature film Like A Boss alongside Tiffany Haddish, and more recently Netflix’s critically-acclaimed series Outer Banks.
Growing up in the Midwest—Williamsville, Illinois to be exact—it was on stage where Caroline quickly fell in love with performing and storytelling, going on to do 5 seasons with Springfield Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker productions. After relocating to Atlanta during high school, Caroline studied Dance at Kennesaw State University and was involved in professional theatre in Atlanta.
Flaunt caught up with Caroline via Zoom, who was posted in Atlanta, Georgia where she resides. Read below as we discuss her upbringing, her favorite actors, how big her scene in Atlanta was, shooting Stranger Things, why her character on Outer Banks is so special, fashion sense, goals, and more!
How are you holding up in Atlanta?
I’m based here, it’s business as usual right now. It’s been really rainy all week but other than that, it’s good. It’s funny, I’ve been here since high school. I was already here when the industry here was blowing up, so I just stayed. I love it here.
How was that growing up in Williamsville, Illinois?
I grew up in the Midwest, I didn’t get down to Atlanta until high school. I was really lucky to grow up around a ton of family. I had my whole extended family around me when I was growing up. I always had cousins around me, aunts and uncles. It was a really creative environment. We were always putting on plays, doing shows, and coming up with ways to entertain ourselves. Growing up with that many cousins and family members around really influenced what I ended up doing because we were always being creative and entertaining ourselves, putting on shows. It never stopped.
Who did you look up to coming up?
I look up to so many people. I love seeing actors that maybe aren’t in leading roles, but you see them early in their career really jump out from the screen. A great example: I love Regina King. I remember when I was younger, seeing her in smaller roles or in romcoms, she was always so honest. I’ve loved following her career path. Watching people find their moments, even when it’s not so big, then grow it and build it into something bigger for sure. I love women that have given themselves agency in their careers by producing and directing, those are the people I look up to.
Do you remember your first big break?
I’ve had a series of breaks, not necessarily ever feeling I had one big break. My television debut was on the show Atlanta on FX. That was the first thing I ever did. That was a big step for me because for a long time, that scene from Atlanta was my whole acting reel. It was the only thing I’d done, but that show was so popular and so well-respected that that really helped me start to get bigger auditions. That led to The Resident, which led to Stranger Things, and now Outer Banks. That got the ball rolling, it’s the first thing I ever did. For so long, it was my calling card because I had no reel. I just had that one scene.
How did it feel to land that scene?
I was thrilled. It was exciting. I remember being on set, it was an out-of-body experience. I had never really been on a major TV set. I’d done a few commercials. I still have those moments now when I’m working. I still have moments where I jump outside of my body and look at myself from outside and think, “How did you get here? You’re doing this!” I definitely had that moment in Atlanta. I continue to still have it, and I hope I always do.
What are your fondest memories from shooting Stranger Things?
My favorite memory from that show was the first time I saw the hair and makeup transformation. It was this complete transformation, that’s the only show I’ve done really where I couldn’t see myself in the character. I remember the first time looking in the mirror with all this fake hair and all the makeup, because the artists on that show were so incredible. I’ll never forget looking in the mirror and feeling like, “Oh, I don’t even see myself.”
How did you land the role of Rose in Outer Banks?
I landed Outer Banks really like any other TV show. I was sent the self-tape from my agency, and I auditioned. I remember I did not love my first audition. I remember being really frustrated because sometimes you just don’t have it. I didn’t love it but I sent it off and somehow got a callback. I got some feedback and ended up taping it a few more times. But I was filming within days of my audition, it was a very quick whirlwind.
I do remember when I was auditioning, it’s funny now because I’ve had so many scenes with the character Rafe who’s a huge part of the show. At the time, I didn’t know the show. I went back and watched my audition not that long ago, I was calling him “Raf.” [laughs] We all laugh now, we still call him Raf just to make people laugh. That casting was like any other casting: auditioning and collaborating with the writers and directors to try and get what they’re looking for. Also bring what I envisioned Rose to be, and the rest is history.
What’s special about this season? I know you’re a little more involved with this one.
Season 2 was really special because we picked up right where we left off from Season 1. The pace of Season 2 is really intense, the whole season is so action-packed and quick moving. When viewers started the first episode, you’re really getting on a ride and it doesn’t slow down until the season’s over. I hope we took people on an exciting adventure. The sheer pace and the action of the season, also the deepening relationships and dynamics within the Cameron family, within Rose’s family, was really fun for me to play this year. Exploring Rose’s relationship with the kids and a little bit deeper with Ward, that was really special this season.
What do you feel when you act?
It’s always different. The best day on set, you feel a perfect balance of in-control and out-of-control. You’re in control of your process and your preparation in knowing what you’re doing. But if you get all of that in place, then what you hope to feel when you get into a scene or when you get to work is that freedom and that spontaneity of anything can happen. When I’m acting, I usually feel lucky and really grateful to be creating and doing what I love.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
It’s a little different right now because of COVID and the variant, I’m being a little more careful. But I love to be with my pets, I love to be with my family. Cooking. I love to cook, which is something that I got more into in quarantine. I used to be really big into baking, which I still am but I’ve spent a little bit more time cooking lately. Being with the people I love, being with my animals, and watching great TV. As an actor, it’s so fun to see what other artists are doing.
What do you like to cook?
Right now, I’m on a bit of a healthier kick. I’m cooking a lot. I’m trying to find exciting ways to cook vegetables. [laughs] My favorite thing to make is, I call it fake fried rice. It’s cauliflower rice cooked in sesame oil, and the sesame oil is what makes it taste like fried rice. You throw in a bunch of cruciferous vegetables, eggs, some bacon. That’s my go-to. Anytime I can make something healthy taste like it’s not that healthy is my favorite. Anytime I can make vegetables exciting. [laughs]
What is your favorite show to watch?
Right now, me and everybody else, I’m loving Ted Lasso. I loved The White Lotus, that’s one of my favorite shows. I’m really behind and the show’s not on anymore, but I recently fell in love with Friends from College on Netflix. Which is old, there’s no longer new episodes. Those are the big ones right now.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
It is elevated comfort. I really like to be comfortable. That’s at the foundation of what I put on in a day, even if I’m going out. Sometimes obviously you sacrifice comfort for a look, but my day-to-day is comfortable. Even right now, I have on a sweatshirt but some gold chains, just something to elevate a look. Elevated comfortable, maybe with a little bit of an edge. Very different from how I dress on Outer Banks. [laughs] My personal style is much more casual than my style on the show. I like basics that can be dressed up: a white T-shirt with an unexpected necklace, things like that.
Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
My goal at this point in my career is to keep finding fulfillment. I want to work on all different kinds of projects. Right now, I’m really itching to do some comedy. That’s what I feel I haven’t gotten to quite do fully that I’m dying to do. I’m really wanting to do some comedy soon. To keep exploring new projects and roles. I really love playing complicated women, like Rose on Outer Banks is so messy. She’s not all bad, she’s not all good. I want to keep playing these fully fleshed out people.
What’re you most excited for next?
I’m really excited for hopefully a Season 3 of Outer Banks. It’s not official, I’d love that. I’m really excited for more people to get vaccinated so we can get back to real life. [laughs] I have no idea what’s coming and that’s what’s really fun about this career. It can be fun and scary, but the unknown—I’m excited for whatever’s next, whatever it may be.