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Feature: Angel

Mercedes McNab in Xposé

It’s seven years since she first appeared in Buffy, and four since she became a Vampire. But now Harmony is coming into her own as she joins Angel, as Mercedes McNab tells us...

She’s strong, quick and can type like a superhero… that is, if there was a superhero whose power was typing. She also knows how to whip up the perfect cup of pig’s blood to help get you started in the morning. What’s her secret? Why a touch of otter, of course. This hardly describes your typical office worker. Then again, Harmony Kendall has never been what you’d call typical.

As a single undead girl trying to make it in the big city, Harmony has been working in the steno pool at the evil Los Angeles law offices of Wolfram & Hart. However, at the start of Angel’s fifth season, she was promoted to an executive assistant and now reports to the company’s new boss, Angel. Having threatened to kill the perky vampire during their last encounter, he is hardly pleased with this arrangement. Harmony, on the other hand, thinks her new job is made in heaven – or should that be hell? As for actress Mercedes McNab, the offer to reprise the role she originated on Buffy the Vampire Slayer came out of the blue.

“It was back in May, and I was getting ready to move to New York City,” recalls McNab during her lunch break on the Angel set. “Two days before I was set to leave, Joss Whedon [ Buffy and Angel series creator/executive producer] phoned me. In all the times I’ve worked for him he’s never called me personally, so I knew it had to be pretty important if the boss was on the phone. Joss asked me, ‘If Angel is picked up for a fifth season we really want you to have a pivotal role on the show. What do you think? What’s your availability?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m moving to New York, but when you definitively know whether or not it’s a go just let me know.’ Two days later I was on a plane to New York and a month into my stay the Angel office called and said, ‘How about coming back to Los Angeles?’ And here I am today.”

The actress was one of many who originally read for the starring role in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In the end, Sarah Michelle Gellar won the part, but the show’s producers were so impressed with McNab’s audition that they hired her to play Cordelia Chase’s best friend Harmony. She made her debut in what became the show’s unaired pilot.

“I remember Charisma Carpenter and I had to wear these insanely short skirts and really high platform shoes that were very uncomfortable and nearly impossible to walk in. The two of us always thought we were going to fall over, so we made up a song about our shoes – which we called stilts – and sang it as we stumbled to the set,” laughs the actress.

by Steven Eramo

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