Catherine Lough Haggquist Talks to TVGrapevine

Tell me about your roles on Christmas Pen Pals and Jingle Around The Clock.

I play the business partner of Hannah (Sarah Drew) in Christmas Pen Pals. After she runs into some problems with Perfect One, the dating app that she’s created, a newly-single Hannah returns home for the holidays as she works with me to save the business. Of course, there are some surprises in store, and maybe even a little bit of romance.

In Jingle Around the Clock, my character is Fiona, who is the boss at an ad agency where Elle (Brooke Nevin) works. While Elle is looking forward to a Christmas reunion with some of her old friends, I have other ideas. I set her up with Max (Michael Cassidy), an ad campaign “fixer”, on a project intended to give her a major promotion. Instead, it offers an adventure full of surprises for both of them.

What attracted you to each role?

I was really excited that both of these movies show the different ways that women can work together and be supportive of each other without being in competition. Too often, women co-workers are portrayed as rivals and I loved that in Christmas Pen Pals,  my character is in business partnership with Sarah Drew’s character, Hannah, and in Jingle Around the Clock, I am both boss and mentor to Brooke Nevin’s character, Elle.  

What do you hope people like about the films?

I hope people feel that they can identify with the wonderful performances of Sarah Drew (Christmas Pen Pals) and Brooke Nevin (Jingle Around the Clock). I found working with both of them to be wonderful and I think their chemistry with those of us playing off of them makes you really root for them on their respective journeys.

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How would you describe each film?

I think both and indeed all Christmas films are meant to have us take a break from our normal lives to re-connect with the magic of Christmas through relatable storytelling. Both stories are set in present day with challenges I think most people can relate to.

With Christmas Pen Pals we explore family, loss and using one’s past to chart a course for the future while Jingle Around the Clock looks at work-life balance and the trade-offs we make without pausing to really see if those compromises are really necessary.

That said, I think each film is uplifting and offers the requisite amount of Christmas spirit.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?

Food, family and friends – in a variety of combinations. I love that we have big dinners that everyone contributes to and that we laugh and tell stories and remember past Christmases and dream about the year ahead. My favorite time of the year is the week or so between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day as it is filled with so much love and connection. 

What else are you working on?

I just finished filming A Clue to a Kill, which is another in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. I also have the feature films Endless alongside Alexandra Shipp, Nicholas Hamilton, Famke Janssen and Ian Tracey along with Love and Oatmeal with Ben Platt and Lola Kirke that will be released next year.

Outside of that, I’m continuing to operate, which offers books to actors, writers, and directors in film, television, and theatre.

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What is a fun fact about yourself?

Before I got into professional acting, I got my start in film and television as a stand-in for Holly Robinson on 21 Jump Street. Now, all these years later, I’m enjoying my Hallmark projects, as is she on her Morning Show Mystery series for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.  

What are you watching on TV these days? 

I have very eclectic tastes. That said, I think there are definite parallels that can be drawn between Game of Thrones and The Real Housewives. Both involve a quest for supremacy, the ever-shifting sands of interpersonal relationships, and the desire to wear fur as often as possible!

In addition to those shows, I really enjoy comedy and documentary programming. I have been re-watching Anthony Bourdain’s last season as his travels and explorations into culture from a place of open-hearted curiosity still inspire me.

Anything else you want to tell America?

Have a wonderful and happy holiday season and may 2019 be your best year yet! Thanks for watching our movies and stay in touch with me @TheCatLH on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! 

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