Virgin River’s Zibby Allen On Commanding The Screen, Shonda Rhimes, and The Products She Can’t Live Without

Zibby Allen is a multi-hyphenate producer, writer, actress, and singer who has firmly established herself as one to watch in Hollywood.

Whether it’s broad comedy or heartfelt television drama, Zibby delivers a commanding and captivating performance in every role she takes on.  Currently, you can catch her as Brie Sheridan in Netflix’s most binged series “Virgin River,” which just returned for its fourth season on July 20th.

We spoke with Zibby about what to expect this season, why she’s grateful to Shonda Rhimes, and of course, her go-to product loves she can’t live without.

Congratulations on the return of  Virgin River! What can you tell us about the series and your character those who may not have seen it?

Thank you! It’s very fortunate to be able to keep making this show. For those who may not have seen it, Virgin River is a feel-good romantic drama. The show takes place in a fictional little town in Northern California called Virgin River, and is based on a fantastically addictive romantic novel series, written by author Robyn Carr. The town of Virgin River is populated by a wonderful ensemble of lovable and quirky characters who all rely on each other, one way or another, to help navigate life’s various ups and downs.

My character, Brie Sheridan, is the younger sister of Jack (the show’s leading man and heartthrob, played by Martin Henderson) Brie’s a hardworking and ballsy lawyer with a very strong sense of independence. That said, when we meet her she just arrived in Virgin River under the guise of visiting her brother… but in reality, she’s secretly running from a deeply painful event in her recent past.   Brie ends up getting involved with the town’s bad boy, Brady, giving her a convenient reason to keep avoiding the life she left behind in Sacramento, California.


With all the shows streaming these days, why would you say Virgin River in particular has been such a success? What sets it apart from the other shows out there?

I think there’s a lot of fantasy fulfillment built into the show while remaining grounded and relatable. There’s something widely appealing about the idea of living in a small community set in a scenic mountainside town, where life is a little more simple, nature is outside your front door, and the people are good and true. Virgin River embodies that idealism.  While the show certainly does not shy away from all that romantic angst and life drama that makes our episodes TV worthy. At the end of the day, Virgin River mirrors an enviably wholesome sense of connection and community that perhaps speaks to why so many people call it their comfort show.


You have quite the resume having roles in the likes of “Bates Motel,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” amongst others… what would you say has been the most challenging role you’ve played of all of them?

Quite honestly, I find challenges in every role I play. If I’m not being pushed even just a little bit, I feel like I’m missing an opportunity in the job. I look at every character I play as having something to teach me. I’m always searching for the next lesson or opportunity for growth in every new project.

We hear you have an affinity for Shonda Rhimes… if you could work with her again what type of character would you want to play?

Yes, I’m a huge admirer of Shonda’s. She gave me my first TV role many years ago as an occasionally recurring student nurse in Grey’s Anatomy. She occupies a very special chamber in my heart for being a significant part of my beginnings. Also, she is an incredibly gifted showrunner. She understands the power of storytelling. Her self-awareness and passion for writing shine through in literally every project she’s ever made.  She understands how to play to her actor’s strengths, and knows how to be a leader while honoring the collaborative process of what we do (which is a very challenging line to walk in our business I think.) Shonda Rhimes is out there creating an empire with her creative brilliance, and I’m here for it. Ha! So yes, to be in her creative orbit again would be a total gift. Doesn’t matter what kind of role or project.

After a long day of filming what do you do for yourself to unwind? 

I love nothing more than to come home, throw on my sweatpants, take my sweet angel of a dog on a walk, catch up with my husband over dinner, and then read a book or watch a show (currently we are obsessively binging Peaky Blinders.) It sounds so simple and boring, but just being cosy at home with my loves can feel super indulgent after long days on set or away from home.

With so much pressure in Hollywood to look a certain way, what would you say is your secret for looking camera-ready?

I’m at a stage where my definition of “camera-ready” relates more to how I feel versus how I look. If I’m feeling healthy, strong, energized, rested, hydrated, and rooted in self-loving confidence, then I’m ready to put my best foot forward.  I spend a lot of time looking after my health, be it physical or mental/emotional. It’s very easy for me to get caught up in the pressures of appearance in this business… and when I do it’s absolutely torturous. So I do my best to stay out of that whole compare-and-despair spiral and make decisions about my appearance based on what feels good and authentic to me. Easier said than done, but when I’m successful at striking that balance, I’m the happiest. Don’t get me wrong – I love products and beauty trends and all that fun stuff – I just have to keep myself in check and make sure I’m making choices rooted in self-assurance vs. fear I’m not pretty enough.


Describe your three “musts” when it comes to your beauty routine.

Retinol, Vitamin C, Sunscreen.

Any certain products that you’re loving?

Oh yes. Currently loving: Elta MD Sunscreen, Vichy Liftactiv Vitamin C, Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster, Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform, Clinique’s Moisture Surge, Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra Wear foundation, and Charlotte Tilbury’s Tinted Love Lip & Cheek Stain.

If we asked you to empty your purse right now what would be in it?

Saje’s Peppermint Halo stick, Saje’s lavender Safe Hands antimicrobial hand lotion, Charlotte Tillbury’s Love Lip & Cheek Stain (color Santa Euphoria), an N95 mask, half of a photo strip of me and my husband, Adam, taken in the first few months we were together, A tube of Nuun vitamin tablets, and a bunch of receipts that I always tell myself I’ll save and file later, but obviously never will.

Lastly, when it comes to life lessons what would you say is your greatest advice (either to give or that you’ve received)?

 Look and lean into the things that make you different from everyone else, not the same. Therein lies your unique qualifier to having everything your heart truly desires. Authenticity is the name of the game.


You can follow Zibby on IG @zibbyloo
Photo: Storm Santos Glam: Cat Sherwin

For more on Zibby Allen:
-‘Virgin River’s Zibby Allen Says Cast Jokes About Show’s Timeline: ‘We’re Just Aging Way Too Fast’
Who Is Zibby Allen (AKA Jack’s Sister on ‘Virgin River’) and Why Does She Look Familiar?
-‘Virgin River’ star Zibby Allen agrees it’s time to speed up the show’s timeline