“I thought you only kill for survival- Aggression, plotting, revenge. You’re more human than I realized.” — Helen to Donna
Helen Hawkinsis a main character on Freeform’s series, Siren. She is portrayed by Rena Owen.
Helen is an antique shop owner and the local folklore expert. Since the resurfacing of mermaids in Bristol Cove, she has formed somewhat of a friendship with Ben Pownall and Maddie Bishop in order to help with Ryn and her sister Donna. She later reveals to Donna that she is a mermaid as well.
Rena is an international award-winning actor and is one of only 6 actors in the world to have worked with both George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg during her illustrious career that spans 3 decades.
One of 9 children, she was born and bred in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand to a Maori/Welsh Father and a European Mother. She was first published at 8 when she won a national children’s poetry contest, and throughout her youth, Owen was active in the Maori Culture Club, High School Musical productions, and Community Stage Plays. Despite knowing her talents were in creativity, upon graduating, the Arts were not considered a viable career.
At 18, she moved to Auckland to pursue a Nursing Career and 3 years later qualified as a General & Obstetric Nurse (RGN). In 1983, she went on her OE (overseas experience), a common Kiwi pursuit, and landed in London. Awed by the huge city and the bright lights of the entertainment world, the temptations that came with it easily seduced the naive 21 year old. But this life changing period led her back to a creative career.
She trained at the Actors Institute of London in the mid-1980s. During her formative years she worked in all aspects of the Theater. The first stage play she wrote, The River That Ran Away was produced by Clean Break and directed by the reputable award winning British actress Ann Mitchell with Rena in the lead role. It enjoyed a successful London tour and was later published by NZ Playmarket (1991). Other UK highlights include, Voices from Prison for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and award winning play, Outside In that debuted at the Edinburgh Festival.
Upon her return to NZ in 1989, Rena acted in two one-hour dramas for Television NZ’s Series, E Tipu E Rea. A first of its’ kind; the series was written, acted, directed and produced by Maori. In constant pursuit of learning and honing her craft, she continued to work extensively in theatre; acting, writing, directing, working as a dramaturgy, and was a founding member of Taki Rua Theatre.
She wrote and recorded short stories for Radio NZ, wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed stage play, Daddy’s Girl whilst playing reoccurring roles in two NZ TV Series, Betty’s Bunch, and Shark in the Park. Rena was a rare recipient of a Dame Te Atairangikaahu (the Maori Queen) Literary Award & Scholarship.
Rena’s first feature film was a supporting role in the Kevin Reynolds/Kevin Costner film, Rapa Nui (1993), followed by the leading role in the cult-classic NZ film, Once Were Warriors. Her electrifying performance garnered her universal rave reviews. David Denby declared, “Owen’s performance is classic!” Roger Ebert proclaimed, “You don’t often see acting like this in the movies. The two leads bring the Academy Awards into perspective.” Ruby Rich called her “The Bette Davis from Down Under”, while Thelma Adams wrote, “Owen has the