Hi! How have you been?
I’ve been crazy! In a good way, I should probably add. I’ve been busy with press for MA and with life and growing up- It’s all been very overwhelming and scary and great all at the same time.
At only 19, you have already had a long acting career working on many different projects. How did you get your start?
I’ve loved musicals from the earliest age that it’s possible to have preferences. Annie was always my favorite and ‘It’s A Hard Knock Life’ playing over the radio, with me on my knees, scrubbing the floor clean (acting out the scene from the movie) was a regular occurrence in my house growing up. That obsession quickly turned into performing, not just in my kitchen at home but on stages around town. I started to go out for tv/film projects around the age of 12, just by happenstance and ended up enjoying that as well. My parents were super supportive of my dreams, always driving me to rehearsals and picking me up after a bad audition. I couldn’t have done it without them.
How did you know that acting was your main passion?
Looking back on it, it wasn’t until the third season of Girl Meets World that I really came to love the process and being involved in the telling of stories that made people feel. Before that, I really don’t know if I knew what was going on to be honest.
Who would be one of your dream actors to work with?
This is kind of a cheat since I worked with her on MA but since we only had a few scenes together I think it still works. I would love to work with Juliette Lewis (again). I think she is a brilliant actor. She has such a technical way of working which is generally different to how I work and I loved watching her and her process on set. She’s also one of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met. She so good in MA by the way. I am very inspired by her.
The “Boy Meets World” spin-off “Girl Meets World” on Disney Channel was your first big project - what was it like working on that show?
Filming Girl Meets World was so many things. I’ve sort of compartmentalized each season into different emotional categories. For this, I’ll just talk about season three. I loved it. Spending an extended period of time, in this case three years, with the same group of people was wonderful. You come to love people so deeply and really get used to the second family they come to be. The cast of the original show was in and out, directing and starring in many of the episodes and spending each day surrounded by actual comedic geniuses was the best comedic training I could’ve asked for. The live shows we did each week felt like a nice return to my theater roots. Getting to meet fans of the show and hear first hand how each episode was impacting them was special. The whole thing was special. And the life-long friendships that came out of it will always be special.
Moving on from Disney, what type of show or movie would you love to star in next?
I would really like to throw myself into a nice character drama next. Those are my favorite movies to watch -ones where the development of the characters move the story along- so I think that would be fulfilling and incredibly fun.
Tell us about your experience working on MA. What kind of relationships did you develop with your co-stars?
So much of the chemistry that you see in the movie came directly from the friendships that we developed off-screen. That’s what made this movie so much fun to shoot. I fell in love with the people that I got to make it with during the five weeks that we spent in the middle of rural Mississippi. Most days after wrap, we would all have dinner with the crew. Dinner sometimes led to jam sessions in which Octavia would bust out the robot and/or her bugle. Love that woman.
What would you say is your most memorable moment on set?
I’d say shooting the make out scene in MA with Octavia was pretty memorable. How could it not be? The couple weeks that we spent in the basement set were really fun. We had days of straight party scenes and then a whole week set aside for the climax of the film. We were all ready to get out of the basement by the time we were done with this.
What has been the most challenging role you’ve played thus far?
I think my role in ‘Into The Dark’ which is out August 2nd on Hulu has been the most challenging for me thus far. There’s not too much I can say without spoiling anything but because of the way the story plays out, I approached everything very technically and that was pretty new for me (as it’s not the way I’ve approached most of my other roles). I really had to push myself with this one.
Aside from acting, do you have any other hobbies?
I think this calls for a list: reading, watching movies, boxing, spending time with my dogs, going to the theater and listening to movie scores are all hobbies of mine. I’m looking for more. I want to learn piano.
Finally, what are your goals for summer as it approaches?
I want to read more. That was one of my goals this year and I’ve been doing an alright job so far. I think I’ve read thirteen books (including some audiobooks). And I want to soak up LA with my friends before life plans and the future likely take me away!
What has been your MOOD for far this year?
Hm. Probably my four chickens. They don’t give an f about anything, they love being fed and pet, and they’re super smart but also dumb at the same time. I love them. They are my muse and my forever MOOD.
Interview by Will Heffernan