Brittany Underwood plays Loren Tate on Nick at Nite's show Hollywood Heights -- and interestingly enough, was almost Hannah Montana! We talked with the young star about her favorite shows, James Franco and her dream of becoming a high school science teacher.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
"My mother is from Colombia, but my dad is of English decent, so no one ever thinks I'm Latina when they first meet me. They always guess Irish or Italian, oddly enough. I never even get English!"
Who do you play on Hollywood Heights? What was it about this character that interested you?
"I play a high school senior named Loren Tate on Hollywood Heights. She's a singer/songwriter who doesn't always believe in herself and her talent. I love this character because she's so relatable and real. She's unsure of herself and always strives for perfection, but I think that's what makes her good at what she does, because she always wants to improve. I think she needs to learn to trust herself and not be too insecure to where she doesn't share her gift, but I like that she's not full of herself and has humility. That's a quality I always admire in talented people. I also like that even though she's unsure of herself, she's still a smart, witty girl with a sense of humor. When I first read the audition scenes, I went 'wow, I totally get this girl.' I was instantly drawn to this character and really wanted to get the chance to bring her to life."
Hollywood Heights is based on a telenovela -- have you watched those and do you have favorites? What are your favorite shows?
"I actually never sat down and watched one from start to finish, but my uncle used to live with us years ago and he would always watch Betty La Fea before they brought it to the states and made Ugly Betty. So when I heard that Hollywood Heights was going to be an adaptation of a telenovela, I was like 'cool, we already know that it's been done before, we're just going to be airing every night' and it got me really excited about the project. My favorite shows right now though are Revenge, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Family Guy, The Office and of course.....Hollywood Heights! (laughs) love me some juicy drama, and my comedies."
James Franco is set to star on the show as well, has he already made his debut? What was it like working with him?
"He has, last friday I believe. I actually didn't get a chance to work with him, but I met him at the studio, and he was really sweet and down to earth. And I heard from those who did work with him that he was really cool to work with so I'm a little bummed I missed out."
What's this about your interest in college and neuroscience?
"Oh yeah, I'm a totally nerd! I've always been into science. I love everything about the human body. I'm so curious about what goes on inside us, and how everything works, I think it's fascinating. I know this may sound crazy, but if I had a lot of money and spare time on my hands, I would go to med school just for fun. But yea, neuroscience was a really awesome concentration. I did some research in my college lab on diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimers, trying to find ways to prevent and possibly treat these neurological disorders. The hours in the lab were long but I still thought it was so cool! And I got to go to a neuroscience convention in Chicago and present my research so that was also a fun thing I got to do."
What made you want to become an actress?
"I've always been into performing since I was really young. I would sing and act in school plays. So I feel it's just always been a part of me. In terms of what I wanted to do with my life, I felt that being an actress was a dream but that I needed to plan for a realistic career, which for a while I thought would be teaching high school science. But when I was a junior in high school, I went to this acting seminar called "Breaking into Hollywood" and they helped me get an agent and find a manager, and then my dream of being an actress, started becoming a reality, which was really awesome and exciting."
Who are your role models?
"My mom is a big role model for me. She's been through a lot in her life, and it's made her the strongest person I know. She's really independent, and that's probably where I get that trait and many others from. So she's a huge influence on me for sure."
You had auditioned for the role of Hannah Montana -- is singing something you're interested in pursuing?
"I did audition for Hannah Montana. It was actually my first audition ever. And yes, I get to sing a lot on Hollywood Heights so that's been a lot of fun and really motivated me to pursue a singing career which I've been actively doing recently, so hopefully I'll be able to release some of my own music soon."
Check out Hollywood Heights on Nick at Nite on Mondays at 9 PM (EST/PST) through October.
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