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Jillian Rose Reed’s friends say she’s nothing like her character Tamara on Awkward but, after talking to her, we learned that’s not 100% true. For starters, they both talk really fast. Jillian has been playing Tamara, best friend to the show’s main star Jenna (Ashley Rickards), for the last four years now, and she’ gotten very close to her character. She discusses how she and Tamara are different (and a little alike), how she feels about Tamara/Jake and Jenna/Matty, and what her favorite scene was to film on the show.
Check out our exclusive interview with the star here:
Is there any slang from the show that you use in real life?
Actually, there’s quite a few that most of the cast actually uses. A lot of them are from season 1. We all use DTR (define the relationship), we still use that one on the show. I feel like that the majority of people use that one. But I also use Big Fail Mary (something that does not go as planned) which is from season 1 in regards to a failed situation. So yeah, we do.
What was your favorite episode to film last season?
Oh gosh. From this past season? I think it would probably have to be just the sequence of episodes where Jake and Tamara broke up. There was one specific one, where Jake and Tamara are fighting in the school quad area. I got to do this really funny bit, where I take Jake’s harmonica and I pound it on a table and I rub a banana all in it. That was really, really, really fun to shoot, because it’s not often, (well that’s not true, I do get to do physical stuff) but it’s been a while since I got to some really out there physical comedy and I love doing that stuff. It’s really fun for me.
That sounds fun. Have you pushed to have any more physical comedy like that on the show in the next season?
I do actually! One of my favorite episodes in this upcoming season I get to a do a little bit, we’ll call it “dancing.”
Actually, speaking of Jake…do you want him and T to get back together? Are you rooting for them to wind up with each other?
I have always loved Jake and Tamara from the beginning of their relationship. In high school, I think it’s so easy to get caught up in boys and all of that stuff. Obviously, in the beginning of their relationship, there was a tricky situation with Jenna and Jake’s past, but I truly feel that Jake is Tamara’s true, real love. I think that they’ll always love each other and always have something really special. So yeah, I definitely root for them. I would definitely want to see them work something out in the future.
What do you like the most about some of the characters on the show? We know there’s a ton, so you can give us your favorite two.
Aside from Tamara, I have to say my two favorite characters are probably Sadie and Valerie. That’s because they are just so funny. You know, I’m a comedic actress and I love comedy and I think both of those characters, and both of the actresses who play them, are just so phenomenal and so on point all the time that if I had to choose another character I could play for the day, it would have to be one of those.
Do you think you’re at all like Tamara or you two totally different?
There are some similarities, but I feel like if you ask my close friends they’d say that there are no similarities at all. But I definitely feel like there are a little bit. Tamara’s been with me for 4 years now, so there’s a little bit of me inside of her. We’ve both talk really fast, I’m a little overdramatic, and Tamara is a little overdramatic, so we have similarities there. As far as differences, she’s a little bit girlier than I am, in the way that she carries herself and the way that she dresses. I tend to be a little bit more edgy, or maybe it’s sloppy. I haven’t figured out the word yet. She goes to high school every day in her perfectly matched outfits and heels. I went to high school in my sweatpants.
We really like some of the fashion choices she’s made, do you envy her closet or is your style a bit more laidback?
There’s definitely moments where she will wear something that is super my style or paired with something that is my style. It’s funny that you mention that, because I took home a bunch of stuff. I went through the wardrobe trailer like “I’m gonna take this, and I’m gonna take this, and I’m gonna take this!” I still have stuff from season 1. Season 1 Tamara wore a lot that I have a lot of as well.
Are any of the actors like their characters on the show?
I would say that there are probably similarities that you can find between all of the actors and their characters. But everyone also has major, major differences. Like for example, Nikki DeLoach plays Lacey. Nikki is a person in my life who has the biggest heart. She is so genuine and you get to see that when she plays Lacey, there’s these really heartfelt moments between her and Jenna, where I’m like “that’s totally Nikki!” But then, in reverse, Lacey is super self-involved and you know, not always the best mom. That is the complete opposite of Nikki, she’s always seeing what she can do for other people. She’s a new mom and she’s the best mom in the world. There’s definitely similarities and differences between all of us.
Check out what she has to say about Jenna and Matty on Page 2...
Getty Images/Michael Buckner
Are there any characters you wish you had more scenes with, like you love them on the show, but there isn’t much of a storyline crossover for Tamara and them?
Yeah, I totally wish I had more scenes with Val! I got a little bit more in this past season, I did in other seasons as well. I think it was season 3, that we explored that Val and Tamara are new BFFs for their trip to Europe. I wish we could have taken that a little bit further, and seen that in the current season. I think that both of the characters are so different and both so dynamic, that when they’re both in Val’s office together, it’s just funny.
Veering off that a bit, do you want Matty and Jenna to get back together?
I am hardcore Team Matty. I always have been. I feel like Jenna and Matty are the Ross and Rachel of our time. So I’m constantly rooting for them. I watch the show like a viewer most of the time, so any time Matty shows up at Jenna’s door, I like freak out. Any time they have a moment. I’m all about it. I want them to wind up together.
Is there anything about this season that you think viewers will be really excited about?
My one of my favorite episodes, is the one I kind of teased earlier with the dancing, the episode is centered on myself and Sadie. We’ve seen in the past that when Sadie and Tamara get together, it’s pretty crazy, but I think fans always really, really enjoy it. It’s an entire episode where they team up together. It was really fun to shoot, Molly is one of my best friends. I think fans will enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed filming it.
Do you and the cast members have viewing parties of the show? Or do you mainly watch with your friends?
Yeah, actually when I’m watching, I’m usually with another cast member. I go to Brett Davern’s (Jake!) a lot to watch the show. Nikki DeLoach always has people over, so we pretty much like to watch the show together as much as we can. We love each other so much, it’s so fun. If I’m not with a cast member, I’m usually with my family.
That’s really cute. Are you best friends with some of the cast outside of the show and hang out a lot?
All the time! We all just got back from a weekend in Kentucky because Desi (Val) got married. I’m literally planning a trip with Molly, as we speak. We hang out all the time.
That’s very sweet. It’s always nice to hear that people are friends behind the scenes.
Yeah! It just makes the job easier.
What can we look forward to seeing you in outside of Awkward?
Outside of Awkward, I have a few things going on! I will be stepping behind the camera for the first time. I will be producing a new movie, called Chained and Bound, which I am starring in. Actually, Nikki DeLoach is as well. It’s a little side project, that’s in the very early development stages. We’re really excited about it. It’s a really gritty and edgy movie that will be really different from what our Awkward viewers have seen us do.
What made you want to get behind the camera?
Well I was approached with this script actually a few years ago to play one of the characters. The woman who wrote it is a really close family friend of mine. As it got developed, I got more and more involved, and she approached me and asked if I wanted to come on as a producer, it just seemed really fun for me. I’ve learned a lot about producing and being behind the scenes. After I started filming Awkward, it was a really good way to learn about that stuff. So I thought, what a better way to do it than practice. I love the entertainment industry. I love all aspects of it, so if there are ways for me to get involved in another way, I liked to do it.
Awkward comes back 9/23 on MTV at 10p.m. Make sure you tune because it’s the bomb-dot-com.
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The one-and-only Jenna Hamilton is back, and she’s ready to face her Junior year at Palos Hills High with dignity and grace — okay let’s be real, this girl is going to stumble into countless awkward situations and we seriously can’t wait. Now that our favorite braid-loving protagonist is firmly on Team Matty, high school is going to be a breeze, right? Wrong. This is Awkward!
With a sexy new kid in school, a terrifying teacher, and an MIA BFF, the Season 3 premiere is packed with new challenges and we’ve listed seven facts you need to know before watching tonight’s double-dose of two brand-new Awkward episodes. Plus, we chatted with Ashley Rickards, Jillian Reed, and Brett Davern to bring you even more scoop on the adorably quirky comedy.
1. Love Rectangle: After two seasons of what seemed to be a never-ending love triangle, there’s a new shape in the Awkward romance department: A BFF rectangle. Jenna had a sex-filled summer with Matty while Tamara and Jake discovered a whole new world together abroad — but now that they’re all back in the same school, Rickards teases that the foursome is in for some new challenges this season.
“I think it’s going to provide for some interesting dynamics," she says. "Luckily I think Jenna and Tamara went through it in a more mature way and they discussed it ahead of time. But that’s not to say that Tamara is not going to be jealous, and there’s not going to be very awkward moments on the show called Awkward.”
2. Bonjour PDA: Get ready for some serious lip-locking, because Tamara and Jake are totally that couple. You know the one. That couple who comes back from a summer abroad and thinks that they are worldly, mature, and that PDA is totally acceptable 24/7. They new duo seems to have forgotten all the relationship faux pas — like creating a joint Facebook page. Blegh!
Plus, Tamara and Jake — despite that fact that they have not DTR’d — have already expressed their love for each other. That’s right, even though it’s in French, the new couple drops so many ily-bomb in front of Jenna that you’d wonder if they left their common sense abroad.
3. Boys Don’t Get Pregnant — Girls Do: There’s a rumor going around that someone at PHHS is preggers, and if you’ve been watching the Awkward Season 3 promo trailers on repeat (like we have) then you know that Sadie is showing all the signs: She’s bitchy — even more than usual if you can imagine — she’s constantly eating, and she’s spending an obscene amount of time hugging the toilet in the ladies room. All we can tell you is that when the truth is revealed in tonight’s first episode, “Cha-cha-cha-changes”, you’ll have a newfound empathy for this heartless character — well, at least for an episode.
4. Terrifying Teacher: Jenna gets accidently placed in Creative Writing, one of the most horrific and difficult classes in school. Not only is the teacher a disgruntled, rude, and condescending man, but he’ll also squirt you out of class. No we’re serious, he has a squirt bottle and if you’re not on your A-game, you’ll be drenched by the time you’re dumped in the hallway.
But what’s the one great thing about this teacher? He’s played by ‘80s legend Anthony Michael Hall! “He’s a hard-nosed teacher in school," Davern explains. "He’s so hard-nosed that Jake doesn't take his class, that’s for sure. He’s scary.” But despite his terrifying façade, Rickards explains that this class is exactly what Jenna needs this season. “He definitely pushes her to a place that she probably wouldn’t have gone on her own, and he really forces her to take a real look at herself an answer some tough questions,” she says.
5. New Hottie in Class: One of the positives of being placed in Creative Writng? Jenna meets the kind-hearted Colin (Glee’s Nolan Funk). Colin is the new kid in school, and although we barely hear from him in the first two episodes, his mysterious ways will be revealed as the season progresses. "True to Awkward form he is a good looking guy," Rickards says. "And [also] true to that form, drama ensues.” Hmm, could we be looking at a new potential love triangle? Only time will tell…
6. Guilty Conscience: In the second episode of tonight’s double dose of Awkward, “Responsibly Irresponsible,” a death plagues Palos Hills High and it rocks the student body like a disgruntled hurricane. Many girls are feeling guilty over the passing of this one particular character, and while we can’t reveal who will no longer be a part of the Awkward cast, we can tell you that they have a kegger and vigil-turned-roast to bid that soul adieu. A few fun tidbits you’ll see in that episode: a voodoo doll, a demoted school official and Jenna spitting her food into the person’s ashes.
7. YOLO: Acronyms have always been an important and special part of Awkward's unique dialogue. Reed says that she loves learning all of Tamara’s quick-paced lines, and that Season 3 is packed with plenty of new acronyms to memorize. “Oh my gosh there’s so many," she says. "But the one that has actually been circulating in the trailer is the BFGFBFF, which is pretty funny — it’s the Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Best Friends Forever Double Date. The DD is implied. That was fun only because I impressed myself getting that out of my mouth." The popularity of another acronym — YOLO — will lead to one of our Awkward characters getting a permanent message of love tattooed on their body. Yikes!
Don’t miss the one-hour Season 3 premiere of Awkward Tuesday, April 16 at 10 PM on MTV!
What are you most looking forward to this season on Awkward? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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