Interview with Maeve Quinlan of “South of Nowhere”


AE: South of Nowhere was nominated for a GLAAD award last year and you and the cast attended the awards ceremony. What was that experience like?
That was amazing. I was on The Bold and the Beautiful, and we were nominated for Best Drama—I was there for 11 years and many times we were nominated for Best Drama. But to be nominated for a GLAAD award for Best Drama for South of Nowhere meant more to me than anything I've ever done. Because of who my roommates and my best friends are, it's something that was extremely important to me. And I felt like we had made them proud.

AE: I've heard that you're going to present an award at Power Up's Ten Most Amazing Women ceremony this weekend.
Yes, Gabby and Mandy and I are presenting together. I'm really excited about that. I've been to the event before, but I've never presented. It's really cool and we are ecstatic to get to do it together too.

That's another thing that Gabby gets asked all the time, “Is Maeve like a mother to you?” and the answer is not at all. (laughs) We're really close friends, and in so many ways Gabby's more adult than I am. Gabby and Mandy and I are very close friends.

AE: Okay, now for a fun question. I get that you're nothing like Paula, but were you anything like Spencer or Ashley when you were a teenager?
No. Wait—let me take that back. I was a lot like Spencer when she arrived from Ohio. I grew up in Chicago, really conservative, and I was naïve. And you know how in the first few episodes she was a little bit of an outsider? I went from Catholic school to our public grade school, and I was one of those girls who was in the good group, but in the bottom tier. (laughs) I always thought, I'm a geek so why am I in the cool group? I wasn't sure if I liked those people. So I was quite naïve for a really long time. I should have been having a lot more fun, and earlier. But I made up for it—I can tell you that much. USC had a lot to do with that. (laughs)

I had older brothers, I was the baby. Like Spencer, I was daddy's little girl and you never lose that. My mom was my best friend, and I really feel like that's where Spencer and her mom were before they moved. That's what makes all of this so difficult—Paula feels like she's losing her.

AE: If the show gets picked up for a third season, how do you think–or hope–Paula would evolve?
Paula is so reactionary that a lot of what she's going to be doing is based on the family–because she's always tying to keep it together. I think I'd like to see her and Arthur really reconnect. Once she lets go and see she can't solve all the world's problems, maybe she'll see that her idea of “right” really isn't right. I hope she relaxes and really gives that marriage a try. And then I hope something happens and drives a wedge right through it again. (laughs)

I hope she is there for Chelsea and for her son. I hope that Paula's learned something, and that she really applies herself to loving her daughter no matter if its boys or girls or what. But I don't want it to be easy—I want to see her struggle. People don't just change overnight.

AE: Can you tell us a little about what happens with the relationship between Paula and Ashley this season?
Mandy and I have loved those scenes. We didn't really get to work that much directly with each other in the first season, so it's been a real treat for both of us.

This season, we really go at it. And we both can't stand each other, but here's the problem—we have one thing in common. We love Spencer. We love this girl with all of our hearts. So I think you'll see—without giving it away—if you can't beat ‘em join ‘em. Or maybe, if you can't beat ‘em, don't hate ‘em quite as much. (laughs) Because Spencer loves her mother, and if forced to make a choice here, who knows which way she would go? I'm thinking she'd go with Ashley, but everyone loves their mother. So she's going to want to make both work.

AE: Well you can see that tension building in the episodes that have already aired. There was a brief moment of sweetness when Ashley's father died—
Tommy [Lynch] wrote that and it just melted my heart. Paula Carlin's a mother, and at that point she was thinking with her heart. One of the great things about Paula is that she's protective, and she'll fight for her children like a Rottweiller, but she has a big heart. There's just a lot of fear around it. And that's how I wanted to play her. Paula Carlin is scared shitless.

The scene in which Paula walks in on them was so intense. We just really went for it. I mean, I pulled her out by her hair! That was a choice I made. She's not blaming her daughter at this point, it's all this other girl's fault.

When I saw it, and how Paula was going up the stairs with the Romeo and Juliet voiceover, my heart was pounding.

And what happens the day after—in the episode that follows—blows the roof off of all of that.

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in our South of Nowhere section.

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