Interview with Mandy Musgrave of “South of Nowhere”


AE: Have gay friends or family members talked to you about the show and how the gay storyline has been handled?
Yes, a lot of them have spoken to me, and so have a lot of people on MySpace. I'm sure Gabby brought that up. A lot of people have talked to us, and opened up, asked how they should go about things. And I'm like, “You know–” I act like I'm my character, so I have to stop and remember, "Um I didn't have to come out in real life, I'm straight.” But I try to give them as much advice as I can because my mom's a therapist and I've learned a therapeutic way of approaching people.

AE: So they actually come to you for advice?
They do! They'll say, “I think it's so amazing how strong you are with such and such” and I'm like (in a mock serious tone) “Yeah, it was really hard…" No it wasn't! What? (laughs) Maybe when I was memorizing lines…

And a lot of people back home are going through all of this stupid homophobia. It really pisses me off that there are people that didn't want to do certain things with advertising or GLAAD awards or interviews that we've done. And I say, “Why? Why wouldn't you want to do stuff like this?”

I want to do it for whoever's going through it. It's not me trying to get more publicity for myself, I just want to represent people who mean so much to me in my life. A lot of people back home have talked to me, they've called me crying on the phone and have talked to my mom and they never knew that this little kid in braces could be a spokesperson for them, and showing the world what's really going on.

AE: It sounds like you've taken that on.
I'm trying. I'm trying to be the best lesbian I can. It's hard though. It's hard. I can't do it as well as some people. (laughs)

Really, the hard part is seeing how it is with parents and reacting to them. Because I hear so many things they say harshly and I think, “People really go through that, and it sucks.”

The easy part is making out with Gabby, ‘cause she's hot. That's totally easy.

AE: When reporters talk to you about the show, do they typically have a lot of questions for you like, “Oh you're two straight actresses playing gay–”
“What's it like?” or “How do you deal with the controversy?” I say “Controversy is a matter of opinion, I don't understand what you're saying.”

So yeah, I get that a whole lot. I get a lot of stupid questions.

AE: What are you doing in addition to the show?
I'm not doing other acting stuff right now. I'm trying to go back home and take vacations and see my family more because I was so family-oriented when I moved out here. I'm originally from Orlando, Florida and having a twin sister and having such a close family, it's hard moving out here and being by yourself.

Everybody who moves out here to become an actor, needs to have an empowering story that makes them who they are today. Because it's such a hard business to break into, you have to have the drive. Otherwise, you're not going to get anywhere unless you have that drive.

But at the same time, it's not as hard as people make it out to be. I don't know, I may just be really super lucky and blessed—which I know that I am—but I moved out here and within two weeks I had an agent and had booked my first job.

Of course, I never go into detail about the job, because it was a one-liner on a Nickelodeon show. I think it was, “Hey, lookin' cool.” And that was it. I got paid 60 bucks for it. (laughs)

It's amazing, being out here, how people talk about money. And I read somewhere that actors are the least respected people. And I'm thinking, “I picked the least respected career. I chose a great one.”

It was great when I moved out here and saw that I had made $60 for this one little extra job. I was like, “Sixty bucks, for three hours? That's amazing! I want to do this forever!” But it's never a sure thing. Like when I move off from here, I need to get back in immediately, and I'm thinking, “Tax money needs to come in, I need some money.”

AE: So you haven't been corrupted.
Oh, but I have.

AE: But not in that way—becoming materialistic…
I hope I never get that way. Home will keep me from getting that way. My father will rip me a new one if I ever become corrupted and materialistic.

AE: Will your family move out here?
No, never. I'm not moving out here, I don't consider this my home. Even though I've lived here for two and a half years and my walls are painted and my cat's out here, and I'm completely settled…

AE: Does your twin sister visit you often?
She was just out here last week. She came to the set. She fusses though. My twin sister's like “Who's going to do my hair and make-up?” and I say, “You're such a diva! You've been here for 20 minutes—"

AE: She was an extra?
Not even an extra! She didn't want to, she said “No, it's too hot. Can someone do my hair? It's flat.” (laughs) She's adorable though. She's way cuter than I am, I don't know why she's not doing this.

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