Interview with Mandy Musgrave of “South of Nowhere”

AE: What do you think about the Spashley fandom—the videos, the fan fiction. Do you watch the videos?
Yeah. I have a MySpace account and I always switch out the videos they have up there. Also, I type in things in the search engine for music—for what I want to put on my page. And one day—randomly—I heard about this band called South of Nowhere, and I thought “Oh I'll put them up as joke.” So I typed in "South of Nowhere" and our show came up, and I thought, “For music?” and they have some of our songs from the show up there, It was really cool. People are so interested in the show.

And I have video clips of the episode where Madison and I fight on my MySpace page. I just love to look at that. I replay the clip where she slaps me across the face over and over again—that was my favorite episode.

And since Valery Ortiz is such a sweet girl, she kept not wanting to really hit me. And I told her, “Give it to me. Hard. I want you to slap me really, really hard so I feel it.” And it's funny because if you watch really closely in the take that they used, you can see I was expecting and was like (flinches)—I made the face before she did it.

But she slapped me so hard that I came back furious and I took her by the uniform and slapped her up against the wall. Then midway through, I remembered “This is acting…”

AE: It was a good fight.
I know. We matched up the boys' fight against ours, and we rock. We killed them.

AE: Girls are tougher.
: Oh they totally are.

AE: So what was you biggest challenge in terms of shooting the show last season?
Keeping down cranberry juice. It kept coming out my nose in one scene. (laughs) That was the most embarrassing moment from last season.

My most challenging moment? A lot of people ask me if it was playing a lesbian and making out with another girl, but it wasn't really. I mean in some ways it was hard making out with a girl, but at the same time, I don't know how Gabby kisses. I've probably kissed her over 200 times and I don't know how she kisses. Ashley does, but I'm worried about, “Should I turn my head this way?“

AE: Technical stuff.

The most challenging thing about this season is that I've had to cry so much, but I like the challenge because I can drop the tears. I learned that on Days of Our Lives, when I had to cry on cue. But it's always a challenge. Especially one day when I had to get it right after a clip in which I was so excited and happy and I was having a great day. And then I had to go cry and it was terrible. But I've had days where I was not in my best mood and say “Can I cry today? 'Cause I'm ready. Lock and load. Bring it on.”

AE: I'm guessing that the new season has been pretty exciting for you, especially after the long process of establishing those characters in the first season. Now we know who they are and it sounds like they're really growing.
Yeah, and there are more coming in.

AE: Right, your sister enters the picture after your father passes away.
Yeah, my father passes away and it's really traumatizing for Ashley. Her mom's obviously not there and treats her like crap. Her father has been trying to make a complete turnaround, and he had finally come around. Ashley does not know how to deal with it. She tries to be strong, but breaks down and there are lot of emotional scenes that Ashley goes through. And each time I had to think of my real father to get to there, and it was terrible.

Then out of nowhere, I find out that I have a sister that my father's never told me about, and she's my same age and has apparently been there the entire time and I was never told.

Ashley can't get mad at her father because he's passed, but this new girl is there and she was never told about her. And there are certain situations in which she has to hang around her sister in order for things to happen, you know, within her father's will.

AE: So you have this whole new dynamic with a new character.
And she can't stand her. You never know where it leads, maybe they'll become really good friends, maybe not. I'm trying to get her to leave because she sticks around for too long…Mom tries to suck up to her. It's terrible.

AE: Some of the scenes with Ashley's mother last season–
I remember looking at Colleen (McGrann) after a scene and thinking, “You're evil.”

But she's amazing, and she portrays that character so well. And we have more scenes this season where we go off on each other and she gets even more evil.

AE: The moms are tough on this show.
Totally. I like that.

AE: It's what a lot of girls go through in high school with their mothers. Very realistic.
I think with Paula and Spencer, the fighting is more typical. Although because she's such a devout Catholic it's hard for her to step out of the box and learn that Spencer's going to love whoever she wants. But I give Paula a piece of my mind. Drama happens there.

South of Nowhere airs Fridays at 8:30 pm. Get more info at
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