Chasing Life, like many ABC Family shows, deals with plenty of hot-button topics like cancer, depression, abortion, and secret sisters who you sometimes accidentally falsely accuse of drugging your girlfriend. One of the great things about its resident lesbian character, Greer, is that she swats at stereotypes and teenage lesbian tropes with her tennis racquet, being an out and proud lesbian from long before we met her. I had the opportunity to chat with the eloquent and insightful Gracie Dzienny about playing Greer, and what’s in store for her and Brenna.
AfterEllen: Greer is a favorite of our readers’ for many reasons, but what’s your favorite thing about her?
Gracie Dzienny: Ooh, there’s so much! I love that Greer kind of exclusively wears pink. She seems to have outfits that are all one shade of pink, which is fun. But then, on a more serious note, I love Greer because I think she’s unlike any lesbian character I’ve seen on TV before. She’s so confident and she’s so open about her sexuality but then she also is really relatable because she struggles with speaking her opinion and telling her parents what she really wants, and I think that’s a thing I know I have trouble with sometimes.
AE: I definitely agree that’s she’s unlike other characters on TV. The fact that her storyline has never been about coming out, that of all the problems that she has, it’s the least of her worries.
GD: Yeah, no, exactly, that’s not her problem at all. She has a lot of other issues, but being confident in who she is is not one. She’s a girl who knows what she wants.
AE: On that note, I imagine you still have some younger fans from when you were on Supah Ninjas: Do you hear a lot of them relating to Greer as a teenager?
GD: They’ve all kind of mixed together, like my Twitter feed and stuff like that, but they’re all great. They’re all so passionate. I love the photo collages people make, and Instagram, and the hashtag Grenna. The whole thing is just so entertaining and fun to me. I never really thought about it when we’re shooting the show, because we shot the show almost a year ago, and now to see everyone liking it so much is so cool.
AE: What was your reaction when you found out about Greer’s big “secret”?
GD: I had a phone call with [showrunner/executive producer] Patrick Sean Smith and he called me to tell me about the storyline and I was so nervous and excited, because it is such a heavy and important topic, but I wanted to make sure I did it justice. But it was also so exciting because it was such a huge thing for Greer, and such a huge thing for both Greer and Brenna together, and I was really excited about it, but I just wanted to make sure I played it right and wasn’t too dramatic or too subtle about it, because it is such an important topic.
AE: Will we be learning more about her parents’ decision to put her on medication in the first place? Or will we focus on her struggle going forward?
GD: You definitely in tonight’s episode see a lot of Greer and her parents and their relationship on a different level than you’ve seen before. But I didn’t know much about her relationship with her parents, I kind of learned more about it as the viewers learn more about it. I had some ideas, but the script really made them concrete and I saw what actually is going on.
AE: Do you like exploring the darker side of Greer or do you miss the always bubbly, happy version of her?
GD: Oh, no, I love this, it’s so fun! One minute I’m screaming at someone, locking myself in the bathroom, and then I have purple hair which is so fun. It’s so unlike me, I’m more like Greer in Season 1A, where I’m very bubbly and happy all the time, so to get to play this darker side—it is scary, because I want to make sure it shows on camera and that it looks good, but it’s so much fun. They put the purple hair extensions in, and I asked if I could keep them for the weekend. [laughs] They were going to take them out on Friday and put them back in on Monday but I was like, “Why don’t I just keep them in? Because I would never do this myself.” It was so fun!
AE: It looked really great.
GD: It was really fun, I completely changed my style, the whole thing.