Interview with Beverley Mitchell of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC Family - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Beverley Mitchell

Interview with Beverley Mitchell of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" on ABC Family 3/30/11.

The questions in red are from Krista. The rest of the questions are from other journalists.

ABC Familyís Q&A Session with Beverley MitchellĖ The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Moderator What has it been like on set with a lot of the same crew from 7th Heaven there?

B. Mitchell It has been absolutely amazing. Everytime I get to go back to work at Secret Life, itís like coming home. So many of those crewmembers are like family to me. So, itís been a lot of fun. Itís a very rare thing to happen in Hollywood, so I am blessed everytime I get to go play.

Moderator How do you think Lucy would have reacted to Katelyn OíMalley?

B. Mitchell I think Lucy would have definitely liked Katelyn OíMalley. I think she would have gotten maybe frustrated with her because Katelyn wants to do whatís best for the kids, but sometimes that comes with a little needling. So, if Lucy was in high school and Katelyn was her counselor, I think they would have had a few battles.

Moderator Tell me a little bit about your take on the show and its content. What made you interested in joining the cast?

B. Mitchell Secret Life is such an amazing show, and it definitely is a little bit grittier than 7th Heaven and deals with much more mature content, but I think it still does it in a nice way where itís something that teens are dealing with now. Itís current. Itís exactly what teenagers and young people are seeing in their schools. Itís relevant, and I think it was a great opportunity for me to bounce back into TV and be a part of something great thatís touching people. I was absolutely thrilled when Brenda called me and invited me on. Everyone is so welcoming and kind, and the showís great. We had huge numbers on Monday, and Iím just so honored to be a part of it.

Moderator What excites you about playing your character? Were there any struggles or concerns or did research have to go into your character?

B. Mitchell To be honest, I felt very at home with Katelyn. Sheís a girl whoís fresh out of college and so excited to come in and touch the lives of young people, which I can completely relate to. So, it was really fun and not a lot of research. It was just a girl who wants the best for the young people around her and just trying to make a difference in the world. I could definitely relate to that. So, it was pretty easy to step into Katelynís shoes.

Moderator Last week I talked to Shai, and she mentioned that Amy did not really deal with Katelyn, so I noticed that you talked with Ashley on Monday. What other characters will you be working with during the season?

B. Mitchell At some point, I talk to everybody. I donít get to spend a lot of time with everybody necessarily, but Iíve definitely gotten to work with almost all of theólike Iíve worked with Daren, Iíve worked with Adrian, and Iíve worked with Kenny, and Iíve worked with Ashley. So, Iíve gotten to talk to everybody. At some point, Katelyn will find a way to discuss something that she thinks is important with each one of the characters, which is totally my recollection of what high school counselors were like. It totally stays true to that.

Moderator Also, I noticed Mackenzie was on the pilot as well, so did you get to work with her on that day or see her on set?

B. Mitchell I did get to work with Mackenzie and we had an absolute blast, and it was super fun. It was kind of sweet that we did that little kick back to 7th Heaven with our look in the hallway. What was so funny is, it was so awkward for both us because weíre stepping into new characters, but it was so super fun. Itís always great to see Mackenzie. I see her often just in regular life, but itís still fun to get back to work and to be on the set together, especially with all our crew around.

Moderator Iím so hoping you could talk a little bit more about how long weíre expected to see you on the show for. Is it through the whole season? Will there be another season? A lot of the counselors have been rotating in and out throughout the course of the show.

B. Mitchell Well I can tell you so far, Iím getting ready to shoot my 8th episode. So, Iím filtered in and out of the season, and you definitely havenít seen the last of me yet, which is great, and so much fun. I never know what sheís going to be up to next, which is always exciting to get the next script and see whatís going on with Katelyn.

Moderator I just want to know what a typical day is like on the Secret Life set.

B. Mitchell Typical day, well usually for me, when Iím working, Iím usually the first up, so Iím usually at work by six, which is great. I go get an amazing breakfast and get to hang out with the amazing makeup and hair department, who are just dear friends. Of course, then we rehearse, and usuallyóthis is one of the most efficient crews I have ever had the pleasure of working withówe can take a huge 10-page day and hammer it out so quickly and so efficiently, and we have so much fun doing it.

Whatís cool is, thereís a lot of peopleónobodyís going back to their trailer and being all by themselves. Everybodyís talking, conversing, and having fun and catching up because itís definitely like a family. Itís just such a pleasure to be able to come onto a set and feel so comfortable and to feel at ease and to feel loved and wanted. Usually for me, the day always ends with my dear crew singing Happy Birthday to me to make me embarrassed and humiliate me because that has been going on since the 7th Heaven days. So, years of my birthdays, by this time Iím like 200 years old.

Moderator You kind of touched on this when you were talking about the crew, but what was it like working with Brenda Hampton again?

B. Mitchell Brenda Hampton isó I canít say enough good things about her. She is one of the most phenomenal human beings I have ever met in my entire life. She has been so amazing and has been so supportive and has always been there for me since I was 15 years old. Even through the years after 7th Heaven, weíve always stayed in touch. Weíve gone to lunch. Weíve checked in. Sheís just, honestly, such a rarity in Hollywood. She is so true to the people that she loves, and she takes care of people and it is justóI am so blessed that she came into my life.

We were talking about it, I met her when I was 15, thatís insane. Thatís 15 years ago, and she has been a huge part of my life ever since the day I met her. She will continue to be a huge part of my life for many years to come, like for the rest of my lifetime. But one of the most brilliant and kindest, and has a heart bigger than anyone Iíve ever met. I totally would love to be any partóif I could grow up and be a woman like Brenda, itíd be phenomenal. Sheís amazing.

Moderator Speaking of 7th Heaven fans and of course Secret Life fans, what kind of reaction have you been getting from your role? Obviously, youíre on Twitter, you can kind of get some instant feedback that way.

B. Mitchell Itís amazing. Everyone has been so supportive and so shockingly nice. Iím so used to so many haters so I was kind of expecting a little bit of a backlash of some sort, and I havenít received any. I feel the Secret Life fan base and the 7th Heaven fan base are very similar, and I think itís amazing just how many people are excited and new fans are coming to Secret Life and old fans are finding me on Secret Life, which is also amazing. So, itís been kind of fun.

Itís wonderful. I went to an event last night, and I was shocked to see a whole bunch of adults coming up to me saying how excited they were I was on Secret Life. It was very surprising how broad the fan base is, which it just goes to show you what good writing and great actingówhat it brings to people, and how it touches people.

Moderator We havenít gotten to see you in any projects recently. This is kind of like the first project that weíve gotten to see you in really since 7th Heaven. Are you auditioning? Are you working on other projects as well?

B. Mitchell Iím working on a project that Iím actually also producing. Itís a film that I did with Hailey Duff called Pennhurst. Weíre working on reshoots right now, and hopefully, weíll have something out by this fall. Iím also moving into the producing side and creating things. Itís been a really fun few years of just kind of diving into something different and being able to create projects and find things that inspire me and hopefully, will inspire others. So, Iím bouncing all around.

I was on the show for 11 years, so Iíve given myself a little freedom to go be goofy and figure out what I want to do next. Secret Life is definitely putting the bug back in me about getting back to TV because I just absolutely love it. Acting is like breathing to me, so being on the show and being with such amazing people just definitely gets me calling people saying, ďAlright, Iím back. Letís go.Ē

Moderator If you could bring back yet another 7th Heaven actor on the Secret Life, who would it be?

B. Mitchell Thatís a hard one. Thatís a really hard one because I love everybody. You totally stumped me. Maybe David Gallagher, because Davidóone, heís just one of the most phenomenally talented people, and I think he would fit in very well with the whole Secret Life group. Except for now, heís kind of gone very scruffy, so heís kind of the bad boy lately, which actually could be fun.

Moderator Are you going to get the chance to use your musical talents on Secret Life?

B. Mitchell Not as far as I know, but then again, the one thing I did learn about working for Brenda is anything that Ö sheíll come and surprise me, so who knows, but as of right now, no. I think Katelynís just going to stick to her job of counseling and being an adviser.

Moderator How did you get involved in acting? I know youíve been doing it since you were a child.

B. Mitchell I got involved in actingóI was four years old, and Iím a person that is very food based. I was with my aunt, and she was shopping, and she felt the need to keep shopping and not feed me. So I followed the other kids were doing, and they were throwing temper tantrums. So I threw myself on the ground, fists and all, and screamed at the top of my lungs, and apparently, someone thought that was cute, and a manager came up and said that I had spunk and I should be in the business. Meanwhile, my aunt wanted to kill me. Who knew that it would turn into a career path at the age of four, but Iíve been in the business ever since and never looked back.

Moderator When young actors and actresses starting out on a show or in the business about the age you were when you started 7th Heaven , what advice would you give to them today since youíve essentially grew up in front of the camera?

B. Mitchell I think my biggest advice for young people is to not get caught up in the hubbub around actors and this praising that goes on. I feel like being a young teen, you can easily take that and your ego can blow up, but I know that my mom always kept me super grounded. My friends were the same friends that I had before 7th Heaven, and I still am best friends with all of them now.

I knew what was real and what was fake, and that was easy to discern for me, and I always grounded myself in what was real. And 7th Heaven was a job for me, but it didnít make me any better than my friends who were studying at school, and I think that made a big difference. Iíve never fallen into the Hollywood trap, but I also had a phenomenal mom who was ready to knock me down if I ever thought I was too cool to do my chores or to clean up after the dogs.

So, my life neveróitís changed only in the fact that the hours of the day I was at work, but when I went home, I still had rules. I still had chores, and I still had to get good grades and do my school work. My mom always said sheís not going to lose her daughter to the business, and she didnít. I really feel like parents need to be strong and to not treat their kids any different just because theyíre in Hollywood, doesnít give them license to do whatever they want.

Moderator I read that one of your encounters was with someone who was interesting in being homeschooled. I just wondered what your thoughts were on homeschooling versus public school.

B. Mitchell Well, I feel whatever is best for the childóI, obviously, was a super outgoing kid. I wanted to be a part of everything. Even when I was on 7th Heaven, I was a cheerleader for the first two years of the show, so homeschooling was never something I was comfortable with. I am too interested in being with other kids, and in my mind, I called it being normal because I was with adults all day long.

However, Jessie and Mackenzie did homeschooling and that was what was right for them. They were more comfortable doing homeschooling, and they didnít need the encounters with kids and they saw them elsewhere. Mackenzie saw them when she was horseback riding, and Jessie saw them when she was playing soccer. So, I really feel that whatever is right for the individual is important.

I donít think itís fair for me to make a basis on whatís right for someone else when I donít know them, but I do feel itís always important to still have encounters with kids your own age. So as long as youíre having encounters outside, whether itís through sports or through other extracurricular activities, I think itís fine. Whatever is going to get you to have the best education and give you the most potential to move forward and to hopefully head to college is totally based on who the individual is.

Moderator Since you went to public school, do you think that you missed out on anything as far as growing up in Hollywood? Do you feel like you had a pretty normal life?

B. Mitchell I didnít miss out on anything, to be honest. I went to all my school dances. Granted, it was a little confusing. I went to school once every eight days all throughout my high school, and the only thing that was frustrating is coming back and not knowing who broke up with who and who was dating who, and who didnít like who. I put my foot in my mouth a few times just because I didnít get the daily update. But you know what? Itís all character building, and it was fun, and I would not change one thing about how I grew up. It was absolutely perfect, and it was amazing. Every experience that I went through growing up has made me who I am today, and I like myself so I think it was okay.

Moderator How is working on Secret Life different from working on the 7th Heaven set.

B. Mitchell I think the biggest change would just be, obviously, the cast is entirely different and so the dynamic between cast is a little different, but itís awesome and everyone is so amazing. Obviously, with 7th Heaven, after working with 11 years, you are so close to the characters and so close to the people, thereís a comfort there. Whatís fun about Secret Life is itís new and itís fresh and itís exciting, and everytime I go to work Iím excited to see whoever Iím working with and to connect in a different way. Because the cast is so big, everytime I come, Iím meeting someone new and learning a little bit more about the bigger family, which is awesome. So, I guess I would say thatís the biggest change because, obviously, having a lot of the same crew, I fall back into hanging out and chatting about the same things that I used to chat with the crew on 7th Heaven. So, I think the cast dynamic would be the biggest change.

Moderator Since youíre a guidance counselor on the show, do you have any advice for fans of Secret Life and really kind of high schoolers who watch the show?

B. Mitchell My biggest advice for anyone, actually it applies to I think everyone, is just to be nice to one another and to just stay true to yourself, and that being said just still being a good person. I have always lived by the golden rule like do unto others as you want done unto you. Anytime someoneís mean to me and I want to fire back with something, I just take a deep breath and realize that just because someone said something to me doesnít mean that I need to retaliate or say something back. Being the bigger person is a much harder thing to do, but itís far more rewarding, and in the long run, you will be very pleased with your outcome, and youíll have no regrets. I think thatís a big thing.

Moderator Were you a fan of Secret Life, had you watched it a lot or been interested in starring on it before you ended up getting the job?

B. Mitchell I definitely was a fan and I definitely was watching. As soon as I found out Brenda had the show going, I was watching and following and thought it was a great show. So when Brenda came and talked to me about coming on, I was thrilled, and it didnít take long for me to figure out what my answer was. So yes, itís such a great show. Itís so much fun to be a part of and such amazing people are a part of it, and itís a lot of fun. So, yes of course, I was very excited.

Moderator Who is your biggest TV crush?

B. Mitchell Youíre trying to get me in trouble with my husband. Biggest TV crush? I donít even know. Iím trying to think of all my favorite TV shows. I guess Iíd have to say Eric Dane. Heís the first one that came to me.

Moderator If you could change one thing about Secret Life, what would it be?

B. Mitchell Okay, thatís not that hard. Iíd be on every episode. Iíll just be selfish and say that.

Moderator Do you have any interest in doing anything behind the scenes: directing, writing, producing?

B. Mitchell I absolutely do. I have been doing a lot of writing. Iíve got a few TV shows that Iím finishing up. Iíve got a pilot written. Iíve got a few films that Iím working on, but I absolutely will pretty soon start moving on into the producing and directing side as well. I think Iíll always be in front of the camera as well. Iíll definitely continue acting because I canít imagine my life without it, but I definitely have an interest to start creating and producing and being on the other side because thatís also fascinating and exciting and totally different but so fulfilling and amazing. Iíve gotten to do that with Pennhurst, the film that weíre producing and that kind of has tapped to a side that is excited and wanting to do more. So, you will definitely see a lot of projects with my name in a few different spots, hopefully from the producing and directing because I would love to start moving on into the directing side as well.

Moderator If you werenít an actor, what is it that you think you would be doing?

B. Mitchell Oh my gosh, thatís such a hard question because you know whatís funny is everyone when theyíre four years old kind of has an idea, like they want to be firefighters. The funniest thing is, my whole entire life Iíve always wanted to be an actor, so Iíve never even thought about doing anything else. I think the only thing that has kind of peaked my interest, which was when I was going through college, was maybe psychology and helping people and kind of working people through things that theyíre going through, maybe that would be. But again, thatís a hard question because ever since I knew what an actor wasóI mean I used to tell my mom I wanted to be in the TV before I knew what Ö were. Itís pretty ingrained in me.

Moderator Can you tell us a little bit more about Katelyn? How would you describe her?

B. Mitchell Katelyn is a super enthusiastic young woman, who has come to Grant High School really hoping to make a difference and to impact studentís lives. She has a huge heart, and she just wants to be there for everyone, and experiences a little bit of a push away where the kids arenít as welcoming as she thought they were going to be. She thought, sheís young and that people are going to trust her and feel comfortable with her, and that doesnít exactly happen right off the bat, but she keeps trying. Sheís not going to give up, and she takes her job very seriously. First and foremost, she just cares about the kids and wants to make sure that she does right by them.

Moderator Then, I know weíve touched a little bit on the 7th Heaven cast, and youíve obviously seen Mackenzie, but do you keep in touch with any of your other former costars?

B. Mitchell I absolutely do. Everyone kind of laughs at me because Iím kind of the glue. Iím the one thatís constantly calling everyone and making sure everyoneís okay and what everyoneís doing. Jessie is one of my best friends. Mackenzie, we see often, we go out to dinner as often as we can. Stephen, I stay in touch with. David Gallagher, I just sent him a big note because his birthday was in February, and weíre supposed to be doing dinner soon. Barryís a little bit harder to get ahold of, and Catherine also.

Itís amazing when youíve worked with someone for so long and youíve gone through what nobody else can understand except for the seven of us and what we went through, thereís a bond there that can never be explained nor can ever be destroyed. So, whether we like it or not, weíre all stuck together. Sometimes we can go awhile without talking, but whenever we get together itís like nothingís ever changed, which is just amazing and just goes to show you how phenomenal Brenda was with putting the cast together because we truly have become family. Iím an only child but I have inherited many siblings, who I love and adore and would do anything for.

Moderator Will there be a love interest for Katelyn this season or next season?

B. Mitchell I donít know but that would be fun.

Moderator What was your most romantic moment or what has been your most romantic moment in your life?

B. Mitchell Well, itíd be a tossup between my engagement and my actual wedding, which our wedding was in Italy and couldnít have been more romantic, and we couldnít have been any goofier, which is perfect for us and speaks volumes for our relationship, which is we just are all about having fun and being silly and being goofy. But we got married in Italy, and we got married at this beautiful church. We walked through the streets of Italy, and we had music playing, and our guests were following us, and the locals were throwing flower petals and candy at us, and that was pretty magical and romantic and amazing and shared with all the people who we love so dear, which makes it even more romantic. Even though itís not just the two of us, it was kind of everyone, but being filled with and surrounded with so much love made it an extremely special moment.

Moderator What Secret Life couple are you most rooting for: Ben and Adrian, Ricky and Adrian, Ben and Amy?

B. Mitchell I think the couple that Iím most rooting for would be Ricky and Amy, just because theyíre so cute together. Theyíre so cute and obviously having a child together is awesome, and Iíd say them. But, thatís a really hard question because then now, Iím kind of like Ben and Adrian too because, obviously, theyíre having a child as well. So, thatís a tricky question.

Moderator The prior school counselor, Dr. Bink was really goofy but she never really won the kids over and befriended them. Will Katelyn become closer to the Secret Life gang, like more of a friend to them?

B. Mitchell I think thatís Katelynís goal is to become a friend but still do her job. So far, itís not necessarily always working out that way. Itís definitely fun because thereís a lot of looks on whether or not sheís a counselor or whether sheís a student, but she definitely gets through to them and starts to create relationships, which is nice. I wouldnít necessarily say sheís like their best friend though. That definitely hasnít happened yet, but who knows. Weíve got plenty of episodes left.

Also, be sure to tune-in on Mondays at 8/7c for all new episodes of Secret Life!

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