“No one is ever out to repeat something that has been done before. You want to create anew and hope the audience is open to reception.” – Jessica Stroup
Actress Jessica Stroup has been working in the industry since 2005 and has graced both television and film screens with her feisty presence. Many recognize the sumptuous brunette from her lead role in the film The Hills Have Eyes 2 or from her five-year run on 90210. However, before all of that, the actress got her feet wet in the industry by appearing in a commercial for Target. “I actually filmed it the same day as my graduation ceremony in Charlotte, N.C. Luckily, all the stress and excitement of finishing school and moving out to California helped ease my nerves during the actual filming. I think, for my seventeen-year-old self, it signified that I was doing the thing I am supposed to do and helped smooth my transition from the South to Los Angeles.”
Jessica has been deemed a “scream queen” due to her involvement in four different horror films, a genre she loves. “Sometimes they are a fun escape, an excuse to cuddle up to your mate. Plus, the filming usually involves stunts of some sort and I love getting physical in a scene.” Although horror films seem to suit the actress, don’t be too quick to box her into one single category – she is currently starring on the Fox hit show The Following; “I play Max Hardy, Ryan Hardy’s (Kevin Bacon) niece. She is a NYC detective, able to provide intel when Ryan needs it. It’s a nice balance for Ryan, who needs family to confide in as well as a kickass partner.” Jessica calls starring opposite Kevin Bacon nothing short of ‘surreal.’ “I grew up loving him, so it’s terrifying and humbling at the same time. Thank goodness he’s the coolest!”
Having had a long run on the series 90210, Jessica seems most at home on television and expresses her happiness that many film actors are making the jump to the small screen, “I’m surprised it took this long. It’s incredible. [There are] so many great shows out there. It makes me proud to be on one that’s continuing on for a third season!” The actress stays mum on her upcoming projects, telling us “it’s a secret,” but keeps no secrets about her outlook on life – “be grateful for every day you get. Breathe it in.”
Jessica is currently starring in the hit television series The Following, and recently attended Comic Con to promote the show. Check out our Q&A with the actress below and pick up a copy of the “Legendary” Issue 7 for more or download the free “Legendary” Issue App on iTunes now!
The Untitled Magazine: How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
Jessica Stroup: The Osbrink Agency signed me just after I finished high school, having seen me at a convention in Hilton Head, SC. So, I headed out West to see what adventures I could find!
UM: Do you remember the first time you landed a role?
JS: I remember my first commercial; a short fifteen second spot for Target. I actually filmed it the same day as my graduation ceremony, in Charlotte, NC. Luckily, all the stress and excitement of finishing school and moving out to California helped ease my nerves during the actual filming. I think, for my seventeen year old self, it signified that I was doing the thing I am supposed to do: it helped smooth my transition from the South to Los Angeles.
UM: What was your breakthrough moment?
JS: The first season of 90210 was infinitely important, in my career and my growth as a person. It changed my life and opened my mind. Iʼm forever grateful for my time as Silver.
UM: Who is your favorite contemporary actress?
JS: Probably Kate Winslet. So classy. Beautiful to watch on screen.
UM: Who would you consider the most inspirational person in the film industry and why?
JS: My biased opinion throws honor on my buddy, Seth MacFarlane. Obviously, he is a comedy master, incredibly talented and progressive, but he also truly loves science and is sharing it with the world through his new series, “Cosmos.” There are tons of knowledge-hungry kids out there, who are about to be blasted with inspiration. It’s going to be epic!
UM: If you could collaborate with any director in the world who would it be and why?
JS: Spike Jonze. His work is like poetry. I like the way he views our world. There’s always a touch of magic as well, I’m a huge fan.
UM: Have you ever had a mentor for your career?
JS: Sarah Shyn, my manager. We have been together since the beginning and I couldnʼt have found a radder lady to help me traverse this crazy life.
UM: If you weren’t in television or film, what would you do?
JS: Be in the CIA.
UM: Youʼve appeared in numerous remakes of “legendary” films and series (90210, Prom Night, The Hills Have Eyes)—how did you learn to deal with the pressure of living up to the original?
JS: By not looking at them in comparison. No one is ever out to repeat something thatʼs been done before. You want to create anew, and hope the audience is open to reception.
UM: What was the most difficult performance in your career, and how did you handle it?
JS: I donʼt think I have had it yet. But, I recently read the finale episode of season two of The Following, and it might just be in there. Iʼll let you know how it goes.
UM: Do you have a motto or words of wisdom you live by?
JS: Be grateful for every day you get. Breathe it in.
UM: How would you describe your personal, off-camera style?
UM: Do you have a favorite designer?
JS: Chloé, Balmain, Hanes.
UM: What is it like working with Kevin Bacon on your new series, The Following?
JS: Surreal. I grew up loving him. Itʼs terrifying and humbling at the same time. Thank goodness heʼs the coolest.
UM: Can you tell us about your role on the show?
JS: I play Max Hardy, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon)ʼs niece. She is a NYC detective, able to provide intel when Ryan needs it. Itʼs a nice balance for Ryan, who needs family to confide in as well as a kick-ass partner.
UM: So many film actors are making the jump to television. What are your thoughts on this television renaissance?
JS: Iʼm surprised it took this long. Itʼs incredible. So many great shows out there. Makes me proud to be on one thatʼs continuing on for a third season!
UM: Youʼve made a few horror films (The Hills Have Eyes, Prom Night), and have a “scream queen” title. What attracts you to making horror films?
JS: Sometimes they are a fun escape. An excuse to cuddle up to your mate. Plus, the filming usually involves stunts of some sort, and I love getting physical in a scene.
UM: You earned a scholarship to the University of Georgia but turned it down to move to LA for acting—what were you going to study? Would you think about going back to school?
JS: It was a small one, and I was going to study Telecommunications with a minor in Psych. I am currently enrolled in classes through UCLA extension and I must say, itʼs fantastic how accessible learning is these days! The internet is such a great connector.
UM: This is our Legendary issue – what to you is the definition of “Legendary”?
JS: I think The Sandlot explained it best, “Heroes get remembered. But legends never die. Follow your heart kid, and youʼll never go wrong,” Said to Benny via The Great Bambino.
UM: Who (of the legends still living today) do you think is most special?
JS: Betty White is killing it.
UM: What are your current projects?
JS: The Following on Fox, Mondays 9pm.
UM: Upcoming projects we should look out for in 2015?
JS: Itʼs a secret.
Interview by The Untitled Magazine
Photography by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine
Fashion Editor: Indira Cesarine
Hair by Kristen Shaw
Makeup by Riku Campo @ Jed Root