words / Tiffany Diane Tso
photo / Angelo Kritikos
stylist / Wilford Lenov
hair and make up / Nicole Chew @ Celestine Agency
I call shenanigans if you don’t secretly relate with dramastic and spaz-hole character Tamara, played by the effervescent Jillian Rose Reed. Her incredible grasp on the English language in the 21st century paired with her fiery red hair makes sassy BFF Tamara of MTV’s Awkward the caricature of who you wish you were in high school. The campy teen comedy as well as her breakout role as Simone in Weeds has solidified Reed’s place in television comedy.
Though her convincing portrayal of the over-dramatic, loudmouthed Tamara is a hard impression to shake, the 22-year-old actress is actually incredibly down-to-earth IRL. Ladygunn was able to catch her on I.M. and get the juicy gossip. With the series going into its fifth and final season, Reed shares what she has been up to lately on and off camera, from trying her hand at producing to philanthropic work.
Have you been filming anything cool lately?
Jillian Rose Reed: I actually haven’t been in front of the camera since Awkward went on hiatus. I decided to try something new and do some behind-the-scenes stuff. I’ve been writing and producing!
Can we look forward to seeing any of this released soon?
We’re still in the beginning stages, which means a ton of work on my part. I’m producing and also will be starring in the screenplay called “Chained and Bound” with my co-star Nikki DeLoach. It’s a dramatic film, extremely different than anything you’ve seen us do in Awkward. Right now we’re going through rewrites on our current draft. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally fun.
How do you feel about Awkward coming to an end?
I’m not going to lie; I’m heartbroken. Awkward has been such an amazing journey for me. I’ve learned so much about myself, about acting, and I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime. I’m staying positive though. I’m ready for what the future holds, but Awkward will always be in my heart.
I bet you get recognized as Tamara all the time. Do fans come up to you with Tamara-isms often?
They do! I get asked to say them sometimes. Either that, or they ask me to tell Beau that they think he’s hot.
What has been your most challenging role so far?
In the movie I’m currently producing, I play a girl who is emotionally troubled and suffers from an eating disorder. This will be my first big dramatic role, which means I’m stepping away from what I’m used to doing. It’s totally scary, but I’m ready. Out of the roles you have seen, I’d say Weeds was challenging. I had to keep reminding myself not to smile.
I wanted to ask about your philanthropic work with Breaking The Chains, a global campaign to raise awareness about eating disorders. Is this something you relate with personally?
Kind of. I’ve never experienced an eating disorder, but I have been close with people who have. Not only that, but I fully understand the pressures that come along with being in the entertainment industry and thinking you have to look a certain way.
That’s great that you can stay so down to earth. Do you have any advice for young actors out there trying to “make it?”
My advice is only to do it if you can’t do anything else. If you can’t name anything else in your life that would make you happy, then go for it. Because it’s one of the most challenging things you could ever do. And then once you’ve decided you HAVE to do this, you’re not allowed to give up.
What are your ultimate goals as an actress?
To make money doing what I love for the rest of my life. Of course, I would love to win an Emmy, but if I don’t, I just hope I can always be working. I wouldn’t mind a 10-year sitcom like Friends.