:: Watch Awkward on Monday’s at 9pm EST/PST on MTV ::
Raised in Northville, Michigan, Jillian Rose Reed was bitten by the acting bug at age seven. She began acting in children’s theater, first starring as Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. By the time she was twelve, she had performed in a total of 27 musicals and plays in her home state of Michigan. Reed later stepped outside of the theater to do commercial work. After shooting an ad for Ford Motor Company, she realized she wanted to pursue acting as a career and made the move to California. Reed acted in California while continuing to travel back and forth to Michigan.
She is best known for playing the sassy and fun-loving Tamara on MTV’s #1 scripted and critically- acclaimed series, Awkward. Reed’s character stands out with her delivery of witty one-liners. She and the series have been praised by critics and fans alike. Reed was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series and was also named one of Buddy TV’s Best Summer Performances. The series along with the cast was recently nominated for Bingeworthy Television Show at the Young Hollywood Awards, where she was also a presenter. Awkward is also a three-time People’s Choice Award nominee, securing nods for both Favorite Dramedy and Favorite Cable TV Comedy, which they won in 2013. The show has been recognized with other accolades including the TV Guide’s Hot List. It has also been featured on numerous “Best of” TV Lists including: Variety, USA Today, Huffington Post, New York Times, and Time, to just name a few. The show is returning for its highly-anticipated fifth season August 31st.
Though Reed is best known for her role on Awkward., she has made numerous memorable appearances on the small screen. Reed had a recurring role on Showtime’s hit television series Weeds as Shane’s dark and rebellious friend, Simone. She has also been seen on popular shows including ABC’s The Middle, NBC’s Community, HBO’s Hung, and most recently Disney’s Jessie. These roles have allowed Reed to perfect her comedic chops. She further expanded her repertoire with a large guest role in the Jack Black-helmed web comedy series Ghost Ghirls, as well as a lead in a Funny or Die short with Kurtwood Smith of That 70’s Show, where she showed off her dark comedic talents. Reed has also been generating a lot of buzz with national guest appearances on E! Fashion Police, The Soup, Hello Ross, On With Mario Lopez, and The Arsenio Hall Show.
Not only has Reed made a name for herself on the small screen, but she has also been venturing into the world of film. She can next be seen in the upcoming indie Confessions of a Womanizer, alongside Andrew Lawrence and Gary Busey. Reed plays Megan, described as a sweet and cute young woman Ritchie (Lawrence) meets at a diner, and is deemed Ritchie’s first real relationship. She was recently nominated in the Best Actress category at the Laugh or Die Comedy Fest for her role in the film, which is currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit.
Outside of acting, one of Reed’s biggest passions is giving back. She is a passionate spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association Los Angeles Chapter and was recently named to the Celebrity Cabinet for the national organization. She also serves as the official celebrity spokesperson and producer of Breaking The Chains, a global non-profit artistic-based charity that aims to provide awareness, understanding and support for those affected by eating disorders. The nonprofit personally hits home for her as her older brother lives with Type 1 Diabetes.
Reed resides in Burbank, CA and in her spare time enjoys reading, hiking, listening to music, shopping at vintage stores, going out to eat, exploring new places with her friends. Jillian is the older sister to actor Robbie Tucker.
Hi Jillian please tell us a little about you?
Well, I’m 23 years old! I’ve been acting since I was very young. Also, I have a cat who I’m completely obsessed with!
How did you get started acting?
I started in musical theater when I was about seven. By the time I was 12 I had done over 20 children’s productions, so my love of acting really grew from there.
Did your family support your decision to become an actress?
Absolutely! My family has always been my biggest support system. When I decided to take my career further, they had no doubt in their minds that I could do it!
How do you prepare for a role?
I usually start by reading the full script, and then start getting into my character work. I like to sit with an acting coach and really develop my character as a whole. That’s what my coach, Cynthia Bain, and I did for Tamara!
Tell us about your role as Tamara in Awkward.?
Tamara is the fun loving, sassy best friend that everyone wants to have. She’s extremely expressive and always speaks her mind. Playing her has been so fun.
Do you have anything in common with your character?
Definitely! We’re both very outgoing and can be a bit sassy. There’s definitely parts of myself and people who are close to me in Tamara.
Can you share something funny that’s happened while filming the show?
Oh gosh, over the last five years there’s been a lot! I think my favorite story still dates back to Season one. Brett and Beau used to lock me inside of my trailer from the outside… I had no idea. I would call people on set and ask them to come get me because I thought my door was stuck! I didn’t find out for an entire year.
How did you cast for the role?
I was added to the cast pretty late in the game. Our casting directors saw me in a small role on Community and thought I would be a good fit for Tamara. I came in and read for them…two days later the part was mine!
What’s your favorite part working on Awkward?
Honestly, it’s been the cast and crew. We got really really lucky to have such an awesome group of people and we truly are a family.
Who is your best friend on the set?
I could never pick just one, but I will say Molly Tarlov has been one of my closest friends since day one. We’ve all grown to be so close, we all spend most of our free time together anyway. We’re all best friends.
What role would you love to play that you haven’t yet?
Being on Awkward. for the last five years, I haven’t really gotten to play many characters who are true to my age. I would love to take on a more adult role, and I would love to do a romantic comedy!
If you could choose, what three actors would you really want to work with?
Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, and Jennifer Aniston! I love funny people!
Where do you see yourself in a few years?
Hopefully still doing what I love to do! I would love to be on a long-lasting sitcom. I also see myself owning a dog…I really want a dog.
Any exciting news you want to share with us?
Right now, I’m starting to do some behind the scenes work! So, definitely be on the look out for anything new I’m producing or writing!
What advice would you give to those who want to be in this business?
Learn everything you can, and be persistent! This is a really hard business, and it’s not cut out for those who aren’t willing to stick with it forever.
We know you like fashion, who are your favorite designers?
I’ve been following Zac Posen for a few years now, I’m obsessed with his designs. I hope to wear him on the carpet someday!
How do you describe your style?
A little bit girly, a little bit edgy. I like to pair cute dresses with combat boots or sneakers!
What are the 3 things you can’t live without?
Chapstick, my mophie, and my family!
How’s your typical day?
When I’m working, I usually wake up pretty early, make some tea, and head to set. Once I get there I head straight into hair and makeup and get our work day started! We typically work about 12 -14 hours a day. When I get home, it’s dinner and bed for me!
What kind of music do you like? And don’t like?
I like almost anything, but I’m not super big into Country. My favorite kind of music is acoustic singer/songwriter stuff like John Mayer.
Do you have any hobbies?
Yeah! I enjoy exercising, especially when I’m not working and have some free time on my hands. I also enjoy dance, scrap booking, and baking.
If you had a time machine what year would you go back to and why?
I would probably go back to the 70’s. I would love to see what life was like when my parents were high school age!
How important is Social Media for you?
I feel social media is extremely important. It’s a great way to stay out there and relevant for my career, but more importantly it’s a way to engage with fans. I think it’s so great that we have a way to communicate directly with our fans and involve them in our every day!
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “It’s just as important to be pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.” — my mom
Travel destination: Maui
Restaurant: Aroma Coffee and Tea in L.A.
Movie: The Holiday
Sports Team: Detroit Tigers
Song: “Talking Body” by Tove Lo
Photo Credit: Deidhra Fahey