Check our exclusive interview with beautiful and talented actress Mollee Gray best known for her role as the fun, quirky, and lovable “Giggles” in Teen Beach Movie and its sequel Teen Beach 2, which premiered on The Disney Channel. The sequel follows the characters of ‘Wet Side Story’ as they are transported into the real world. Brady (Ross Lynch) and Mack’s (Maia Mitchell) lives collide once again with the infamous bikers and surfers.
The multi-talented Gray is perhaps best known for her success as a Top 8 Finalist and fan-favorite on So You Think You Can Dance season 6. Her dance background has helped her land spots as a guest performer on The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, and America’s Got Talent. She further showcased her talent on Glee, Big Time Rush, Shake It Up, Victorious, Drop Dead Diva, Austin & Ally and most recently Best Friends Whenever. Gray also made her mark on the big screen with her memorable role as “Sari” in No Strings Attached, opposite Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman.
Hi Mollee, please tell us a little about yourself.
Hello, my name is Mollee Gray! I grew up in Orem, a small town in Utah. I am a fun, outgoing girl who grew up in the entertainment industry!
How did you get into acting?
My mom put me in dance and gymnastics when I was 3 years old. When I started competitions solos, musical theater was always my favorite! After my mom saw my love for acting, she immediately enrolled me in any drama/theater courses there were!
Anyone in your family is also in the business?
My younger brother, Gage, is into modeling and acting! The ladies LOVE him!!!
Who is your biggest supporter?
I would have to say my whole family. They have been my rock throughout my whole career, keeping me humble, believing in me and most of all tough love!
Best advice ever given?
“No matter who tells you ‘no,’ if you believe in yourself, you can achieve your dream.” I still remind myself of this every single day.
What’s your favorite part about acting?
I think best part about acting is getting to portray such different characters than who you are on a day-to-day basis. I LOVE playing really dark, dramatic roles, because I am such a free-spirit, naturally!
How do you prepare for a role?
Depends on the role!!! A lot of the time, I pull from past experiences, or study friends/family that have similar characteristics to the character I’m playing and try to put my own touch on it.
Tell us about your experience in castings?
When I first started to audition, I was a nervous, basket case! I would get jittery and shaky. Now I get excited to meet new casting directors and show ones I have visited before my growth as an actor!
Now tell us about your character “Giggles” in “Teen Beach” and “Teen Beach 2”?
Giggles is a spunky, hip-shaking surfer girl that loves to dance and hang on the beach!
How did you got selected for the role?
I was actually filming another project for Disney Channel and casting saw me, approached me on set and asked me to come in and read for the character!
What’s one of the funniest things that have happened to you on set?
When I was filming my Lifetime movie, Double Daddy, the director and producers played a prank on me! For one of the scenes I was supposed to run into the school bathroom, and throw up. As I am doing the first take, I run in to the stall and they had put Snickers in the toilet to make it look like there was poop in it! I freaked out, thinking it was real, but then realized I just got pranked!
Do you have any great memories with your co-stars that you’d want to share?
With the cast of Teen Beach Movie, we were staying in this gorgeous hotel on a resort! Once a week they had karaoke night, and it just so happened that same day our choreographer, Chris Scott, was nominated for an Emmy! So, I put my name on the list, went on the stage congratulated Chris and then sang “Turn Down For What!” It was a really fun night!
Do you have a favorite actress or actor that inspires you?
How was working with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman in “No Strings Attached”?
Oh goodness, it was my first major acting role and I was alongside THE Ashton Kutcher. I had to take a moment to get past that before I started filming! Ashton made it really fun and easy-going on set! He’s super funny and a total goofball.
And now the dancing part, you have been in big name dancing tv shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Voice,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “America’s Got Talent,” and people just love you, please tell us about it? And which performance you found more challenging.
Being on those dance shows was honestly my greatest accomplishment, at that time. I had been dancing since I was a toddler and watching SYTYCD since season 1, so when I made it all the way to the Top 8, I was just in a dream land. I will be forever grateful for that show, it’s been a huge platform for my career! Since we had to learn a duet, sometimes two, in just a short few hours, then perform it in front of millions of people, I was forced to create such a strong discipline for myself in working hard and taking care of my body! I had just turned 18 so it was my first moment in the industry being alone and taking care of myself! I wouldn’t change that experience for the world.
What is your musical background?
My mom grew up in musical theater and was the lead in all her high school/town plays. She just loves to sing and has an incredible voice. She started voice lessons with me when I was a kid and then I further progressed to more coaches in Utah and then to California. I love to write songs and poetry, and I am constantly getting inspired by everyday life and experiences to jot down notes for a possible song!
Do you have any music influence?
Joss Stone. I’m obsessed with her!
Explain your sound in 3 words?
Where can we find your music?
I have two singles out on iTunes! “Wasted” and “You Don’t Know Anything” and I will be releasing more in the near future!
Are you working on any new songs?
I’m constantly writing and thinking about music. Right now, my acting career has taken over a bit, so I haven’t been in the studio but I plan to be in there very soon!
Which artists would you like to collaborate with?
Ah! If I collaborated with James Bay, I think I would die! He’s the greatest!
What is you favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
“Wanna Be” by the Spice Girls.
What’s your favorite show on TV right now?
I LOVE Empire. I aspire to be Cookie Lyons haha!
What’s a normal day in your life?
I wake up, lay in bed for a moment, check my emails and messages. After that, I get up, have some coffee and breakfast. If I don’t have to be on set that day, I’ll get errands done or do some cleaning around the house! When I have days off I really like to lounge around and try to catch up on rest, because work can be so demanding and at early hours!
When it comes to fashion, what’s your favorite trend?
Recently, I have been on the ‘thigh high boots with a big sweater’ trend! I think it’s sooo cute and you can dress it up or wear it casually!
Do you have any fashion inspirations?
Anna Wintour. She’s the epitome of fashion!
Top 3 designers?
What is your favorite healthy food?
Tuna and avocado
And your favorite cheat food?
Cheeseburger or pizza!
What do you do in your spare time?
Play with my dog Stewie, he’s the cutest!
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Wake up, get ready and go meet my mom and siblings for a nice brunch! Then we would take the kids to the park and have some mom and daughter time!
3 things you can’t live without?
1. My amazing family
2. My dog, Stewie
3. My dreams
Do you have any hobbies?
I love anything outdoors and adventurous! My best friend, Noelle, is always the person to text me with random adventures to go on and it’s my favorite thing to do!
Do you support any charity?
Of course! I am a huge advocate for DoSomething.org. They have the most amazing campaigns and they are truly unbelievable people. You can find them on Instagram: @dosomething
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In 5 years I see myself being successful in my craft, watching my siblings grow up and potentially buying my first house!
How important is Social Media for you?
Social Media is the most important thing in this generation. I use it as a tool for castings and bookings, but also to connect on a more personal level with my fans!
Where we can follow you?
Black & White Photos: Lee Gumms
Two floral images: Jino Abad