With the new season of Shameless premiering soon, what can audiences expect from your character? And her role in the story? Summer is in full swing and the Gallagher family is up to their usual tricks. Fiona is working at a nightclub, the kids are running a daycare service for the neighborhood out of the living room, and Lip and Kev are selling pot off an ice cream truck. Fiona is nursing a bit of a broken heart after we see her decide to stay behind and not leave with Steve, so she’s definitely playing the field and acting out a bit. We see her moral compass a little altered and she’s actually acting a bit more like Frank, her father, than we’ve seen before.
What enables you to be so versatile with your roles? I try to find the key into every character, sometimes it’s the way they walk or talk, sometimes it’s tapping into something inside of myself that’s very personal and clues me into what the character is feeling.
How are you able to audition well? Through what mentality do you have to have in order to fully ‘become’ the character? I try to comb through the script and see what makes the character tick, how they think, and I try to bring that to the scenes, and always remain open and malleable to whatever the director has in mind is key, too.
Do auditions still make you feel nervous? Sometimes, auditions make me nervous, but not usually. I find it kind of fun to play with the casting director or hear what the director has in mind if it’s different from what my initial instinct had been.
You’ve always done movies, how does filming movies and television differ? Cable TV is more akin to film that sitcoms, so it was a comfortable medium for me to transition into for Shameless. This is my first TV show so it’s been really fun to watch the character develop and the writers keep coming up with different back stories and different story lines that challenge me every week.
Do you favor one over the other? It all depends on the character and Fiona is such a complex young woman. She is at once a mother-figure, lover, sister, care-taker. She’s fascinating and I love playing her.
You have an amazing voice, evident throughout your professional career and your childhood – are there plans for a new album or any new music? I hope so but music is such a personal thing so I want it be right and to reflect where I am when I do it again.
How would you describe your voice? Your style? It’s constantly evolving, and it’s fun to play with different styles. I was trained with a classical operatic approach and I love Judy Garland’s vibe, but I’ve also gotten the opportunity to sing with and learn from Dolly Parton. I’m a bit of a mutt.
Are there musical icons that you admire? Or even actors? Dolly, Barbara, Ella...so many different singers. I love Tilda Swinton (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). She keeps surprising me with her choices.
What would you say has been your greatest career-related feat so far? Well, I started so young and I loved it then, and I still love it now. I have a hunger to keep learning and growing, I guess I’d say my biggest ‘feat’ is not getting burned out, just the ability to keep standing up and keep going every time you get told: ‘No, you didn’t get that part that you have really wanted,’ to not let it get you discouraged, to keep wanting to grow and learn.
Are there any types of roles you’d like to take on? I love smaller character driven pieces.
Were there any prominent roles you’ve considered but turned down? Yes, but I’d be rude to the actresses who ended up in the roles to say which films! There have also been roles I got because other actresses passed on them and I was so happy that they did.
Tell us about being vegetarian for a time period. What made you stop? I learned I was allergic to gluten and I decided to add meat back into my diet so I wasn’t too restricted. My mom was macrobiotic for some time so I was raised for a time that way. I love red meat, though!
Being an enormous animal lover, tell us about the pets you own. I have a Yorkie named Cinnamon, a Chihuahua named Sugar, and a resume cat from Chicago named Fiona. They seem to coexist quite well, and they love when I cook roast chicken.
You are related to the famous Vera Wang. Does this, or has it, entitled you to any of the brand’s items? Because we all know how gorgeous those shoes are. She does send me some care packages and I feel pretty lucky. I love all of her stuff and hope one day she can make me a special dress for that special day.
Tell us about your ideal beauty treatment. What keeps you looking at your best? I love facials, they keep my skin clear, and I use a lot of products from Arcona (a natural skin line based in Santa Monica). I also try to sleep and drink water...and if I get a spot, I use Clinique Spot Treatment on it, and it magically goes away.
What about your nighttime routine? I use a Peptide moisturizer from Arcona and a spray of Caudalie Hydrating Mist. La Mer Eye Concentrate under the eyes. That’s my one indulgence product!
How do you stay fit and healthy? I eat well, I splurge when I really want to (at least once a week!) on a big meal, and I exercise every other day. I like Physique 57 classes, piloxing classes, spinning, and hiking.
With the holidays nearing, how are you planning to celebrate? I already have holiday music on my Pandora a week before Thanksgiving. I am going to visit my family on the east coast and maybe even pop by Joan Cusack’s house in Michigan as I’ve become a sort of a surrogate aunt to her two sons who are awesome! I’ve always wanted brothers and they make me laugh. I love her whole family.
What is the next goal you will strive for in 2012? I try not to make resolutions and just go with the flow.