Life has been a little bit Awkward for Lacey Hamilton this season on MTV's hit teen drama. After it was discovered Lacey wrote the "carefrontation" letter, husband Kevin left and things have been chilly with daughter Jenna. Then there's the old flame who recently made a new appearance at her best friend's wedding. This has made for a rough road for Lacey, but a great emotional arc for talented actress Nikki DeLoach.
BuddyTV was lucky enough to speak with DeLoach about writing the infamous letter to Jenna and what's next for Lacey in season two.
I love Awkward, so congratulations on the third season renewal! You got renewed for 20 episodes so the third season is going to be nearly twice as long right?
It is nearly twice as long! How incredible is that? I'm still on cloud nine! I just feel so blessed.
How did you find out that the show had been renewed?
Actually I'd got a text from Lauren Iungerich, the creator, and almost five minutes after that it hit Deadline. I was like "Oh my god it must be real!"
Wow Deadline is fast!
Oh I don't know how they do it, but Deadline is so fast, it's unbelievable. I feel like maybe Nikki Finke, her superhero power is being invisible so she can go to very office and very studio and every network and not be seen. She finds out everything before everyone else does.
I feel like that's probably true.
It is and it's an amazing power! I want her power.
So the shocking thing about the first season finale was finding out that Lacey wrote the letter. When did you find out that you were going to be the culprit for that?
I found out I was the culprit when I first auditioned for the show. Not even when I tested for the show, but when I first walked in to audition for Lauren. So I knew, even if I didn't get the job, I knew that Lacey wrote the letter. I just kept it a secret. I didn't tell anyone through the entire season.
It's so funny because Molly [Tarlov, who plays Sadie] especially kept trying all these different tricks to try and see if she could get it out of me. One time she even tried acting like Lauren had told her who wrote the letter. She was like "Oh my gosh, Lauren told me who wrote the letter!" and I was like "No she didn't." She was like "Yes, she did. I know, Lauren told me. I promise Nikki, she told me." I just did not believe her! I knew it was a trick because Molly is smart. So I just acted like I had no idea.
Were you the only one in the cast that knew?
I was the only one! I think there was literally just like a handful of people that knew, period. I don't even know if the rest of our writing staff knew or MTV. Because when we did our table read for that final episode and when we got the script, the last page of the script was not included.
Ashley Rickards, who plays Jenna, received that piece of paper either the night before or the morning of the day that we shot the last scene. And it was the last scene we shot for the entire season and no one could be on set. Except for me, I was the only one who could be on set because I was the only one who knew, everyone else had to be off the set. So the reveal was so real and it was so good. So yea, I kept the secret! I didn't tell anyone!
Did knowing you were the one that wrote the letter, did that change how you played Lacey as opposed to not knowing until the end?
Yes it did. I think this is why Lauren told me. The way that she had crafted season one she was going to take Lacey through this incredible arc, which was basically going through the stages of grief. From denial to acceptance, all the different stages she was taking Lacey through to the very end. So she wanted me to know this is what she was doing so that throughout the season I could really stick those emotions and those marks and bring to life exactly what Lauren wanted to portray with Lacey.
What do you think is Lacey's motivation for writing the letter. I feel like we've only gotten a little bit of it throughout the season but what is it from your perspective?
You will find that out in episode 10, which is the episode airing on August 30. You actually find out why Lacey did write that carefrontation letter.
Obviously Lacey's a bit stunted in adolescence because she had Jenna so young and she can be pretty immature. How do you go about taking a character like that and making her relatable and making her likable for the audience as opposed to just seeming like a terrible parent?
This was the most challenging but also the most fun I've ever had with a character. It just speaks to the genius that is Lauren Iungerich when she creates characters. The way that I went about Lacey and the way that I work as an actor is to really build a life for this person. So that everything that they do has an emotional reason to exist.
Lauren and I worked to craft it. You know Lacey's mother wasn't always there for her, she was very distant, she was a model and traveled all over the world. Lacey was kind of raised by her Nana and her Papa. So she's stunted in her own relationship with her mother. You see that in life, you'll notice that it's circular, those relationships. You can see one mother who didn't really have a good relationship with her mother and sometimes she has a hard time connecting with her own daughter because of it. So Lauren, and really both of us, wanted to create this amazing backstory for Lacey so that no matter where we took her, all of her choices were emotionally grounded and she felt really real.
In terms of making her likable, because yeah when I first got the lines for the audition Lauren said a lot of people were coming in and auditioning and they were just making Lacey seem like she was just this horrible person. Like she was a bitch, you know? I never saw her that way. I saw her as a person who had a great heart and had the best of intentions but because she had a kid at such a young age she really didn't' have time to grow up. And because she had a mother who wasn't always there for her, she doesn't understand what it means to have a good relationship with her own mother, so how can she kind of create that in her own life with her daughter? So she has the best of intentions but her follow through is just pretty weak. [laughs]
The Lacey backstory you shared is so interesting. Is there going to be maybe an episode where we'll see Jenna's grandmother?
Actually we're really hoping to do that in season three. We're really hoping to bring her into the picture and have a lot of fun. But also kind of explore the dynamic of Nana and Jenna's relationship. I know with my own parents, my Nana and I had a much different relationship than I did with my mother growing up, and I think that's true for a lot of kids. It's easier for a grandparent to come in and be the person that their kid loves and their kid adores. It's a lot different for the parent because they have to be the one there everyday to discipline and do things the kid might not like. So I think that would be very interesting and I hope we get to do that in season three.
Because of the fallout from the letter Lacey's done a lot of growing up this season. What's been your favorite part of her story arc so far?
My favorite part of her story arc, you're going to see it coming up in episode ten. I love episodes seven and eight, those were the last two wedding episodes that you just saw. And I also loved her story arc with Ben and I loved how Lauren really paralleled that with what was going on in Jenna's life.
It was a beautiful, beautiful story arc for both Lacey and Jenna. I loved how Lacey at the end of it, she made the right choice. She made the right choice for her daughter and she made the right choice for her marriage and she made the right choice for herself. We got to see her grow up a little bit.
But in episode 10, it just has such a place in my heart because I feel like there's so much redemption for Lacey in this episode and I really hope that the audience loves it as much as I do. It's so beautiful and Lauren crafted a gorgeous episode. I really think that finally people will be able to see Lacey in a completely different light.
Actually this season Lacey got in on the love triangle action, since Awkward is a big love triangle show. Are we going to see more of Ben? And what will be happening in the relationship between Lacey and Kevin for the rest of the season?
Well I don't think Lacey will ever stop fighting for her marriage. I think that she's always chosen Kevin, from high school on he has been the love of her life. So I don't think she will ever stop fighting for him, but now the ball is in his court and he has to be the one to decide whether he wants to step up to the plate and fight for his marriage.
As far as Ben's concerned, we're not going to see Ben anymore in season two. But me personally, Nikki, I would love to bring Kristoffer Polaha back! I think it would be so great. He's such a great actor and he's such a great person and dear friend of mine. Having him on the show was really a blast.
So the big Awkward question is obviously Team Jake or Team Matty. Where do your loyalties fall?
Throughout season one and even season two I never said who my loyalty rested with. I never wanted to make a choice. And then Molly Tarlov and I did a Ustream for MTV last Thursday night, and I don't know if I was in a vulnerable place or whatever but I told everyone what team I was on. [laughs] So now it's kind of out there, it's out in the open and I am Team Matty.
That last sequence with Jenna and Matty in the bedroom sitting on the bed, I screamed like a fifteen year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Seriously, how could you not root for these two people to be together? Also Lacey chose her Matty when she chose Kevin, so I think Lacey would want Jenna to go with her heart.
Awkward airs at 10:30pm on Thursday nights on MTV.
(Image courtesy of Elisabeth Caren)