Jillian Rose Reed laughs when she tells the story of her journey from Northville, Michigan to Hollywood.
"There were a lot of family discussions," Reed said. She paused for a beat before she confessed, "And there was a lot of begging."
The begging eventually worked, and the young star - best known for her work on the hit MTV show Awkward
- was allowed to venture west in pursuit of her dreams. To hear Reed tell it, it was only a matter of time.
Awkward is available on Amazon Prime.
"Acting was always pretty much my thing growing up. I started in musical theater when I was very, very young. By the time I was 12, I had starred in 27 musicals."
Some local voice-over and commercial work soon followed. Then came the move to southern California, where the first major role she'd land was one that would give any parent pause -- especially parents who were already on the fence, as Reed's were. She appeared in seven episodes of the smash Showtime comedy Weeds
-- one of the most risque shows on television --- as a gothic teenager named Simone. Indeed, not ten seconds after she first appeared on screen in Weeds
, Reed lifted up her top to reveal a the name of one of the show's male characters written on her stomach. It was a not-so-subtle indication that Reed was about to take on roles that were a far cry from the roles of her youth - like her turn as Charlotte in Charlotte's Web
"Before I had even been told I'd gotten the part, my agent and manager had a talk with my parents about it. They said, basically 'This is the character they want her to play. This is what they want her to be doing in it.' But I really wanted to do it."
Afterwards, there were no regrets.
"I had the time of my life. I got to meet the most interesting people. I got to work with Mary Louise Parker. I can't even tell you how much I learned working with her. It was amazing. And the character was so much fun to play. She was so edgy, and dark. Overall, it was a very good learning experience for me."
Reed followed up her stint on Weeds
with well-received turns in Community
and The Middle
. Of late, though, she has found a home at MTV. She is anxious to return to the set of Awkward
, which will soon begin production of its second season. She chuckles when thinking back to last season's conclusion, which saw her character, Tamara, finally come together with Matthew Fahey's Ricky.
"Though the first season, you have to follow what I call the 'Love Roller Coaster' between Tamara and Ricky. It was really exciting for me that they ended up together. Matt Fahey is one of my really good friends. So getting to have fun with that storyline was really awesome. I'm really excited to start shooting season two because there's a lot that goes on with our characters that I'm excited to explore."
The mischievous emphasis that Reed places on that last word would seem to make her a perfect fit for her latest role. Tomorrow night, she'll appear in the third and final installment of MTV's signature horror franchise -- My Super Psycho Sweet 16
. Reed promises fans of the series that its denouement will not leave them disappointed.
"The third movie has a lot in common with the first two. It's very dark, but it's also fun. It's got that little bit of comedy, which I really love. For me, just watching the first two, I found myself very creeped out. I literally sat there and watched the first one through my fingers."
It isn't always easy being the new kid, but Reed credits the movie's cast and crew - led by star Lauren McKnight and director Jacob Gentry - for immediately making her feel like part of the team.
"They were like a little family already. But they were so welcoming. We had a week and a half of rehearsals before we started shooting. So I got to know everyone, and they took to me right away."
It is hardly shocking that people would take to Jillian Rose Reed. A striking redhead, Reed's bubbly demeanor immediately comes across in conversation. She's the type that seems like she can chat up a brick wall. According to Reed, her character in My Super Psycho Sweet 16
is very much like her in that respect.
"My character Sienna is very outgoing. She's always spontaneous, and down to have a lot of fun. I'm like her in a lot of ways. I'll say something like 'Oh. That seems like so much fun. Let's just go and do it.' So we definitely have that in common."
A quick check of Reed's twitter account -- which includes a picture of her hiking up a mountain -- would seem to affirm this self-description. Ever steeper than the rock that she scaled in that picture is the climb to Hollywood stardom. But given her versatility and charisma, one would be foolish to bet against her reaching the summit.