Amy Rider has played the role of Alice Valko on The Secret Life of the American Teenager
for three seasons now. Fans have come to love the way in which she sarcastically dispenses soundly researched advice in an effort to help out Ben through his many problems.
Fans will soon get the chance to see Amy in a different context as the creator and star of the upcoming web series The Monogamy Experiment
. The show follows Amy in a documentary-style comedy as she, along with her fiance, undergoes a 30-day trial period of dating other people before they get married. BuddyTV recently got to speak with the enchanting Ms. Rider about her new project, the future of Alice and even a bit of internet curiosity in which she's involved.
Alice and Henry are undoubtedly important characters in Ben's life and to fans of the show, but do you ever wish that their relationship would be allowed to take on greater depth?
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I think that's exactly what's going to happen in upcoming episodes. Without saying too much, I think viewers will get to see Alice and Henry exploring their relationship in a radically different way. I'm kinda psyched about that addition of dimension.
Do you see similarities between your own experiences growing up and going to high school with those of the characters on the show?
I would say gossip is a huge part of high school and I see it mirrored and echoed in Secret Life
a lot. Also a lot of the characters in Secret Life
are so archetypal that I feel like I knew someone a little like each of them in school. I think that's part of what makes Secret Life
such a fun show. The writers do a great job of keeping all the characters from blending together, which has a tendency to happen in shows with large ensemble casts.
Some fans of you on Secret Life might not be aware that you are a very avid screenwriter, what inspires you to write?
The few times that I've experienced a lull in my desire to write, usually internal jealousy is enough to propel back to work... I'll see a great project and wonder, "Why aren't I writing something fun!?"
How long have you been working on the concept of The Monogamy Experiment?
I got inspired and wrote the treatment in a day... but since we were only shooting on weekends I had time to mull the project over in my head and get new ideas. I would say we've been working on it for about 6 months altogether...
Was it your first opportunity to direct?
Yes, I've directed school plays but that's probably it. I guess I popped my director cherry... It was awesome!
Do you feel like the concept and content of The Monogamy Experiment is a departure from your work on the Secret Life? Was this a conscious decision to try to creatively express yourself to a different audience?
It was entirely unconscious! I probably should have thought about all these great points you're bringing up. That would have been smart. Where were you when I was writing!? You know I made this because I really did just want to create something with my friends and have fun. I decided that's what I wanted to do, so I called a couple friends and immediately started shooting. It was a very organic process. And yes, I suppose it ended up being a departure of sorts...yet the subject matter is still similar in that it does touch a lot on human sexuality. More specifically the subject of whether or not we are biologically monogamous.
What are your own feelings about the concept of monogamy?
I would love to believe that it works. Honestly, my feelings about it are convoluted because of things I've seen growing up. That's part of why this idea came to me...I'm extremely intrigued by whether or not we are biologically monogamous or not...if you remove all the social influences, beliefs, nature and nurture -- all that.
I have friends and other people who are very close to me who seem to be totally fine with having an open relationship with their significant other. Personally, that kind of lifestyle would probably put me in the looney bin, but it also makes me think...how are they doing that? Animals, I believe, are either biologically monogamous or not...I think we may be the only species that is so all over the place.
What is it like to be able to work on a project with so many of your close friends?
Awesome, you get to call each other names on set! And believe me -- we do! Allen Evangelista and I love to abuse each other. And Camille Winbush is always right there, as is Renee Olstead. We had a lot of fun. I think we all have a relationship built on mutual disrespect...it's fantastic! All of my other friends crack me up too, they have wicked senses of humor. It was cool shooting together on another project! Everyone on the set was just good fun to be around.
You play yourself in your new show, will people notice any similarities between you and the character they've grown to know you as on Secret Life?
I probably exhibit some dry humor and make-it-happen qualities that Alice has. I think that Alice has a lot of great leadership qualities about her...they are just very violently expressed!
Do you feel like Ben and Adrian might have been able to avoid some of their current heartache by undergoing a Monogamy Experiment period of their own prior to rushing into their marriage?
Oh my god! That would have been hilarious! What I wouldn't give to have seen that! Although I don't know how that would have panned out...my guess is they may have ended up in the same place they are now. But that's an awesome idea!
Finally, while researching for this interview, I noticed an inordinate amount of fans frustrated with their inability to find out your birth date. Now I am a consummate professional and a gentleman so I would never ask, but were you aware of this outcry?
Are you serious!? I had no idea! I'm a taurus! Born on May 8th! Watch out for the bull!
Be sure to seek out The Monogamy Experiment
Casey CasteelContributing Writer
(Image courtesy of Amy Rider)