Ready for the return of the plastics to North Shore High School? Meaghan Martin certainly is. The actress, known for her roles in ABC Family’s 10 Things I Hate About You and Disney’s Camp Rock movies, stars in Mean Girls 2 — premiering Sunday, Jan. 23 on ABC Family — alongside Jennifer Stone (Wizards of Waverly Place), Maiara Walsh (Desperate Housewives), Nicole Gale Anderson (Make It or Break It), Claire Holt (H20: Just Add Water), Diego Boneta (Pretty Little Liars) and Tim Meadows (Glory Daze).

BuddyTV’s Carey Proctor and other members of the press had a chance to chat with Meaghan Martin about what it was like to work on the sequel to 2004’s hit Mean Girls, how her role differs from that of Lindsay Lohan’s in the first film, and how to deal with real-life high school bullies, among other things. See what Meaghan had to say.

How would you say your character, Jo, is different from Lindsay Lohan’s character in the original Mean Girls?
Meaghan: Jo is pretty different from Katie, Lindsay Lohan’s character, because Katie comes from Africa and had been home-schooled her whole life. It’s really her first experience, socializing with people her own age, whereas Jo has moved around the country a lot and has been to every high school and experienced every bad situation that high school can offer.  She knows what she’s doing. She knows her way around. She goes into North Shore High, determined to just get good grades, graduate and move on to college. 

Were you a fan of the first Mean Girls movie? 

Meaghan: Huge fan of the first movie. 

A hot topic, of course, today is bullying. Your movie actually does touch on that quite a bit. Have you ever been bullied? 

Meaghan: I think everybody has been bullied in their own way. Luckily, I’ve never had anything quite as severe as this movie demonstrates, but I definitely had girls backstabbing or lying or cheating or stealing or whatever, just little things — boy drama that’s caused by your friend and you liking the same guys, stuff like that, but luckily nothing extreme. 

What advice would you give to kids who are being bullied in the school?

Meaghan: My advice is to think about what situation your bully is in. Maybe it’s at home things aren’t going well, or at school things aren’t going well. You can’t judge anybody until you’ve taken the time to understand their situation. So, think about what’s making them bully you. Are they asking for attention? What are they saying? If that doesn’t help, then I definitely say go to a trusted parent, older sibling, teacher, anybody who you think could help you out. 

Do you have a hidden talent that you’d like to share with everybody? 

Meaghan: I am good at baking. I don’t know if that counts a talent, but I love to bake. Everybody says I’m good at it, so apparently I make the best, banana bread.   

How is your character’s style in Mean Girls 2 different from your own personal style? 

Meaghan: Jo’s style in Mean Girls 2 is very — it fits her personality perfectly. It’s very — ripped jeans, ripped tight, dark jeans and black vests and T-shirts with holes. She wears this one leather cuff the entire movie. I love it. It’s totally rocker. It’s sexy. It’s strong. It’s tough. It fits Jo perfectly. A lot of it I love, but I wouldn’t wear all together in my own life, in my own style because I’m far more feminine than Jo is, especially in the way that I dress. I would say that I have more of a classic, feminine style.

Where are some of your favorite places to shop? 

Meaghan: Some of my favorite places to shop are Anthropologie. I am a huge fan of Anthropologie. I love Urban Outfitters, the same company. I love Nordstrom. I love vintage stores. I love to go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in L.A., in Pasadena, and just pick up some old, vintage jewelry and stuff. So, that’s definitely my style.   

I understand that filming in the schedule was at a breakneck speed for you all. What was it like to record the entire film within 20 days? 

Meaghan: Twenty days is not very realistic for making a movie. So, when I first found out we were making it that quickly, I was incredibly nervous. I had worked with Melanie Mayron, our director, before. She’s wonderful. I knew a lot of the cast. I knew that all of them were experienced and professional and great. So, I was nervous, but at the same time, I felt like everything could work out. We all just buckled down and gave it our all and worked hard and were exhausted every night, but it’s what we love to do. We’re lucky to be doing it.   

How did you get started in acting, in general.  Has it been something you always wanted to do, or is it a recent development?   

Meaghan: I started acting when I was 5. So, I’ve been doing this for almost 14 years. I started dancing. I always loved to be a ham and be at the center of attention, always in everybody’s faces. So, it’s really in my blood, I would say, but then, the older I got, the more I realized that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life and that this is what makes me happy. So, I buckled down to just pursuing acting instead of taking on music or putting out an album or anything like that. I decided to focus on just acting.   

Have you a favorite scene from the movie, one that you’re most looking forward to people seeing?

Meaghan: The scene that I am most looking forward to people seeing would probably be the scenes where you see Abby, Jennifer Stone’s character, and my character, Jo, developing their friendship. There was a scene that we shot in the bathroom of the school where she’s helping me out. We’re discovering that our friendship is a good thing because my character, Jo, has never had any friends. She’s never opened up to people and taken down that wall, her defense mechanism. She does with Abby. It’s exciting. A lot of people will enjoy watching her do that and become friends with the awesome Jennifer Stone.   

Can you explain to me a little bit about the flag football scene in the movie?   

Meaghan: Oh, the football scene — the infamous football scene. We play a game of powder puff football. The anti-plastics challenge the plastics. It was shot over a two-day period, our last two days of filming. Spending two days filming something when you only have 20 days to film the entire thing obviously means it’s a big portion of the film. It was hot; it was intense. I am not incredibly athletic. So, I was a little bit nervous about it, but we did it. We played a full-on football game pretty much. We were throwing; we were running; we were attacking; we were tackling. I got to do a tackling stunt, which was awesome. It was so much fun. I tackled Maiara Walsh, as Mandi. So, I’m very nervous and very excited to watch it and see how it turns out. Hopefully, I don’t make too big of a fool out of myself. 

What was it like working with returning character, Tim Meadows as the principal? 

Meaghan: It was incredible to work with Tim Meadows. We were actually in the midst of filming when I found out that he was hired to come back as Principal Duvall [from the first Mean Girls]. There had been talk about it, but we weren’t sure it was going to happen. I flipped. I was so excited because he’s so talented. I have so much respect for him. I’ve watched him on SNL forever. I always thought he was funny, loved his character, Ladies Man. It was great to play opposite of him, to sit in the room with him and just work and improvise and have fun. It was an honor. I enjoyed it. 

What was your favorite part about filming the movie?  

Meaghan: There were a lot of great things. It was such an awesome experience to play this character, like I said, so different from any character I’ve ever played, especially working again with Melanie Mayron whom I adore. I also loved being in Atlanta. It’s a neat city. I had a lot of fun. I loved working with great people who I had already grown to love before filming.  

You and Maiara Walsh seem to have such a good chemistry on screen. Did you guys have any type of hijinks behind the scenes, pranks or anything while the cameras were turned off that you guys could talk about?

Meaghan: Yes, there’s definitely a lot of pranks. Maiara and I … we are the least pranksters. Probably, the person who was the prankster was Claire Holt. She’s funny. She has so much energy. She’s definitely filled with zest. Whenever one of us would fall asleep on set — I guess Maiara was always there, too — to disrupt the poor sleeping victim, which was oftentimes Jennifer Stone. We would wake her up in her sleep. I feel pretty terrible saying it, but we all did it to each other. So, it was equal.   

What would you say about your relationship with Diego Boneta in the movie?   

Meaghan: He is a great guy. I’ve known him for almost three years now. So, it’s great to get this movie and be working with him and be working — it’s always a lot easier to play a love interest with somebody that you know and you’re comfortable with rather than meeting somebody and being, “Hey, I’m going to have to make out with you, so hope you don’t mind.”  The day Diego booked the movie was the day before I left for Atlanta. It was a lot of fun. It was a good experience.

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)

Jen Harper

Editor, BuddyTV