JustJaredJr.com caught up with the 22-year-old actress recently and chatted about Secret Life, making music and her budding friendship with Francia Raisa. Check it:
JJJ: How many episodes have you filmed this season so far?
MP: I just got the script last night for episode 13, so we’ve done 12 so far. We’re doing 24 total.
JJJ: What is the best thing you like about [your character] Grace?
MP: I think the reason that I like her so much and why I wanted to play her when I first read the script, is that she is positive. It puts you in a good mood everyday. Also, she’s a normal girl who just wants to do the best thing, the right thing for herself, her friends and her family. So many times when I audition, I go for these bratty teenage girls who are like “MOM GOSH!” So it was so refreshing to see a character who is just a good kid. This season, she’s going through some stuff but even when she’s going through all the drama, tension and tragedy, she’s still so much fun to play.
JJJ: Grace has worn some leather in the past season. Does wardrobe relate to the character’s personality?
MP: I haven’t worn leather pants yet, just a leather jacket. But yeah, we introduced the leather jacket and the edgier look last season. It was a decision made by the producers, wardrobe and me. I didn’t want Grace to have the typical “Christian” look, I wanted her to look just like a normal teenage girl. I have friends who are Christian teenagers and they wear black nail polish and leather, so they don’t necessarily have to wear the pink cardigans and the polos. She was also changing and growing when she started seeing Ricky and began to have that thing with him. I know I go through phases where I want to dress all preppy then all punk the next day.
(Click inside to read the rest of JJJ‘s exclusive interview with Megan Park…)
JJJ: Since being on The Secret Life, are you noticed on the streets more?
MP: Yeah! It’s kind of crazy. Before the show even came out, the whole cast went out to a movie theater in L.A., and of course nobody knew who we were. Then one of us said, ‘In a couple of weeks, we might not be able to go to the movie theater together as a group.’ Then, sure enough, after the pilot aired,I went to the mall with Shai (Shailene Woodley) and we couldn’t go to a single store. People would stop us everywhere. This is exactly what we were talking about! It’s gotten even crazier since then. I get it all the time but people are really nice and just want to say how much they love the show. I’ve never had a bad experience. We definitely try to avoid malls and movie theaters on weekends, because that’s like asking for craziness.
JJJ: How has Grace progressed since the third season opener?
MP: Grace is probably the character who has changed the most this season because it starts out with her losing her virginity and her dad dying. She goes through so much guilt with that, and she really struggles with whether or not she believes in God anymore after this happens. It’s a big deal for her because she’s so religious and she goes through some problems with her mom and with her boyfriend. She’s definitely struggling with growing up this year and reality, but then she kind of comes back to some things. She goes through a lot of circles of discovery this season with who she wants to be.
JJJ: In the first episode, Grace proclaims that she loves sex. Does she become a sex addict or does she shy away from that?
MP: She does not become a sex addict although she loves sex, she says it in the first episode. I can’t give away too much but she does not completely eliminate sex from her life. That’s as much as I can say without getting in trouble.
JJJ: If you could, would you do anything different with The Secret Life — like what couples should be put together or what minor character would become if they were a bigger character?
MP: I think Alice (Amy Rider) and Henry (Allen Evangelista) are hilarious so I always want to see more of them, I wish they were in every episode. I also love Jennifer Coolidge who plays Betty. I wish she was in every scene. It’s so hard to work with her because she makes me laugh all the time.
JJJ: Previously, you have said that you think Grace should be with Ricky. Do you still feel that way or do you want her to be with Jack?
MP: I think for right now it’s good that she isn’t with Ricky because it’s a lot to take on with him being a father. He’s still trying to figure that out as well. I just don’t think they should be together and that it’s good with Jack. But maybe in the future because they definitely have a good chemistry that’s unfolded even again in this season. I think her and Ricky maybe have more passion, but her and Jack have more life things in common. I don’t really know who’s going to end up together.
JJJ: It’s kind of the good girl-bad boy thing going on.
MP: Exactly! I feel like they want to be together but there are too many differences, and he’s going through obviously a lot of stuff so he’s messy right now. I don’t know! We’ll see.
JJJ: How do you channel all the passion in the intimate scenes, and what goes through your head when you’re filming?
MP: In terms of the passion, like the kissing, it’s so awkward! There are a million people watching you and you have to do it over and over again. It’s so not hot or fun at all. We’re all friends, we’re all family, so it’s not romantic for us, it’s a job. It’s fun and we laugh about it to make it not awkward. There’s a camera right in your face, and you have to say really intimate things. There are all of these crew people you know really well watching you and they’re like your parents. Really bizarre.
JJJ: What episode in the new season is your favorite so far?
MP: I think the third episode was pretty fun to make; it was also pretty hard to make too. It was the funeral episode for my dad. The funeral is kind of sad, but it’s also a celebration so it was fun to make at the same time. Everybody was there, the entire cast, so we got to film outside. It was a really fun bonding experience, but also really emotional.
JJJ: Are you close with The Secret Life cast?
MP: We are, we’ve been filming pretty much non-stop for like a year and a bit now, so we’ve gotten really close, I remember when I met Daren [Kagasoff], I had been cast as Grace already and there were three guys for Ricky. I met him in the casting room and I thought he was great. We really hit it off. I met Shai that day too — she was reading with characters for Ben, it’s so weird to look back and see Shai and Daren at the auditions because we didn’t know each other. We were all starring at each other in the room and now I know them so well. We’re like family because we’ve gone through so much together.
JJJ: How is the relationship between Adrian and Grace going to progress over the season?
MP: Adrian and Grace become really close actually, which is kind of weird because they’re kind of opposites but I think that’s why they become such good friends. They become really close and their friendship kind of evolves into this weird closeness thing. You see in the first episode where Adrian is like ‘Don’t do it, don’t have sex, you’re not ready!’ and Adrian is there for Grace through everything she goes through with her dad. He’s so supportive and they become really good friends this season. Francia and I also do this behind the scenes thing they’re going to post this season, which is like an advice column.
JJJ: When you first started working on Secret Life, did you think it would be this big?
MP: Usually when you get a pilot, you don’t even know if it’s going to air or get picked up. I got it and thought it was great. But we filmed the pilot and I got this feeling that it was going to do real well. Then after one episode aired, we got a Teen Choice Award nomination, and I was like ‘Whoa, this is crazy!’ I had just moved here from Canada and it was all a whirlwind, but I don’t think I ever though it was going to be as big as it is. It’s still kind of blows my mind actually when it’s on TV.
Check back soon for more of our interview with Megan!
TELL JJJ: Did you watch Secret Life last night? What did you think?