Hi Shantel! How are you?
Hi! Wonderful. I’m actually sitting on my balcony in Puerto Rico, so I guess I can’t complain! We’re shooting an episode here, so I’m semi-at work, but not until Monday.
Awesome! When do you guys finish filming the season?
We finish up this coming Thursday, so we get to finish up in Puerto Rico.
That’s really cool. I’m jealous!
I know! It’s so cool. I can’t believe it. I woke up this morning, opened my curtains, and I was like, “This is my job. This is where I get to work this week. It’s not bad.”
Definitely not bad. Are you going back to North Carolina afterward?
We don’t know yet about a season 9, so as of right now, everything is kind of on hold in my life. There’s talk of season 9 and we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks. So I may be going back there. I’m kind of just going to be what I like to call a “squatter.” I’m just going to nomadically travel around and see friends that I haven’t been able to see. Just take a little bit of time off for the next three weeks until I know what’s going on.
Do you want a ninth season? What’s your take on it?
I would love to come back. I think it would be cool because I know especially for Sophia, Austin, James and Joy who have been on the show for longer than me, they all want to know that it’s the end, you know what I mean? They all want somebody to say, “OK, this is the final season.” We don’t really know what our network is going to do and if we’ll have another one. I think it would be great to give, especially the fans who have followed it for years, the right closure and finish off a series that’s been on forever the right way. So, I would love to come back. I would love to have a job. You know, who wouldn’t?
Definitely. Now, if it does end, do you think fans will be satisfied with the finale?
Yeah. You know what, Mark’s [Schwahn] pretty intelligent in that way. He actually wrote the last eight scripts. It’s unreal. So, the last eight scripts are all his and he directed two of them. He’s never going to leave his fans unhappy. The way he has it ending, it’s really, really cool. It isn’t like a loud and crazy episode. We all say it’s a quiet episode that resonates in your heart [with] the messages and the things that happen in our lives. It’s really cool. I was really happy with it. And the episode before the end, we’re in Puerto Rico, so we’re actually going back and shooting episode 21 right now. It’s kind of a crazy episode. It’s good. I think it’s a really strong ending. If it is the end, I think fans will definitely be pleased. I don’t think any of us were really expecting that they would come to us with a season 9. I think everybody was a little shocked. I think Mark already started on the finale, so it’s kind of just a blessing in disguise.
Yeah, One Tree Hill fans are pretty hardcore. You guys have been moved to different time slots and different nights, and you’re still pulling in ratings.
We have some of the most loyal followers. Last week, when I was shooting my very last day, I went out and there were at least 30 or 40 fans, people that traveled and took their Spring Break just to come to Wilmington. Wilmington is great to visit and I love the little town, but it’s not like a tropical vacation or where I would think that people would want to go. And they come just to meet us. It’s really humbling. I’ve never experienced fans before. We definitely have a huge, loyal fan base.
Yeah, I’ve been to Wilmington and it’s great. Unfortunately, you guys weren’t filming at the time.
Aw yeah, sometimes we’re on the lot and [fans] can’t get on the lot. But, the other day when all the fans were in town, Rob, well I call him “Buck,” but Buck showed up to set and these three girls had broken in and drove onto the lot. They had bombarded him at his trailer. He’s like, “Woah, Woah! How did you guys get in?” They’re like, “We’re from New York!” He’s like, “I don’t know what that means, but I guess you guys are real tough and got in.” So I think it’s cool. Nobody’s ever hostile toward us. They’re always incredibly sweet.
Wow. Now, the marriage topic has recently come up between Clay and Quinn. What’s going to happen with that? Do you think it’s too soon since she’s been divorced already?
It’s funny because sometimes I’ll meet fans who are like, “Are ya’ll going to get engaged?” There’s a part of me that….our relationship came from a friendship. And the friendship started from sharing a loss that we both had in our life. For him, his loss was losing his wife unexpectedly and mine was losing my relationship and getting a divorce. So, I don’t think that either one of us may be ready. We went through so much crazy stuff. I went through a divorce and then losing my mom then having crazy Katy come, twice, trying to kill me. I think that’s a lot to survive. When you survive something like being shot and even being attacked again, I think you know where your heart lives. And for Clay and Quinn, it’s with each other. It’s just a nice place to be. I find so many people who are in love and who are just so happy to be in love. It’s not like, “Oh my god. We have to hurry up and get married.” Or, “When are we going to take that next step?” That’s kind of where we find Clay and Quinn a lot this season is enjoying their jobs, living their lives and spending time with family. Just being happy to be alive.
OK, so I have to ask you about the “Darkness on the Edge of Town” episode this season. I thought it was one of the best episodes in a long time. I loved it. How hard was it filming those scenes?
That episode was incredibly intense. I did all of my own stunts because I’m crazy, athletic, work-out-all-the-time. I love doing my stunts and action stuff, so I worked alongside the people who coordinate all of it. Amanda and I came up with a stunt, all the fighting stuff that we felt really comfortable with and practiced it a lot, that way we didn’t have to use the doubles. They obviously used a double for the falling over the railing. But other than that, the adrenaline that you get from doing the actual scenes…and when she was pinning me down on the ground and I was kicking and screaming, she actually was pinning me. Obviously, she wasn’t really strangling me, but just that feeling is overwhelming. It’s something that…most of the times we have scenes that are emotional or crazy and you’ll mentally and emotionally prepare yourself….there’s no way you can with that. You just have to go with the emotions that you feel in those scenes and they’ll always be right. It was a blast. I felt like this season I got to really explore a little bit of everything, starting off the season with really heavy, emotional stuff, and then being truly happy that we survived, and then I went back to having to fight crazy Katy. Now, it’s just being happy and living, being with my sister as she goes through her pregnancy. And obviously, helping her eat everything cause every episode I’m eating something!
Speaking of eating, you’ve had to rock a bathing suit in several episodes. How do you stay so in shape?
I’m actually sitting here eating while we’re talking! It’s funny. Recently, I read a book called Eat Right 4 Your Type, so I’ve been following that for three months. I’ve noticed the largest changes in the whole world and I swear by it. It’s not really a diet for me because I don’t diet and I like to eat. It’s more of just something that has changed my life. I have more energy. I swear by it. Maybe it will work for some people, maybe it won’t, but I definitely love it. I also work out probably six to seven days a week, and I do Pilate and cardio on the Stairmaster. I’m obsessed with the Stairmaster. I lift weights. For me, working out…I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t work out because I want to be skinny. I work out because I feel better when I leave. I struggled with finding a balance in my life and for me, having an hour to myself in the gym every day makes me feel happier and healthier. Obviously, when I have to wear bathing suits on the show, my regiment’s a little bit stricter for probably the week or two before, but I’m not a big dieter. I just work out a lot. I’d rather have my ice cream and get on the Stairmaster. But I would definitely recommend for people to read the book and see if it helps them out because it’s just been life-changing for me.
Awesome. Now, I think for a lot of fans, it took a while for us to warm up to Quinn, but this past season we’ve totally been on her side. Do you find that to be true?
It’s funny. I feel that. I struggle because I take it personally. Obviously, it is a personal thing. Quinn is a character that the writers and myself have developed. And there was no way that I could ever change the way that we started last season where I came into the picture all of a sudden, crying all the time. It was a really emotional thing and it wasn’t something that we could really explore a whole lot of. So, I think it was a hard place for people to accept as I came in. I wasn’t bubbly and happy. You know? But, it gave me a purpose for moving back. It gave me a reason to restart my life and I’m grateful that I get to be happy Quinn, and to be the person I think she’s always been. We started off seeing her at a different place in her life. I also think that having Clay in her life kind of defines and allows her to be that way as well. My relationship with Rob is that he’s my best friend in my life, so when we get to work together, it’s the greatest thing in the whole world, hanging out with your best friend and doing what you love. I don’t know what else I could ask for.
What’s your relationship like with the rest of the cast?
Even this year, I’ve gotten to do things with Jana’s character, Alex. We’ve got to form a friendship and work together. And with Lisa’s character, Millie. Like at the wedding and stuff. Some of those things are so fun. We felt like we doing an episode of Sex and the City. The girls have been together a lot this year. It’s been fun to work with everybody and branch outside of just me and Rob. Obviously, I love Rob to death, but if all we ever saw was just us and our relationship, people would want to choke and die.
Haha! True. Did you know a lot about the show coming in or did you re-watch the episodes?
I actually did not own a TV in L.A. because I was never in L.A. I was always away working. I was never there. And I really couldn’t afford a TV, so I never had a TV to watch. I had seen a few episodes here and there, but wasn’t a religious fan of it. So, Rob and I being the newbies, got seasons 5 and 6 and sat down and watched. We needed to know everybody else’s story lines and what had happened and what we were coming into. We watched season 6 really closely and it definitely helped. It still helps because, at times, they’ll still reference stuff from the past and I’ll be able to understand the references just as if Haley had been telling me all these years.
How is your relationship with Joy? Did you guys bond quickly?
When I first joined the show, the first day before I started shooting, I met Rob and I met Joy. Rob and I instantly clicked because we’re both 5 years old on the inside and completely immature and joke around all the time. It’s funny. Joy and I, I feel like we’re already sisters. She just had her baby, Maria, and I’m going to cry when I talk about it, but I was one of the four people who was in the delivery room. I got to see her and help her deliver her baby. It was one of the most amazing miracles I’ve ever experienced. And it will forever bond her and I even further. So, if anybody asks if we’re friends, it’s more that she’s my sister. She’s amazing and she’s talented and she’s what I call a “Renaissance woman.” Now she has a little girl, she writes, she wrote a whole play, came up with the music for it….she’s so incredibly talented and I love being around her because it inspires me to want to do more, be more and have more goals because she’s so incredible.
That’s amazing! So, what would you like to do in the future, more movies or television?
I did movies before and I would love to do movies again. But I’m also not ruling out any TV opportunities or opportunities in general. I love acting. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I want to wait for the right thing to come along. I don’t want to just take the first job or the first thing that comes my way. I want to find something that I get excited and inspired doing.
Is there anything you want to say to the fans if you guys don’t come back?
I want to, first and foremost, thank them because without the fans, our show would never have lived this long and maybe would have never have lived [long enough] to give me the opportunity to be on the show. If it is the end…Mark’s never going to go away. I’m sure he’ll go and create another amazing show and I just hope that whatever endeavors we all go on, [the fans] can follow us as we go on those.
Great! Thanks so much for talking with me!