Actor Jillian Rose Reed grew up in Michigan, having attended St. Michael’s School in Livonia as well as Northville High School. Early on she had a yearning for the stage, and at the tender age of seven began performing at the Marquis Theater in her hometown of Northville. By the time she was twelve, Jillian had performed in a total of 27 musicals and plays. That led to a commercial for Ford Motor Company, at which point she realized that she wanted to pursue acting as a career.
Jillian later made her television debut, guest starring on Nickelodeon’s hit series, Zoey 101 and also made guest appearances on ABC’s The Middle and NBC’s Community. Eventually she landed her scene-stealing role on Showtime’s hit television series, Weeds, as Shane’s dark and rebellious friend, Simone. Now the rising star is set to take on a new role as the sassy and fun-loving best friend, Tamara, in MTV’s coming of age comedy, Awkward.
BMN: Would you say your first big break in show business was the work you did for Ford Motor Company?
JILLIAN: Yes, that was my first national commercial, when I was in the 7th grade. After that I started booking a lot of work in Detroit and Chicago and decided to move to LA to pursue film and television roles.
JILLIAN: I did so much at the Marquis Theater--about 27 plays! My favorite was playing Goldie Locks, in their version of Goldie Locks and the Three Bears (laughing).
BMN: Did you only perform at the Marquis or did you also attend their theater camps?
JILLIAN: Camps, plays, I did it all. I went to every type of camp they had. I loved it.
BMN: You’ve chosen a career in what can be a tough business, what advice do you have for other kids who want a career in the arts?
JILLIAN: The biggest thing is that there’s always going to be disappointment. You just have to power through it and know it’s not your fault. If you don’t get something, it’s not your fault; you just weren’t what they were looking for. Keep trying. There have been lots of roles I wanted, but didn’t get. You just have to keep going, stay strong, and don’t ever give up.
BMN: What’s the best advice about acting you were ever given?
JILLIAN: "You’re good, but you’re not that good." Meaning you’re great at what you do, but don’t ever stop learning. I’m still in class. There are so many talented people, the competition is tight. You have to keep learning, studying, and taking classes.
BMN: At what point did you move to LA?
JILLIAN: I started commuting when I was about twelve or thirteen. Then I booked my first big job on Weeds and decided I need to be here permanently.
BMN: How do you think growing up in Michigan has impacted you?
JILLIAN: It made me the person that I am today. I try to be very grounded in my roots and in my family. I get so much support from my hometown, and it really helps me to get through what I have to go through out here.
BMN: What do you miss most about Michigan now that your career has taken you elsewhere to live?
JILLIAN: Every year I REALLY miss the fall. The changing leaves, and the air, and everything about it. I love going to the cider mill.
BMN: What’s your favorite cider mill?
JILLIAN: Parmenter’s in downtown Northville.
BMN: Speaking of small businesses, what are your thoughts on Buy Michigan Now and the idea of shopping local businesses?
JILLIAN: I think it’s fantastic. Michigan really needs it. I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I just attended the Plymouth Art Fair when I was home. It’s amazing to see how many artists there are from Michigan. They are trying so hard. I bought some great things, and I was so happy to be supporting Michigan artists. I really think people should support organizations like yours and others like it.
BMN: Thanks, and congratulations on your new show, Awkward, when does it debut?
JILLIAN: It starts on July 19th at 11PM on MTV following Teen Mom.
BMN: What other projects are you working on that we can look forward to?
JILLIAN: I just shot an episode of Pair of Kings for Disney. I played an Indiana Jones type girl who solves everything. It was really fun.
BMN: Finally what Shout Out would you like to share with your friends and fans in Michigan?
JILLIAN: I just want to say thank you. It’s the most important thing I can say because I have endless support from family and friends, the people at the Marquis Theater, and Miss Harriet’s, my dance studio. I love them all so much. So thank you!
Photo: ©www.vincentsandoval.com/Photographer; Joanne Yoon/Hair; Satya Linak/ Makeup