Last week in my Hart of Dixie review I made a comment about how someone must have let Magnolia out of her cell because suddenly she was back on the show and ready to accompany Lemon and George as they eloped. Well, color me surprised when I found out that her publicist read that article and emailed us at Small Screen Scoop! My snark actually worked in my favor because I just spent some time on the phone with the actress who plays Magnolia, Claudia Lee.
I’ll admit, I was a little nervous because when you are going to get one the phone with a teenager, you just never know what you are going to get. I’ve seen the MTV shows… But Lee was mature and well spoken and a delight. Had it not been for a birthday party I had to go to, I would have wanted to keep talking.
We did talk for quite some time, so here are the highlights. The first part was asked purely for the delight of myself and the fabulous editor of Small Screen Scoop, Jessica Rae because we may have a slight obsession with a certain actor….
Melissa Miller: What was it like to work with [Zachary Levi] on the Comcast commercial?
Claudia Lee: It was so fun! I have to be really honest with you. He is the sweetest guy ever. He is so much fun. And it was a five day shoot for a commercial which was kind of weird because we were on different locations. We were in Malibu and we were filming in these really beautiful houses and mansions. And it was just really fun spending those five days with him because he was such a sweet guy. I really got to see his humble side, and I met his family. He was a lot of fun. And when I was on set just recently, when they were done filming Chuck I saw him and I was like “I don’t know if you remember me but I did a Comcast commercial with you.” and he was like “Claudia? No way!” He just, like, remembered me. He was the sweetest person ever.
MM: Oh. That’s so awesome. I love to hear things like that.
CL: I’m really excited for him because I heard he had a new project going on. [Let it Go on Fox] I think he is really awesome. And I’m so happy for him.
So there you have it. Zachary Levi: officially awesome. As if we needed further proof. Buuut this interview wasn’t about Zachary Levi, it is about the lovely Claudia Lee. So, of course, I had to ask her about Magnolia Breeland, the younger sister of Lemon (Jamie King) on Hart of Dixie. And about how Magnolia seems to go missing for weeks at a time.
MM: What is coming up for Magnolia on Hart of Dixie? I miss her when she is gone. I wonder where she goes.
CL: Oh, I’m glad you miss her! That’s so good. Well, what’s coming up for Magnolia, I think, is a lot that people get to see her mature side, and almost more of her… moments where she is trying to find herself. And she has those moments where she kind of gets in trouble with certain things, like she always does. She always pulls some sort of conniving little thing and that’s what gets her in trouble. So I’m really excited for people to see that in the upcoming episode this Monday.
MM: Awesome. Can’t wait. Are you going to be in more past that, or do you not know yet?
CL: Yes! I am! Which I’m really excited about because I think people haven’t seen Magnolia in awhile and they’re going to see a lot more of her.
MM: Oh good. That’s sort of where this started, that your publicist saw where I said they must have let Magnolia out of her cell.
CL: Yes! That was awesome. I was totally rooting for that. I read that and it totally made me laugh. And I said “I agree!”
MM: I was like, “Where did she go?” Because I think what bothered me, in the Valentine’s Day episode, you should have been in that when it was really about things with Brick.
CL: I totally agree with you. I think what they were trying to focus on the adults, which was something that I believe they should have had kids in that too. I think it would have been a cool angle to see the sort of battle between Rose and Magnolia fighting over Frederick Dean more. But, I still love the Valentine’s one. It was really beautiful with Brick.
MM: It was. Is there going to be more with Rose? I kind of like the Magnolia/Lemon/Zoe/Rose bit. The four of them have a very interesting dynamic, is there going to be more of that?
CL: Yes, oh, of course! I don’t think anytime soon that rivalry will settle up. It’s always going to happen. It’s always going to be there. I think it’s a really cool storyline because you see Lemon influencing Magnolia and you see Zoe influencing Rose, which is something that is really interesting. I think that it’s a fun storyline because Rose and Magnolia have their moments and their differences and they argue over different things. But watching their, I would say, their older sisters. Well, Rose and Zoe aren’t really sisters, but they have a sisterly relationship, I would say.
CL: But I think it’s really cool. I love that about the storyline.
MM: Yes, I love that too. Especially in the episode with the, um, pageant.
CL: Yes, that was so funny.
MM: Yeah, especially how they rebelled against Lemon and Zoe. I liked that Rose and Magnolia sort of stood up for themselves a bit.
CL: Yeah. I think it’s going to be cool. And people will see more of that rivalry go on in the season.
MM: Okay, I have to ask. As far as the love… I don’t even know, I guess it’s a pentagon? I don’t know. Anyway, who do you root for? Zoe with Wade or George? Do you have an opinion? Are you not allowed to say your opinion?
CL: Ohhh… that’s a good question. I, I think, from my side, I’m definitely going to root for Lemon and George. Because their relationship is so, you know, idealistic. Everyone wants that fairytale love story. I’m pulling out for them. I hope things happen between them. They are having those moments where Lemon is trying to hide her secrets. I’m really rooting for them. But I’m also really rooting for Wade and Zoe! I want them to be together too.
We also both agreed that Lavon is so sweet and sad and even though we want Zoe/Wade, Lemon/George to work out, we just want Lavon to be happy too. Sigh….
I also talked to Lee about the fashion on the show because I think it is such eye candy and over the top at times. I wanted to hear her opinion.
CL: I think the fashion on the show is really cool. and it is also very timeless and also very elegant in a sense because they are styling a lot of our characters in vintage pieces which are really beautiful. And also adding a southern twist to a lot of the wardrobe. I really liked the outfit, well two outfits. I thought wearing the period piece – the whole hoop skirt and big hat – was a lot of fun because I had to have someone help me get into the whole costume because it was just so big and you had to tie so many things. So I thought that was a really fun costume to wear. I also liked when they had me in, it’s hard to describe. It was this sort of like tulle skirt and basket purse with butterflies on it. And they had me in these really high heels with crystal butterflies on them. I think they are doing a really great job with my style. I can’t wait for people to see outfits in the next episode because they are so cute and so so fun. They are really adding so very youthful and mature wardrobe pieces to Magnolia. Which I think is something very lovely and stylish.
Later she added that there is a pair of bracelets coming up that Rose and Magnolia wear. She likened them to Best Friend bracelets. (Is that a spoiler?!) Lee described them as having a vintage feel and being knotted, but also having glitzy diamond pieces on them. So be on the look out for those. And I’m very interested to see how they fit into the story. Also, I’ll probably want one. My birthday is July 19th so you all have time to get that together.
So, if being an actress isn’t enough, Lee also has her debut album coming out on February 28th, titled “Here Right Now,” which she co-wrote several of the songs on. Despite several years working in the radio industry I don’t consider myself a music critic, but both my daughter (who enjoyed Lee on the Disney series Zeke and Luther) and I really liked the album. It’s country, so if you like that, I suggest you all check it out. (That seemed like a prime opportunity to use “y’all” but, I held back.) I asked Lee about the experience of making the album while quietly realizing I have not done enough with my life so far. Again – she is a teenager!!
MM: What was that experience like [making an album]? Was it something you always wanted to do?
CL: Yes, yes. Yes it has. Everyone always ask me what’s my main passion. Is it acting or is it singing? And I always say “I started them both at the same time.” I was in musical theater which allowed me to progress into vocal lessons, piano lessons, guitar lessons, acting classes. And I’ve always wanted to create a country album. I’ve grown up listening to country music. I really love country because it speaks to the heart. It has a true, honest message. and I think that’s what people can really discover through my album. Each song has it’s own message and brings it’s own vibe which creates it’s own wonderful sound. I was really excited. I’ve been working on this album for over a year and a half now and I’ve been very anxious for people to hear it. I’m really glad people get to hear it.
MM: Is there one track that really stands out? One that you feel like, “everyone should have to hear this one.”
CL: Man, that’s a good question. It’s hard for me to say that because like I said, each song has it’s own message that are going to effect people in different ways. But I’m going to have to say the title song of the album, Here Right Now, is a really, really interesting song because I wrote it and It was inspired by my events moving to Los Angeles. And having to face all the “No’s” and having to support myself and be my own cheerleader and owning who I was. I wrote that song knowing there was a guardian angel watching over me and guiding me. Because I looked back at the past at all the projects that I was up for and didn’t get. And I think “Oh my gosh, if I had got those I wouldn’t be able to be doing what I do today.” So it’s a really interesting message and it’s a really fun song.
And while that is Lee’s favorite song, one of mine is probably Papa’s Song because it was a really moving song to be coming from such a young person and sounded like something I would have written at that age. If I had talent for writing songs. Which I do not.
We also discussed other TV shows for a few minutes and Lee told me she loves to watch Castle. Let me tell you, if I didn’t have to go to that birthday party with my son soon after the phone call ended I would have kept her on the phone so we could discuss the wonder of that show and Nathan Fillion. But I had already gushed about Zachary Levi, so I kept quiet. (But Claudia… call me, so we can discuss Castle and Beckett.) She metioned watching Face-Off on SyFy and Project Runway because she enjoys the creativity. Lee also loves the show Awkward on MTV at which point I almost yelled in her ear about how I love it too. I held back and didn’t go into a Team Matty/Team Jake debate. But I kind of want to know where she stands…. Hmmmm. Also, we both agree that it needs to be back on the air. Like yesterday.
Lee was such a delight to talk to, honestly. And she has me very excited to watch this next episode of Hart of Dixie which includes Magnolia (Hart of Dixie spoilers!) asking Wade to help write her a song. That should lead to some trouble, I’m sure!
Be sure to tune in to see Claudia Lee and the rest of the cast on Hart of Dixie on The CW, Mondays at 9pm. And pick up her new album, “Here Right Now” on Tuesday, February 28th. Do kids still “pick up” albums? I guess, download on iTunes? Sigh… I remember cassette tapes.