MTV’s new show stars Rickards as Jenna, high school girl who starts to get attention after an accident is mistaken for a suicide attempt. Even walking around in a neck brace and cast, Jenna’s the girl I would hang out with. In person at MTV’s cocktail party for the Television Critics Association, Rickards looked like a star with high heels and a designer blazer over an aqua dress. It wasn’t awkward (I don’t think) when I stopped her to ask a few questions about her new show.
Q: I think you’re a lovely girl. How do you feel awkward when your fans think you’re great?
Ashley Rickards: This whole show is a message to all of them and we love them so much. We made the show for them. I think the show transcends the teenage years. I think you can pluck out the players and the setting and put it in any stage of life. The topics that we explore are friendship, pushing the limits, what aspects do you need in a relationship, physical and emotional and which one should come first.
Q: Is awkward just my type?
AR: I hope so. I hope that’s a lot of people’s type. I think Jenna’s a great girl and that’s one of the messages of our show. Smart girls win eventually.
Q: What is coming up in future episodes?
AR: Wow, we have coffee down a bra. Jillian [Rose Reed] spits in my face. It’s actually her saliva on my actual face. Jenna wears heels which is a big deal. Jenna gets to wear some lipstick. It’s going to be exciting.
Q: What do you love about Jenna?
AR: She’s very reserved but she’s intuitive. She’s also very introspective and non judgmental which I think the general public could really take a lesson from. One of the most striking things about Jenna is how kind she is to Sadie, the mean girl because she sees that there’s a reason why Sadie’s being that way. She doesn’t instantly jump on the bandwagon of being really mean to Sadie.
Q: That’s like Gandhi. He said you should love your enemies because they’re lacking love.
AR: I like Gandhi. I have a picture of him in my house. Gandhi inspired Jenna. No, that would be interesting if Awkward were centered around Gandhi. First of all, I don’t think it would be called Gandhi.
Q: What were the MTV shows you watched growing up?
AR: I loved True Life, My So-Called Life. I did even catch a little bit of Daria.
Q: Are you excited that Beavis and Butt-Head are back?
AR: I’m so excited! I remember I think I was about seven staying at my aunt’s house and my mom said, “Hey, you can’t let her watch South Park or Beavis and Butt-Head.” To this day, those are my two favorite shows. It’s not only because they’re awesome, but it’s a little bit because my mom told me I couldn’t. But I was seven so I understand why.
Q: Where does the season finale leave Jenna?
AR: It leaves her alone in her room. I cannot elaborate on that but you’ll see. It’s a big turning point.
Awkward airs Tuesdays at 11 on MTV.