Multi-talented, funny and animated — these are three prime requirements for one to be a great comedy star and Audrey Whitby is all of them!
Audrey has certainly come a long way with her career. She gained the recognition she deserved when she landed a recurring role in Disney Channel sketch comedy series So Random, where she is best known for starring in a sketch titled 'The I'm Going to Marry Zach Feldman Show'. Since then, the 17 year old has booked guest-starring roles on hit sitcoms such as Austin & Ally and Dog with a Blog.
The blonde actress currently plays Cherry in new Nickelodeon series The Thundermans, where she plays the best friend to lead character Phoebe (played by Kira Kosarin). Audrey is also a member of AwesomenessTV, a YouTube/Nickelodeon sketch reality series. On AwesomenessTV, she hosts the 'IMO' (In My Opinion) segment and she also performs in some sketches.
Indeed, Audrey is a comedy star on the rise and we're sure that we'll be hearing a lot more from her in the near future as she takes her career to further heights. We spoke to the whitty (Whitby + witty = whitty) star about The Thundermans, AwesomenessTV and also her upcoming movie, Terry the Tomboy. The exuberant actress also compared two of 2013's biggest Hollywood train wrecks, Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes. Read on to find out what went down during our interview with her!
Most of your characters are pretty wacky — you have So Random, ‘Tilly’ in Austin & Ally and more recently, Cherry in The Thundermans. How do you usually get into character for these roles?
Well, honestly, it’s not that hard for me because being a normal character would be harder for me. I already consider myself as a wacky person so a lot of the time, that’s just me being myself! I’m not a crazy stalker, like I was in Austin & Ally — I mean, it depends on who you ask — but I grew up doing a lot of musical theatre so being big and being loud is just something I’m used to at this point.
Audrey on So Random
If you could have any superpower, which would it be?
I always go to Harry Potter where they have Floo Powder, and they just go into a fireplace and just poof. I’m so unoriginal because I actually got this idea from Justin Bieber. Justin Bieber’s reason is all like, “So that I could have more time to make more music and I wouldn’t have to travel so much.” And my reason is like, “Well, I wouldn’t have to drive in LA traffic because it sucks.” If I could just... “BAM” and be anywhere at the click of my fingers, that would be so awesome. [Laughs] I wouldn’t want to read people’s minds though — that would be stressful! I’m pretty sure it’s insulting too, sometimes.
How do you think Cherry would react if she ever finds about Phoebe’s and her family’s superpowers?
In the original script, Cherry did find out about her but I kinda like that she didn’t, because that could lead to a bigger arc and there could be a really big storyline later on. I think Cherry’s the type that... whatever happens with Phoebe, she’s kinda just there for her. I think that Cherry would, you know, take it in style. She’ll be like, “Okay! Can I blog about it?” She likes to blog. Cherry’s already wacky enough, I don’t think it would deter her too much.
You’ve done sketch comedies and sitcoms — which do you prefer?
Oh, that is such a good question! I love them both, each for different reasons, but right now, I would have to say sitcoms just because it’s more of a repeated schedule. It’s easier and every day, it’ll be the same character and you can kinda build upon that. That’s definitely easier — maybe not better, but easier! For sketch comedy, you have to be there and you have to be funny. And if you’re not, they’re either gonna give it to somebody else or they’re just gonna cut it so being on a sitcom is definitely less stressful. But then again, you don’t get the highs of, you know... “One day, I’m dressing up as a chipmunk! And then the next day, being Charlie Bit My Finger!” Honestly, it’s fifty-fifty. Sitcoms are easier one hundred percent but not as wildly fun sometimes. But they’re both really fun too!
You’re on AwesomenessTV, where there’s this sketch called Terry the Tomboy which recently got turned into a movie. Have you guys started filming the movie yet?
We actually finished production on the Terry the Tomboy movie! I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to talk about this, but whatever! We technically finished production about a month ago. It was so fun, but I don’t know what they’re gonna do with it yet. I’m not sure if it’s even edited or anything like that. But we’ve finished filming and filming was such a blast! I play Britannica, who’s the ultimate mean girl. It’s harder for me to be mean than it is to be crazy. I was talking to my friend about this and I was like, “It’s so hard for me to put myself in that place because I can never be that blatantly mean to somebody.” So it was kind of a challenge for me to be so mean. I love Lia [Marie Johnson], she’s such a nice girl and I have to be so mean to her! But it worked out and it was so fun — it was my first movie. I was so used to TV so it was a new experience and I loved it.
Was it awkward being mean to Lia?
No, it’s never awkward! Lia’s such a free spirit just like I am, so we laugh about it afterwards! We had so much fun on set. It was never awkward — though it was hard for me sometimes. It took me a couple of times to get that right. They’d be like, “Wanna do it again?” And I’d be like, “Yes, I need to channel my inner rah!” And I did! In the end, I got it. But yeah, it took me a couple of times.
Could you do a little demo of your mean-ness in the movie?
The whole thing Britannica does when she’s mean is when she goes, “Terry, you need to grow up.” That’s not hard, but she got really mean at one point when she was telling her, “[threatens in a low voice] Nobody likes you and this is why.” That is just silent mean and that’s really scary. People can yell at me all they want but if they like, whisper mean at me... that scares me!
What’s a typical day for you like?
That’s another hard question. Right now, I’m not serious on The Thundermans or anything — I’m just a recurring character. I have Awesomeness, I have Thundermans and Terry... I honestly never know. My schedule’s been so different. One day, I’ll be on set all week which is: Monday — table read, Tuesday and Wednesday — rehearsal, and shoot on Thursday and Friday. That’s a usual Thundermans week for me and I’ve been in seven episodes so far. If I’m shooting Awesomeness, it’ll be like... One day, it’ll be a fitting for IMO and that’s really early in the morning. And then the next day, I’ll shoot a sketch for them and that would take anywhere from two to twelve hours! I’d like to say that’s why my room is such a mess because I never know what I’m up to. I have a Skype conversation with my mum every night to tell her, “Okay, this is what I’m doing the next day.” And normally I have something to do, which is so nice, but I need to be more organised because I never really have a set schedule. It’s always something different.
Any new, exciting projects coming up?
Well, Awesomeness got picked up for more shows and I believe that they’re going to be aired on TeenNick. And I’ve got some new characters coming up there. We’re going back to shoot more IMO... As for Thundermans, we are on our fifteenth episode of twenty and I’m going to be in two more of those, as I know right now. Honestly, just keep on watching The Thundermans and keep on watching Awesomeness — I’m going to be in a couple more of those episodes!
You have a YouTube channel where you perform covers with a ukulele. How long have you been playing the ukulele?
I posted my first cover around nine months ago. When I was twelve, I took three guitar lessons and that was a really good basis! I just learned the basic chords, which basically means that I can play any Taylor Swift song, as I always say. [Laughs] The ukulele is a breeze. It’s the quickest instrument to pick up. I still consider myself a beginner — there are some crazy ukulele people who can just jam. But I can play the chords! I can figure it out, it takes me a second but I can figure it out. The internet is such a fantastic place. We’re doing this [Skype interview] right now, I learned to play the ukulele... Basically, the internet taught me and I’m still a bit self-taught. It’s super easy though, I’d recommend it to anybody who wants to pick up something beautiful and fun really fast because it’s super chill.
Do you have any plans for a singing career?
Right now, my job is fun but it can be really stressful and it’s also very competitive. And that’s just acting. I have friends in the music industry and that’s even more competitive! For me, I’m already busy doing this [acting] and my music is just more of... you know, I don’t write music, I love listening to music and I love to take people’s music and just make it my own. It’s a hobby — it’s just a stress release for me. It’s like a happy thing for me to do and I’m afraid that if I put it in my career path, then that would ruin it for me. I have a tough skin from being in this industry but being a musician... I don’t know if I have a tough enough skin for that. [Laughs] That’s a lot of rejection.
Do you have any advice for people who want to make it on Disney or Nickelodeon?
A lot of people don’t realise that you really have to do your research. It’s a lot of work — you’ve got to find the right classes, you have to have a really strong team behind you. If you’re young, your parents have to be a hundred percent committed to driving you to auditions and taking you to class. And it’s expensive. You’re moving out to LA and you’re paying for those classes... As long as you find the right classes and you work really hard and you get the right people behind you, you can do anything! It’s so easy if you want it enough — which I did, I’ve wanted it so bad since I was eight. When I was eight, my mum asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said, “An agent.” I think that the only thing you need is drive and commitment. That’s really all it takes if you want it enough.
And look where you are now!
Exactly! I love my life and I have so much fun. I still want to go further ahead. To me, where I am is not even where I wanna be right now. I wanna be even further. I’ll keep trying and keep going!
Do you ever get recognised when you go out?
Yes! I just recently went on a Disney cruise with Joey Bragg from Liv and Maddie. It was so funny because this is what happens when we get recognised: [Imitates a little girl] “You’re Joey Bragg from Liv and Maddie! And you are that one girl who was in Austin & Ally and Awesomeness and all that other stuff! I don’t really know you but I’ve seen you!” It’s so funny, because I did eighteen episodes of So Random but the one thing I get recognised for is that one Austin & Ally episode. They play it all the time and I get reschedules for it all the time. They’re like, “You’re that crazy girl from Austin & Ally!” So yeah, I do get recognised and it’s so fun and I love meeting kids. It’s my favourite thing because I’m probably mentally their age so I’m like, “Yay, best friends! You’re eight! Let’s go play basketball at the basketball courts!” That’s basically what we did — me and Joey ended up with this huge group of kids who were like, “Oh my god, we know you!” and we were like, “We’re gonna play basketball, wanna come?” And we had this whole group of kids and we divided them into teams and it was so fun! I love meeting kids.
Oh, how was the Disney cruise?
We were on the Disney Magic cruise and it was so fun! Before you get on-board, you’re like, “Oh, I’m not sure how much I’m going to be able to get done.” But then, you realise that there is something to do every day. And they have this awesome slide called the AquaDuck and you stand there and the floor slides out from under you. It’s terrifying, but at the same time, you’re like, “OH THIS IS SO FUN!” It’s so cool, I’d recommend it to anybody. I had a blast!
Audrey Whitby and Joey Bragg
If you could act in any non-comedy TV show or film, which would it be?
Nashville. I love country music, it’s so good, and Nashville has this whole album that’s just as good as any country music out there. Whoever is doing the music for Nashville is genius, because what he or she is coming up with for Nashville is fantastic! I would love to be able to show off how much I love country music and maybe my voice a little bit [laughs] and so... Nashville! I love Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. I worked with somebody who’s worked with her and they kinda remind me of her. She’s one of idols — I think she’s really talented and beautiful. I also love their whole cast!
This is a weird question, but which is your favourite train wreck of the year — Miley Cyrus at the VMAs or Amanda Bynes?
[Squeals] Amanda Bynes! I would have to go with Amanda Bynes because she was my idol! She was on All That and The Amanda Show and that’s why I loved being on So Random so much because I get to be like Amanda Bynes! I had a very popular sketch called the I’m Going to Marry Zach Feldman Show and I was totally inspired by her for that. It was really entertaining watching the train wreck but it was also really sad at the same time because I loved her so much. But then part of me thinks that it’s just a giant joke and that a month from now, she’s going to pop out and be like, “I was kidding!” [Laughs] That would be so fantastic! But now, it’s just really sad... As for Miley Cyrus, she’s not my favourite [train wreck] because I think what she’s doing is really smart. I think it’s great and it’s very planned. It’s not interesting to me because it’s not exactly a train wreck — I don’t want to watch a train wreck that’s supposed to happen! You know what I mean? This is on purpose, everybody! I’m not entertained by it because I’m like, “Yeah, she’s doing it and she’s getting exactly what she wants. I loved her and I still do. I have nothing against her. I’m a Miley-lover, always have been!
What’s your favourite Disney Channel or Nickelodeon sitcom?
I really do love Liv and Maddie that just came out. I think it’s so funny! I think it’s the best thing on Disney Channel since Good Luck Charlie and I think that was a really good show. I just love that show because I think the mum is hysterical and she’s so nice in real life. As for Nickelodeon, there are so many good shows... My friend Amber [Montana] is on The Haunted Hathaways, that’s a cute show. I like the whole ghost theme. So yeah, definitely Liv and Maddie, it’s a good show. I’m also excited for Girl Meets World! I was such a huge Boy Meets World fan — I’m old enough to be a Boy Meets World fan so I’m totally going to watch that!
Audrey also picked out five of her favourite songs:
- “Vienna” by Billy Joel. Audrey calls it her favourite song of all time.
- “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus
- “I Knew This Would Be Love” by Imaginary Friend
- “Replay” by Kira Kosarin
- “Keep It To Yourself” by Kacey Musgraves
Photo credits: Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images, Araya Diaz / Getty Images, Alison Buck / Getty Images, AwesomenessTV, © Charles Edwards / PR Photos, Kevin Winter / Getty Images