In her riveting role as Charlotte Grayson on ABC’s Revenge, actress Christa Allen plays a teenaged girl trying to make sense of the crazy life which surrounds her – deceitful parents, a dead, allegedly terroristic biological father and a drug-filled past which lands her in rehab. But off-screen, the outgoing, friendly 21-year-old actress leads a far less complicated life. Christa caught up with College Lifestyles to dish on her relationship with the cast of Revenge, how she finds classic fashion staples and what is was like filming 13 Going On 30 with Jennifer Garner nearly 10 years ago!
College Lifestyles: Congrats on the whirlwind past year you’ve had! Revenge has quickly become one of the biggest shows on television, and I know you are so thrilled to be a part of it. How did you get cast as Charlotte Grayson?
Christa Allen: The casting process for Revenge was astoundingly one of the easiest things I’ve done. I still don’t know exactly what happened and how I got cast, but basically it consisted of meeting with casting directors, Elizabeth and Corbin. I read Charlotte about five different ways. They sent that tape on to everybody, and then I got a call to come seal the deal. So it worked out quite well. I was actually on set filming a movie. I was hanging off the side of a cliff with Charisma Carpenter, and I got this call, ‘Hey! You got the pilot.’
CL: You are starring alongside some pretty amazing talents like Emily VanCamp, Madeline Stowe and so many others. So how would you describe that experience?
CA: I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew really. I see Connor [who plays Declan Porter] on the weekends. I see Ashley [who plays Ashley Davenport] frequently. We’ll all visit each other’s houses. Gabe [who plays Nolan Ross] and I are quite close. We all have a unique bond between us, and here it is – the end of first season start of second season – and we still do our best to get together for every episode that we can to watch it together. It’s really a great community.
CL: The premise of Revenge is pretty dark and mysterious; do you guys ever joke around on set or have any funny, light-hearted moments?
CA: As soon as they yell cut, we’re usually bursting into laughter if we’re doing something vindictive to one another. We all love each other so much. Madeleine, especially, she’s such a sweet, sweet, kind-hearted individual. So playing the role such as Victoria – she sometimes gets a little caught up. She feels bad having to portray this character. I think because she knows how well she does it. So after filming a scene that she’s been particularly mean to the Charlotte character, she’ll typically apologize. She’ll be like, ‘Are you okay?’
CL: I want to rewind a little bit. You have played the younger version of Jennifer Garner twice now. Do you feel flattered by that? Is she someone who you look up to or admire?
CA: Absolutely. I don’t know if it’s based on her roots or the way she was raised, but she’s not only a fantastic actress but a fantastic person. To see someone who has achieved such a level of success as she has and is still able to treat people around her with such kindness and respect is so inspiring. We’ve all heard – and some of us have seen – those who achieve success can change a bit. Jennifer’s definitely not one of those. I’m sure she’s a fantastic mother and wife. Talk about having character. She has tremendous personal character.
CL: On that same note, 13 Going on 30 is one of my favorite movies! In my mind, it’s like the ultimate chick flick. What was it like filming that movie? It was one of your first on screen experiences right?
CA: That was my first big film. To be quite honest, it was almost a decade ago, and I can’t remember many of the specifics. I do remember being 12 years old and going into a completely uncharted territory and basically taking every wrong turn a person can take. I remember the first scene I had to shoot on the film was the part where I am dancing to “Thriller”, and I just couldn’t get the steps right. And I remember being so nervous that I had to kiss Sean Marquette, who played the young Mattie.
CL: If you were to take away all the glitz and glam, money and fame and excitement that becoming a household name brings, would you still pursue acting? What is it about acting that draws you in and really interests you?
CA: I kind of feel that in my life I tend to play a lot of characters anyways. Just taking on different roles such as sister and daughter and traveling and working. I tend to learn a lot everyday, and play different roles in life. So being able to bring my experiences to screen is one of the most fulfilling parts of my job now. [When I was younger], I would always put on little performances for my family in the living room. I’d charge them 10 cents to watch me. I was seven. I like to think that at some point I just knew that it could be turned into a job – a lifetime commitment.
CL: Say you could create your very own movie to star in, along with picking the cast of your dreams. Who would you pick and what kind of movie would it be?
CA: I would rewind thirty years ago and do a movie with Al Pacino. I don’t care what the subject matter is – doesn’t matter – as long as it’s a movie with Al Pacino, and I get to act opposite him. He’s amazing.
CL: As part of your job, you get to wear some pretty fabulous clothes. But what about when you aren’t in front of cameras? How would you describe your everyday style? Where do you enjoy shopping?
CA: I’ll tell you right now. I’m wearing pants that are covered in green flowers and a top that’s covered in blue flowers and carrying a bag that has little beige silk flowers. Yeah, I’m a fan of florals. I love anything sophisticated that celebrates the shape of a woman. I love to wear a good high waist and a nice pump. I actually do a lot of my shopping online. I’m finding that most of the best items are sold out before they hit the stores. So if you really want the best stuff, you have to go directly to the source and call the designer and say, ‘I want this bag that’s on page 39 of Vogue Italia.’ That’s the only way to get it done.
CL: As far as living a healthy lifestyle goes, do you try to eat right and exercise? If so, what are some of your go-to foods and exercise routines?
CA: Absolutely. This morning I started my day off with a run – about two miles around the neighborhood. As much as possible, I’ve been trying to eat raw. I find that eating food that’s still alive makes me feel more alive. It’s the difference between food that comes from a factory or warehouse or from a garden.
CL: When you aren’t busy filming or making appearances, what are your favorite ways to relax and have fun?
CA: Probably just at home with a cup of tea watching HBO specials with my friends on my big, comfy couch. And as much as possible I try to get away on the weekends. I do little trips to San Francisco, Palm Springs and Sand Diego just to get out of the city for a couple of days.
CL: The price of a college education continues to rise year after year. Do you think it’s still worthwhile for women to earn a degree and work towards their career goals?
CA: I’m not sure the value of a degree, and I’ll tell you why. It really depends on how you behave once you have the degree. I know several people who have a bachelor’s and when applying for jobs will only look online. I truly believe that in addition to being educated and intelligent and knowing about your field, you really have to get out there and network with people to get the job you want. I try to always stay involved in some kind of class so that I’m always learning, even if it’s just one thing that I’m studying. It’s good to keep the mind active. The degree thing – it depends on what you do with it, but I definitely think it’s good to go to college.
CL: College Lifestyles prides itself on being classy, confident and chic. What is your definition of a classy individual?
CA: A classy individual knows when to stay quiet. It’s true. So many people are desperate to get their opinion out there – right or wrong.
CL: On a much lighter note, I just have to ask….who is your celebrity crush?
CA: My celebrity crush? Oh goodness! I’m going ot have to go with the cliché and say Ryan Gosling. I don’t know who else. Maybe some super hot male model like David Gandy. But just so you know, I would never actually go for that, ever. We’ll go with the cliché Ryan Gosling.