Minutes before the premiere of the CW’s new model series, The Beautiful Life, show star Sara Paxton called me up to give me the inside scoop. The beautiful part-Mexican actress dished on working with Mischa Barton, making out with co-star Ben Hollingsworth, and what it felt like wearing that stunning red Zac Posen dress from last night’s episode. She also told Vivo Por Tivo how she deals with catty, jealous girls, and why she’d probably never consider a career in modeling.
How are you enjoying shooting The Beautiful Life in New York City?
I love it! It’s been absolutely incredible, and I’m having a really awesome time. I’m a California girl, so it’s such a great experience, and I feel really lucky.
Rumor has it TBL is shooting during New York fashion week. Has that been fun?
It’s amazing, but we’ve been so busy working that we haven’t had time to attend a lot of shows. But we’ve been working closely with Calvin Klein for a few episodes so I’m going to the Calvin Klein show tomorrow—and I am really excited!
Tell me about working with Mischa Barton.
She’s great! She’s a really cool girl, and a lot of fun to work with. The whole cast—we have a great time together. It’s crazy because we’re all such good friends that it’s actually really hard to make other friends in the city, because we’re all such a close group.
Are your characters rivals on the show?
Everyone thinks that our characters are rivals. We’re actually not. I’m actually Mischa’s only friend on the show. My character gives up this whole Versace campaign to her character in the very first episode, and therefore, Sonja [Barton] starts to trust Raina [Paxton]. They become friends!
In the premiere episode, your character got to wear a stunning red Zac Posen dress. Did you feel like a real model?
Oh my god. I couldn’t believe that I was wearing this, like, $50,000 dress and it’s so crazy because like three months later, I saw a model wearing the dress in Vogue, and I nearly died!
I think your performance in the show is amazing, and I particularly liked your chemistry with Ben Hollingsworth, who plays Chris Andrews. Are you two dating by any chance?
No [Laughs]. Ben is like my brother. Actually, it’s funny because whenever we have to do make out scenes, I’ll joke around like, “Ben, I just ate a whole onion—how do you feel about that? And he’s like: “Well, I just ate beans. How do you feel about that?” We mess with each other.
Raina has to deal with catty, jealous girls who envy her success. Have you ever had to deal with catty girls in your real life?
Oh, definitely. The fashion industry is completely different from the acting industry, but definitely the same as well, because there’s cattiness and competition just like in the modeling world. So I can definitely relate to that.
How do you deal with it?
No matter who you are, or what you’re doing, there’s always going to be someone that wants to be better than you. So I try to take the high road and be the bigger person. That way, you always win in the end!
Now that you’ve played a model, would you ever consider a career in modeling?
I have a lot of fun playing a model on television, and I love being an actress. I don’t think I could ever handle that world. It’s one thing going into an audition and being judged for your work. It’s a whole other thing going into a room and being judged on your looks. So I do not think I could handle it.
Are people often surprised when you tell them that you’re half Mexican?
Oh, they don’t believe me at all.
Why do you think that is?
I think its because they have this stereotype of what a Hispanic girl is supposed to look like, and I don’t fit that typical look.
Speaking of Mexicans, has anyone ever told you that you kind of look like fellow Mexicana Alexis Bledel?
I have been getting that all the time ever since Gilmore Girls came out. I have been chased down the street before with people yelling, 'Alexis, Alexis, you’re blonde now!' And I’m like, 'No, my name is Sara and I’ve always been blonde!'