The sultry 90210 star talks horror flicks, southern belles, and Hollywood's gender divide.

As told to Saidah Petrie; Photography by Diana Scheunemann;
(Stylist) Rose Garcia. (Hair) Marco Testa at Bernstein & Andruilli for John Masters Organics. (Makeup) Julie Harris for (Clothing) Jacket by Mademe; Bra by Re Collection; Jeans by Rock & Republic; All jewelry by Cubannie Links.
Men say: Men are the true power players in Hollywood.

Jessica Stroup says: That's a myth. Women rule men's lives—every decision a man makes is based on a woman. [Laughs.] Men initially had more power in this industry, and now women are stepping up, writing and directing more. Actresses with strong voices and opinions are being heard. Hollywood's finally changing and developing a voice that isn't just about trash.

Men say: Women are too dainty to truly appreciate horror movies.

Jessica Stroup says: I was raised by boys. I can hold my own, I can fight, and I love horror movies—simply for the scare factor and the surrealism. My favorite is The Shining. I was raised in a strict Southern household in Lexington, South Carolina, and I remember sneaking off to watch Pet Sematary as a kid. After seeing those animals reincarnate, I screamed and couldn't sleep for weeks, but watched it again and again. I have more male friends who are jumpers-in-the-seat than female.

Men say: There's a housewife in every Southern girl.

Jessica Stroup says: They have big hearts, and are usually more welcome to having large families. But in every single Southern woman? No, there is definitely not a housewife. I'm Southern but I need to be out, making my own money, and impacting the world outside of my house. I think every man loves a good biscuit and gravy, so they come to the South and say, “Those women can cook. I can make a good housewife out of her!” [Laughs.]