People will come up to me and be like, "Are you really mean in real life?" What do you expect me to say? "Yes I’m a bitch, get away"? No! I’m not! [Laughs.] The cool thing about playing Lauren Tanner—let's get real, this is who everyone has to be talking about—is that people loved to hate her. It was fun to play and keep that balance. I also think that as the show went on, viewers saw why she did the things she did and warmed up to her. No one's just mean for no reason.
I try to turn everything into a positive. I became an anti-bullying youth ambassador for BOO2BULLYING, a nonprofit organization. If there's anything that I can tell people that are being bullied, it's that the bullies are really the ones that are hurting. Playing Lauren Tanner made me realize that she was evil because she was harboring so much pain from her childhood. And if there's anything I would tell anyone who is being bullied, it's to just let it go. Bullies are the insecure ones and the ones who are trying to get a rise out of you to make themselves feel better.
Are you working with any other charities?
Charity is my favorite thing in the world. I’m so lucky that I have this platform and that I have a voice and that people know who I am so that I can go out and I can be useful to the world. I'm going to be jumping out of a plane with Serinda Swan next month to raise money for the Somaly Mam Foundation, an organization seeking to put an end to sex trafficking. I did it last year for the first time, and it was the best experience of my life.
I also have my own campaign called Band With Me and the proceeds go to branches of BOO2BULLYING. It's meant a symbol for standing up to abuse, and it also links us all in the cause together.
It seems like if you break out with a certain role, you get the same role over and over again.
Yeah it's true, and you get straight offers for that. It's cool and it’s exciting because people know you can play that, but I don't want to get stereotyped.
Did you do any fight training for Sharknado?
I actually box, as in I wanted to be a professional boxer. No joke. My agent literally laughed in my face. My mom was like, "Really, Cass? Break your nose fighting and then have to go on set the next day?"
But there was really no fight training. They just kept asking if I wanted a stunt double, but I wanted to do as much as I could. I wanted to get credit for it.
What do you have next?
I’m focusing a lot on music. It's always been a passion of mine, but I never had time. We’re in the studio finishing my first single.
What kind of music are you going to put out?
At the end of the day, it's pop, but there's some edge to it.
Who are your musical influences?
I get inspired by Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Alicia Keys, Gwen Stefani. Fergie's inspired my music a bit too. I love Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
Who do you listen to when you're getting ready to go out?
I love The Weeknd. His music—I mean, he's the reason for babies being born right now. [Laughs.]
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