Personality Complex is your introduction to the rising stars of film and television.
Greer Grammer has always been fan of routine. The now 22-year-old, who spent her childhood watching the hustle and bustle of Hollywood as Kelsey Grammer's—yes, Frasier—daughter, was set on carving out her own life. She's the girl who grew up taking dance classes—jazz, ballet, hip-hop—after school, playing soccer on the weekends, and hanging out with friends from school on Friday nights. She earned her bachelor's degree in theater because she thought college was a necessary box to tick off on the way to adulthood.
Also part of her day-to-day? Starring in MTV's hit series Awkward, a teen rom-com that documents the messy, hilarious, and confusing perils of puberty. (Its fourth season begins tonight.) She plays Lissa, a sweet, celibate cheerleader without a firm grasp on common sense.
More than just a TV star, Grammer's also got the movie Life Partners on deck, a buddy comedy starring Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, and Gillian Jacobs, that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year. The self-professed fan of The O.C . and Gossip Girl was adamant about fitting the film into her busy school schedule.
But even though she's got it all mapped out, the girl still likes to get lost in fairy tales. Sometimes literally. Here, Grammer discusses growing up under her dad's spotlight, battling misconceptions, and escaping it all at her happiest place on Earth.
What’s your Disneyland routine?
You just opened a can of worms. [Laughs.] So, California Adventure, to me, has better food than Disneyland. It’s more upscale and adult-y. There’s this place in the little wharf area. It’s a cafe, but it’s basically like Boudin, which is in San Francisco. They have the best soup in a bread bowl that you could ever have. I don’t eat it as much in the summer because it’s too hot, but during the winter they have turkey pot pies as their “seasonal option” and it’s so good. Then I’ll get a coffee from the Ghirardelli Shop before watching World of Color. That’s my thing.
At Disneyland, I go to Cafe Orleans and I get the Monte Cristo sandwich and garlic fries. Now that I have a season pass, and my boyfriend does too, we go mainly just to go. We go on whatever rides we can get on, so if Space Mountain is like 70 minutes I’m not gonna wait. I like to get an ice cream, I like to hang out there. It’s the happiest place on Earth! [Laughs.]
Did you ever want to be a Disney princess?
Well, I’d love to voice a Disney princess! After Frozen came out I was like, “That’s all I want to do with my life!”
What’s a typical weekend for you when you're not at the happiest place on Earth?
I’m so boring. Most people go out but I lay in my bed. I binge-watch Friday Night Lights. My boyfriend lives in Brentwood so sometimes we’ll go to Santa Monica. The past few weekends, I’ll ride my bike and get ice cream. I live a very normal life. It’s too hot to do anything. I don’t like the heat.
A lot of people think it’s easy when your parents are famous and you don’t have to work as hard, but I think you actually have to work harder. Not only do you have someone whose name you have to live up to, but people are expecting more.
But you grew up in Malibu.
Mhmm. Born and raised.
Did you spend your days by the beach?
Yup, especially between fourth and seventh grade, every summer was at the beach. We’d usually go surfing during the day, and then come back on the beach with our parents and have a bonfire and make hotdogs and s’mores. Normal days, I’d wake up, go to school, leave school, change in the car for ballet, get to ballet class, and then I’d stay at the dance studio from like 3 p.m. to 10 at night.
When did you realize you wanted to act?
When I was young, I was always the girl in a different costume, and I was a different Disney princess every day. One day I was Alice, and I would come up with these contraptions with, like, my little chairs, and I’d roll through thinking I was going through the rabbit hole. It was always “I wanna be an actress, I wanna be in movies," ever since I was a kid.
Usually the story with young actors goes: finish high school, go straight into acting. What made you want to go to college at USC?
It I think it was just the way I was brought up, which is kind of funny because my mom didn’t go to college and my dad went to college for a couple years but didn’t graduate. It was just something that was automatic to me. I could’ve dropped out when Awkward got picked up halfway through my freshman year of college, but I just didn’t see the point. I had my college life, I had my friends, I wanted to graduate, I wanted to be with my friends, so that’s really what kept me in school.
Growing up with famous parents, did you ever feel like you were missing out on something?
No. It always sounds weird to be, like, “Everyone’s parents in Malibu were in the entertainment industry," but that was normal. It wasn’t weird to go to so-and-so’s house and their mom had Pat Benatar singing at their Christmas party.
Do you feel like you have to prove yourself more because of who your dad is?
Yeah. A lot of people think it’s easy when your parents are famous and you don’t have to work as hard, but I think you actually have to work harder. Not only do you have someone whose name you have to live up to, but people are expecting more.
It's a very big misconception to say, “Oh, she’s only working because of who her dad is or who she’s related to” and that’s not the case. I have to work really hard. I mean, of course there are cases of nepotism, but not with me. My dad was always like, “You have my last name and that’s about as much as I’m helping you. If you want to do this you have to do it on your own like I did.”
People think I’m ditsy and stupid. It’s just a funny thing that people always have to realize that I’m not my character on Awkward.
How do you deal with the crazy fans on Twitter?
They’re fine and they're never that mean or crazy. They’re the reason we have a show. MTV is huge, but not for their scripted shows. It was really just the blogs, people who watched it and talked about it, that made Awkward a sensation.
Actually, one time at Disneyland, there was this group of about 10 kids who were all in high school. They were all freaking out and we took pictures. They waited for me after a ride and we took more pictures. Then the parents were like, “Okay, let her go on her day,” and they were like, “No, this is her job!” That’s when I was kind of like, “Okay…” Because my job really isn’t to stop and take pictures. But I get it and I'm always happy to do it.
Do you get people confusing you for your character, personality-wise?
Yeah. [Laughs.] The main thing I hear is, “You sound so different!” Lissa talks in this high-pitched voice and my voice is much lower. People think I’m ditsy and stupid. It’s just a funny thing that people always have to realize that I’m not my character on Awkward.
Do you ever worry about getting typecast?
Yeah, I feel like blondes get typecast as ditsy, stupid, or mean girls. I worry about it a lot, but fingers crossed it won’t happen.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully working on a show on a network, or HBO, or USA. I’d love to be on a show like Mad Men at some point in my life. Maybe there’s an Emmy in there for me. [Laughs.]