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The Secret Life Of The American Teenager


Interview with the cast of The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Exclusive chat with Daren Kagasoff, Shailene Woodley and Ken Baumann from The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Keeping it real with Kiwi fashion in the mix  

Brad Pitt, move over. For me, Kagasoff is the epitome of the male Hollywood image. One to watch? Most definitely. It's therefore no surprise to learn he was rated 37/50 as one of the sexiest men of 2008. 

Not only is he blessed with good looks, he possesses a natural talent for acting. He explains how his role as Ricky in The Secret Life of the American Teenager is his first professional job after he started taking lessons. 

The network was initially disinterested in him because he had no prior experience but after eight auditions he won them over beating hundreds of wannabes for the role and, well, the rest is history.   

Woodley, (who plays pregnant Amy) wears Rebecca Taylor (America's most famous Kiwi fashion designer and based in New York). 

Eloquent and self assured, Woodley doesn't think life has changed for her since being in the show apart from the people who talk to her in the mall. 

For Baumann who plays Ben, Amy's boyfriend in the show, he finds it interesting losing his anonymity when he's walking in the mall or down the street. 

However, he's confident that if this is the biggest issue he has to deal with, then it's really no drama at all.

Baumann likes the sincerity that acts as the foundation of the show. He feels this is the reason why teenagers connect to it because "it depicts real problems that teenagers across the country deal with anyway, and in a very honest way. A lot of other shows just glamorise sex, drugs, rock and roll, and fame and this doesn't at all." 

Woodley also loves the show and but feels the very real problem of teenage pregnancy is scary for anyone at 17 years old. 

She also feels the topics of divorce, the things that happen in school and the fighting between friends (she's vocal that this is something she's kept away from) teaches viewers to accept life as it comes to try not to add unnecessary drama in their lives.

Even though she gets to go on the red carpet she readily admits they just hang out with each other and go home to live their lives. 

Dakota Fanning (the youngest person to ever to have been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award) is her inspiration. 

"I think it's so cool when you open magazines and you see paparazzi taking pictures of her at her high school cheerleading thing ... I think that's cool that she is able to, you know, sustain that amount of success in the industry but still be a normal child and go to high school and be on the cheerleading squad. I think that's really important."

Kagasoff is also oblivious to life in the limelight. He feels as if he's just a working actor it's his job. He tries to stay under the radar and just do what he's go to do. 

Baumann on the other hand, tries to keep level-headed but jokes around when he challenges me to approach him in a year to see if they've all turned into egomaniacs. 

Although Baumann feels he's like his character in the way they can both be socially awkward and fall back on their sense of humour very easily, he believes they (as a group) are the type of kids who stayed out of trouble which is very different to the drama their characters are involved in.    

He also outlines how he finds the show morally correct and more so than 90210 and Gossip Girl. 

He feels, "it does kind of have the 'message of the week', but not in an obnoxious way. Not in a way where it's in your face, but it certainly focuses on problematic issues and it deals with them very frankly, not in a way to make anything glamorous, just in a way to tackle issues and present them in the truest light possible." 

For Woodley, it's momentarily about aesthetics as she adores their wardrobes! She's vocal that Gossip Girl is a very different type of show as for her personally, it has "an altered sense of reality" with regard to the fact it's a slice of fantasy something the average viewer won't experience each day and in terms of penthouses and teenagers hosting all night long parties. 

She acknowledges the fact she loves watching it and that it does make her want to be one of those characters, but she feels The Secret Life of an American Teenager is more about real life. 

She relays a perfect example of the show reflecting real-life situations, which can be seen in the traumatic storyline involving Ricky (Kagasoff) who is dealing with the aftermath of being abused by his father.    

Both Baumann and Kagasoff feel comforted and supported when they receive fan mail ranging from 11- to 23-year-olds who love the show as much as they do. 

And Baumann extends his thanks by attempting to answer every email that enters his inbox a simple hi to his fans is the least he can do. 

Rock on. I'd have been beside myself with glee if my idol had sent me a personal email at 17 years old!