Kelsey Chow Interview: 'One Tree Hill' Actress Stars in Disney's 'Den Brother'
Born on September 9, 1991, South Carolina native Kelsey Chow’s first professional acting break came when she landed a role on the television drama One Tree Hill. She portrayed Gigi Silveri who became the co-announcer for Ravens basketball games and briefly dated Marvin “Mouth” McFadden (played by Lee Norris), close friend of Lucas Scott.
The actress has continued her career with the 2010 Disney Channel original movie Den Brother that premieres on August 13 and has a co-starring role in the upcoming television sitcom Pair of Kings that will air on the Disney XD cable channel this September.
“I remember that Sophia (Bush) helped me with my college decision. At that point I really wanted to go to Southern Cal. She went to school there so she was giving me tips. It was nice to have that world as well as my school and South Carolina world to kind of balance my life on.”
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Kelsey, you’re a southern girl!
Kelsey Chow: Yes, oh gosh, it is so refreshing to hear your voice (laughs). I’m originally from Columbia, South Carolina.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your family is still there?
Kelsey Chow: Yes, my entire family is still based there. Many friends are there as well. I actually went back a couple of days ago. It was really nice.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you have siblings?
Kelsey Chow: I have a 16-year-old brother and an 11-year-old sister.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You did some community theater in Columbia at a younger age. Is that how you became interested in acting?
Kelsey Chow: I started dancing when I was really young, then I moved on to school productions. I think what really sealed the deal was my first community theater play, Ragtime. It just really blew my mind … the passion, hard work, and the amazing talent there in Columbia. I think after that I honestly had the time of my life.
I was a little 7th grader at that point and I had so much fun. But it was a long show. I’d leave school to do the show and it would end around midnight. Then I would stay up until 2:00 doing my homework, but I didn’t regret it at all. It was amazing.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did you get the role of Gigi Silveri on One Tree Hill?
Kelsey Chow: It was my freshman year and I had signed with my local agent back in South Carolina. It was a normal day. Right after school she called me and said, “I have this great part for you. Let’s put you on tape.” I did that and it was just a very fast casting process. The next week I was actually in Wilmington, North Carolina shooting One Tree Hill, so it was very surreal.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): That was fast!
Kelsey Chow: I know, I was a little amazed (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You were how old at the time?
Kelsey Chow: I was 13.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What were your parents’ reactions?
Kelsey Chow: Actually my parents have been extremely supportive. My dad especially is very … education is important to him and he’s instilled that in me as well. He said that as long as I made good grades and wasn’t doing in real life what I was doing on television he’d be on board (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You experienced a very first kiss during an episode of One Tree Hill.
Kelsey Chow: Yes. I was a little embarrassed. It was with James Lafferty and I was a 13-year-old girl. I was just head over heels for him because I thought he was so cute. But I was extremely nervous, excited, and embarrassed and had no clue what I was doing.
It was funny because we had to do it over and over again because I wasn’t holding the kiss long enough. I don’t know what I was thinking there, but it was just a fun experience. But it was great. I was on the show for 4 seasons and got the opportunity to work with all of the cast members, which was pretty awesome.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you form any friendships with the cast?
Kelsey Chow: Oh yeah, absolutely. Since I did work on the show from age 13 to 17, I grew up on the show. I was balancing that and high school and that’s a big time in your life.
I remember that Sophia (Bush) helped me with my college decision. At that point I really wanted to go to Southern Cal. She went to school there so she was giving me tips. It was nice to have that world as well as my school and South Carolina world to kind of balance my life on.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Let’s talk about Den Brother.
Kelsey Chow: Yes, it airs this Friday. It’s about a star hockey player, played by Hutch Dano, who gets suspended from the team. He’s a little self-centered and ends up becoming the Den Brother of his younger sister’s Girl Scout troop.
I play the character of Matisse Burrows, the love interest of Alex who is the main character. She’s a junior helper for her little sister’s bumblebee Girl Scout troop. Matisse is interested in Alex, but not willing to give in to his charm in the beginning.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): She plays hard to get.
Kelsey Chow: Absolutely. He’s got to change his ways (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What did you enjoy most about filming the movie?
Kelsey Chow: Well, we shot in Salt Lake City and I think it’s always fun to shoot on location. You get to experience another world. My cast members and I got to explore the city and also went to Park City, which is the location for the Sundance Film Festival. We went downtown, to the malls, and to the local amusement center. So I think it was fun all being together, working, and being in that environment.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You also have Pair of Kings scheduled to premiere next month.
Kelsey Chow: We are almost wrapping our first season.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The series follows the escapades of two brothers, one African American and one Caucasian. That’s an interesting concept.
Kelsey Chow: Yeah, it’s about two brothers who grew up in Chicago. They find out that their parents are actually King and Queen of the island of Kinkou, so they go over there. The whole show follows their incredible journey as they search the challenges of becoming kings.
At the same time they are two teenage boys so they have the everyday problems of meeting girls and just being brothers. The show definitely focuses on that relationship. It’s really fun because it’s kind of outside of the real world. We have pirates, mummies, and mermaids. That’s what makes our job so much fun. We never know what we’re going to battle next because it’s so extreme (laughs). It’s like playing dress up. There are cool special effects and stunts and I’ve had a blast doing it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Were you nervous acting in front of a live studio audience?
Kelsey Chow: I think that maybe my community theater helped some with that. There’s an element of excitement performing for others and it’s cool that it meshes with the television aspect and with the theater.
I was definitely a little nervous because I had only done it one time before when I was on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, but Mitchel and Doc have a lot of experience with their other shows. It definitely adds another aspect to the show. You can find out what jokes are funny and what the people really like about the show.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are your future plans, Kelsey, more television or perhaps a feature film?
Kelsey Chow: There’s honestly so much I really want to get done. Pair of Kings is coming out in September. We worked really hard on it and hope that people, especially the kids, will enjoy it. After that, hopefully we can continue on.
I would like to explore all forms of acting and keep up with the theater side. I would love to get into films. That’s honestly my main ambition. I want to finish college and travel.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will you major in drama?
Kelsey Chow: Actually I’m majoring in Global Health, but I do want to take classes in theater, and maybe have a minor in it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Kelsey Chow: I’m up for everything (laughs). I love being around my friends so we have a good time doing whatever. LA has a lot to offer. We go to the beach, enjoy hiking, and I love concerts.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is there time for a boyfriend?
Kelsey Chow: Well, I have some really good friends here that I’m lucky to have. Good friends are hard to find, but I have a group here that keeps me sane (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have a birthday coming up next month. Do you have any special plans?
Kelsey Chow: I’m getting up there (laughs). Nineteen … I feel so much older. I don’t know, though, I think I look pretty young. Actually the other day someone asked me if I was old enough to drive a car.
Honestly, I have no idea. I’d love to spend my birthday with my friends and family. I did get to go back home a little while ago. It’s so amazing to spend time with them. I think I left a little homesick this last time, too. It was a very short trip, but it’s important to me to go back home.
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