Mollee Gray is an American Jazz/Contemporary dancer, actress and singer from Utah. She had her TV debut in the High School Musical franchise as a principal dancer and later on her big break was reaching TOP 8 in So You Think You Can Dance Season 6. She plays "Giggles" in the Disney Channel Original Movie Teen Beach Movie.
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I played Giggles in TEEN BEACH MOVIE and TEEN BEACH 2. I'm also going to be the lead character in the upcoming Lifetime movie DOUBLE DADDY, airing this Saturday June 6th. It's about my character, Amanda who goes off to summer camp and comes back with her life turned upside down because her boyfriend cheated on her and got his other girlfriend pregnant, and then she realizes she's pregnant too! You can check out a sneak peek here: http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/double-daddy/video/double-daddy-preview-clip
You can follow me on instagram @mollsgrayy and on Twitter too at the same handle.
I'm here at reddit NYC with Victoria to answer your questions. AMA!
I just want to say thank you always for being there, and I know a lot of you have been supporters since I was 12, or are new supporters, and you have never judged me or given me negative feedback or negative energy. You make it fun to be able to talk to you guys! So it's easy to answer questions when you have amazing fans.
What is the WORST present you have ever gotten?
I've gotten some weird presents. I would have to say... that's tricky... I'm not a sweets person, so when I get bags of candy & sweets, when I say "no sweets" and they say "Happy Birthday, here's a bag of M&Ms" it's like I don't eat them!
Do transformers get car or life insurance?
I feel like they would go with one of those insurance companies that gives both.
Just get all-around insurance.
That's a good question!
If you had a shrink ray who would you shrink and what would you do with them?
A shrink ray?!?! What would I do with them? I would probably shrink Jennifer Lawrence, because she's one of my idols and inspirations, and I'd want to have her advice on anything I did, and keep her in my pocket!
How did you get into acting?
My mom put me in dancing gymnastics when I was 3 years old. And I kind of fell in love with the arts since then. My mom was a theater kid, so since I was a baby, I have been doing acting! I had too much energy when I was a kid! And so to kind of make me a bit more tired, she put me in gymnastics, and then I took dance, and that's when they figured out it should possibly be a career thing. I booked my first job when I was 9 - an Olympics commercial and a movie called OUT OF STEP.
Are you amazed at the ratings success that the Teen Beach Movies have had in the core demo?
Yes. Without a doubt. It's just so crazy to me. I was a part of the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL franchise as a dancer, and we didn't know how big that was going to be. So to have no expectation of meeting HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, and then exceeding that, was an unbelievable feeling! Just so surreal.
Favorite thing about your job?
I think the constant inspiration that I'm around. There's never a dull moment, there's always something happening! It's also super-inspiring to work with people who are successful and constantly pushing themselves.
Hey Mollee! Thanks for doing this AMA.
Who do you get your dancing inspiration from? Like, who is your dancing idol?
And since you have a lot of experience in acting, singing and dancing, have you considered Broadway or taking part in any plays?
That's a good one. I love all the classics. Fosse's my favorite. But I think for dance inspiration, because dance is so popular right now in the entertainment industry, it's so easy to pull inspiration from anybody who can make a career out of it. When I was growing up, thinking about dance as a career wasn't popular, but now dance is very popular, so that's super-inspiring all around.
And what types of shows do you watch?
I'm addicted to LAW & ORDER: SVU. And BREAKOUT KINGS. It's about these people who are in prison, and they hire cons that are in prison, to catch a con that has broken out of prison. I'm watching it on Netflix right now. I love shows like that. I keep finding myself watching the Kardashians, even though I don't really like it! The drama, I can't believe it's real. And I also started watching Lifetime's new scripted show UNREAL - there's only one episode, but I'm addicted, so I can't wait to watch that show for the next few months.
That is wonderful! She would be even more cute!
You have a wonderful name btw!
Wow, thank you! I feel like sometimes when you talk to people who are celebrities, you do notice that they have a cool name, and I never thought I had a cool name, so thank you for saying I have a cool name.
Who are your dream actor/actresses you would like to work with?
Jennifer Lawrence, haha! And my dream to work with Ashton Kutcher, but that was my first acting job - I was a supporting actor in NO STRINGS ATTACHED, with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. I was like "This is pretty cool!" It was right after I did SYTYCD - I played a nerdy character who tried to get the popular boy but couldn't quite get with him until the end of the movie, and then Ashton's character was trying to give me advice on how to get him. Like, I ran up to his trailer for one of the scene, and my character's name was Sari, and he said "Sari, I told you to play hard to get!" so it was the contrast of how you're SUPPOSED to play hard to get, but my character didn't get that. So it was super funny.
Oh, and Johnny Depp! And Meryl Streep!
How did your mom feel about you playing the role of a pregnant teenager?
Oh my gosh! My family was just very much like "Well, at least you got the feeling out of the way! You know what it's like to be pregnant!" My parents were both cracking jokes about it. I didn't tell them I was pregnant in the movie, so I sent them a photo of the baby bump when I was trying it on, and my dad freaked out - he was like "Why didn't you tell me?!?!" and I was like "Just kidding! It's for a role I'm playing for a movie!"
You guys were #1 if I recall correctly on all of TV that night. The numbers were boffo.
What are you hoping audiences enjoy most about your new film?
I just want fans to see that there's more depth to me with acting than just a comedic or romantic role. The Lifetime movie is super-twisted, and a little darker (obviously) than Disney. So I'm hoping people perceive it well for my range as an actress. Especially being 24!
It seems like you've been told at several points along the way in your dance career that you're too young for a role (like High School Musical and SYTYCD). What's that like, and what made you push forward?
Yes, absolutely! And this is one of the biggest struggles i have in life, really, is people taking me seriously. Like, just because i look young doesn't mean I have a young mind. But it also means I am able to expand my age range, and continue to work as an actor. But I just want people to know that just because i look young, that doesn't mean I'm naive or immature. I just have young looks.
What movie or TV show really made you realize acting was for you?
I think it was being a part of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. And literally watching Corbin, and Zach, and Vanessa, watching them have so much responsibility as an actor - I thought it was really cool to see the process of that. So being a part of the action as a dancer, I realized I wanted to be a part of where they are, rather than a dancer.
do you prefer acting or dancing?
Acting. But that's because I feel like I've "retired" my dancing. It's not that I lost passion for it, I still have the most passion for dance, but I'm just ready for a new challenge. So I want to take on the responsibility for acting, rather than dancing.
Oh lord, that's hilariously cruel. Was the fake baby bump uncomfortable?
No. It wasn't. It felt very real. Which made it uncomfortable. It was made out of silicone, so it felt real. It literally felt like my belly. And it would give me tendencies that pregnant women have, so I'd have my back hurt, or I'd have to sit down, or my feet would get swollen if I stood up too long. There was a velcro strap in the back, and then they taped it, and then they'd put an ace bandage over it to smooth out any velcro bumps. It would start out cold, and then get sweaty after I'd worn it for 12 hours. Taking off that belly bump was the most amazing feeling.
The craziest thing I had to do while wearing the bump was get chased through the woods - it was an all-day scene! So running with something jiggling on you was very difficult. And this baby bump was heavy. So running with a weight on you was more difficult than running after eating a heavy lunch!
I will take the candy you don't want... Fo sho...
Great, you can have all my candy. Unless I'm having a candy craving, and then I might take it. But it only happens every once in a while.
What's your favorite band/artist?
Taylor Swift! I've been a fan of her since I was 16 years old, and she released her EP. So I've always been a big fan of hers. But as I'm older, I'm a musician as well, but I have a lot of respect for Sam Smith and classically trained singers like that. I started singing because of Christina Aguilera, because she was classically trained with a pop voice. But Taylor Swift's lyrics got to me, I was going through a breakup at the time when I was younger, and it must have struck a chord with me. Those are my main three, a little bit. Taylor Swift for the writing, and Sam Smith and Christina Aguilera for the vocals.
There's an artist called Tyrone Wells, he's an indie artist, he's epic. He just released a new album, and it's so happy! If I'm in a bad mood, I always play his song called "Roll with it." It's pretty perfect.
How's the ps4?
I don't have one. But I have the new Xbox One. And the Xbox One is super-cool. I don't play it too often, but my roommates make use of it. I like the racing kind of games, but also Madden. I love Madden! I might not be the best at it, but I'll give you a great game with lots of smack-talking.
You might wanna look into buying a ps4... you know, to prevent cancer and stuff
Yes, I will look into a PS4, because I definitely don't want to risk anything.
I don't think I've ever read a terrible script. I think there's scripts where it's been harder to find development in a character. But i haven't read a script where I said "I don't want to do this, the writing is bad."
I think it's getting to live this fairytale life, where you get to be any character that you want! If you want to be a princess, you can. If you want to be a crazy, twisted teenager, you can, and you won't be judged for it - people will understand it's your profession.
Oh, that's a tricky one! My favorite is WALK THE LINE, with Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. I love Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and Reese playing June was the most amazing thing ever. I love that film. It's the film I watch to go to bed, too!
What is your favorite sandwich?
Ok, so if I was at Subway, I'd get the Italian BMT. Pastrami, salami, all those meats put together!
If I wasn't at Subway, and I had to get a sandwich, I would say "What kind of meat you have?" and then I'd say "Put it ALL on a sandwich." I love meat! I'm such a carnivore!