Inside BELLO: Jillian Rose Reed – Everyone’s Favorite

Jillian Rose Reed, Everyone’s Favorite

Redheaded and spunky are two words that can be used to describe Awkward’s Jillian Rose Reed. The same could be said about her character, Tamara Kaplan, a fast-talking gossip queen who holds loyalty above all else. Awkward has continued to break records for the network years after its premiere in 2011; at the time of this writing, it is at its 65th episode mark, a first in MTV’s scripted history. And then there’s the strong presence of its stars on social media, particularly Twitter…


Jillian Rose Reed is feature on the Entertainment cover inside BELLO mag – Young Hollywood – December 2014 issue, available to download worldwide on Google Play, iTunes App Store and Amazon.


“There wasn’t much of an expectation, so we started off as this underground show. The first season, we did really well, but it was a cult show that not everyone knew about,” she recalls. “Then, through social media, we blew up once season two came around. We owe it all to the fans that have been dedicated from the beginning and started talking about the show. It’s been a really wild ride. Fast, but fun.” Coincidentally, the teen comedy premiered around the same time platforms like Twitter were beginning to take off, putting them among shows like Scandal and Pretty Little Liars, whose stars have thrived on the social network, expanding their show’s viewership as well as their own fan base.

Change would also come for Reed’s character. Always a fan favorite, Tamara has gone through one of the bigger arcs in series. “It was different. I went from season two Tamara, who had this long hair and was super girly, and was figuring herself out. Then she came back for season three with her hair chopped off and a new boyfriend. She was a little bit more cultured and confident, and that was a big for her, and for me. When you’re an actor playing any character, the biggest thing you want is for your character to evolve, because they’re human, and humans evolve. It was super fun to play for me.” Thankfully, Tamara’s “slangtionary” is not only still used, but has expanded over the years.

“In the pilot and early episodes, she always had that about her,” she tells me. “But more recently, they’ve given me these giant paragraphs with really crazy words because they realize that I can talk really fast and they think it’s good comedy. They’ve seen what I can do and have added to the character.” Reed gives credit to her friends when talking about her inspiration behind Tamara, citing that “there’s a little bit of me and a lot of my friends in her. I’ve played her for four years now. She’s a part of me.”

As bubbly on-screen as she is off , Jillian brings energy and quick teenage wit to the show. Her natural ease with dialogue and impeccable comedic timing have made her one of the funniest female characters amongst the “funny girl” troupe on primetime television. So it’s no surprise that she plans to continue her path on the funny brick rode post-Awkward.

“Starting out, I just wanted to take any job I could get,” she admits. “Now that I’ve been in TV for so long, and that I’ve been doing comedy for so long, it’s the only thing that I could really see myself doing. I’d like to get into film and touch on drama. But as far as my career in the long haul, I’d love to be in a long running series like Friends.” Her current show is nearing its fifth season mark, and should that happen, it would be another first for the network.

Whether college is in store for the gang in a hopeful season five is yet to be seen, but Reed already has ideas of what she hopes for Tamara. “I’d like to see Tamara take a trip to New York City, and try and get into some sort of performing arts school. In season one we touched on the fact that she likes to act and sing, but she’s not very good at it. Just imagine Tamara auditioning for NYU’s drama program and what that would do to her.” If I had to guess…where do I begin? For now, fans can look forward to the end of season four, when the whole gang goes on spring break. “There’s a lot of drama, boys, and music.” What more do we need, really?

In real life, Jillian Rose Reed is up to much more. At 22, she’s venturing off into producing (Tamara would intern!). “It’s something I had planned on doing, but didn’t necessarily think I’d be doing now,” she reveals. “But a friend of mine who wrote a screenplay approached me, originally wanting me to play one of the characters in her script. As the script developed, and as I got more involved in it, she asked me to come on as a producer. By now we’ve done a couple of table reads where I got to bring in actors. It’s all the behind-the-scenes stuff that I never get to do.”


Next? An indie movie for the festival crowd by the name of Confessions of a Womanizer, wherein she stars opposite Gary Busey and Andy Lawrence. In Confessions, Lawrence plays a..well, a womanizer…who decides to settle down. Reed plays Megan, the first of three girlfriends he has throughout the story. Currently, the film is circulating around various film festivals and premiering at others.

She’s busy. And it doesn’t stop there. With the help of some of her Awkward cast mates, Reed hosted a “Grandparents Gone Wired” event for, where they raided a senior living facility and set everyone up on Facebook. That’s right, Facebook. That way, they could keep track of not only their grandkids but those long-lost high school friends, too. Perfect…just perfect. Her close-knit cast has also assisted in hosting a clothing drive for the organization. In addition to that, the MTV star and her family have been involved with the American Diabetes Association for several years now. She was inspired to help out those like her older brother who are living with diabetes. “Now that I’m able to give back, I’ve been able to do a lot of things for them. It’s really close to my heart.” With a third cause under her belt, Jillian Rose Reed has nothing on a charity-event-attending socialite. Breaking The Chains, the campaign in which the Michigan native holds the title of spokesperson, deals with a topic once covered on her hit show: eating disorders. “The foundation is about changing the face of eating disorders,” she says. “It’s always been seen as this shameful disease. We’re bringing light to it by using art as our forum, encouraging people who are struggling to come forward.”

By the time this is printed, Jillian Rose Reed might have another long line of achievements (as girls like her tend to do), and for that very reason, I will stop right here.

photography YONI GOLDBERG
words by DIO ANTHONY

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

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