Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Interview: Actress/Model Ginny Gardner

It’s rare when you can actually pinpoint the exact moment you know an actress has got it. When you know that the person you’re watching was born to perform, born to entertain, born to be a star. I knew Ginny Gardner had it when she was first introduced in the fourth season of Glee. As Blake Jenner looks up to an open doorway, in walks Ginny Gardner – slow motion, hair blowing in the wind, pop music blaring over the soundtrack. It’s a scene we’ve all seen before, and for an actress to pull it off convincingly is certainly no easy feat. But from that moment, Ginny Gardner had me sold.

I was fortunate enough to speak with the young actress/model a few days ago, and here’s what she had to tell me about modeling as an education, the dynamics of the Glee set, and what it feels like to be the POV of a found footage film.

You wanted to be an actress from a very early age. Where did your inspiration to act come from?
You know what it was? It was seeing kids on the Disney Channel. Seeing kids my age acting in movies and on TV. It made me do what I wanted to do. My dad got me a little director’s chair when I was 6 years old, and that was my game. Performing with that chair, acting like I was in a movie. I’d perform for my parents in the living room during dinner. That was always my thing.

The Ford Modeling Agency picked you up when you were 13…
My parents tried to talk me out of it. My mom was in the industry for a long time and she was always trying to talk me out of it. But I was always stubborn enough to go behind their back and do it anyway. [Laughs.] So I submitted myself to a lot of agencies, and started hearing back from them when I was 13.

Being a teenager is hard enough, what is it like when you add a demanding professional career into the mix?
I really loved it. To be honest, school was never really my thing. I was never very interested in what we were learning, you know?
I was the same way – K-12, couldn’t care less.
Right. So through modeling and acting, I was learning about the things I wanted to learn about. It was a sort of school for me. I was always mature for my age, and I always fit in well with adults. So it was the perfect scenario for me.

Have your parents come around to embracing your career?
Oh yes. Ever since I submitted myself to agencies and got my career going without their help, they knew I was taking this very seriously. And they’ve been so supportive since.

What’s the psychology of modeling like? Do you adopt a new character or persona for every shoot?
I’ve always tried to make modeling fun for me by creating a new character for every shoot. I don’t know if that’s something necessarily all models do, but that’s always how I’ve made it fun for myself. I’ve always adopted a persona for how the clothing or make-up or scenery makes me feel.

I’m curious about the effect of fame. You’re a young star in the limelight, and I’m wondering what’s it like. You have Twitter profiles dedicated to you, people serenade you with songs on YouTube… is it ever overwhelming?
[Laughs.] Well, as of now I think it is really cute and flattering. For someone to actually care about me that much is a really exciting thing, if that makes sense. [Laughs.] I’ve actually seen and watched all that stuff you mentioned. I’ve responded to that Twitter account and the user told me how much I made their day, and that’s just incredible.

Ginny on Glee
Your introduction on Glee (other than the profile face chats) was a difficult one to pull off, but you nailed it. What was it intimidating filming such a nostalgic type of introduction?
I guess it was a little bit intimidating. [Laughs.] They had this giant fan right in front of me and the whole thing looked very dramatic, but it was so much fun. I just told myself to have fun with it and see how it turns out. It’s a scene that has been done so many times in so many different ways, so my hope was to make it memorable in my own way.

Glee is a powerhouse show. One of the most popular on television, certainly. What was it like to be a part of?
It’s funny, because I don’t sing, and I always told myself that I would never book Glee. And when I ended up booking it, I mean… wow. It was amazing to be a part of it. Everyone on the show was great to work with – they’re so talented and have so much respect for the show itself. To see how much work goes into those dance numbers… it was really impressive.

The dramatic arc of one of the episodes you were featured in (Shooting Star, S. 4 Ep. 18) was a school shooting, and it made for one of the most intense episodes of the series yet. What was it like being part of episode?
Everyone on set was talking about how emotional of a time it was for them. How they had to go to some really dark places within themselves. I wasn’t there when they filmed those scenes, but when I saw how it all came together on the final show, I knew that they had done something special. They were very sensitive to the subject.

How much can you tell me about Almanac, the new Michael Bay-produced time travel film that you’re starring in.
It’s awesome. Really, awesome. I’m not allowed to say a lot about it, but it’s about five teenagers who discover a time machine. The movie isn’t about Where would you go if you had a time machine, but more of What would you do. And that made it a lot of fun. Again, I can’t talk too much about it, but I think it’s going to be one of the most fun movies next year, by far.
That sounds great.
Okay a little more. [Laughs.] It’s a found footage film and I’m actually the camera. The bulk of the movie is told from my point of view. And we all got to break the fourth wall and talk to the camera… it was a great experience.
Okay, wait a minute, back up. I’ve never had the chance to ask the POV of a found footage movie what the actual filming process is like, so you have to dish a little about that.
[Laughs.] Well I’m not actually holding the camera. But I am standing right behind the camera operator so it looks like I’m holding it. It took some getting used to, but then we all just fell into it. It was great, I’m so excited for the movie.

You talk often on social media about your brother, who has autism. I’m inspired by people who use their celebrity to help raise awareness about a cause. Tell me about your autism advocacy efforts.
My whole family is involved in a number of organizations. My dad’s family was one of the founding families of the UC Davis MIND Institute, which is an institute that aims to find a cure for autism. When my parents found out my brother had autism, they chose to advocate and fight. They opened the MIND Institute and have helped a lot of families. I really respect my parents for that.

I’m personally very involved with an organization in Sacramento called the Evening of Dreams, which is a prom we put on for kids with autism. They may not be able to go to their own prom, so we get people together and take them to this prom we host. They get dressed up, dance, have fun – it’s a really great thing. I’d love to bring it to L.A. at some point, I think it’d be a really great thing to have here.

That’s great, really something noble to aspire to. So aside from your charitable aspirations, what acting role are you dying to play? You’re young and you have your whole career ahead of you… where would you like to see it go?
There’s a lot I would love to do. One of my favorite movies is There’s Something About Mary, and I think it’d be really fun to play a role like Cameron Diaz’s part. I love movies that discuss autism, and I think it’d be great to do a movie that incorporates autism into the material. Charlize Theron in Monster is another performance that fascinates me. I’d love to play a darker character like that. Something that people wouldn’t expect from me. I love doing fun, comedic work, but throwing something dark and unexpected in there would be great. It’s good to mix things up.

Follow Ginny on Twitter @GinnsGardner 

All photos are from Ginny's Facebook and IMDb pages


  1. Man, she's pretty. Plus, definitely someone who seems cool. It still won't make me see Glee. I never liked those awful songs and what it wanted to do. Plus, I think Ryan Murphy fucking sucks.

    1. Ha, I'm actually a fan of Murphy's work. I loved Nip/Tuck but definitely think it went off the rails in its final seasons. But either way, trust me man, this young lady is going to be a big, big star.

  2. Wait a sec, you watch Glee?? I would never have guessed.

    Nice interview btw.

    1. I'm a casual viewer of the show, only because a few women I've dated were fanatical about it.

      "My girlfriend's a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian..." That sort of thing.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. She seems like a cool girl doing things the right way. Good luck to her.

    Working with kids, it doesn't surprise me that she said the Disney channel was a big part of her motivation growing up. The majority of kids I teach reference those shows as the reason they want to be famous. Good for her for following through on that.

    Solid interview, man. I'm always impressed with your level of preparation/knowledge. Well done.

    1. Thanks man, I really appreciate you reading and commenting. That's cool to hear about the kids you work with. I too agree that it takes some bravery to follow through with your dreams like Ginny did. I really think she's going to be a star.

  4. Great interview man. That found footage flick sounds interesting. I don't watch Glee, so it'll be nice to see her in something.

    1. Thanks buddy. I think the found footage flick will be groovy. Maybe I'll be biased by the time I see it, but she definitely sold me.