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Brittany Snow of NBC’s “American Dreams” talks about her character, clothes and how she fell for Nick Carter.
This story first appeared in the November 7, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
NEW YORK — For a 16-year-old living in 2002, dancing on “American Bandstand” in 1963 seemed impossible. That isn’t the case for Brittany Snow.
A dancer since the age of 3, Snow is one of NBC’s newest rising stars. She plays Meg Pryor, the oldest daughter on “American Dreams,” a new drama about a family living in 1963 Philadelphia.
Just after the assassination of President Kennedy, it’s a time of major changes in American history and the family faces such social issues as segregation and women’s rights. For Meg, the most important thing is to dance on the hit television show “American Bandstand,” an opportunity that knocks on her door when she is asked by a producer to dance as a regular. Meg’s traditional and semistrict father, Jack, played by Tom Verica, opposes Meg’s interest in the show, but eventually gives in and allows her to dance.
While Snow is clearly the star of the show, she doesn’t think of her role in that way.
“This is a show about a family,” she said. “I don’t really think of it as a leading role.”
Snow is a newcomer to primetime TV. She appeared in several national commercials beginning at age 6, but soon realized she wanted to do more. Auditioning for many roles at age 8, Snow got a break when she landed the role of bad-girl Susan on the long-running soap opera, “Guiding Light.” Snow played the role for three years before leaving the show.
“There wasn’t a tutor on the set of ‘Guiding Light,’” she recalled. “My mom and I would travel back and forth from New York to Tampa, so I could get my assignments and work on them during taping breaks. It was really hard, but I wanted to do the show, so I did it.”
Then, Snow’s dream came true, landing her biggest gig yet in the role of Meg.
“At first, I really didn’t know how I was going to become this character,” she said. “But I did a lot of research on the Sixties, read books and studied tapes of ‘American Bandstand,’ and it became easy to become Meg. I realized that even though she is 15 and I am 16, we are going through a lot of similar things in our lives. For me, I am having the time of my life on ‘American Dreams’ and Meg is having the time of her life on ‘Bandstand.’”
Now that Snow has gotten used to Meg, she said she is comfortable playing the part and has learned to appreciate the culture of the Sixties.
“Living in the Sixties is so cool. The clothes are so amazing that when I go shopping now, I end up picking up cardigans and long skirts, and that isn’t really my style,” she said. “I have also always been a fan of music from that time. When I was younger, that was all I listened to. So now when I am on the set, I know all the words to the songs and everyone is so impressed.”
A fan of music in general, Snow said she wasn’t allowed to listen to rap music when she was younger, but has learned to appreciate almost every style of music. So, she said, this is the perfect role for her. With “American Bandstand” as a major focal point of “American Dreams,” producers of the show have managed to wrap in some impressive guest stars for the first season. First, pop singer Michelle Branch appeared as Leslie Gore and audiences saw pop heartthrob Nick Carter as Jay Black of Jay & the Americans last Sunday. This week R&B singer Usher will appear as a young Marvin Gaye.
“It’s funny because I was told that I had to act really excited and nervous because Meg was meeting these stars,” she explained. “It really wasn’t that hard for me to act that way because while Meg was meeting Leslie Gore, I was meeting Michelle Branch. That was so amazing, and Nick Carter, well, I just fell in love with Nick.”
While these singers of today were cast to play stars of the Sixties, Snow said one co-executive producer is on the set regularly to make sure the “American Bandstand” scenes are authentic. And he should know better than anyone, since he was the host of the show.
“Dick Clark is on the set a lot,” she said. “He is just so cool and we all learn a lot from him. He’s always there to help and he’s great at directing us to make sure the ‘Bandstand’ scenes are as real as possible.”
As an only child, Snow said one of the hardest things to get used to on the show was having to relate to three siblings. On the show, Meg has two brothers and one pesky little sister.
“I don’t have any experiences of my own dealing with siblings,” she said, noting that she has half-siblings who are much older than she is. “So when Meg argues with her sister Patty, that comes from watching my friends fighting with their sisters and brothers,” she added.
While Snow did stress her own constant similarities to Meg, when it comes to fashion, their styles are not so alike. She said she enjoys wearing the cardigans and long skirts on the show, but when she has a day off, she is more into the styles of today, for the most part. A jeans lover, Snow admitted that she owns more than 20 pairs and likes shopping at stores such as Forever 21, Guess, Rampage, Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch.
“I also love Charlotte Russe and H&M,” she said. “I always make sure I go to H&M when I am in New York. It’s my all-time favorite store. They have the cutest things.”
Snow describes her style as preppy and trendy, but never too sexy.
“I don’t like to dress too sexy,” she said. “I’m just not comfortable that way and I really don’t want people to see me and say ‘Wow, look at that girl! She’s popping out!’ That would be awful.”
Snow doesn’t have a lot of free time these days. When she isn’t taping the show, she is working on homework or learning the “mashed potato” and “the twist” with dance instructors. But she does find time to go to the movies, which is one of her favorite things to do. Beside that, she always seems to find time to go to the mall.
“I love to shop,” she said. “What girl doesn’t?”