For such a young actress, Rachel G. Fox is a well-known face to television viewers. Vividly remembered as Lynette’s step-daughter Kayla on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and currently as Ryder’s girlfriend on MELISSA & JOEY, Rachel has carved out a fantastic niche of strong-willed characters. In the the past year, Rachel has also brought her powerful talents to the big screen in such films as “Dream House” along side Daniel Craig and Naomi Watts, and the upcoming indie film “Jewtopia,” which co-stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and Jon Lovitz. Adding to her rapidly growing resume is the most recent episode of PRIVATE PRACTICE, where Rachel yet again portrayed a young woman that you will not soon forget. In an exclusive interview, Rachel talked candidly about her varied career and the highlights of working on all these fantastic film and television projects.
So your big episode on PRIVATE PRACTICE is about to air, are you excited for it to finally debut?
RACHEL: I am so excited! I got to see a clip of the show, and it looked really amazing.
Without giving away too much, maybe you could talk generally about what the role is and what everyone will be seeing?
RACHEL: Basically, my character’s sister got stabbed multiple times and she is rushed into the hospital and it is freaking me and everyone else out. It’s a very twisted role. It is very complex and very intense, and definitely one of the craziest roles for me to actually slip in and out of. But it is still extremely fun and a very memorable character.
What was your favorite part working on PRIVATE PRACTICE?
RACHEL: A couple of things. I love playing the crazy characters. That’s always fun. A big challenge, but that kind of challenge is the best. I loved it! And also getting to work with those actors and getting to work with the director, Tom Verica. He is an amazing director. I also loved working with Amy Brenneman. She is so sweet and she is one of those people that everybody just loves because she has such a kind heart and she’s amazing in what she does. She made is so fun for me. She’s always prepared and she’s always on top of it. That was just so fun for me to play off of — especially since most of my scenes were with her.
Do you feel like you were able to learn something from working with the PRIVATE PRACTICE cast?
RACHEL: Oh my gosh! Absolutely. I just learn things every day with all the different people I work with. It’s constant. I’m always gathering — always learning stuff.
Your picture with Taye Diggs was really fun. Maybe you could talk about the circumstances of taking that photo and working with Taye.
RACHEL: Oh my gosh, he is such a character! I loved him. He is hilarious! I only got to do one scene with him, that was the first scene. I wish I could have done more because he’s one of my favorite characters on the show. He’s just hilarious in person. I mean he was just so cool and he has such a relaxed energy. It was so funny, in that one scene that we shot with him, everyone else had all these really intricate lines and intricate paragraphs to memorize and he came in and he had one line — and while everyone else was nailing and hitting their paragraphs, he had one line and he couldn’t get that one line straight, and he knew it too. It was so funny. He kept messing it up and he had the easiest line out of everyone. It was funny. But he’s so light-hearted and has really great energy. He’s someone who just breaks out into song and dance and just chills out. He was a ton of fun to work with.
Do you find it easier or harder to work in such a light-hearted environment when you have to portray such a crazy role?
RACHEL: That’s a good question. You know what? I feel like it’s nice to kind of be surrounded by a little bit of everything. Like when you’re playing that kind of role, it’s good to be surrounded by focused people to keep you in focus and at the same time have a very light-hearted environment to kind of break the intense energy up a little bit. To have fun a little bit. You need both. And so I got the focused energy from some people — for instance, I got some great energy from being around Taye. So it was just nice. It was nice that I had access to such different things.
You seem to portray a lot of controversial, really interesting roles. Is that something that you’re particularly drawn to or is it something you’re falling into in your career?
RACHEL: It’s kind of something that I’m — actually it’s both, to be honest. ‘Cause when I first got the role for Kayla Scavo on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES — she’s another evil, very controversial character — and when I got the sides for this role, like when I got the audition, I knew immediately that I wanted to play both of these roles. When I got the sides for PRIVATE PRACTICE, I read it and was just like, “Oh my gosh, I have to play this role.” And sure enough, I did. So it’s a combination of, yes, I’m very much drawn to playing this kind of different kind of, extremely complex role; and it’s just something I keep falling into.
Your career has also taken a comedic turn, which is quite charming. You have your role in the upcoming film “Jewtopia” and your role on MELISSA & JOEY. Do you also have a strong draw to do comedy?
RACHEL: Absolutely! Comedy is so much fun. It’s great for the soul. Those sets are amazing because all we do is laugh. It’s just one big laugh fest the entire time. “Jewtopia” was that way. Being around Jon Lovitz so much so. I play his daughter in that. It was just fantastic. He’s always making jokes and he’s just one of those guys that if you even look at him, you burst out laughing ’cause he does these funny little movements with his face. He was so funny and so much fun to be around. And then working on MELISSA & JOEY, it’s the same thing. They are both comedically genius. They have a constant back-and-forth banter in real life, as well as on the show. It’s just fun. Comedy is so much fun. You just get to make jokes all day long with people. You sit around and laugh with these very talented people.
Do you find yourself wanting to switch back and forth, meaning you want to do a drama, then you’ll want to do a comedy?
RACHEL: Yeah, you know what? In a way, kind of. After doing a lot of comedy, while it is very fun, the projects I choose to do, I want to keep it varied. I want to keep a good variety of things. I am, in that way, kind of enjoying going back and forth.
On MELISSA & JOEY, your character Holly is the more controlling one, but she seemed to lose some of her control at the end of last season. Is she going to revert back to that really controlled state, or are they going to kind of change the character a little bit?
RACHEL: You’ll have to wait and see. Once again, I don’t want to give too much away on what happens. I will say that Holly does kind of go through a change of character — a reinvention of herself. She goes through therapy and I think people will be surprised at how she comes across a little differently in the second season. But it’s very funny and the dynamic between Holly and Ryder is just funny and amazing.
What’s your favorite part of playing such a buttoned-up role like Holly on MELISSA & JOEY?
RACHEL: It’s fun to get my controlling-side out for Holly. [Laughs] It’s for all the times I wish I could use my controlling voice in real life. I get to exercise that through Holly. Aside from that, playing a controlling role, I love the fact that she is so defined. People know her as the controlling girlfriend of Ryder. I like the fact that playing a controlling role really gives her that definition — that she’s not a regular girl. It’s what makes her addicting in a way. Her control is what makes people remember her.
Your career looks to be so effortless for those of us looking in from the outside. Does it feel as effortless for you to achieve the success you’ve had, particularly in the last couple of years?
RACHEL: [Laughs] Not one bit! There is so much that goes on behind the scenes. There’s always so much. It’s hard for me to even explain. There’s so much effort that goes into everything and there’s so much to go through. It’s not like pain and struggle. But there’s a lot you have to go through. So much of it is draining emotionally when you do things like the role on PRIVATE PRACTICE, and just the actual auditioning. The audition process is what makes this industry tough. That’s what makes it kind of hard to stick with it and get through it sometimes. Because you have to jump through a lot of hoops. But I think if you really love it though, if you seriously love it more than anything, it’s worth it. So far that’s what’s kept me going. I just know at the end of the day that there’s an amazing reward waiting for me — just to be on set. So I go through all the crazy auditioning and some of the other crazy things I’ve had to go through just to stay and keep doing what I love.
For you, what is the biggest reward for all that hard work?
RACHEL: It’s absolutely the achievement. Every time I get a call that I’ve booked a role, it’s such an achievement to me. To have made it through all the many auditions and whatever hoops you jump through to get there. It means you’ve conquered a character and made them love what you did. So they’re allowing you to take on the role because they believe you can do it — and that’s an achievement to have been able to show that.
Finally, besides your roles on PRIVATE PRACTICE and MELISSA & JOEY, is there anything else you would like your fans to keep an eye out for?
RACHEL: “Jewtopia” is coming out. It’s going to be screened at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Thursday. I’m very excited about that! Also, I have a Twitter account (@RachelGFox) where people can follow me there.
As Rachel’s career continues steadily, she appears to conquer roles both in film and television, whether comedic or dramatic, with such ease and grace. Thus, it is a delight that we will be watching what she tackles next. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing her latest film “Jewtopia” and her reprisal of the role Holly in MELISSA & JOEY, which returns May 30th on ABC Family Channel.
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