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Vanessa Lengies Actress

Vanessa Lengies

Vanessa stars as "Roxanne Bojarski" on NBC's drama series "American Dreams". “She’s definitely outgoing,” says Lengies about her character. “I admire her dedication to her friend (Meg Pryor, played by Snow). She’ll do anything, even if it means being a little bad.” Lengies has always had a love for the arts. “I wanted to act pretty much since I was able to speak,” she says. She began acting professionally at the age of 9, appearing in cable family shows and rendered her voice several animated characters. Lengies’ television credits include regular roles on the children’s cable series “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” and “Sponk,” as well as a co-host role on the science program “Popular Mechanics for Kids.” She also starred in the cable film “Ratz,” with Ron Silver and Kathy Baker. Along with her television appearances, Lengies has starred in a variety of animated series, including “For Better or for Worse,” “Little Lulu,” “Tales of the Great Bunny,” “Arthur” and “Calillou.” Away from “American Dreams,” Lengies divides her time between snowboarding, a love for arts/crafts and redecorating, event planning, dancing and singing. When not shooting her series, she lives in Montreal with her mother and father, where she has recently completed high school. Vanessa Lynne-Marie Lengies was born on July 21, 1985, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 2001 for her performance in Ratz. Vanesa was nominated for a Young Artist Award in 2003 for her performance in American Dreams. She says she misses Canada a lot and wishes she didn't have to be away from home so much. Her nicknames are Nessa, Nessy and Ness. Her parents were orginally going to name her "Sarah" which is also the name of her character on Radio Active.


Vanessa Lengies: American bad girl

She plays Meg's feisty best friend on American Dreams. Get to know the real girl behind the bad girl...

Q: How difficult of a decision was it to leave behind your high school years to do the show?

Vanessa Lengies: To me, this was the next step. Where I lived in Montreal, high school was from grade 7 to grade 11. Then, you graduate and go to junior college for two years. Then, you go to University. I had my school life planned out and I got American Dreams in my graduating year. In my career as an actress, I realized this was the next step. I had to change my educations plans a little bit, but it was worth it. I still did school out here while I was filming the show. Next year, I'm going to college. I'm doing some courses. Because of American Dreams, I can't do all my courses so I'm doing independent studies.

Q: I understand you and your co-star Brittany Snow have become quite close.

Vanessa Lengies: We get along so well. We're constantly laughing and being goof balls. We have a handshake that we started when we started filming the show. It's since evolved into this three minute handshake. It's all of our inside jokes combined. Nobody else understands it because it's in code. It's funny gestures and sayings. It's really weird.

Q: What are some of your inside jokes?

Vanessa Lengies: We're constantly quoting lines from movies... from Austin Powers. It's one of our favorite comedies. That and Zoolander and Dude, Where's My Car.

Q: What was your favorite course in school?

Vanessa Lengies: In eighth grade, they had a Home EC course. It basically taught us how to take care of stuff in the home. There's a cooking part of the course and sewing part. Then, there was this interior design part of the course. Nobody took any of it seriously. I fell in love with interior design in that course. At the end, we had to make a model of our favorite room. Everybody brought in their little shoeboxes. My model was this hand-painted model made out of cardboard and foam. I loved it. Architecture is something I always loved.

Q: How difficult is balancing classes and memorizing lines?

Vanessa Lengies: If you work at a cash register, you'll become good at it -- you become good at adding numbers together mentally. It's the same thing. Learning lines is intimidating at first. After a while, you become good at it. Practice makes perfect. You work your brain to start remembering things. Some people are good at memorizing numbers or orders, I'm good at memorizing lines.

Q: How are you like your character Roxanne?

Vanessa Lengies: She's outgoing like me. She's focused. I like going out and meeting people.

Q:How are you different?

Vanessa Lengies: There are a lot more ways that she's not like me. She's got this flirtatious side that I, almost, wish I had. I'm more shy. If I wanted to be like that, I'd have to act. She's the bad girl. I'm the opposite of bad girl. She talks back to people. I'd think about it for a couple weeks and probably cry about it. I'd have nightmares about it. I hate getting in trouble. Roxanne doesn't care what people think. She puts people in their place. It's so funny because we're polar opposite. She's not a boring character to play. I wouldn't want to be like her, but I love everything about her. She's a bad girl, but she's got a big heart.

Q: Do you have any friends like Roxanne?

Vanessa Lengies: I'm in the goody-two shoe group. I don't have any friends like that.

Q: You were in the goody-two shoe group?

Vanessa Lengies: I didn't have time to be part of a group. High school was different steps. It depends on what year. Seventh and eighth grade, I was a science geek. Ninth, tenth, and eleventh, I was all over the place. I guess I was the underdog advocate. I would talk back to the bully's if they were picking on anybody. I prided myself on that. They're not the cool group.

Q: Do you miss being in school and seeing friends?

Vanessa Lengies: I went to high school for all the years. I'd miss sometimes, but I had a tutor to make up for it. Because I was away from school so much, I loved being there. I was one of those dorks who loved school. One of the highlights of my week was being able to go to school for a couple days. I was involved in every activity that I could. I was editor of my yearbook and on the council for student life. I was always trying to make our school better and raise money for organizations. If acting doesn't work out, I want to be a planner.

Q: How do you think growing up in the 60's differs from teens growing up today?

Vanessa Lengies: I think there's a lot more pressure to grow up today. In the sixties, whatever age you were you were expected to be that age. It's more accelerated. I think it's the events in the media. Most households today have TV's. Back then, you had to have a good amount of money to get a TV. People are exposed to a lot more at younger ages now than they were in the sixties. They had teen magazines back then, but now there are like ten teen magazines. There's satellite TV. Radio. Media is a bigger part of society than it was in the nineteen-sixties. Sometimes it works for the better and sometimes it doesn't. Teens should sit back and say, "I'm a teen. I'm a kid. I'm not supposed to be like an adult." That's the way the world works though and you can't fight it. That's a hard question. I could write a thesis about that.

Q: {laughs} That's your assignment for next week. What's something fans would be surprised to learn about your co-star Brittany Snow?

Vanessa Vengies: I think people would be surprised to know that Brittany boxes. She takes boxing classes.

Q: What's your favorite episode?

The Christmas episode because you got to see behind Roxanne. You always see her being flirtatious and energetic, but this showed you a different side of her. The beach episode was fun too. We're always in the studio so it was like a field trip being able to go to the beach. It's the episode where Meg and Roxanne get into a fight about the other popular girls who wind up being mean.

Vanessa Lengies stars in the new TV show ''American Dreams"

This drama is easily the best new show on TV this fall. The writing, acting, cinematography and music take you back to a decade of turbulent change. The Pryors are a Catholic family in Philadelphia in 1963. The older daughter, good student Meg (Brittany Snow of "Guiding Light"), dreams of getting on "American Bandstand" with her wild best friend, Roxanne (Vanessa Lengies
of "Popular Mechanics for Kids"). Older son JJ (Will Estes of "7th Heaven"), meanwhile, isn't sure he wants to continue to play football, even though that's his ticket for getting into the University of Notre Dame. The father, Jack Pryor (Tom Verica of "Providence"), insists that Meg stay off
"Bandstand" and that JJ stay in football, but he doesn't have total control over his kids. And his wife, Helen (Gail O'Grady of "NYPD Blue"), starts to take college classes and begins to wonder whether being a housewife is enough. Created by Jonathan Prince and produced by Prince and "American Bandstand" legend Dick Clark, "American Dreams" tackles the 1960s with honesty. It brings the decade's social changes to a personal level. What's more, it has something that's lacking in many of this fall's new shows: characters we care about deeply.

Meet Vanessa Lengies as Roxana Bojarski, flipping genius

I've done it America! I've discovered how I'm going to make my millions!

For Luke and I, managing bands has proved to be harder (and more expensive) then we had originally imagined. I mean 'The Association' was the most disastrous project that I've ever "associated" myself with. They were always fighting, and asking for stuff and firing each other. What a mess!

But being sent back to the drawing board after that experience forced me to analyze where Luke and I had gone wrong. What caused the demise of The Associations? What I realized was that it wasn't our fault at all, I already knew it wasn't MY fault, because nothing ever is… but I found out it wasn't Luke's fault either. Surprising, I know. I came to the conclusion that it was the lead singers fault, and always is! I mean when someone becomes the shining star of a famous group everything starts to crumble. People give them preferential treatment, which makes the band jealous, then mean words are exchanged and feelings get hurt, and THEN the once tight knit unit becomes a sad unraveled pile of wool. Ok, that was a terrible knitting analogy… I don't think I even know what a proper ANALOGY is (Patty, Meg's sister, tried to explain it to me once with little success). THE POINT: All groups break up one day, so my big idea (that I am finally getting to) is that Luke and I are going to go to the back up singers of all these bands and offer to manage them! And we'll do it NOW so that we are ahead of the game when they inevitably split up! I'm going to use my connections at Bandstand to make the deals. It's the perfect plan because there are just so many options; Not Gladys Night but The Pips, not Curtis Mayfield but The Impressions, and not Smokey Robinson but The Miracles! I mean, back up singers are the hidden gold of this industry! I'm convinced. And as soon as Luke and I agree on our musical requirements for the bands (he actually believes Phil Ochs type groups are going to make us money!?!) and once I make my millions I'll be able to cut and style hair as much as I want or as little as I want and not have to worry about money. That's the goal and that's the plan, I'm going to be concentrating all my energy on bringing the two together… and I'll be keeping you posted the whole way!


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