Actress Greer Grammer. Photo Credit: Angelo Kritikos.

Actress Greer Grammer. Photo Credit: Angelo Kritikos.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Greer Grammer, an up-and-coming young performer as well as the daughter of Kelsey Grammer, the star of TV’s Frasier and the upcoming fourth installment of Transformers. I found her refreshingly open in all her responses, as she spoke about her family, the support she has always felt from them, and where she sees herself in 20 years. At the still tender age of 22, she’s enjoying a regular role as the peppy-cheerleader “Lissa” on MTV’s hit series Awkward, and just finished a co-starring role in Life Partners, one of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival’s top ten indie films, where she played alongside actress Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl) and actor Adam Brody (The OC).

Has all this made the former beauty pageant competitor just a little bit giddy over her good fortune? Not really. She’s surprisingly down-to-earth for such early success, and admits that she still goes to Disneyland every week or so like any self-respecting five-year-old. Her voice sparkles with the simple joy of being alive, and such a sense of well-being at any age is delightful to encounter. This sparkling blonde’s feet are firmly planted at ground zero for whatever the future brings — and from where this interviewer stands, it’s looking pretty good indeed.

GALO: First off, let’s talk about your recent role in Life Partners. The script explores the close relationship between two female friends and the conflict when one of the girls begins dating a young man she’s met. With a large female cast and director, it was one of the most interesting films to emerge from the Tribeca Film Festival this year. How did that experience come together for you?

Greer Grammer: It was great. My character was, like most 20-year-olds are, excited about the future, fun-loving, not worried about much of anything. She runs into Leighton Meester’s character at a bar, in a funny way, and she really falls for her, and, I don’t know, likes her. Leighton was so cool, such a great person to work with.

GALO: I’m sure the film will get good coverage. The ensemble seemed to work so well together.

GG: Absolutely! In general, it was so cool, with primarily all women, which was awesome — there was a time where you felt Adam was the only guy.

GALO: The characterizations felt refreshing and honest.

GG: Yes, definitely.

GALO: How did that compare with your sweet character in MTV’s Awkward? You grew up in Malibu, had an early career in pageantry, winning several titles [Greer was Miss Teen Malibu in 2008-2009 and placed in the top 10 for Miss California Teen USA from 2008-2010]. Was the part an easy fit for you?

GG: Oh, yeah. You know Lissa, my character, and I have a lot in common — in the way that she’s very bubbly, upbeat, kind of outgoing…a lot of fun to play. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown out of my “oh my God!” phase but a little of being a child still remains. I’m still a five-year-old.

GALO: You come from a somewhat large family with half siblings of different ages. How do you learn to get along? Your older half-sister Spencer is an actress just like you. Are there any others in your family that you think will put their feet in the water or do you feel like the odd girl out?

GG: Right now it’s just me and Spencer — she’s nine years older than me but as we’ve gotten older, the age difference has gotten smaller. My little sister Mason is 12 now and she’s said she wants to act but she [also] wants to do soccer, and she’s doing dance and gymnastics. I don’t know. She’s so young.

GALO: She could go through lots of changes between 12 and 20.

GG: Yes. My little brother Jude, I don’t know if he wants to do that. He’s nine, and I think when he was younger he said he did… When you grow up with watching your dad on TV…

GALO: There just might be a creative gene running in your family.

GG: Oh yeah. [Laughter]

GALO: I’m sure your father at his age has faced challenges over the years in the business. Was he ever resistant to your own performing?

GG: He’s been great. He’s always been really supportive, as long as I wanted to do it for the right reasons and not just to be famous — if I liked it. But if I didn’t, well then, no, there was no reason to do it. He always felt it was a lot harder on girls. That’s how it was with my mother in the industry. My mom’s a makeup artist. She just didn’t want me to be a brat. The resistance came from both ends. She said, “If you just want to be followed by photographers and get your picture taken…”

GALO: You started off at a pretty early age. Maybe some of their reservation was because there was so much early public exposure that was thrown at you. You studied musical theatre at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Is that when you decided you wanted to be a performer?

GG: Honestly, I think I’ve known I wanted to be an actress since I was five or six.

GALO: So you were performing at birthday parties and family events since you were in kindergarten.

GG: Oh, I was doing somersaults in front of everyone. I started doing little school plays, taking dance classes in first grade. Ballet, jazz, modern, tap and acting lessons.