Actress Skyler Shaye stars in "Ray Donovan." Photo Credit: TJ Manou.

Actress Skyler Shaye stars in the third season of “Ray Donovan.” Photo Credit: TJ Manou.

Growing up in Los Angeles and rubbing shoulders with major Hollywood figures during family dinner parties definitely sounds like a dream to most, one that many aspiring artists wish for every day. Admittedly, there are benefits to the star-studded, glamorous lifestyle: friendships are forged and connections are made. However, carving out a name for yourself among all of that glitziness can prove to be a bit more difficult than one would imagine. Children of major icons like Goldie Hawn and Will Smith have managed to stand on their own, setting themselves apart from their famous families. Still, this was not achieved without some extremely difficult work on their part.

According to actress Skyler Shaye, who can be seen in the third season of Showtime’s Ray Donovan, connections aren’t everything. At the end of the day, you still have to prove that you deserve to be there; you want to make a statement. And then there’s also the factor of wanting to distinguish yourself from your family, showcasing that you’re your own person and not just a name. “I think that people on the outside think it would be so much easier because I’m so connected. It helps in a certain sense because you meet people, but that doesn’t get you the role,” she says.

Shaye might be best known for her role as Cloe, the super-skilled soccer player who relentlessly tries to keep her friendships together in Bratz: The Movie (2007). However, the bubbly and warmhearted Shaye boasts another important title. At 17, she starred in the pilot episode, “A Hard Day’s Night,” of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy as Katie Bryce, the patient that essentially brought Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd together.

Together with the guidance of her super famous godfather Jon Voight and her matchless talent and brimming determination, Shaye is more than ready to take Hollywood by storm with all of the incredible projects that she has coming up. On a sunny afternoon, the native Angelino took the time to chat with GALO about her role in the third season of Ray Donovan, her favorite memories from Grey’s Anatomy, and her advice for teen girls today.

GALO: First of all, I want to congratulate you on your new role on Ray Donovan. That’s so amazing!

Skyler Shaye: Thank you so much! I’m really excited.

GALO: Well, to just jump right in, for your upcoming role on Ray Donovan, I read that you will be playing a prostitute and that your character is really fun and down to earth. Can you give me a bit more insight into your role?

SS: Honestly, I can’t really say much more about what the storyline is, but the actual show this season is really badass. There are so many different elements going on.

GALO: I heard it’s going to be unbelievably incredible.

SS: Yes, [including the] storylines — everybody has a story, especially Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight). Mickey Donovan’s storyline is about the prostitutes. So, yes, you have to watch it and see how it develops.

GALO: Oh, for sure! I’m super excited about it and for you. And, of course, Katie Holmes is back on TV, so that’s always fantastic when she’s in anything.

SS: Oh, I know! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any scenes with her, but she was at the table-reads. We were in the same episodes, so we’d have table-reads together. She’s so lovely and she’s such a sweet person.

GALO: Moving forward, I know that your godfather is Jon Voight and that your family has a long history in Hollywood. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received from either your family or Mr. Voight about acting?

SS: My godfather has just given me so much advice about [my] acting, career and choices. Basically, for acting tips, he just tells me to live the character. You take the text of what it is and bring it to life. That’s really all you can do, is just think about what that person would do under those particular circumstances. And my family has been so supportive and they’ve kept me grounded. I think that’s the main thing — you surround yourself with the right people when you grow up in show business.

GALO: Of course. It seems like it can get extremely intense and it can be difficult living in the spotlight.

SS: Yes, it is. The other day somebody asked me, “How did you grow up in L.A.?” I guess you just have the right people around; you have to have the right people and the right head on your shoulders. [Laughs] And the weather is pleasant.

GALO: Navigating your way through the entertainment industry is a lot about who you know. Still, I’m sure there are downfalls to nepotism. Do you feel that having such a famous godfather and family has hurt you in any way?

SS: Oh, absolutely. I think that people on the outside think it would be so much easier because I’m so connected. It helps in a certain sense because you meet people, but that doesn’t get you the role. At the end of the day, you have to be right for the role; you have to be what they’re looking for. And I think, sometimes, it kind of works against me. Because of the nepotism, I have to prove myself even more as an actor.

GALO: I agree. I remember hearing Kendall Jenner talking about the same thing in the modeling industry. She said that she wanted to leave her name behind because she felt like it was unfortunately causing her a great deal of grief.

SS: Yeah, people assume that you get a role because of that. It’s actually harder, to be quite honest. It’s harder to get a role because they don’t want to give it to you because of who you are, or because of [where] you come from. It just makes it all the more of a challenge, I guess. You have to just keep working and perfecting your craft.

GALO: For sure. Well, you’ve done a great deal of television work, including roles in Veronica Mars and Grey’s Anatomy. What has been your favorite experience with television so far?

SS: Well, I think every project is obviously different because it’s a different character, and it’s a different family that you walk into on a set. But I would have to say my most fond memory was of Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy was a very crucial role for me because I had to have an aneurysm. I had to study that and I studied seizures. I was on the very first episode and it was amazing just being a part of a show like that. I was with Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey and we really became a family. I’m still friends with Ellen to this day. That was a huge impact in my life, and I was 17 when I did that.

GALO: Wow! I still can’t believe Grey’s has been on that long. I was in high school when it started.

SS: I know! Isn’t that crazy? It’s been over 10 years.

Actress Skyler Shaye starred as Katie Bryce in "Grey's Anatomy." Photo Credit: TJ Manou.

Actress Skyler Shaye starred as Katie Bryce in “Grey’s Anatomy.” Photo Credit: TJ Manou.

GALO: It really shows you how loved the cast and characters of the show are. It’s sustained itself for this long on network television, and that’s so rare these days.

SS: It’s so true. A few months ago ABC re-aired the very first Grey’s episode. It was just really amazing because it [was] all over Twitter. Everyone was like, “Katie Bryce brought Meredith and McDreamy together.”

GALO: Oh my God, your character did bring them together!

SS: It was really cool — especially for people who were a little too young when it first aired to see the episode.

GALO: In speaking about high school and teen years, there have been quite a few films about girlhood in the 21st century, including Mean Girls (2004) and Bratz: The Movie (2007). What is the most important thing you wanted young girls to learn from your character Cloe and the Bratz film in general?

SS: There is a lot of pressure for girls in school and in life in general. I would just want to say that whatever it is that you are doing, whatever it is that makes you happy, that’s what’s most important. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks or says. Whatever you want to do and whatever makes you feel fulfilled is what is most important. Be who you are. Never try and be something that somebody else thinks is right because that’s not what’s right you.

GALO: Certainly, I think that’s where so many girls nowadays get caught up –into following other people to “fit in,” even if they have to do things that make them feel uncomfortable.

SS: Yes, I just want girls to always be leaders. I always think that if you look at it and say to yourself, “In five years, will this really matter?” you’ll see that it doesn’t matter. Just make yourself happy and be a good person, and everything will fall into place.

GALO: That’s very good advice. I read that you started your production company, Skye Entertainment, in 2003, which is right around the time your acting career took off. What would you like to see happen with your company in the future?

SS: Right now, it is on the backburner. I’m just so focused on everything else that has been happening. But I’m ready. As soon as the right opportunity and the right project come along that I want to produce then it’s definitely going to happen.

GALO: That’s great. I think so many people forget about production and the things that happen on the other side of the lens that are just as important in the telling of different stories.

SS: Yes, it’s great to be able to tell a compelling story and even come up with one on your own.

GALO: Is there any particular actor or actress whose career you admire or look at as a model for your own?

SS: There’s a lot. I admire Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, and Claire Danes.

GALO: What is your dream role? Is there one particular thing that you want to see happen with your career?

SS: I’ve never actually thought about my dream role. I think, for me, a dream [role] is to be able to transform myself into different characters and to tell a compelling story — to find a character and live it, so that people could enjoy it.

GALO: Well, to wrap things up, can you tell me anything about any upcoming projects that you are currently working on?

SS: The things that I’m working on right now, I can’t speak about quite yet. But there are a lot of great things that are happening that are coming up in the future.

GALO: Fantastic! I will certainly look out for your new projects and I will be watching this season of Ray Donovan.

SS: Yes, check it out. As the episodes develop, it gets juicier.

GALO: Congratulations again on your new role, and thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and GALO Magazine.

SS: Thank you so much.

Catch up on season three episodes of “Ray Donovan” on Showtime. New episodes air on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. For more information about Skyler Shaye and her endeavors, you can follow her on Twitter @ItsSkylerShaye.