You’ve probably seen the billboards, the commercials, and the bus benches. The UK’s hit teen soap opera Skins is on Monday nights at 10 on MTV, with an American cast, a few new characters, and the good old gritty teen drama we know and love from the original series. Much like it did overseas, the series will tackle those darker topics, like dysfunctional families, mental illness, sexual identity, sex, substance abuse, and death.
And while the sex and language have been toned down quite a bit for 10pm basic cable, this isn’t Gossip Girl, kids. These are regular kids: kids from working class families, kids you can relate to more than the Blairs Waldorfs and Chuck Basses of the world - kids with real teen problems. Sure, the storylines can be tough to stomach at times, but so can being a teenager.
ARMEN ATOYAN for BUZZNET: So there are a ton of characters on Skins. Do you relate to your character in any way?
ELEANOR ZICHY: Well, I think I, and a lot of teenage girls, can relate to what she’s going through and since she's fourteen and she's growing up. It's when a lot of teenagers are trying new things and coming into their own and having experiences. I wouldn't say that I can directly relate to all the experiences she’s had on the show but there is an aspect that a lot of teenage girls including me, can relate to.
BN: Is there a character on the show that you can specifically relate to?
EZ: I don’t think one comes specifically to the top of my head but of course there are little bits of everything and situations you can relate to. Like Michelle, a lot of girls have been screwed over by a guy you know, and are always taking care of people. But I wouldn't say there’s one character that comes to mind that I can really see myself as.
BN: You're also the youngest cast member on the show. I know your birthday was during filming. Did you guys do anything special for that? Tell me what it’s like being the youngest person on set.
EZ: It's been really great, I’ve met so many great people in the cast and we’re really close. Being the baby, they’re really sweet to me, always watching out for me. I wasn't on set during my birthday, but I hung out with them all the time and it was really great. We didn’t really have a party or anything, because I turned 15 in October.
BN: Is it difficult to play a character that's that wild and crazy at 15, when you’re not like that?
EZ: It’s not really difficult. I'm acting, and I really enjoy the role. I don’t find it difficult. Of course there are challenges and a lot of the challenges came from the fact that she didn't speak. It was a really great learning experience learning how to act with out saying anything, and that's what I learned the most.
BN: Are the situations on the show a little difficult to deal with?
EZ: Yeah, they're very emotional. I love that the cast and the directors we worked with were great and very supportive. Every scene was new and challenging for me since it was my first real acting job, but I learned so much over those four months. I definitely had a lot of help and I grew as an actor a lot.
BN: Since this is your first acting gig, being on MTV and becoming Eura, has that changed your real life in any way?
EZ: It’s been exciting, but I still pretty much live the same life I did before. I go to school, go home, eat lunch with my friends. It was really great when I would go to school and leave to go to set, to go to New York, to go to the MTV party, etc. I'm really grateful, it’s been such an exciting experience, but my home life has pretty much stayed exactly the same.
BN: I know Tony is your older brother on the show. Do you have any older siblings in real life?
EZ: Yeah I have an older sister who’s twenty.
BN: Is she like Tony, where she looks out for you and gets you out of situations?
EZ: I’m very close with my sister in that way. She’s definitely protective over me and we are both very close and we would stand by each other the same way Tony and Eura do for sure.
BN: Your character has probably the best fashion style on the show. Do you get to put in your input? Is it close to your own style?
EZ: I didn’t have much input into it. I thought the costume designer, Mary Edwards, was amazing and had a great vision for everyone so everyone has a very distinct and unique style. I do really like some of the things that she wears. I remember when we were filming the pilot there was this little bra top bustier from H&M that I really liked and then a couple days later I went out and bought it. I think the style is really cool and I got to keep one of the pieces at the end, which I really liked.
BN: So what is your personal style? Any favorite brands? What's your favorite thing you wear all the time?
EZ: Yeah, I’d say a good portion of my wardrobe is from Top Shop. That's one of my favorite stores, I really do love fashion. I wouldn’t know how to describe my personal style, maybe just look at the Top Shop catalog.
BN: Has being on MTV given you any opportunities to go to fashion shows of people that you admire fashion-wise?
EZ: I haven’t gone to any fashion shows but I would love to eventually. I know that Britney, Sophia, and I think Blain did. I think a few people from the cast went to New York Fashion Week, and I saw pictures and it was really exciting.
BN: Who are the actors and actresses that you look up to as a role model?
EZ: One of my favorites is Michelle Williams. I think she’s great and I love her, she’s got great style. Probably a million other people; Natalie Portman, I really love Tilda Swinton, I think she great and very avante-garde in fashion and an amazing actress, just to name a few.
BN: Have you met any of the other personalities from MTV? Anyone from the Jersey Shore?
EZ: Yeah, I’ve met some of the Jersey Shore. Actually pretty recently at an MTV event I got to meet a lot of people from the MTV family, which was really great. Everyone is really sweet.
BN: Who exactly did you meet from the Jersey Shore that was your favorite?
EZ: Pauly D. He was very nice to me and very down to earth, very sweet.
BN: The school you go to is an art school. What type of art are you mainly interested in?
EZ: I have always had interests in visual arts and I did some of that when I was younger. I’m majoring at my high school in drama, which is what I’m really fascinated by and I hope to continue acting in the future.
BN: What types of music do you listen to? Genre? Who's you're favorite artist currently?
EZ: My music is kind of all over the place. I love rock but at the same time I’m a huge musical theater fan so I have like Stephen Sondheim on my iPod, who I’m obsessed with. As far as bands go, I love Kings of Leon, and Radiohead who just released their new album which is great. I know a lot of Toronto area bands like Metric, and Social Scene. I’m a really big fan of them.
BN: Is there anything about you that fans don’t already know?
EZ: I don’t think anyone knows yet that I love musical theater and Stephen Sondheim. I can’t sing though, but I love to watch it!