We recently had the chance to speak with the lovely Meredith Prunty! Meredith has been recently working on films such as “Milkweed” and “Backmask.” Make sure you read her interview below to see what she had to say!
1. How did you get your start in the entertainment industry?
My Nana ‘Donna Glee Reim’ was on the set of Grown Ups and she asked the casting agent if it would be OK for me to come down and be an extra on the set. I had a lot of fun and the acting intrigued me so I decided to try some theater. The same casting agent –Jodi Purdy – ran a theater workshop so I signed up and did an entire summer of theater under her expert guidance. Acting is a way for me to channel emotions and just like other girls my age I had a lot of mixed feelings and raw emotions. It can be a difficult time for girls when they are just hitting high school and are nervous about so many things. I poured myself into the role and found a sweet spot when I became the actual character. All my troubles just seemed to fade away.
2. What movies have you been in?
I have been very fortunate to have been selected for roles in a lot of independent movies and student films. I also have had 4 roles as a “featured extra” in the major productions “The Way Way Back”, Labor Day, Backmask, and Grown Ups 2 all movies that are still in post production. When an actress is just starting out, great roles aren’t handed out – despite what rumors you might have heard. Unless you are the daughter of a famous celeb or have a serious “in”, you have to work for your roles. Plus I live in Boston and a lot of times productions bring in their Los Angeles talent. I can’t tell you how many auditions I have been on that I wasn’t selected. Rejection is something you have to be comfortable with and understanding that if you go to an audition and give it your all, then you need to be happy with that. Most of the times it is about a certain look they want so if you nail the audition and do not get the role, it is because they want a certain look. I forget about the role as soon as I walk out of the audition so if I get a callback – it is a bonus. I just landed the role of Bella in the new movie “Exeter” and I am really excited about this role. It is going to be a lot of fun – we have incredible talent including Ashley Tramonte, Arthur Wahlberg and Paisley Scott Dickey (From Toddlers and Tiaras). You can check out my movies on my IMDb site here:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4099356/.
3. What was it like working on the Grown Ups set?
I had such a fun day on Grown-Ups 2. This is the 3rd Adam Sandler film I have been on. What a lot of people might not realize is that Adam is so very funny but he also is a really good producer. It is all business when he is not in the scene and he is always looking at the best way to capture the moment on film. When I was on the set of Grown-Ups 2 he was very personable and friendly but also intense. I never make the mistake of talking to him when he is busy but Adam always takes the time to say “hi” to everyone. I was hand selected to be in a scene with Alexander Ludwig (Hunger Games). The funny part was that I didn’t recognize him and spent the day chatting like it was no big deal. It was only after when my Mom told me who I was I was aware. Adam Sandler always has the best food on the sets. You just can’t beat the variety and the omelet stations.
4. Why do you feel that bullying should be prevented?
Wow – where do I begin… Bullying affects so many people, especially teens. 500,000 kids a day do not want to go to school for fear of being bullied. It is an epidemic in our country. I believe that bullying is always going to be there in some capacity but if we raise social awareness, it encourages people to get involved in preventing it. Peer pressure is a wonderful tool that can work in our favor. If it is not “cool” to bully, more people will stop being bystanders and get involved.
5. What have you done to try and stomp out bullying?
I speak out at events and on television whenever I have the opportunity. I also use my expanded social network which includes my official Facebook and Twitter which combined has roughly 15,000 followers. I also have a blog that I maintain that has close to 30k views so I know I am reaching a lot of people (http://meredithprunty.wordpress.com/). In addition, I also have a page on my website that directs people to where they can get help. I believe one of the best ways to communicate is through music. I did a music video a couple of years back (Michel and Marisa “The Same”) and just recently did a new one (The Brand UR “Bullyproof”). Teens can relate to music so it sends a powerful message that they are receptive to. Taylor Swifts song “Mean” really does a great job covering the bullying issue. I have plans to do some more music videos and would love to inspire Justin Beiber or Lady Gaga to do a song/music video. Both artists have a tremendous reach so it would really help the cause.
6. Why do you feel that bullying is such an important social issue?
Bullying can lead to emotional scars that last a lifetime. I witnessed that first hand when some of the adult crew started tearing up during the filming of “the Same”. Kids afraid to go to school some are committing suicide. Cyber-bullying is on the rise because people feel as though they can say hurtful things and laugh it off as a “joke”. We need to raise awareness that it is the perception of the person who is feeling that they are being bullied that matters. Someone might make a post or comment and might not even realize how hurtful it is. Or if they do, they don’t seem to care because they are behind the security of a computer.
7. What advice do you have for people who have been bullied?
Reach out to support groups and understand that you are not alone. Gather your friends to help. I was bullied by a guy whom I dated for 3 months. When I broke it off, he was taking things off the internet and ridiculing me. If you Google my name – you will see I have a lot of material due to the nature of the business that I am in so I was low hanging fruit – easy to pick on. I asked my friends to help and they worked it pretty good for a bit. When he wouldn’t stop – I went to the school and it literally took 4 visits with evidence to get them to stop him. If you are being bullying – be tenacious – don’t let up. We all deserve to be treated with respect. One of my mother’s friends Greg Louganis was bullied when he was young and has been a supporter of mine. Look at him now – Greg has his own hit TV show Splash and is amazing. Greg is a great example of someone who was bullied and didn’t let them tear down his self image.
8. What was it like working on “The Same”?
The Same was so much fun but since I played the role of the “bleeder” or, the one who was being bullied, I had a lot of sadness too. It was my first experience at being the victim and little did I know that I was soon to be a target of a bully in “real life” as well. Michael and Marisa are so talented and the set was incredible. Gia Ventola was the designer and she was literally so amazing. She created unique original outfits so I could look hip but also different. When you look at the comments on YouTube so many people loved my outfits. I would love to work with her again at some point. I realized during the filming what a raw nerve we touched with everyone involved. People from cast, crew and the parents of the teens were crying when the actors were throwing paper objects at me. The producer stopped production for 10 minutes, ran past my Mom in tears and later explained that she had been bullied as a child. It was at that point during the filming of “the Same” I was told that I had a gift when it came to acting. So from that point on, I try to pick scripts that have a powerful message. Projects with a purpose.
9. Do you have any social networking accounts where your supporters can stay connected with you?
I have an official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Meredith-Prunty/133488113361975 )that I update and monitor. I don’t have a PR person that posts on my behalf – I do all my own posting. Same with Twitter – what you see is what you get-it is all me tweeting (https://twitter.com/MeredithPrunty). I am also very proud of my blog because I post about everything form “behind the scenes on sets” to what I am doing about bullying. I love it when people respond and post messages for me because that way I know I am reaching people. We are all in this together – a little kindness goes a long way. If my activism can save one life, then I will have felt as though I have done my job.
Thank you so much Meredith!