TV

Still The King: Chelsea Talmadge on Playing Charlotte’s BFF

Red Heads Have More Fun

In ep. 102 of Still The King, we meet Mabel (Chelsea Talmadge) who’s Charlotte’s friend. She’s perhaps one of the quirkiest characters, and always looks out for her BFF’s best interest — even if that means being Team Vernon when Charlotte is not.

Q: What will viewers enjoy most about your character, Mabel who’s also Charlotte’s best friend and partner in crime?

A. Her vulnerability and her relationship with Charlotte. She’s a very naive, young sweet girl. She’s raised in a very large family, so she comes from a very conservative background.

I think they’ll also really enjoy her quirkiness most of all. As her character develops more and more, you’ll get to see that quirkiness side of her.

Mabel is a little more outgoing than Charlotte, but in a naive kind of way. She doesn’t know she’s outgoing because she acts on impulse. She’s also maybe sort of a bad influence on Charlotte because she pushes her outside of her box, but not on purpose. Ultimately, she has good intentions.

Q. How’s the relationship between Mabel and Vernon, Billy Ray Cyrus’s character?

A. I think Mabel is 100 percent team Vernon. She really encourages a relationship between Charlotte and her dad. There was this scene we shot all day at [Mabel and Charlotte’s] school where Charlotte kinda blows Vernon off, and Mabel totally disagrees with how she handles it.

You know, it was pretty fun being back in middle school – I’m 22 years old, but it’s great to be a kid again, you know?

Q. Any favorite scenes or lines?

A. There were so many. I want to say my favorite was shooting the dinner scene with Mabel’s family. Mabel comes from a family full of red heads – there’s at least 12 of us there. In the scene, everyone at the dinner table is a red head, except one kid. And the dad says, looking at the mom at the dinner table, “We all make mistakes!”

That scene was pretty funny to film because it’s like, you know, maybe the milk man’s son! It was a really fun day getting to know all my so-called siblings.

Q. Are you naturally a red head?

A. I’m not – I wish I was a red head! I’ve always had freckles, blue eyes, and fair skin, so I’ve always felt like that Irish side of me wanted to be seen.

And you know, ever since I died my hair red, I started booking more.

Q. Who were your favorite people to work with on set?

A. Billy Ray is one of the most grounded people I’ve ever met. And, working with him was such a humbling experience. He’s such a joy to be around.

There wasn’t much for me and Madison to do around Nashville, you know. Madison is underage. So, while the rest of the cast was going out a lot, Billy Ray was like, “You know, if you ever want to come by my house, we’ve got four-wheeler you guys can drive around.” He was just so great.

Travis Nicholson was another favorite of mine. I call him, Uncle Trav. He really became like a brother to me on set. I just felt very taken care of by Travis – he was always looking out for me and Madison. And, his comedic timing is brilliant on screen.

Q. What were your favorite things to do while filming in Nashville?

A. We were either going to eat at Tavern, shopping, or go to The Daily Method. It’s more of a sculpting class – we did a lot of [The Daily Method] in our off time. It was really difficult to balance work and fitness, especially when you’re on set because craft services is always there.

Madison is a lot more disciplined than me, I would say. She gets up early in the morning to go [to class], and then goes to work. As for me, I kind of play it by ear. If I’m working, I won’t work out. And on my off days, I’ll definitely go.

Q. Any advice for young actors?

A. Don’t get discouraged. It takes a long time – it took me at least three years to get to where I am right now. It’s a tough business, and gets very discouraging. But, if it’s something you love to do, and you’re passionate about it, then stick with it. Eventually, someone will take notice and that will push you through.

Q. I noticed you’ve worked with Chad Michael Murray, who is also starring in the upcoming CMT series Million Dollar Quartet (working title). Small world! How was that?

A. I was a small day player on the movie To Write Love on Her Arms, but I did get to work with Chad and Kat. She’s lovely, and he is just the most handsome thing I’ve ever seen.

You know, I was 17 when I filmed that, and I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought it was going to be a short-term thing. And, all of a sudden, the guy from One Tree Hill walks by, and I’m like “Mom! Do you know who that is?!” She had no idea who he was, and I was mortified that she didn’t know.

Q. Can you tell us what’s next for you as an actress?

A. I was actually double filming during Still The King in Atlanta in my off-time, working on a Netflix original called Stranger Things. I also recently booked a two-episode reoccurring part on Mercy Street, so that’s what I’m working on currently.

Q. Now finally, on a more personal level, what music are you listening to right now?

A. Right now, I like Maren Morris’s “My Church.” But, my go-to genre is pop music – I do like listening to the radio! I tend to lean towards the singer-songwriters, I really like Sara Bareilles.

Q. Any guilty pleasures?

A. My mom and I love “Love Shack.” And of course, I like anything N*SYNC.

Catch an all-new episode of Still The King every Sunday at 9 pm ET/PT. Follow the show by visiting CMT.com and Like the show’s official Facebook page.

Writer and producer for CMT.com. Lives in Los Angeles and once glued herself to the TV.