Vanessa Morgan as Bird in FINDING CARTER (Image Credit: MTV)
On MTV’s newest original series Finding Carter, a teenager has an entirely different kind of identity crisis. After the police bust a high school party, Carter Stevens (Kathryn Prescott) is told the woman who she believes to be her mother actually abducted her as a toddler. Carter is then returned to her biological family and must deal with the issues of old loyalties, new friends and new love. Vanessa Morgan plays Bird, one of Carter’s new friends, who is dealing with crises all her own. Morgan rose to fame from Disney programs My Babysitter’s a Vampire, A.N.T. Farm and Geek Charming as well as the Canadian teen sitcom The Latest Buzz. The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to talk with Morgan about working on Finding Carter and My Babysitter’s a Vampire, reviving her singing career and giving her Chihuahua a voice on Instagram.
The Daily Quirk: To be honest, I had never seen Finding Carter until I started doing research for this interview. And now I’ve seen all of them and am recording the ones to come. What was it about this show that drew you in and made you want to be a part of it?
Vanessa Morgan: I just thought the script was really well written. Terri, the writer, she is just so talented and has written a couple of my favorite shows so that really interested me. And I thought it was really different than a lot of other storylines that are on TV right now. That’s what made me excited about working on this show.
TDQ: What specifically about your character Bird made you want to play her?
VM: I like the fact, we haven’t really touched too much on it yet, but you know she’s the popular, cool girl in school who throws the parties but there’s a lot of deep-seated issues within Bird that have been interesting to play. So far we’ve only shown it in the fourth episode where Bird shows her sketchbook and the guy with the mask that raped her and being abandoned by her parents who are travelling and leave her at home alone. There are a lot of deep issues there, which I find interesting so I can’t wait to actually be able show more of that. I was definitely excited in the fourth episode when we got to see more vulnerability.
TDQ: What’s it been like working on the show so far?
VM: It’s been great. The whole cast, everyone gets along really well. And there are a lot of really talented actors working on the show. There’s a great relationship with the older cast members, like the parents, too, which I really like. Everyone gets along. We’ve had great directors. It’s been really easy going. They let us be creative. Also it was really nice being able to be in Atlanta for those months. I’ve never been to Atlanta before, so I’m happy about seeing this town because I’ve always wanted to.
TDQ: What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
VM: I don’t know. I really like the outdoor patios. We did that a lot. That was really fun. They have a really good eating scene. I’m kind of a foodie, so I love trying new places. Also, it’s so multi-cultural there, which I really like.
TDQ: Beside the big mystery with Carter and what happened with Lori and the Wilsons, I think Bird is the second biggest mysterious character on the show. She’s either causing trouble or just being best friends with Carter. What can you tell us about her future and what else we will see from her?
VM: Honestly, I feel like Bird doesn’t even know. Because her parents are not around, I think she just acts up and does things. Personally, I know Bird does like Carter deep down, but if she acts up and messes up, I think it’s just because of her upbringing and not being disciplined in a way. When she messes up, she does realize she messed up. And I feel like there might be a couple more mess-ups for Bird, but she does mean well in the end.
TDQ: As an actor, how do you tap into a character like that? It must be tricky.
VM: When I see a storyline like that, I say ‘OK, she’s tormented. How would you act if you’re just a confused teenager?’ I’ve been a confused teenager in my life, so you just channel it. Obviously not in that sense, I’ve never had situations like Bird but you just channel it in different ways and try to bring that out.
TDQ: Have you heard any crazy theories from fans or anyone for what they think happened with Carter and Lori and the Wilsons?
VM: There are a lot of things. I heard some people think Carter is the daughter of Elizabeth (Cynthia Watros) and Kyle (Eddie Matos). Or that the kidnapper (Lori, played by Milena Govich) actually gave birth to Carter. There are a lot of weird theories going on out there. But it’s definitely going to be a shocker what actually happens in the last episode. I’ve seen people tweet that they think Crash (Caleb Ruminer) is the one that raped Bird. I’ve also seen lots of things circulating of people who want Carter and Bird to be in a relationship too.
TDQ: I love Bird’s style in not only her fashion but also in her interior decoration with the Sanctuary. Is that anything like your style?
VM: Yeah I would say it’s very similar style decorating-wise. If I were to do something outdoorsy like that, I think it would look pretty similar. I love the Bohemian style. I love the Chinese lanterns that are all around. It’s really pretty. As for her style of dressing, there’s a lot of stuff in her wardrobe that I’d want to take for sure.
TDQ: Do you have a favorite outfit of Bird’s?
VM: It wasn’t the last episode but the one right before, so Episode 6. I was wearing these Topshop jeans that were so cute I want to go get them and that beanie hat. So cute.
TDQ: Do you have a favorite actor to work with on the show?
VM: I personally love working with Kat [Kathryn Prescott, who plays Carter]. Because when we have our scenes, just me and her, they go super fast because we have good chemistry as our characters. So I love doing scenes with her. We’re always quick. We get to the point and they go really smoothly. It’s just about having a strong connection, and I feel we have that both on and off set.
TDQ: Then on the flip side, is there anyone you wish you could act with more?
VM: I wish I had more scenes with Taylor, who’s played by Anna (Jacoby-Heron). I’m closest with her off set, so I’d love to have more scenes with her. I think it would be really fun.
Kathryn Prescott as Carter Stevens and Vanessa Morgan as Bird in FINDING CARTER (Image Credit: MTV)
TDQ: Yeah I think the interaction between Taylor and Bird would be really interesting.
VM: Yeah for sure. Maybe bring her out of her shell a bit more.
TDQ: Now turning to one of your other big roles as Sarah in the My Babysitter’s a Vampire TV movie and series on Disney. What was that like going from thinking you’ll only be with this character for one project to getting to be with her for a couple of years?
VM: That was so cool. It was my dream as a kid, when I started acting, I always wanted to play a vampire, but I never thought I would be actually able to just because I thought there’s already True Blood, The Vampire Diaries and Twilight out there. I was like there’s no way there’s going to be another vampire show. Then I found out they wanted one for kids on Disney. I was so excited, and when I actually got cast it was like a dream. At that time it was just a movie and the fact that it did so well and got picked up for a series was awesome. I was just happy I got to continue playing her because she’s my favorite character I’ve played to date.
TDQ: Why do you think it was so successful?
VM: I think it was because we didn’t dumb it down for the younger viewers. I love the jokes that I could watch at my age and still find funny. We didn’t have a laugh track, which is forcing you to laugh on a lot of other Disney shows and sitcoms. This was funny but it still kept you on the edge of your seat in the sense of having little scary things in it. And it’s basically a bunch of teenagers getting to live this awesome, cool life with magical powers and vampires while having to live with stress like exams and sports. I think it was different than a lot of other shows, which is why I think it was able to continue on from the movie into a series.
TDQ: You said Sarah was your favorite character to play to date. What made you love her so much?
VM: I found her really sweet and also a tomboy. I loved how they didn’t try to make the sweet girl very girlie. I like how she was able to stand on her own and fight for the boys and be the hero of the episode. That was so cool and empowering to girls. And then there was a lot of the time when I felt I didn’t have to act really. I felt like it was just a lot of me. I also loved being able to do cool things like being put on the wire to ‘fly’ and the fangs and the contacts.
TDQ: I know you’re also a singer. How long have you been singing?
VM: I started singing before I started acting. Acting just took control because I got a series and then project, project, project. So I didn’t have time to continue my singing. Now that I finished Finding Carter, I just started recording again. Next week, I’m recording my single that I’m going to release, so I’m really excited to finally have that going again and to have everybody hear my music.
TDQ: Congratulations! What is the single going to be called?
VM: It’s going to be called “Hold On.” I’m going to be making a demo with a few songs right now. … For now, I’ll go single-by-single and then do the album.
TDQ: What’s your favorite music to sing and why?
VM: I love singing a mix of country, pop and R&B. This first song is pop, dance and a country swing to it but it’s still pop. It’s definitely dance. Something you could hear on the radio but also at a bar. Kind of like how that song “Wake Me Up” has that country feel but is still dance. That’s what I mean by that.
TDQ: What else do you like to do when you’re not working?
VM: I love hanging out with my dogs [Laughs]. I have four dogs. I love my home and my dogs. Like I have my one Chihuahua that comes everywhere with me but when I get to go home, I have all four. Then I’ll travel to see my boyfriend when I have free time. Other than that seeing my friends, going on the patio or something and exercising. Trying to get better at that.
TDQ: Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects you have in the works?
VM: No just working on my music and getting back to auditioning, so hopefully a new and exciting project will be coming soon that I can tell you about. But other than that, just my music.
TDQ: What is something your fans would be surprised to know about you?
VM: That I’m weird. I like being weird.
TDQ: Because we’re The Daily Quirk, we have to know what’s the quirkiest thing about you?
VM: I made my dog an Instagram account. It’s for my Chihuahua. He’s funny; he’s like a little human. I like going on and posting for him.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Vanessa Morgan for taking the time chat! To find out more about Morgan, you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. See her as Bird when Finding Carter airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on MTV.