The past nine months have been a whirlwind for Katie Stevens. The 21-year-old actress and star of MTV’s new rom-com series Faking It (Tuesdays at 10:30 P.M. EST) was cast in August, filmed the pilot in September, and shot the entire first season between January and February. But Stevens is no stranger to sudden stardom. In fact, you might recognize her from American Idol; in 2010, she competed on the reality competition show’ s ninth season–more on that later.
Fresh off the heels of Faking It’s season premiere on Tuesday night, Stevens swung by our offices—in sky-high Monika Chiang stilettos, no less—to chat about her new small-screen gig, where she plays a high school teen named Karma who vies for popularity at any cost, even feigning lesbianism with her BFF Amy (Rita Volk). But it turns out—spoiler alert!—that Amy is not faking it, and really does have feelings for Karma, which promises a season full of drama for the students at Hester High.
Even though the show is new to the TV circuit, it’s already been well-received by audiences: Stevens admitted her inbox has been flooded with supportive fan mail and tweets, especially from the LGBT community. “I always said I don’t want to be one of those Idols that fades away,” she said. At this rate, she’s not going anywhere. Scroll down to find out seven things we learned about the actress!
1. She and co-star Rita Volk both auditioned for the role of Karma. “Karma is the one cooking up all the elaborate plans, while Amy [Volk’s character] doesn’t really care about fitting in,” Stevens said. “We’re good friends now—it all worked out for the best in the end.”
2. Tara Swennen (who works with Kristen Stewart, Julie Bowen and Kaley Cuoco) is her stylist. “She’s so talented,” Stevens gushed. “There are so many people whose style I admire and sometimes I just think, ‘I can never put something like that together,’ and Tara makes it happen.”
3. She wears the same brands IRL that her character wears on the show. “I like to find things that are affordable, but that I can also dress up so they look good with anything and I don’t have to spend a million dollars,” said the actress, who counts Forever 21, Topshop and Urban Outfitters among her favorite brands.
4. Her high school was a far cry from Hester High. “I compare my high school to the cafeteria in Mean Girls,” she said with a laugh. “The jock guys sat together, the theater people sat together and so on. They were all segregated. And I was just bouncing around.”
5. She finished in eighth place on the ninth season of American Idol (and Victoria Beckham was a guest judge at her audition). “There are four rounds before you even get to the judges,” Stevens revealed. “Victoria Beckham and Simon [Cowell] were the first real celebrities that I ever saw in person and interacted with. My kneecaps were shaking. Every part of me was shaking!”
6. She used to work at Sprinkles. “We had this thing called ‘the graveyard,’ which consisted of the cupcakes that weren’t presentable or had fallen apart,” she said. “They were up for grabs for whoever wanted them!”
7. Meryl Streep is one of her style icons. “She’s older and sophisticated and puts things together so well,” she said. “I love when women make their clothing age-appropriate.”