Abby Donnelly 14-year old starlet talks about Amazon's Just Add Magic, shooting the pilot, and juggling school
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Jesi B Photography
- Los Angeles, California
Abby Donnelly 14-year old starlet dishes exclusively with We Blab Magazine, about her Amazon hit series "Just Add Magic", and doing a "mix and match" audition for the pilot. Also Abby talks about her on-set chemistry with co-stars Olivia Sanabia, and Aubrey K. Miller.
You have some great IMDb credits and are now starring in Amazon’s big hit, “Just Add Magic.” How did you get started acting?
When I was 9, I signed up for a musical theater summer camp with a friend. We learned all the lines, all the songs, and all the dances in eight days. On the ninth day we performed it with costumes and everything! I loved performing so much that I joined the drama club at my school.
I had a friend at school who was acting in TV and film and I thought it might be really fun to try doing that too!
So I joined a scene study class and that's where I was introduced to my manager, Sheila Russo/SR Talent Management and she help me get an agent for television and film and one for commercials as well! That is how I got started!
Congratulations on the success of “Just Add Magic,” an Amazon Studios series based on Cindy Callahan’s book. What did you do to prepare for the role and can you take us through the audition process?
Thank you! I love working on Just Add Magic! It's a really fun show to be on and I'm very proud of it! Not all shows have something for everyone in the family but, Just Add Magic does! I was really excited when I got the audition for the pilot! It seemed like a character that fit me perfectly! I love food and love to eat and the idea of magic made it seem even more fun! I went in for the initial audition and then I was so happy because I got a call back the next week!
And after the call back I got called in to do a "mix-and-match" where they had me do some scenes from the pilot with other girls that we're up for the parts to play Kelly and Hannah. I went in about five different times with different girls but, the first and the last time I went in I was with Olivia and Aubrey! I had so much fun at the mix-and-match! Later that night I found out I got the Pilot and that Olivia and Aubrey did too! I was crying I was so happy! It's kind of funny but, when Olivia, Aubrey and I are together we just kind of turn into Kelly, Darbie and Hannah!
"Just Add Magic”, is a fun mix between cooking and magic. If you, in real life found magical cookbook would you try the recipes, or avoid it at all costs, and why?
At first I would be hesitant because why is a magic cookbook in my house? And then I'd probably try one of the recipes to see what would happen! Why waste the opportunity to do magic when a magic cookbook is sitting right in front of you!
I hear you go to public school during the year calendar year. How do you juggle that with your acting responsibilities?
The school I go to is very supportive in my acting career! And so are all of my teachers! When I'm working and on set every day, I can look at my assignments for each class online. Each teacher has their own portal and will post when assignments are due and when I will have a test. It's kind of like homeschooling but not. When I'm not working I go to school just like everyone else. If I have an audition I can leave school early but, I always make sure to get my homework done and study for all my tests!
Tell us about your character in “Just Add Magic,” Darbie O’Brien. How are you similar/different to Darbie?
When I first read the script I really liked the character of Darbie O'Brien because I felt like I really related to her. We have a similar sense of humor and we both really love hanging out with our best friends! Although we have a lot in common (like our love of trying new food), Darbie is definitely more adventurous than I am. I definitely have become more outgoing playing her. Darbie also has a really cool sense of style! I'm working on that!
You are in Shakespeare troupe. Do you prefer the comedies, tragedies, or histories?
I prefer comedies to watch and to act in. It is really fun to re create what comedy was like in Shakespeare's time period. I also like tragedies because it is interesting exploring the character's thoughts and motives!
In 2012, you had a scene in American Horror Story in the “I AM Anne Frank: Part 2” episode as Peggy Cartwright. Were you screaming towards a green screen or did they provide another stimulus for your well-done screaming scene?
Originally, they were going to have a green screen because the producers were worried that we (all the kids) were going to get scared. Instead, they let us all meet the actress who played Shelley who was turning into some kind of monster. When I met her she took out her false teeth to show me that she actually had real teeth behind these rotting ones!
They asked me if I knew why she had green socks on and I thought it was because she needed to have amputated legs in the scene and I was right! They put the green socks on her so they could take them out with CGI it was really interesting!
What advice would you give teens looking to break into acting?
If you really feel passionate about it, I would start in either a summer acting camp or in school plays! It is always a fun way to see if acting is really your passion!
Watch full episodes of Just Add Magic now streaming now on Amazon Prime.