Chris: Hey everybody and welcome to this interview from GetLazy.net. Chris here, and joining me over Skype is Shelby Young. Now, before we begin, I am sure that there is a chunk of LazyTown fans out there thinking,"Who the Hell is Shelby Young?" First of all, get with it, come on. But on a serious note, the short story, is that back in 2003, Shelby was slated to play Stephanie on LazyTown, and even went so far as to act in the pilot episode for LazyTown, which is still quite mysterious to us all. But whether you know of her or not, you probably can tell that Shelby did not in fact go on to play Stephanie in LazyTown. As for the long story, well that's what this interview here is for. Shelby, thanks so much for joining me and for joining the LazyTown fans listening to this interview.
Shelby: Of course, thanks for having me.
C: I'm really excited to speak with you, because your experience there with LazyTown is just such a unique one; absolutely no one there at the set can produce the same stories that you will. Of course, this happened over half a lifetime for you ago, so I'm not expecting you to be able to pinpoint every single detail from back in the day, but I still expect that we're going to be able to get quite an insight on what LazyTown was like during that period. So as always, these questions are submitted from LazyTown fans on GetLazy.net, so like all good interviews, we're going to start back at the beginning with your audition process. Could you go ahead and tell us about what your whole experience auditioning for LazyTown was like?
S: I was ten years old, I believe, when I first auditioned for it. I just got a call from my agent to go in for this audition, and I remember when I got there, in the waiting room, they had storyboards up outside of the audition room, and I was like, "Hey Mom, that drawing kind of looks like me," and she went over and looked at it and she was like, "That's weird, it actually does!" Stephanie, at the time, had super chubby cheeks and kind of looked how I do; big eyes big face, whatever. So, I went in the room and I was excited about that, and before I even said anything, the casting director was like, "Woah, you look just like the cartoon drawing," and I was like, "Great! Awesome!" But in the room, from what I can remember, I had to do a scene, I think it was about brushing our teeth or something like that. It might have even been baking, but it was very much talking to the audience, rather than interacting with the other characters. I think I had to sing, I can't remember if I had to sing in that first audition or not, but basically, I remember the casting director came out and talked to my mom, and was talking about how much I looked like the drawing, and then we got a phone call that they wanted me to screen test for it, which, that's moving really fast because normally, I don't know how familiar people are with film and television auditions, but normally, there are so many more steps before you get to a screen test. It can be the first audition, and then you go back in to meet with producers of the project, and then there might be a working session with the director, and then there would be network and studio tests, but LazyTown wasn't with Nickelodeon at this time, so there wasn't a network yet, there was pretty much just Magnķs [Scheving] and the creative team he was working with at the time. To go straight to a test was awesome, my mom and I were super excited. I went in for that and I remember they did a whole makeup test on me, I think A: just to see how things looked, but B: to make sure I could sit still for a long period of time, because some ten year olds have short attention spans. Originally, they were thinking of doing more of a cartoon-y look on Stephanie, so they were tossing around the ideas of prosthetics and certain things, I can't remember exactly what it was, but they ended up scrapping that after the screen test. I put on the costume, they did my makeup and I had a little wig. I remember, and I credit a lot of me booking the role to, they asked me to sing a song that I loved, and I started singing an ABBA song, and I didn't realize that people in Iceland are crazy about ABBA, so they were like, "Oh my gosh, you know ABBA!" It was really fun, and I got the call a little while later that I booked the role, and it was nuts. Before I even went to film though, they wanted the wig to be fit exactly to my head, so they made a cast of my head, which was one of the weirdest experiences I've ever had in my life, where they had to put Vaseline all over my face and then plaster, and I was only able to breathe through two little straws in my nose, and then this little piece in my mouth so I could breathe, and my mom was freaking out, I had to keep giving her thumbs up if I was okay! So that wig from the pilot was specifically fit to my head, which was pretty cool. That was pretty much the whole audition process; just meeting Magnķs and doing the makeup and screen test and all of that.
C: I've seen some of those sketches that you were talking about, and honestly, I thought they were sketches of you! I had no idea that they were not sketches of you specifically! That's really incredible.
S: I know, that's why I kind of felt like ďmeant to beĒ when I went in just because I'd never seen a drawing of what looked like me that wasn't actually drawn of me. It was weird, but it was cool.
C: Do you think that was a big driving force in why you got the part? Or, what do you think was it that made them select you for the role?
S: That probably had something to do with it. I fit what they were looking for, definitely. Then I think it just came down to being the right person at the right time. So much of acting is that. There are so many talented people that audition for roles constantly, and it's just a mixture of the right look and acting right for the part and being able to sing and dance and what not.
C: So after this whole process of going through the audition and getting set up for the role and everything, what was your first day on the set to film LazyTown like?
S: Okay, so it is a little fuzzy, it kind of all just blends together. I was filming in Iceland for probably about, I think three weeks I was there for. Basically, the first day, what I do remember about that is, I was so excited, because I booked this out of New York, but I'm from Florida and I mainly lived in Florida, so I hadn't really seen snow. I was super excited, I was like, "Oh my gosh Iceland, it's going to be snowy everywhere!" We got there, it wasn't too snowy. So I remember I was in the makeup chair, and someone from production came in and they were like, "We need Shelby outside right now!" I was like, ďOkay, I wonder what they're doing?Ē I walked outside and it's snowing, and so they stopped everything they were doing just to let me go play in the snow for a little while, so I knew from the beginning that they were very nice people that I was going to be working with. It was so much fun getting to meet everyone and seeing the space. I think the first day was more rehearsals than anything, and I believe before we started filming, I went to the recording studio to record Bing Bang. But yeah, it was just mainly a tour and rehearsals and meeting everyone, and testing out the makeup and hair and costumes again. But it was a really fun first day from what I can remember.
C: After you were formally introduced to this whole idea of what LazyTown is, what were your first impressions on this idea of LazyTown?
S: I thought it was really cool. It was super fun to me then, and now that I'm older and I can look at it for what it is, I think it's a great idea for kids. It's a program to help kids eat healthy and get up and move, which is amazing, and I think they went about it in a really fun and interactive way. When I was doing it, I loved how colorful the world was, and yeah, it was strange. I think it was still in development, and that's why the puppets looked a little weirder than they did in the actual series and whatnot, but I don't think they were going out of their way to make it weird. I think they were going out of their way to make it fun for kids and it'll really hold their attention. If there's a blue superhero popping around a colorful background, I know a little kid's going to actually watch the screen. I thought it was a cool concept, I still think it's a great concept.
C: What were your impressions, specifically of those LazyTown puppets, because as you said, when you were first introduced to them, they were still in development, and some would describe them as being creepy. What do you think about them, and what was your first reaction when you first saw those puppets that you were going to be interacting with?
S: It was the first time Iíd ever done anything were I wasnít going to be working with real people, but the puppets didnít creep me out. I really liked them because I liked the people behind them. I remember I was nerding out because one of the puppeteers, and of course I cannot remember his name because it was so long ago, but one of the puppeteers for Pixel, I think it was, Iím a huge Harry Potter nerd, and I think I was at that age too, and he was just telling me stories. He worked on the second Harry Potter film, thereís like a scene with these spiders attacking their car in the Forbidden Forest.
C: Yes, yes.
S: Yeah, he told me that on the first day, so I automatically wanted to be his best friend. I was old enough to realize, obviously, the puppets werenít real, but these people brought them to life in a way that was really comfortable, and made them seem like they were real people and it was easier to act alongside of them.
C: Now at this time, the only two puppet characters that were actively being acted upon were Pixel and Ziggy, is that right?
S: Yes, they didnít have Trixie or anybody else yet. Those were... weíll get to that in a little bit, but when the pilot actually happened, there wasnít any other puppets beside those two. Long story short. I just went in a circle there.
C: Okay, okay. So what was the day-to-day life like, and atmosphere, at LazyTown during this period of time? Was it chaotic?
S: Not from what I remember. Any stresses they had, they definitely kept from me because I was a kid. For me, I remember it all in such a positive light. Everybody was super nice and welcoming. When we first got to Iceland, Magnķs had my mom and I over to his house for dinner, and that was actually funny, I remember my first meeting with his kids. His son was very, very young, I feel like he was two or three, I donít remember, but I had made a little mini-snowman, my first one ever, and I told my mom, I ran inside and was like, ďMom come back outside, I wanna show you I made this!Ē We walk out and Magnķsí son is mid bite through my little snowman, and Iím like, ďNo, he ate my snowman!Ē Other than that everything was great. Day-to-day life there was awesome. The people were amazing, I made friends with, I believe it was the makeup artistís daughter, who was a couple of years older than me, and she spoke English because, I think, her dad lived in California, so she worked as my translator on certain things. Everybody was just very welcoming and genuinely warm people so I had a blast working on the project.
C: Considering the whole pilot episode as one entity, was there a stable plot or was it more like a show reel with just a bunch of scenes meshed together?
S: I wouldnít even consider it a pilot, it was a pilot presentation more than anything. We filmed a couple scenes: thereís the scene where the kids are playing video games, and Iím like, ďLetís go outside,Ē and then thereís the scene were I need Pixelís help, and at first I donít think heís going to help me, and then I remember we filmed something else where itís Ziggyís birthday and Sportacus brought in a toothbrush. But other than that, that was all cut together with just storyboard art, and then after we filmed in Iceland, back in New York, I went in and recorded some voiceover for that and then they brought in other voice actors that were Trixie and the Pixel and Ziggy voice actors. I nerded out at the time because, again this was so long ago, but there was this show on Disney Channel called PB&J Otter that I loved as a child, and the girl that was the voice of Jelly on that show was the voice of Trixie originally for the pilot presentation. I know they ended up going with adult voice actors for what they're doing now, or what they were doing when LazyTown was on, but they did use some kid voices, which I thought was cool, for the pilot presentation. I can understand why they changed that, because obviously kid's voices change and they want to keep it steady. So itís not one cohesive plot line, it was broken up in parts: the storyboard, then what we actually shot, and then the music video of Bing Bang.
C: Speaking of Bing Bang, did you perform any other songs for LazyTown in addition to that, or was it just that?
S: Nope, it was just that one. I was in the studio, and I had to learn the dance, and I feel like we recorded that one toward the end of me being there. It took me a minute to get the dance, because Iím not a dancer!
C: Have you seen much of the version of LazyTown that did eventually make it to air?
S: Iíve seen a few episodes. I knew Julianna back in New York, not totally well or anything like that, she was a little bit older than I was, but we had the same agent so we ran in some similar circles and she was such a nice girl always, and so I thought she killed it as Stephanie, I thought she was great. I love the, ďitís a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake,Ē or whatever, I love that song! I also really love the Lilí Jon remix, whoever made that on YouTube is fantastic.
C: UghÖ Donít even get me started on that man.
S: Do you hate it?
C: I do hate it. I do.
C: Because I hate Lilí Jon, right? Sorry.
S: Well, I mean who doesn't.
C: Right. So, I hate Lilí Jon - I love LazyTown. LazyTown is my zone, okay?
S: I feel you.
C: So then here comes Lilí Jon just rampaging into my area.... ugh...
S: Well Iím sorry to bring up such a sensitive subject then.
C: Itís okay, itís okay.
S: But no, I definitely watched a bit of it, I never got super into it. It wasnít because I was feeling any weird feelings toward it or anything like that, I just think that by the time it aired I had other TV obsessions, but I thought it was a really cute show.
C: So did you know Julianna before LazyTown?
S: Yeah, I had met her before that.
S: We werenít friends to say that, just because I was the when she was twelve, we just had different friends in New York, but whenever I would bump into her, her mom was super nice, she was super nice, they were an awesome family.
C: Jeez itís a small world! I had no idea!
S: Yeah. But Iíve never seen any of the episodes with Chloe Lang. Iím sure sheís great too, but Iíve only seen a couple of episodes with Julianna.
C: What was some of the biggest differences between the show as it is now, or as it was with Julianna, and during your time period?
S: I think they went in a slightly different direction with, they obviously scrapped the breaking of the fourth wall. When I was doing the pilot, it was a little more talking-to-the-kids, like Dora the Explorer-vibe, than what they ended up with, which I prefer what they ended up with. Just me personally, when I was a kid, and I babysit and stuff so I see what kids like, and I think a lot of them enjoy just being able to watch a show rather than waiting to answer a question to the screen sort of thing. So I like the direction they went with the show, and I also do like the puppet design, and the actual show, more than the pilot.
C: Weíve already went through some of these changes that have been made, breaking the fourth wall with Stephanie, prosthetics on your face apparently, puppets having voices by children. Were there any other concepts from the show that were later dropped, that you know of?
S: I know they went through a few costume modifications. Nothing major. Iím sure there was a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes that I didnít know about, but as far as I know thatís basically it.
C: Speaking of the costume modification, thatís interesting that youíre bringing that upm because Iíd like to talk about that. Itís kind of a weird thing to ask, but since youíre here on the line with me I think I might get it out of the way. During the whole transition to television from the stage plays, as they were, there was some controversy between LazyTown and Nickelodeon, who, of course, eventually bought the show, between Stephanieís dress, because, Iím sure youíve seen at least a couple of scenes from the plays, they probably made you watch them, right?
S: Oh yeah, super short dress.
C: Yeah. As an American, it is unacceptably short, I got to give Nickelodeon a little bit of credit, it was short back in the day. But I know there was a lot of discussion about that dress length. By the time that you were fit into the dress, do you think it was in the right place or did you have any kind of qualms about anything regarding that?
S: I was ten so anything sexual, like sexuality, wasnít even on my mind. It wasnít even something I realized at the time. What was interesting about it was I donít remember them worrying as much about the length of the dress as much as, they were still wanting to go for a more cartoonish look of Stephanie, so they actually put in hip-padding to give me hips, because obviously most ten year olds donít have hips. I thought that was interesting. Again, I wasnít something where I was like, ďHmm, I wonder if theyíre sexualizing me?Ē It was just more of that cartoon-feel where they wanted to have more, I donít know, like a body outline. I donít feel like the dress was too short. When I watch back the stuff that Iíve seen, I donít think itís that inappropriate, and honestly, if people are looking at it that way then those arenít the people that should be watching the show. But I totally get why that was a concern, because, yeah, in the stage production it was tiny, but it was also an adult playing the role so I think that had a lot to do with it. Obviously they didn't want to exploit any children, but when I was a part of LazyTown it wasnít with Nickelodeon yet.
S: So that was just more the production team behind Magnķs, and what not, that were worrying about that stuff. I feel like they may have lengthened it slightly after the first fitting, but then it was mainly about finding the right shoes that took forever. They had so many different pairs of shoes, and they ended up going with these cute, pink, sparkly ones with little curled up shoelaces. I loved those shoes. I wanted to keep them so badly but I couldnít. But like you said, I can totally see why Nickelodeon fought to make sure that the skirt was long enough to be appropriate on television for kids.
C: You said that LazyTown was shot in Iceland at that time, which we honestly werenít sure about. We just donít know a whole lot about that era of the show. Could you tell us a little bit about your experiences of traveling to, and spending time, in Iceland?
S: It was beautiful. I really want to go back as an adult because there is so much that I cant tell if itís an actual memory or if itís a memory of a story that Iím hearing. The highlights for me were the hot springs, they had a hot springs water park that I was obsessed with; seeing the northern lights was amazing, my mom, I remember, just started bawling the first time she saw them, so that was cool; and then just exploring ReykjavŪk, it was beautiful. We were put up in this adorable bed and breakfast, and I just remember, they would bring us breakfast every morning and it was the first time Iíd had a soft boiled egg in a little egg cup with my little spoon, and I felt so fancy. It was just a fun experience all around. Iceland is absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous. My mom loved shopping there. I bought a little piece of volcanic rock from Iceland, I have it on my bookshelf in my apartment here. Then my mom bought me a super itchy wool sweater that she forced me to wear because she loved it, and I was like, ďMom, this is so itchy I canít,Ē and she was like, ďItís genuine wool, youíre gonna wear it,Ē and Iím like, ďThanks...Ē But no, all my memories from Iceland are super positive and I, like I said, really, really want to go back and experience it again as an adult. And maybe stalk the Game of Thrones cast there, because I know they film there.
C: Ah, yes yes yes.
S: Those are my two reasons to go back.
C: LazyTown fans that have bothered to pay attention to your story, which is quite a few, we know that you eventually had to back out of the role due to contractual disagreements between what LazyTown needed, and what your union would allow, but aside from that vague premise we really donít know any of the details about what happened. So I was wondering if you could elaborate on what exactly happened that prevented you from playing that role.
S: I filmed the pilot, we ended up going around, we did some other stuff, we did some stage work at some schools in, I think it was New Jersey. So I was with the project for a little while and then we found out that it got picked up by Nickelodeon, and we were thrilled. Then we found out, to save money, the production was going to go non-union. Iím a member of the Screen Actors Guild, itís now Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA put together, but at the time it was just SAG. Basically, once you are in SAG, youíre not allowed to do non-union work. There are penalties. If youíre doing something small, like a spot in a music video, or a short film, or a one-off role, itís highly unlikely that youíre going to get caught by SAG. Itís still frowned upon to do, but people do it. Itís fine helping out friends and what not, but if youíre going to be the serious lead of a show, thatís going to be filming for, I think at the time, they wanted me to commit to two years in Iceland. So obviously, my mom discussed it with SAG to see what those penalties were exactly, and whoever she was speaking to, we went back and forth for so long, it was such a hard decision, because we kept saying we didnít think we could do it, and they would come back offering more money. To me as a kid, I didnít exactly have a concept of money, I knew it was important to live, obviously, but it wasnít something that would drive me; it would drive me more now than then to make that decision. But my mom found out from SAG that basically, you could either be fined a really hefty sum, or they could go so far, or what they were saying they would do, they could kick you out of the union. I donít know if itís for a certain amount of years or if itís forever. Iíve wanted to act since I was a kid, and itís something I hoping that LazyTown would help me with getting jobs in the future, but, from what it was sounding like, if we took the job it would really hinder me from working again. It just ended up not being worth it, sadly. It would have been such an amazing experience, but it was my mom's, and my, decision. Obviously, she was helping me make these decisions because I was only ten. She sat me down and was like, ďShelby, what do you want to do? What do you think we should do,Ē and I said, ďLook, if itís..Ē I mean, I wasnít this articulate at the time, but I was like, ďIf this is going to keep me from being able to be in film and television for the rest of my life, then thatís just not worth it to me.Ē We ultimately decided to stay on the safe side and turn it down, and I think it all worked out the way it was supposed to. I think Julianna is an amazing Stephanie. I know, at ten, moving to Iceland for two years was something that I was already a little nervous about doing, because I had my friends and my whole life and it was a scary thought. I would have done it if it had worked out, totally, because I did love the experience, but things happen in a way theyíre supposed to happen, I think.
C: If you could go back in time and change that decision, do you think you would?
S: I donít think so, only because I donít like to think that way. I feel like so many things in my life would be different by now, from the friends that I have to where Iím living, to what Iím doing. I like my life and who knows, it couldíve been better, it couldíve been worse, I couldíve ended up on crack, you never know. So no, I donít think I would change anything.
C: From beginning to end, from audition and until severance from LazyTown, how long were you associated with that brand?
S: Iím honestly not sure. I feel like it had to have been a year. It might have been a little less, it could have been eight months, but just from the audition to the screen test, to flying out to Iceland, to filming there for like three weeks to a month, to recording studio stuff, then, like I said, we did a little stage play at a school, I believe it was in New Jersey, I really canít remember where it was, but that was super fun, to then waiting for the pilot to be done, to then be shopped around to different networks, to then be picked up, find out that it was going non-union, it takes a while. Because I filmed everything in 2002 and then it was all put together by 2003. Maybe Iím wrong, but Iíd say about a year.
C: So youíve dropped this stage play, that you did in New Jersey, a couple of times. What the Hell is that? I've never heard of this. What was that about?
S: It was literally just going into schools and promoting LazyTown. I donít remember if we were doing it with Nickelodeon at that time, because I believe other networks were interested too. I donít want to name which ones they were, because I might be so wrong, it was so long ago. It was basically to see if kids would even be interested in this in America. We went to an elementary school, and it was nerve-wracking because it was performing for kids at my own age. I was always so much more comfortable performing for adults, and performing for your peers just adds pressure because youíre like, ďOh I hope they donít make fun of me, I hope they like me,Ē whereas an adult is not going to sit there and make fun of a kid. I remember I did the Bing Bang song, Magnķs did some cool handstands-pushup whatever crazy stuff he can do, because that man is like a superhero in real life, just promoting the show, and talking about eating healthy for the kids, and the kids really loved it, so it ended up helping LazyTown get picked up, which is awesome.
C: Could you tell us some more vivid memories about working with LazyTown, aside from the ones you've already shared over the course of this interview?
S: I'm trying to think if there are any, God, it was like fourteen years ago! Meeting everybody was amazing, Magnķs was super cool. I remember I loved his wife. His wife and my mom went shopping a lot. Filming on the set was super cool, oh, that was an interesting thing! So when you film with a green screen, obviously a lot of what you see isn't there, and they put that in after the fact. But whenever there was a segment, I think it was part of the toothbrush, Ziggy's birthday toothbrush scene, where Sportacus comes in and does all these crazy flips and whatnot, and obviously they have to capture that separate from my reaction, and so for what I was watching that was supposed to be Sportacus, they put a tennis ball on a stick and that was my eyeline, so it was interesting acting opposite of a tennis ball, that I remember was fun and weird. I feel like I'm going to kick myself, and after we hang up I'm going to remember something else, but for the most part everything I remember I've already told you guys.
C: So, throughout this entire interview we've been talking about pilot this, pilot that, blah blah blah. I don't know if you knew this Shelby, but the great majority, I'm talking about almost everything that we know about the pilot has come directly from you.
S: Oh! Really?
C: Whether it is the pictures from that little pamphlet, or the clips that you have uploaded to YouTube, and the reason why that is, is just because this is not something that is widely available. I know that there is a copy in Iceland, probably in a box somewhere now, you have a copy, there's probably one at Nickelodeon somewhere, but aside from that man, it's just not out there.
S: I can see why, it was definitely still hardcore in development.
C: I was hoping to use my peer pressure skills here with you to see what I could do to get you to put out the whole thing for us.
S: I will need to find the VHS again. I believe my mom has it somewhere in storage. So if I'm able to locate it, I can see about ripping it and taking pictures of some other stuff. I don't mind doing that, as long as I don't end up getting a cease and desist letter from LazyTown! But I don't see why that would be a problem. So yeah, I'll talk to my mom and see if she can find it. It came in this little cute box with a card from Magnķs. He gave me one of his, I think it was his cookbook, or a different book's in there, and then the LazyTown pamphlet and then a VHS copy of everything, it was their little production packet that they were giving out to whomever was interested in the pilot at the time. I uploaded the majority of the live action stuff, so I'll just see, I think the rest is really just the storyboard art. Not to get anybody too excited, there's really not much more than what is already out there, but I'll see what I can do!
C: I hear you, but if you could you would make at least three man children and one woman child very happy.
S: Well, awesome!
C: So now I'd like to talk about a couple things that happened outside of LazyTown, mostly about just your acting career in general, because even though this is a LazyTown interview, the great majority of your acting career is not LazyTown.
C: So how did you begin your acting career?
S: It's actually really funny. When I was younger, like, super young, my parents got divorced, and me and my mom were staying at my grandparents' place after the divorce for a little while, and my mom was super depressed. My grandma came in with a newspaper and was like, ďHey, there's a little pageant happening, you should take Shelby to it! Just for fun, why not,Ē and so my mom was like, ďOh, okay, sure,Ē and so, we didn't go out and buy anything fancy; I borrowed a dress from my cousin, I think she maybe put lip gloss on me, if that, but no makeup. I think I was three at the time. We went just for kicks, and I ended up winning, and then I kept winning, and so we just kept advancing, and so toward the end one of the judges was a modeling agent who wanted to represent me, and at the time, my mom was like, ďNo way, she's way too young for this. We'll think about it when she's older, thanks, whatever.Ē I remember my mom said we ended up leaving the pageants because the moms were just as catty as they seem on that show Toddlers and Tiaras. She was like, ďIt was a bad environment, it was not something I wanted you in.Ē From there, I grew up a little bit. When I was four, five years old my mom says, and I believe this, that I would just jump in front of the TV when there were commercials on that I had seen enough to know, and I would just act along with them, and be a little brat and be like, ďI can do that better!Ē So I kept begging her, I was like, ďI want to be on TV, that's what I want to do!Ē I started modeling and I started booking pretty regularly which was nice, but then apparently my complaint was that I was still not talking in front of the camera, I just had to smile. So I went and met with some commercial agents in Florida and got signed, was lucky enough to start booking pretty regularly with that. When I was really young, the first time I went to New York actually was because I was up for a role in this, it was an Annie film they did in, I guess, late-90's?
C: Wait a minute, was it the Disney one?
S: Yeah, the Disney one. It came down to me, Sarah Hyland, and I feel like one other little girl for the role of Molly. Sarah Hyland ended up getting it, but it was still super cool, so I was like, ďMom, I want to do movies! Movies are so cool! It's even better than commercials!Ē And so, I started auditioning for some. In Florida, it's mainly just commercials. They don't really film anything television-wise, but I got lucky enough that there was a show on Showtime that was filming an episode in each state basically. It was called Going in California. It was about these guys following their friend who ran away, so they were actually filming in each state that the episode took part in, and so in the Florida episode, I ended up booking a role in it, which was my first big TV anything, and so from then on I was like, ďThis is what I want to do.Ē We went to New York first, LazyTown happened, which was awesome, that, though, took me out of school for a while and my school in Florida that I was going to at the time, because I was going back and forth a lot ,wouldn't work with me while I was filming that. So that's when I started homeschooling and whatnot, so that made it easier to audition for other projects as well. I started booking some independent films in New York, and then my agents at the time were like, ďLook, the projects Shelby's doing, there's so much more of an opportunity out in California for her.Ē So we ended up moving out here, and then the rest is kind of history. I've been lucky to have some pretty steady work for the past couple years, and I love it. This is the only thing I can really see myself doing, so, super happy about it.
C: So let's go into that ďthe rest is historyĒ part. Of course, if we sat down here and spoke about your acting career as a whole, we would be here for hours because it's quite extensive. So, could you just give us some of the highlights, maybe some of the things that you're most proud of over the course of your acting career?
S: Yeah, totally! One of the coolest things, it was such a small role, but it was still amazing because David Fincher is one of my favorite directors, Fight Club is one of my favorite movies, but working in The Social Network with David Fincher, and then for that film to go on and win an Oscar, is awesome! Well, multiple Oscars, I think, for different little things, that was one of the coolest projects I've ever been in. American Horror Story I recurred on the first season as this really mean girl named Leah, who then gets attacked by a demon and finds God, and is a little less mean, but is definitely tortured at that point. That was one of the coolest things. I ended up making a really great friend from that set, and it was just an all-around amazing experience. I did a lot of horror projects back-to-back, pretty much after American Horror Story, but one of my favorite projects I've ever done was a movie called Night Light that came out last March. It was cool, it was a POV [point of view] film, so it was looking like found footage from the trailers, but it's actually supposed to be from the point of view of the flashlight in the film, which I just thought was super cool, and it ended up being edited differently, but when we filmed it it was each scene, we would run through the whole scene in one take. So, it was almost like doing a play, where you'd have these five, six-page scenes running through the forest with practical effects happening, and you had to remember all of your dialogue and all of your actions. If there was a screw-up, you had to start over. So it was really just almost like acting boot camp, in a way, and I had such a fun time on that set. One actually funny one was a little short film that I did just for a competition called Hacked. It's on YouTube, if you look up ďHackedĒ and ďTim Baldini,Ē that's the director's name, it was a super-short little thing, but it was one of the most fun things I've ever worked on, because I got to learn some stunt-fighting, which I love doing. I want to be in an action film so bad, it would be amazing. So that was my super-cool experience. I got to work with, I think his name was Ho-Sung Pak, and he did the original moves and motion capture for Liu Kang and Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat, so working with him was super-cool just to learn these fight moves. And like I said, this was a tiny little barely-a-budget project, but it was still weirdly one of my more fun things to work on. I've guest-starred on a lot of great shows, and I've done a lot of cool independent films, I have a movie coming out this March in I think ten cities and then I believe it's also coming out On Demand. It's a thriller called A Haunting in Cawdor, and my co-star is Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride, which working with him was amazing. I had a huge crush on him when he was in that movie. Not when we filmed together, but when I first watched The Princess Bride as a kid, so working with him I was like, ďThis is pretty cool.Ē I could keep going, but I don't want to talk your ear off!
C: So this one is kind of a goofy question, provided by one of the LazyTown fans, but I think it's a really fun question. Who would you thank in your Academy Award speech?
S: Well, obviously I'd have to thank my family, my friends, my representation, and whoever was involved in the said project that led me to win this award, and then probably my cat! I don't know, my cat for shaping me into the human I am today! I don't know, just friends and family more than anything.
C: A fun thing that I like to do here at the end these interviews, is to really go way out there and speak to my guests about crazy things, just to get a better idea of who they are as a person. Previously Iíve done a thing where itís like twenty questions, but it's really like ten questions. I'm going to do something a little bit different this time though. Weíre just going to have a chat. A little fireside chat with Shelby and Chris.
C: And the topic today is food! Do you like food Shelby?
S: I love food.
C: Good, so weíre off to a good start. The first thing I want to talk about is bleu cheese, and the reason that Iím bringing this up is because a couple of weeks ago, I was preparing a salad for myself, and bleu cheese was one of the ingredients. Iíve had the salad before, itís very enjoyable, but as I was putting the blue cheese into the salad this particular time, I had an epiphany. And that epiphany is that blue cheese is disgusting! Why am I eating this stuff? Why? It looks disgusting, it smells disgusting, it tastes disgusting, and if any other food was to smell, taste, look like bleu cheese, it would immediately be thrown into the garbage.
C: What are your thoughts on bleu cheese?
S: I personally love bleu cheese. I like pretty much any form of stinky cheese. I do agree, if I opened my fridge and, letís say, my cucumbers looked like bleu cheese, or even slightly had fuzz on them, or had a blue tint to them, they would obviously be in the trash. But I don't know, something about cheese, Iím okay with the stench and the weird taste, itís part of the cheese experience. Youíre not a real cheese aficionado if you canít handle your sharp, stinky cheeses.
C: That's true. At one point I used to think that I really liked brie. Then once I had a really super strong brie I was like, ďWhat a minute, this is actually really disgusting.Ē It really does taste like dirty socks.
S: Yeah, I donít know. Itís an acquired taste. I like pretty much any type of food, exact anything thatís too spicy, so if I could I would do what... have you seen the show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern?
C: Yeah I have, yeah.
S: Thatís like my dream life. I, whenever I travel, try the weirdest foods that I possibly can find. Iím pretty fearless when it comes to trying strange smelling and tasting foods, as long as like I said, they're not too spicy. Iím a wimp when it comes to handling heat.
C: So still in the cheese vein here, that Andrew Zimmern show that you were referencing, I saw him once eat some kind of cheese that had maggots growing in it. Come on, youíre not gonna eat that.
S: Iím not even kidding, I would try that.
C: No youíre not. Come on, give me a fucking break.
S: I know the exact episode that you're talking about. Iíve eaten, no this is probably super gross, but Iíve had chocolate covered grasshoppers, Iíve had mealworms, Iíve had... I feel like itís mainly been grasshoppers and mealworms, because thatís what you find in those little lollipops. Oh, Iíve had scorpions from one of those little lollipops! Bugs donít freak me out. The US is one of the only countries where we donít eat bugs as protein. Theyíre so high in protein. Thereís a restaurant actually that Iíve been meaning to go to with my boyfriend, I donít want to tell him about it, I donít want to tell him what the food is, because they serve all different forms of bug dishes, and I just want to surprise him because I know he would freak out. But that stuff really doesn't freak me out. I donít mind bugs, I just hate spiders. I wouldnít mind eating a spider because then itís like Iím asserting a dominance, like, ďHey, I'm eating you.Ē
C: Sure, yeah.
S: ďYouíre dead.Ē But I donít like spiders in real life. But other than that bugs donít bother me. I would do it.
C: The maggots?
S: Yeah. I could do it.
C: Come on.
S: I could do it.
C: I'm with you on grasshoppers but no.
S: Hereís the thing though. Iím a super neurotic person too, so Iíd probably, before eating it, Google it and make sure they couldnít live inside of me and kill me in any way, or make me sick, but as long as it was all good and clear I would try it. No joke.
S: Youíre like ďWell, Iím disgusted, gonna end this now.Ē
C: I'm out. Iím just saying, Iím not eating the maggots. Hey, itís all you.
S: Thank you, more for me.
C: You were raised in the US educational system, Iím sure that you were well familiar with the food pyramid. Based on the food pyramid, everybody is in agreement that sugars and fats; theyíre the best. Dead wrong. Itís in fact grain. Grain is in fact the secret king of the food pyramid. Take the best cut of meat you could ever possibly imagine, take the best milkshake you could possibly imagine, and then put it next to the best piece of bread you can imagine, and you only have to pick one. Iím picking bread every time.
C: Every time.
S: Interesting. So youíre not anti-gluten like a lot of people are these days?
C: No, are you kidding me? Come onÖ I mean, youíre in California, so youíre really engulfed in this whole phenomenon.
S: Iím surrounded, and I hate it so much. Listen, if you have an actual medical condition that... I do have friends with Celiac Disease, they totally, obviously, donít eat gluten. Sure, it is bad for your body specifically. But this whole fad of ďgluten is evil, letís cut out glutenĒ... No... Itís a fad, thatís exactly what it is. Drives me nuts.
C: Kids, they love sugar, right?
C: I loved sugar as a kid, I still love sugar, itís great!
S: Me too.
C: However, as Iíve grown, and matured into an adult, if you will, I have actually discovered that salt is actually the superior mineral. What do you think?
S: I honestly was just talking about this. I totally agree. I used to have the biggest sweet tooth, to where it was a problem. When I was a teenager, I could wake up in the morning, have a hostess cupcake for breakfast, this is so not in the vein of LazyTown by the way, this is like the opposite of what LazyTown teaches.
C: Oh yeah.
S: But I could totally have cake for breakfast, and then gummy worms and all this stuff, and be fine. I could function okay. And now; A: I have started craving salty snacks way more than sweet snacks, but B: when I have a fair amount of sugar, I can do desert every now and then, but if itís ever a day like that where Iím just, for whatever the reason, in a mood where Iím like, ďI need all the chocolate,Ē I feel so sick after, which I never used to. So I agree; salt is better. You still shouldnít have too much of it, because do you know that if youíre craving salt like hardcore, it just means that youíre dehydrated?
S: Yeah, so obviously when Iím like, ďI need something salty,Ē I drink a lot of water first. But yeah, give me a bag of chips over a bag of M&Mís any day.
C: Kind of in a similar vein to that last question; I used to love ketchup as a child. Again, still do, ketchup is great. However, mustard is the better condiment. What do you think?
S: Iím going to have to disagree with you there, Chris.
S: I will put ketchup on anything. Mustard I like, like I really do, but I only save it for certain dishes, but ketchup I can put on things that ketchup is not even supposed to go on and it tastes good to me. I love ketchup.
C: Iím with you. Ketchup is great. But, I mean, mustard! Come on, come on look at it! Itís great!
S: Right, but what about mayonnaise?
C: Nah, Iím not a big fan.
S: If you take ketchup...
S: And you mix it with mayonnaise...
C: The special sauce, yeah.
S: Yeah, and then, for me, I add a drop of Tobasco. Itís kind of my secret, which I guess now isnít a secret, but it just amps up the flavor, itís my favorite thing ever.
C: Let me make a quick case for mustard here.
C: Dijon mustard...
C: Honey mustard, ground mustard. You have all these different kind of mustards, you have one kind of ketchup. Come on.
S: But, like I said, you can mix ketchup with barbecue sauce and itís amazing. You can mix ketchup with mayo itís amazing. You can mix ketchup with mustard, and itís amazing!
S: So, I donít know.
C: You make a compelling argument, but ultimately, once you mix the ketchup in, itís no longer ketchup.
S: Yeah, but is honey mustard really mustard or is it more honey?
C: Ugh, Jesus, you really got me. You really got me on that one. I submit.
S: Thank you, thank you, Iíll take my award now. Iíd like to thankÖ No Iím kidding.
C: So letís talk about funnel cakes.
C: For those maybe who are listening who do not live in the United States, Iím not sure if youíre going to be as familiar with funnel cakes as we might be, but basically, from what I understand, I think itís just deep fried fat with sugar on top. Is that right?
S: Itís dough. Itís a weird dough with sugar on top.
C: Okay, deep fried, doughy, fatty dough, I guarantee that there's a ton of lard in there.
S: Oh yeah, I'm sure.
C: And they're popular, but I'm totally convinced that anybody that says that they like funnel cakes is actually wrong; they're lying to themselves and to the rest of the world. I don't think that anybody actually likes funnel cakes. What do you think?
S: I did really like funnel cake when I was younger, but then I went to New Orleans and I had beignets, which are basically, better versions of funnel cakes/doughnuts. It's like these airy, fluffy, dough, powdered sugar deliciousness. So ever since then, I can't do funnel cake anymore.
C: Just because you've had the superior product?
S: Exactly. Now there's no going back.
C: The reason I can't stand it is that it's just gross. It's just not good.
S: I haven't had it so long now that I don't even know. I'll agree with you.
C: Maybe, just next time you go to Disneyland or something, just go and get a funnel cake and you'll be like two bites in and be like, ďWhat have I done?Ē
S: But see, Disneyland has beignets so...
C: Okay so you're not even going to play that game.
C: Have you been to the Corn Dog Castle in California Adventure?
S: Yes I have.
C: Aw jeez...
S: So good. I go to Disneyland, it's actually really sad, I go like every two weeks. Sometimes more than that.
C: Are you kidding me?
S: No, I'm not.
C: I would be going like that if I lived in California. I seriously have a plan that I'm forming to retire to Disneyland.
S: See, my plan to retire is in a community that's not built yet that they're building called Golden Oaks, that is going to be a Disney World community, and any person that lives there, get automatically, a premier pass to Disney World, and you can get chauffeured from your house to Disney World.
C: Are you kidding me?
C: This is a dream come true! I thought I was going to have to develop this whole thing! They're developing it for me, I could just move over there! Wow! That's very promising for my retirement. I can't wait to be an old man, what about you?
S: Same! I'm so... well not to be...
C: Not to be an old man, yeah.
S: Yeah, I'm excited to be an old woman. But no, my friends already make fun of me and say that I already am an old woman. I'm the friend that it's like 10 o'clock on a Friday night an I'm like, ďWelp, it's time to cuddle up with my cat and watch some Friends on Netflix and go to sleep.Ē
C: One more thing that I want to talk about here before we wrap this up is superpowers, right? So, it's kind of this clichť question, ďOh, if you could have a superpower, what would it be,Ē blah blah blah. We're not going to go there, but where we are going to go is, if you asked me that question, say, last year, I would have answered, I don't know, invisibility, time control, mind reading, you know, something, you know, a little more traditional. But recently, I've discovered that the correct answer is actually, being able to eat whatever you want, and not feeling any of the consequences.
S: I think that is a great superpower to have. It's still not the one I would want, but it's a good one to have if you could have multiple superpowers. This was always my problem; just picking one. There were always two that were tied in my head that I still don't know which one I would want.
C: Think about it, you could guzzle maple syrup.
S: But do I want to?
S: I'm not Buddy the elf, I'm Shelby the human, and I personally don't like maple syrup that much. Sorry. Sorry to say.
C: [Long drawn out sigh of disappointment.]
S: But no, I hear what you're saying. I could eat ice cream, and not feel like death right afterwards.
C: Yeah, you don't gain weight, you don't feel like shit, you just eat it and you're like, ďOh, I could have some more of that!Ē You have an endless stomach and it's the best.
S: Once again, going back to ďI'm watching Friends,Ē there was literally just an episode where Joey ate an entire Thanksgiving turkey, a nineteen pound Thanksgiving turkey, and then could still eat pie, so basically, you'd just be Joey Tribbiani from Friends.
C: Maybe. I'm a Seinfeld guy, more than Friends, that's for sure.
S: I haven't really watched any Seinfeld. I should though.
C: I haven't really watched any Friends, so there you go.
S: But see, that's why one of the powers that I want that could maybe be cool; I would like to have the power of suggestion. And I wouldn't use it in an evil way. I don't know if you've watched the Netflix show Jessica Jones, but there's a character on it who, basically, anything he tells a person to do, or suggests that they do, they will do without questioning. It's basically mind control.
S: But! If you had that power, I bet you could use it on yourself, looking in the mirror and you would say, ďI'm not full. I can eat this.Ē So there, you could have that cool power for other uses, and be able to eat anything that you want.
C: Get this weird mind over body thing going on.
C: Interesting. You make a great case for this whole power of suggestion thing. I would not have guessed they'd be like, ďOh yeah, I guess you could use that on yourself.Ē Do they do that in the show?
C: So you just came up with this on your own?
S: I literally thought of that just now.
C: It's halfway genius.
S: Thank you
C: Alright, well, I think that's pretty much all we have for you here on the papers so, I do just have one final thing before we go. Throughout this interview, you have been taking questions from fans, of course, but a big part of why I started to do these interviews in the first place, is to attempt create some kind of channel of communication between the fans and the people that are a part of what these fans have grown to love so much. Considering that, do you have anything that you would like to say specifically to the LazyTown fans listening to this interview, or maybe even other fans of your other work that are also listening in?
S: Yeah! First of all, thank you to anyone who is listening. I appreciate you wanting to hear about my experiences and my career and whatnot, that's awesome. I appreciate you either being a fan of mine, or the show, and just wanting to learn more about that whole process, or my career or whatever your reason is for listening. Thank you so much, and I really appreciate it.
C: Alright, well, as always, I want to thank the fans that participate in and listen to these interviews, and of course, want to thank Shelby for sitting down with me and doing this interview. Now, I have a couple of exciting announcements for you fans. The first announcement is that these interviews are now available on iTunes! They have available now for a couple of months now, but this is the first time that I've had the opportunity to announce that on one of these interviews. So just search iTunes podcasts for GetLazy.net Interviews, and they are all available for free there for easy listening. The second announcement is... Shelby, has agreed to release the entire LazyTown pilot presentation for the fans of LazyTown. That's right you guys, the whole thing, in its weird glory, is now available to view on YouTube. If you're viewing the interview on YouTube, click on Pixel's computer in the bottom left-hand corner and it will take you right to it, if you're viewing from GetLazy.net, it will be linked in the interview thread. Otherwise, you can view it on Shelby's YouTube channel, which is at youtube.com/officialshelbyyoung. While you're at it, check her out on Twitter at shelby_young, instagram at shelbyhyoung, and also her IMDb page and her page on facebook. All of those links will be available in the description of the YouTube upload of this interview. Thanks again for listening, I will see you all next time, and Shebly, I'll see you in Golden Oaks in about fourty years.
Special thanks to boblbee, Fox, and Glanni's Girl for helping with the transcription.