RED Hearts: Q&A with TeenNick's Jolene Purdy

RED Hearts are guests posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today. Today's RED Hearts post is by Amy Hunt, 20, reporting from Huntingdon, PA, who interviewed rising star Jolene Purdy:

Hollywood finally seems to be warming up to the fact that teens today want to see diversity of every kind on our TV screens -- and Jolene Purdy's character Piper Katins in the new TeenNick show "Gigantic" rings true to this. It's one gigantic step for teenkind.

Though the daughter of a movie star, Piper is as real as you and I: She's dealing with family drama, boy problems, and maintaining self-esteem and confidence.

Jolene answered a few questions about her character, the show, plus-size roles in Hollywood, and, of course, what she hearts...

Amy Hunt: In the past year, you've gone from regular high school girl on "10 Things I Hate About You" to movie star's daughter on "Gigantic." (And you were even in Donnie Darko back there!) They sound totally different. What drew you to your latest character? Jolene Purdy: Piper is amazing! She loves life and never lets anything get in her way. Piper is a multi-racial, adopted, plus-sized girl who is living in the flashy world of paparazzi. I saw so much potential fun and excitement being a character where anything is possible.

AH: A lot of shows have come out in the past year that really turn up the volume on the issues of body image and self-esteem, and "Gigantic" certainly doesn't shy away. What effect do you think this will have -- or would you like it to have -- on Hollywood in terms of creating more role models of all kinds for girls? JP: It's definitely causing a stir, and I love it! I really hope people begin to get over their plus-size prejudices. I can't wait to see the original and inspirational work that will come out once Hollywood accepts how different everyone is and understands how that uniqueness should be celebrated and not ripped apart.

AH: Not only do you act, but you sing, too! Any plans for an album in the future? What kinds of music do you listen to for inspiration? JP: Doing an album would be fantastic! I am having so much fun focusing on acting right now, but who knows? I love listening to all kinds of music: No Doubt, Pink, Carrie Underwood, Black Eyed Peas, The Beatles.

AH: Finally, since this is I Heart Daily, anything else you're really "hearting" at the moment that you think our readers should know about? JP: I heart boots!! I heart San Francisco! I heart nail gel from OPI (my current color is Lincoln Park After Dark). It's a thick kind of polish that lasts two weeks!!!

RED Hearts guest poster Amy Hunt is an author of RED: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today, now available in paperback.