With Younger’s first season in the books, we’ve already seen Hilary Duff drink more than enough to realize that this ain’t no Disney Channel sitcom. The heir-apparent to Sex and the City, Darren Star’s TVLand hit has already been renewed for a third season, ensuring that Duff’s edgy, yet endearing “Kelsey” is here to stay. Paste caught up with the actor to talk about singing for the series, gaining new types of fans, and what to expect from Season Two.
Paste Magazine: First off, congratulations on the Season Two premiere of Younger.
Hilary Duff: Thank you!
Paste: Now that the first season has been widely seen, how has being on this show affected the types of people who make up your fan base?
Duff: You know what? I think the show’s quite surprising to a lot of people, because we are on TV Land. It took a while for people to find it, first of all. They would assume that TV Land wouldn’t necessarily have a show like this, that is very high concept, but is funny, and relatable and super-edgy. We get to have a lot of fun, and I think that my fans have grown up with me. Maybe this is expanding my audience a little bit, which is great.
People haven’t seen me do some of the things that I’m doing on the show. I really enjoy it, and obviously working with Darren Star is a real treat. He’s such a wonderful showrunner, and really writes for women. We tackle a lot of issues that I feel like are currently present in women’s lives.
Also, the one thing that’s so shocking to me is men love watching this show—almost all of my girlfriends come to confess to me that their boyfriends have watched, and are like “I’m kinda into this.” It’s a show they can actually agree on watching.
Paste: You touched on your fans following you throughout your career. Going back to when you were looking to move in to more mature projects, was this the type of show you had in mind?
Duff: To be honest, I’ve never been one to be like, “I have to be doing provocative things,” or whatever. My career’s never really been that, and people have followed me for such a long time. I do think that for a while I’d been a little pigeonholed, and I was like “Well, I’m not getting the roles that I want,” so I just took a break. I enjoyed that, and I had a family and a baby, so my life has progressed, and I don’t feel stuck by any means.
When the show came along and Darren called me, I was looking for a great project, but it wasn’t like I was able to ask him, “Well, where exactly is this show going? What exactly is my character going to be doing?” I’m sure he has some vision in his head, but it’s always taking twists and turns. I wasn’t totally prepared for everything that Kelsey has to do, but I definitely have been up for the challenge.
Some of it has been slightly shocking to me, but I’ve been going with it, and enjoying it. I’m a 28-year-old woman now, and some people still see me a certain way. Others have moved on from that, and they know me and follow me, and know that I’m not still a child.
Paste:: It’s weird because you’re still so young, but you’ve been around for so long. Do you ever feel like you’re still the kid in the room, or do you identify with Sutton Foster’s Liza—someone who has been working in her profession longer than almost everyone around her?
Duff: I do feel like the kid in the room sometimes, but it’s never debilitating or anything. It’s just a realization. I’ve had to be mature my whole life, since I’ve had a career since I was… what, 10 or 11? But my personality is very young and I have a lot of energy. I think that sometimes I feel like the baby, and then other times , I’m like “Whoa, I’m too old to be here,” or too old to be doing this. I’ll have a conversation with someone, and I’m like “Okay yeah, I’m missing the mark, I’m too old.” I think last year at Coachella was one of those times where I was like, “This is my last year here, not coming back.”
Paste: It’s a little too loud, huh?
Duff: Yeah! (laughs)
Paste: Let’s talk about Kelsey, because she’s obviously a popular character on the show. How would you say that she’s grown or changed from when we first met her in the beginning of the series?
Duff: She has a lot more depth this season, which is wonderful. She gets really aggressive, and she really stands up for herself in work. I love seeing that side of her. You get to see her frustrations when deals fall through; you get to see what she’ll do to make something happen. You also get to see her still being mistreated in a relationship, and you get to see her break down, because of the pressures of work and her not feeling good enough. And you get to see her still having Liza’s back so hardcore. Obviously, you get to see her drunk a few times.
Paste: Always fun.
Duff: There’s quite a few more serious things this year, but the writing of our show is so funny, and so on point, and so current. It was cool this year to give Kelsey a little more depth.
Paste: You already mentioned that this show is definitely edgy, and you can always make that correlation back to Sex in the City, or even a show like Seinfeld—shows that discussed previously-taboo topics. Younger seems to have inherited that approach. Will we be seeing more of this in the new season’s episodes?
Duff: Definitely. They had to top season one, so season two definitely goes there even a little bit more. We have a whole episode about “truffle butter.” I’m not sure if you know exactly what that is.
Paste: I’m scared to find out, but now I have to Google it.
Duff: Just go ahead and do yourself a favor, and Google that when we get off the phone. Your jaw will fall open because it’s so disgusting. It’s hilarious. The episode is so funny. We also have an amazing guest star, Matthew Morrison, do something so crazy and I’m really excited for people to see that episode. One thing that happens with Kelsey is she signs this cracked-out chick who really gives her a run for her money. She’s doing drugs and being crazy. We still do things on the show that are very to the limit, but our characters are pretty grounded. We’re willing to try things and take risks, but for the most part we’re very relatable characters that live in New York City, so crazy things are happening all around us.
Paste: Music is obviously a big part of your career, and prior to this season’s premiere, we’ve seen and heard a promo that included your cover of “Landslide.” Will Kelsey be getting into any situations that will allow you to showcase your voice on the show any time soon?
Duff: I don’t think so, but I loved that. I was so excited when I got the call to do the song for the promo, because obviously singing is a big part of my life. And then I got really quiet and nervous when they said I was covering a Fleetwood Mac song, because I’m obsessed with them. I don’t know anyone who’s not and that was a little intimidating. But the song fits so well with the show, and it’s a cool rendition. I would love to keep doing stuff like that.
Sutton sings, and Miriam [Shor] sings and Nico [Tortorello] sings. We’re a very musical cast and Darren’s like “No, no, no—no music. I don’t think in the show your characters would be good singers.” Maybe on some drunken karaoke night, all of them will get together and go try to sing.