After that swoon-worthy “Pretty Women” gesture by Josh (Jonathan Sadowski) in the Season 1 finale, only to discover Gabi (Emily Osment) kissing Cooper (Jesse McCartney), it was hard to imagine where Season 2 might pick up with Gabi, Josh and Cooper — and Gabi’s relationship-savvy roommate Sofia (Aimee Carrero).
In a press interview, star Aimee Carrero shared her insight into whether she or her character Sofia are Team Cooper or Team Josh and what romantic prospects lie on the horizon for Sofia.
How would you describe your character Sofia? What do you like most about her?
AIMEE: Sofia is sort of the dream scenario for me. She is ambitious, incredibly driven and has a wonderful head on her shoulders. I joked a lot last evening that Sofia is sort of the Ricky to Gabi’s Lucy but a little bit of Ethel makes sense, of course, because she does go along with this scheme. But she sort of brings Gabi down to earth. She keeps her feet planted on the ground.
What can we expect from her in these upcoming new episodes?
AIMEE: Sofia kind of gets a boyfriend, which is exciting. What’s wonderful about our writers is that they did such a wonderful job the first season, setting her up in a classic way — like the realist to Gabi’s idealist. So, in the first season, Sofia had it all together. In the new season you see a little bit more of her, of the messy stuff that she doesn’t have together. Like, if you remember how Monica was so perfect on FRIENDS — but then she had that nasty closet full of stuff — just where she can be messy and be herself. That’s sort of revealed this season. You get to see a little bit of a break in the armor with Sofia and to see her sweat a little bit. She’s not so confident in every aspect of her life, so you get to see some of that.
Out of the entire cast of YOUNG & HUNGRY, who is the best chef?
AIMEE: Honestly, the only person that’s ever cooked for me is Emily [Osment], so she wins by default [laughs]. She has a beautiful kitchen and is far more confident in it that I am in mine. Emily’s personality is really chill and relaxed, and that definitely translates into her cooking abilities. She just whips something up on a random Tuesday night. So I would say Emily wins by default.
Do you cook yourself?
AIMEE: I don’t. Really, I’m trying. I bought a cookbook last night because I went to a dinner party and one of my friends made the most delicious meal. So I ran out and got a cookbook because I would like to be better and it’s also probably healthier than eating out or just stealing craft services, which is what I do. I take it home and eat it for dinner [laughs].
What is your favorite food?
AIMEE: That’s tough. My favorite food I would have to say is spaghetti carbonara, just Italian with heavy cream and lots of meats. If I’m trying to be health conscious, I would say sushi, but really good sushi. Luckily in Los Angeles, we have access to wonderful sushi restaurants so that would be my healthy option.
Are you Team Cooper or team Josh?
AIMEE: [Laughs] Well, Aimee Carrero is Team Nobody because I think that Gabi should go off and try to get a sous chef position somewhere in a restaurant and date somebody she’s not working with or somebody unrelated to her job. So that’s what Aimee Carrero thinks. But then we’d have no show, of course. I think Sofia is probably Team Josh because she sees their connection and that they’re probably meant to be. But how do you not love Jesse McCartney in glasses? He’s just so wonderful and he’s brought such humanity to this kind of geeky character. He’s so lovable and you get to see a lot more of him in Season 2. So I think right now, Sofia is Team Cooper — but in the long run, she’s Team Josh. She just sees that neither Josh nor Gabi are ready to be with each other.
What is the craziest or coolest thing that you’ve ever found in the wardrobe on set?
AIMEE: In one of the upcoming episodes, Sofia is trying to get something from somebody and Gabi whips up this idea that they should use sex appeal but also the food — all because she read somewhere that “men can’t resist food and sex appeal.” So Gabi whips up this food and Sofia is left to tantalize the person in question. And the way she does it is by stuffing her bra in a really comical way. The practical application of this for me, is having to wear Kym Whitley’s bra, and having to stuff it with like 14 rolls of toilet paper. So the craziest thing in a wardrobe on the set is probably walking into my dressing room and finding Kym Whitley’s bra in my closet.
Is there a costume that you’ve worn either coming up or from the past season that you were really excited that you got to wear?
AIMEE: I love the panda costume that we got to wear in the first episode that Gabi meets Cooper in a bar and she’s a go-go dancer. That was definitely a highlight. This season we’ve tried to streamline the costumes a little bit. I’ve gotten to wear some cool pencil skirts. I think they’re trying to age us up a little bit too so we’ve gotten to wear some really great beautiful designers.
What would you say to a viewer who has never seen YOUNG & HUNGRY?
AIMEE: We can produce content that we feel strongly about, whereas if you were on a network show and having to pull in 27 million viewers, that’s a little more of a compromise. You get to see content that you don’t get to see on network television that’s also very timely, at least if you’re within the general demographics. It’s a wonderful commentary for what’s happening, at least for my generation which is the former promise of if you go to college, you will get a job straight out of college then you’ll get married and have a family. Of course, that’s not always what happens. It gives a lighthearted take on that. What it’s like to be in your early- to mid-20s and have a roommate, whereas maybe ten or twenty years ago that wasn’t necessarily the case. You’d probably be married and own a home. YOUNG & HUNGRY is very realistic, showing what it’s like to be making virtually no money because you have a ton of student loans and what it’s like to be a single girl living in a city in the United States in 2015. But we also have people like Rex Lee and Kym Whitley who bring in an older demographic. They’re wonderful comedians and they do a really good job, especially this season, giving up the story line. There’s a little bit of everything for everybody.
Is there anything in particular fans can expect and look forward to in Season 2?
AIMEE: The first season of any show is setting the foundation for the next season and for the story. What is so wonderful about this second season is that it’s like payoff after payoff. In the season finale, we got to see Josh decide not to marry Caroline, and with some prompting from Yolanda, go express his feeling to Gabi. He then oversees her and Cooper kissing in the apartment. This second season is just the unraveling of all that’s been happening in the first season and also, tying up some new knots.
What is the whole cast of YOUNG & HUNGRY like on and off set?
AIMEE: Great! Everybody gets along really well and brings their own brand of kookiness to the group. Jonathan Sadowski is proficient in magic and he’s a member of the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, which is a pretty exclusive group of people, and he can pull out some magic tricks. Kym is obviously a stand-up comedian and also doing her reality show RAISING WHITLEY. So she’s working on two shows and she has so many people around her all the time. I always joke that I’ve never seen Kym walk down the street by herself. She’s just around other people all the time and brings a lot of warmth and maternal comedy to the group.
Rex Lee is far more sarcastic than anybody would imagine because of his roles on Entourage and Suburgatory. Even on YOUNG & HUNGRY he plays a little more of a biting personality than he maybe did on Entourage. But he has dry sarcasm, which is really wonderful to be on the receiving end of; not all the time but most of the time. Emily is just so young and leading this charge like a pro. She’s like a rock for all of us. She’s had so much experience and really knows what she’s doing. If we ever find ourselves going through a stormy week, we always look up to Emily because she’s been there before and she’s such a wonderful leader.
Congrats on becoming the newest Disney princess! Do you have anything else coming up that we can look forward to seeing you in as well?
AIMEE: Right now it’s just YOUNG & HUNGRY, and ELENA OF AVALOR. Last summer and fall I did a movie with Vin Diesel and Rose Leslie called “The Last Witch Hunter.” I’m not sure if that name is going to change but that was really fun, and I got to work in Pittsburgh. At least for me, as an actress, the goal is to expand my skill set and being on a sitcom like YOUNG & HUNGRY is absolutely an athletic enterprise because you have to have so much energy and have to be on your feet and on your toes so much. I’ve never done voice over work before so something like ELENA OF AVALOR is definitely a first — and what a first! It’s such an honor to be a part of Disney history because I know how it affected my childhood and my adulthood. So I am really grateful to be a part of that history for somebody else, our group of people. Going off and doing an action movie like “The Last Witch Hunter” is like a sci-fi meets action movie. It’s really fun. Working on different parts of the acting muscle is a dream. I’ve been busy on lots of things and hopefully that’ll stay the case for a long time.
Do you have a favorite episode of YOUNG & HUNGRY that you’ve filmed so far?
AIMEE: Yes! We had this wonderful guest star who plays our landlord and Yolanda moves in next door to Gabi and Sofia so that’s an added element to the second season. But before she moves in we’re trying to get this apartment and we have this wonderful guest star who comes in and plays our Russian landlord and he does such a great job. It was such a fun episode because we were all in it and it was really fun to have everybody around and to have such a wonderful supporting cast.
What do you like to do after a long day at work?
AIMEE: When I have time to unwind, I am pretty crafty. My dad is an engineer, so even from a young age I was building stuff. I like to build things with my hands. My latest project was a built-in shelf in my kitchen. I live in a cool building in a historic part of Los Angeles. There’s this beautiful history but you also get space that you need. So I spent a while doing that. I love to travel and I’ve been getting to do a little bit more of that this year. When I do have some time off, I just compress by doing things with my hands. I also enjoy sewing.
If you could dream cast yourself on any other ABC Family show which would it be and what would your role be?
AIMEE: I would definitely want to do one of the dramas. When I first moved to LA, I was on an episode of GREEK, but it’s been such a long time since I’ve worked on a drama. I’d love to be on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS because my friend Vanessa Ray plays Cece and I would love to work with her. I would also love to work with those girls because they’re just wonderful actresses. They also do a lot of themed episodes, which seems like a lot of fun. Keegan Allen is guest starring on YOUNG & HUNGRY and he’s just so fun. So I would say PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.
Are you able to give us a teaser of Keegan Allen’s character on YOUNG & HUNGRY?
AIMEE: He is so wonderful! He plays Gabi’s love interest for the week and there’s something about him that’s a deal breaker. He’s just perfect. I wish I could talk more about his character on YOUNG & HUNGRY. But he’s wonderful and such a wonderful comedian, which a lot of people wouldn’t expect from his role on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. He’s wonderful, a photographer and he just published a book. He’s also given everybody a copy of his book. He’s been such a joy to have on set.
Do you have any dream celebrities that you would pick if you could choose any guest star to be on YOUNG & HUNGRY?
AIMEE: Oh my gosh, so many! But I would love to have Lucy Lawless on the show. I grew up watching XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and have been a long-time fan of hers. So far, I’ve had three opportunities to meet her and have ruined all three of them because I’ve been too nervous and have just said the wrong thing after the wrong thing. I would like to make up for it by being cool and collected and funny. I would also love to have Fran Drescher on the show. I think she’s so wonderful and a lot of our writers have worked with her in the past. So that’s not too far of a reach. I’m hoping that if we put it out there, she’ll be interested.
What is it like filming with the cast? Do you find yourself having to do a bunch of takes or can you guys hold your composure?
AIMEE: With sitcoms, we move so fast because we really only shoot over a period of two days. Then Friday is the audience show, so that really does have to move fast because you’re dealing with the attention span of over 200 people. But it can be very hard, too. Jonathan is incredibly difficult to be in a scene with because he’s so funny and breaks at a drop of a hat. If he sees you smile or sees a twinkle in your eye that you might break, he will just go for it. But for the most part, we’re pretty good! We rehearse the jokes all week so if you’re going to laugh in the middle of something you’re probably going to do it on a Monday, Tuesday or a Wednesday. So by the time we do it in front of the audience we’ve done it so many times. One of the beauties of sitcom is that the writers will give you a lot of alternate lines, something they come up with that day, so we’ll have a lot of really great zingers. Sometimes you just can’t hold back because it’s so funny.
Who is your inspiration as an actress and how did you know this was the career you wanted to pursue when you were growing up?
AIMEE: I’ve had so many inspirations, it’s hard to pick just one. If I had to pick one that encompasses what my goals are as an actress, it would be Emma Thompson because she moves so seamlessly between drama and comedy. I’ve seen her perform on stage but I’ve seen her in film and I’ve also seen her on television. She’s so fluid between genres and is the definition, at least to me, of a true actress. She’s not afraid of looking less than attractive if that’s what the role calls for, she’s incredibly creative and seems to be having the time of her life any time you have the privilege of seeing her. I would say that’s one of my many inspirations. We don’t have any actors in my family. There’s a few musicians and a ballroom dancer, which is really fun. But I didn’t really grow up in an acting family, but I did grow up around a lot of creativity. My mother is a Spanish teacher and a very creative writer. She loves to draw and paint. My dad is great at everything because he’s a true Renaissance man. I grew up around a lot of personality and kookiness so I knew that I had an extroverted personality from day one. It was just finding an outlet for that. When I was younger I always wondered what it was like to be somebody else, wondered what it was like to be my grandmother or my 4th grade teacher or the guy on the motorcycle driving down Miami Beach. I’ve just always been interested in the lives of other people and I think this is the perfect job for somebody who enjoys storytelling like I do.
What would you say is the biggest challenge filming in front of a live studio audience when you’re present, and you’re trying to film the scene?
AIMEE: The biggest challenge technically is understanding that while there’s an audience there, you really are playing to the camera. I started off on the stage. I love theater and I try to do it as often as possible. You hear that saying, “Play to the back of the room.” When you’re in theater, you just have to make sure everybody sees and hears you. So that will effect a large portion of your performance whereas television films more intimate than that. I think my biggest challenge is understanding that even though there’s an audience that’s giving you an incredible amount of energy, you’re still playing to the cameras. It’s an intimate experience for the people watching at home. It affects the scale and the largeness of the performance. As far as the joys of having an audience, I mean they will not give you a pity laugh, which is good. You’ll know if your stuff is funny or not because of the audience. If they laugh, you know you’re on the right track. It’s just a privilege to do that. It’s really the best of that marriage between television and theater. It has that live aspect which is very exciting.
Do you have any fun on set stories you could share about your co-stars?
AIMEE: Every day is so fun. You get to go to a job where you’re paid to make people laugh. It’s always a very light environment. I would say my favorite days are probably the days that are early on in the week when we don’t have the pressure of an audience or too much crew and we’re just working on rehearsals, working out the jokes, and playing with each other. I think that rehearsal process for me is just sacred because it’s the most creative part of the job where you get to work with other actors and it’s such a privilege to do that. We’re always singing on set and Emily and Jonathan are always playing pranks on each other. Jonathan is doing magic tricks somewhere or Kym is telling a joke or doing some stand-up on the other side of the stage. So it’s always just really busy and wonderful. I really cherish the moment when we’re all together around the table talking about the night before or just talking about a line and how to make it work. That’s what’s the most fun for me.
To see who might be Sofia’s new boyfriend and how Team Cooper and Team Josh fare this season, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of YOUNG & HUNGRY on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. on ABC Family.