Italia Ricci
Interview: Robert Piper

Robert Piper: What inspires you in life?

Italia Ricci: My family and my friends inspire me.

RP: How do you stay healthy?

IR: I try my best to stay healthy, but I have the appetite of a nine-year-old boy, so I just pay for it in workouts.

RP: How did you start acting?

IR: I grew up doing theater when I was very young—always enjoyed it. Studied it in college, got my degree in it, and never really had the guts to do it professionally. But one summer, a friend of mine was with an extras agency and asked me if I wanted to be an extra with him in a movie, and I was, like, “Sure.” At lunch, the writer came up to me and asked me to audition for a role. I got it, and it sort of snowballed from there. I’ve been very lucky.

RP: What type of research goes into preparing for a role?

IR: It depends on the role. Most of the roles that I was booking were very one-dimensional, like High School Bitch or Hot Girl Number One. There wasn’t too much that I could do. But now that I’m playing a character that has so much going on, I research as much as I can about what she’s experiencing, especially as far as the medication goes or the chemo, and I learn as I go because I don’t want to anticipate anything in my performance. It’s definitely a learning process, but I’ve been talking to people, and I’ve gone to hospitals, talked to survivors, to doctors, to caregivers. I just learned that there’s really no one way for somebody to experience dealing with cancer. I just take different pieces of information that I got from everybody that I spoke to and sort of created a cornucopia of how I feel April would be responding to those things.

RP: What’s one major obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your life?

IR: I would say the fear of failure when I decided to move out to L.A. Definitely something that I had to overcome. Even when I was out here, there was a period where I wasn’t booking things, and I was scared that this wasn’t going to be where I was meant to be for the rest of my life. So I was ready to head home. My friends made me stick it out, and I’m so grateful that I did.

RP: That brings up the topic of uncertainty. How did you overcome it?

IR: I have such incredible friends in L.A. that are pretty much my family now—I mean, outside of the family I have back in Canada—but they just supported me so hard and believed in me when I barely believed in myself anymore. I still can’t thank them enough. They mean the world to me.

RP: What new projects do you have coming up?

IR: We’ve got the second half of the first season of Chasing Life to air, which is awesome.

Italia Ricci is starring in ABC Family’s Chasing Life.

PHOTO: DANI BRUBAKER

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