[Kontrol Exclusive] Jillian Shea Spaeder: A Young Girl After America’s Heart
Who is Jillian Shea Spaeder? She is an actress, singer, musician, and soon to be America’s sweetheart. Jillian is a 14 year old phenomenon that is taking the entertainment world by storm. The Philly native is the star of Disney’s XD Series “Walk The Prank”. Jillian plays Bailey on the single camera comedy that combines scripted and unscripted hidden camera pranks on unsuspecting targets. Recently, Jillian took time out of her busy pranking schedule to talk to Kontrol about her hit television show, career, and family.
Jillian was bitten by the acting bug at an early age, and it appeared that she had a natural instinct to perform. Before receiving her big break on Disney, Jillian had several roles in regional musical theater as well as other theater productions.
“I had been doing some small shows at my elementary school but wanted to do more. In fifth grade, I started with a private acting coach. That year, I was cast in my first equity theater production-the only child in a cast of 12. It was a Panto that ran the entire holiday season, and I had so much fun. The following summer I was in Hollywood for an event, where I met my manager. She encouraged us to come out for pilot season, and that’s when I first auditioned for ‘Walk The Prank’”.
The Perfect Character
According to Jillian, playing her character “Bailey” on “Walk The Prank” comes pretty easy to her and she explains how she is living out the fantasy of every kid in the world.
“Playing Bailey comes easy to me, because we are so similar. She does a few things I never would, though, like call the principal by her first name!”
“I think every kid would love the opportunity to prank people and not get in trouble for it! It’s also really nice to hear so many people tell us how much they enjoy the show.”
Every actor and actress dreams about that one perfect role that they would love to land. Jillian explains how being in a horror film would give her the biggest thrill of her life.
“I am dying to be in a horror film (no pun intended!), because I have this ‘creepy girl’ thing that I love to do to people. I guess I wouldn’t call it a skill, but it would be fun to use it in a role at some point.”
There’s no sibling rivalry when it comes to Jillian and her siblings. She is the youngest of the group and they are all extremely close. In fact, before Jillian appeared on Disney, you could catch her singing with her family’s cover band.
“My voice is kind of gravelly, so I loved to sing Adele. ‘Rolling In The Deep’ was one of the first songs I ever performed so it became a favorite, and I also sang ‘Someone Like You’ and accompanied myself on piano. The songs I performed then were across the board, like ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys, ‘To Make You Feel My Love’ (by numerous artists!), and even classics like ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ and ‘The Very Thought Of You’”.
Although her family is very close, when it came to pursuing Jillian’s career, her parents had to make a major family decision.
“Honestly, when we came out for pilot season I never really thought we’d end up moving here. But I immediately fell in love with palm trees and told my mom, ‘I want to live here!’ When the pilot [Walk The Prank] was picked up, we decided to remain bicoastal, as my brother and sister are both in college on the East Coast. So we rent a home here but go home to Pennsylvania for the holidays and the summer, if I have no other projects. I miss snow and the change of seasons, but I love the fact that I can wear shorts in the winter here!”
Just A Regular Teen
Jillian credits her family for being here first inspiration to pursue her acting career. In fact, they really make it a family effort by helping Jillian run her lines.
“My family is pretty awesome! My mom and dad both read lines with me and give me some advice on roles. My sister Emma also loves to do that with me when she is home on break from college. My family has always inspired me to use my ‘penchant for drama’ in a productive way, so that was probably what inspired me first! Now, I’m inspired by my peers…I see what other girls in the industry are doing, both professionally and personally, and I realize we are the role models for teen girls. That inspires me to be the best actress and person I can be.”
Even though Jillian is on a popular television show, she explains to Kontrol that she is just a regular teenager who likes to go shopping in her down town, has her own sense of style, and doesn’t consider herself to be famous.
“We have most of our weekends off, so I like to hang with my friends and ride rollercoasters, go shopping, or make silly videos. I also love working on new music with my guitar and ukulele. Sometimes my dad and I like to jam!”
“I’m pretty basic when it comes to fashion! I wear jeans or denim shorts, tee shirts and Converse sneakers when I’m just hanging around. When I go out with friends or for an event, I dress up a little more, maybe throwing on a bomber jacket or cute top with jeans. Right now I am totally into wedgie high-top shoes! And I love a short, pretty dress and chunky heels for red carpets.”
“I don’t really consider myself famous—maybe just a little more well known. I assumed people on TV might have fans coming up to ask for pictures, so that has happened, and I really enjoy meeting them. What is a little hard to get used to is when people just stare at you from a distance. I’d much rather they just come up and say hello!”
By Ronda Brooks