Amanda Bynes has been making her dreams come true since she was ten years old. Now that sheís graduated from Nickelodeonís All That to the WBís What I Like About You and movies like What A Girl Wants, she took some time to chat with IML about growing up and being true to yourself.
IML: What was most thrilling about going to England to shoot What A Girl Wants?
Amanda: I think as soon as I got off the plane and in the car, I noticed that they drive on the other side of the road. The driver being the passenger is just weird! I was videotaping as we were driving and itís just so beautiful. It is so rich in history and everything, and itís fun to be there.
IML: What are some of the fun things you did in London?
Amanda: It was my first time getting to go somewhere by myself. I would just walk around and go to the park and go shopping. I was centered in Piccadilly, which is close to everything. I just met a lot of really cool people that were on the crew. Iím so protected in my Nickelodeon bubble and What I Like About You. Itís all pretty much the same people Iíve worked with and it was pretty protected. Going to another country, youíre not in your house, youíre with people youíve never met before and I think itís definitely a good growing experience.
IML: Do you have an ďanti-drug,Ē as they say?
Amanda: Probably my friends. I know the people you hang out with absolutely has an impact on what you do. My friends are not interested in drugs or that sort of thing. Having that support is important.
IML: How do you keep up friendships with your crazy schedule?
Amanda: Itís really hard now because What I Like About You has the last week this week, and then the movie is coming out and the premiere. But phone is probably the most important way I keep in touch with my friends, and online, and seeing them whenever I can. Theyíre coming to the premiere. Iím always trying to keep them involved.
IML: You have some friends who arenít involved in show business, right? Do they understand what youíre going through with your career?
Amanda: Yeah definitely. They have to sort of, because theyíve been exposed to it for a while! Then there are my friends who are in the business and they get it.
IML: Do you plan to go to college?
Amanda: I do plan to go to college. It depends on where I am and if Iím doing a movie at that time. A lot of people go to college to decide what they want to do, but I already know what I want to do, and if thereís a movie that I really like then Iíll make that a priority. Iíll play it by ear.
IML: What subject would you like to study?
Amanda: I donít know yet. Iím thinking maybe psychology or something. Iíd go just to learn and broaden my knowledge, but I wouldnít go for theatre because I feel like Iíve had years of training that you canít buy. So Iíd like to learn something else.
IML: Do you feel youíve missed out on a normal school experience?
Amanda: I donít feel like Iíve missed out because Iíve gotten to go back and Iíve never not been in school. Even when I was 10, whenever Iím off I go there and Iíve always gotten to go for half the year and I still have my friends. I think I got the best of both worlds. Some people may not have liked this life but for me personally, it was exactly the kind of thing I wanted and feel so happy and lucky I get to do it. I wouldnít want to change it.
IML: What do you like doing when youíre away from the cameras and you
get time to relax?
Amanda: I like to go to movies, I like to hang out, go to dinner, spend time with my friends. Just the usual!
IML: What advice would you give other young people who want to break into acting?
Amanda: I would make sure itís something you really want to do, because thereís so much that you donít know about it. When you first start, you think youíre going to get a job straight away but thereís a lot of competition out there. You have to have tough skin and something that makes you stand out,
otherwise youíre just like everyone else. You disappear, sort of.
IML: What do you think it is that makes you stand out?
Amanda: I donít know. I guess Iíve been lucky to be progressing and make myself known. So I donít know what the exact thing is.
IML: Whatís the best advice someoneís ever given you?
Amanda: Itís something that I live by: everything happens for a reason. You shouldnít worry too much because everything happens for some reason.
IML: Youíre in that age of not being a girl or a woman. Do you feel the transition from child star to adult actress is difficult? In what ways do you feel like a girl and what ways do you not?
Amanda: I think that it is difficult to make the transition into adulthood, but I feel confident in myself. I know that Iím mature and know that Iíll make decisions for roles that arenít going to be too young. Iím only going to play this age or older, Iím not going to go down. Iím pretty confident in myself in that I can do some things that Iíll be comfortable with, and do some things that people will look at and see that I can do that, you know, that I can be an adult too.
IML: Do you still feel like a kid though?
Amanda: Yeah, I still feel like a kid. I am still a kid so I think that Iím still growing up and thereís still so much I donít know. But I feel mature in a lot of ways, and I feel like I have an idea of who I am and what I want to do. Iím working in a professional business and Iíve been doing it for awhile.
IML: Youíve grown up on television, and now that youíre getting older, what kind of responsibility do you feel as a role model to young people?
Amanda: When all the Britney backlash came about her doing older stuff and with Christina Aguilera now, who are we to judge what anyone else does? Thatís what they want to do and thatís their life. Britney is doing whatís right for her. For me, Iím glad kids like the shows but Iím only going to do whatís right for me.
IML: Do you worry a lot about what "the worldĒ thinks of you?
Amanda: No. I have great relationships with a few people who Iíve become close to whom I work with, but I canít make everybody happy and I canít make everyone love what I do. You meet good people and you make great friends. When people compliment me or my work, itís nice to hear and Iím appreciative. But I know I have faults and I know Iím just like everyone else. I think Iím old enough to not take it to my head.
IML: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Amanda: I think Iím a lot more mature than a lot of teenagers. That would probably surprise people when they meet me. Iíve always been older than my years ever since I was little.
IML: Where would you like to be 10 years from now?
Amanda: It depends. Maybe Iíd like to be getting married or traveling the world. Who knows? I would like to be acting. Thatís the most important thing to me now, longevity. Iím only 16 and I have so much time ahead of me. Iím not going to be rushed to do something because I have time and I want to do something important.
IML: What do you think it means for a girl to be ďstrong,Ē both physically and mentally?
Amanda: I think itís important for girls to know they donít have to change themselves for someone else. A lot of people feel they need to change for a boyfriend or a parent, and I think itís important to stay true to yourself. Thatís what being strong means.
IML: Thank you, Amanda, and good luck!
Read more about young celebrities in Celebs Say....
E-mail this page to a friend