The CW, home to Gossip Girl, has a new hit on its hands with Life Unexpected – a prime time drama best described as Juno fast-forwarded 15 years. Britt Robertson (Swingtown) stars as 15-year-old Lux, who, after bouncing around foster homes her entire life, tracks down her birth parents in a quest to become an emancipated minor. Instead, her folks (dad’s a slacker bar owner; mom’s a type A radio talk-show host) attempt to become the family Lux has never had. Here are five things to know about the starlet playing TV’s most precocious teen since Jenny Humphrey.
Robertson is actually 19: When she moved to LA from North Carolina at age 14 to audition for TV pilots (she caught break playing Steve Carrell’s daughter in Dan in Real Life), “It was such a huge culture shock,” she says. Her parents stayed home to raise her six younger siblings, so her grandmother, whom she calls “Mama Shue,” headed west to be with her. “She’s the typical Southern woman, and she learned how to knit,” says Robertson. “So I learned how to knit too, and we would both sit on set, knitting all the time. We’re still really close.”
She’s lived on her own since age 16: Grandma returned home after about a year, so Robertson explored LA alone. But “I was able to make a lot of really great friends out here and I call them my faux family,” Robertson says. “I’ll spend the night at their houses whenever I get lonely. They’ll cook me dinner and do my laundry if I need them to.”
She won’t go near a velvet rope: “None of my friends really like to party,” she says. Her typical night out? A night in. “My best friend actress Mahaley Hessam and I go to bed at 11 o’clock. We have such old lady schedules. Everyone’s always like, ‘Let’s go out!’ And we’re always like, ‘No we don’t want to.’ They call us the grandmas. LA can get really old really quickly if you waste your life away in a club all night.”
She’s not fazed by fame: Life Unexpected is set in Portland, Oregon, and filmed in Vancouver, where Robertson is insulated from the Hollywood hoopla. “We’re in this little bubble here in Vancouver, so hopefully fame won’t be such an ordeal,” she says. “I just got phone calls and everyone was like, ‘Hey, I saw you on a bus and a billboard today,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh that’s cool,'” she says. “But we don’t really get to be present for it. Which is kind of nice.”
She’s a sugarholic: “I eat like no other,” says the tiny blonde. “It drives everyone crazy. I eat donuts three times a day and I probably go through four Mountain Dews a day. I’m on like a sugar high at all times, pretty much. Shiri Appleby, who plays her mother is a Vegan and works out every day for two hours before she goes to work. When she sees me with my Mountain Dew, eating chips and a donut at 4 in the morning, she’s like, ‘Wow. Wait until you’re 30.’”–Suzanne Zuckerman