Scream Queens star Skyler Samuels may be a rising star, but she’s also a focused college student who has as much fun on her real campus (that’s Stanford University, in case you didn’t know) as she does on Ryan Murphy’s pretend one.
Samuels, who plays good girl and KKT hopeful Grace in the series, was enrolled as a student in the prestigious university at the time her Scream Queens role was offered to her and admits to having a tough time making the call to leave school for work since she’s a self-professed nerd. “It was hard to make that decision, but I’m glad that I did because I learn just as much making the show as I do in school every day. I’m a nerd and love going to class, but the work would have suffered if I had done both.”
Read what she told The Hollywood Reporter about landing the role and what being involved in the show and working with Murphy and Falchuck again (Samuels had a brief arc in AHS: Freak Show) means to her:
I’ve been pestering Ryan for a few years and was hoping it was just a matter of time until he caved and let me on one of his shows. I had been auditioning for American Horror Story for a long time. I always got positive feed back on all the roles that I didn’t get —“She’s really great; she’s not quite right for this, but she’s right for something” — he said that for years. Finally, Horror Story rolled around and I auditioned with cryptic sides and I only had a couple lines. I got to jam pack all this stuff in to a tiny audition and thought, “This is the one.” Sure enough, it was. Little did I know that he had me in mind for that part before the audition happened for American Horror Story: Coven.
My first day on American Horror Story, Ryan was directing and I was sweating bullets. I wanted him to like me. He just kept asking me about my life in college because I’m in a sorority. He kept asking me about my sorority life and what my life was like at college. And I was like, “Really? This is what you want to talk about?” I was telling him about the new sorority house and what it’s like living with 60 girls. I thought it was weird that that’s what he wanted to talk about.
Flash forward to getting Scream Queens and there are close personal details about Grace Gardner that seem awfully reminiscent [of that conversation]. Ryan had it in mind a long time back because there were little nuances in the pilot about Grace going to college that felt familiar to when I went to college. Ryan always has a master plan and vision about his things. Whether or not we know about it, he’s always keeping us in mind.
It’s fun to re-create the sorority experience that I had at Stanford. Grace is really the eyes and ears of the audience when coming to college and joining a sorority and trying to date boys when you never really dated before and making friends and living with people. It’s all that infused with going to college, and it’s fun to use my own experience to feed into that.
The premiere of Scream Queens head to FOX with a special, two-hour event on Tuesday, Sept. 22 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).