Jillian Rose Reed Talks ‘Present Tense’

    The MTV star dishes on the docuseries

    by · April 19, 2016

    Photographed by Scott León. Jacket by Kempner, tank by Maje, skirt by Designers Remix, Reed’s own bracelet.

    The following feature appears in the April 2016 issue of NYLON.

    Jillian Rose Reed may be most recognized for playing high school BFF Tamara to Ashley Rickards’s Jenna on MTV’s Awkward (which is currently airing its fifth season), but with a cool new docuseries, Reed is proving she’s much more than a sidekick. We caught up with the 24-year-old Michigan native in New York City’s Chinatown, where she was recording voice-over work for Present Tense, in which she goes behind the scenes at a drag show, witnesses cat yoga in action, and even eats crickets as a way to delve into serious topics like gender identity and sustainable farming. Here, she tells us all about her thought-provoking web show.

    Click through the gallery to read the rest of the feature.

    Photographed by Scott León. Jacket by Raquel Allegra, dress by Hilfiger Collection, all jewelry by Pamela Love, stylist’s own bandanna.

    Why is the docuseries called Present Tense?

    We’re diving really deep into issues that are important—and that you need to know about—right now.

    The show covers so many subjects. Which do you think will be the most impactful?

    One of our best episodes, in my opinion, is on gender identity. We interviewed Tyler Ford, who identifies as agender. Just hearing Tyler talk about the idea of gender will be a whole new world for some people.

    You also ate a cricket during the making of a show about environmental concerns.

    Yes, which I didn’t know I was going to do! We went to an urban cricket farm in Los Angeles and the guy who runs it was like, “All right, now we’re going to eat this.” I’m like, “Oh, I don’t have a choice here. OK, I’m gonna eat a cricket now. This is happening!” It wasn’t that bad, actually. It was bacon flavored.

    Photographed by Scott León. Jacket by Raquel Allegra, dress by Hilfiger Collection, all jewelry by Pamela Love, stylist’s own bandanna.

    What would your Awkward character, Tamara, think of this series?

    Tamara is a very passionate person, which mirrors my life a lot. When I find something that I love, I love it with my whole heart. Tamara would look at some of these things that we’re exploring and she would dive in headfirst. Just talking to people on Present Tense has really opened my eyes to how many young people out there are doing so many really important and moving things.

    Does that include Young Hollywood?

    Yes, acting is something that I’m going to be doing forever, but I’ve started to transition into writing, producing, and making my own content. Young Hollywood isn’t just a group of teens who were given too much and now they’re going crazy. Young Hollywood is full of really passionate people, feminists, people who are creating their own businesses, people who are doing amazing things. It’s great to be a part of that.

    Stylist: Chris Horan at TMG LA. Hair: Kat Thompson at TMG LA using R+co. Makeup: Jenna Kristina at TMG LA using Diorskin Nude.

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    Last updated: 2016-04-19T17:45:52-04:00
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