We met 15-year-old actress Amber Montana, who stars as Taylor Hathaway on the Nickelodeon show, "The Haunted Hathaways," when she was in Manhattan recently.
How old were you when you started to act?
I was 7 when I started. I started in Florida and then I moved to California to do it.
What is your favorite episode on "Haunted Hathaways" and why?
For me there's a lot of fun episodes. I loved "Haunted Play" because I got pied in the face and was shot with a chocolate gun and whipped cream and stuff. So that was really fun. And the Halloween episode. I got to be a zombie.
Do you have a favorite TV show, band or singer, actor or actress?
I love "I Love Lucy." It's from the 1950s and not a lot of kids my age watch it anymore, but that's the show that inspired me to become an actress. I love Ed Sheeran and Imagine Dragons for a band and I love Johnny Depp and I love Rachel McAdams.
Do you have any input on the wardrobe selection that you wear on the show?
I do a little bit. My character is very girlie and I'm not that girlie, so when I first started they're like, "Yeah, you're going to have to wear dresses." But they do know that I'm more comfortable being myself. So there's a lot of episodes [that] if I don't have to wear a dress, then they put me in jeans and a nice shirt.
How did you audition for "The Haunted Hathaways"?
I have an agent who got me the audition. I auditioned like eight times before I actually got it.
Do you have any siblings who act?
I have two brothers. One lives in New York and the other one lives back home in California with me. The one who lives here, he's 24, so he just goes to college here and has a normal job. And my other brother, he's a musician, a dancer, plays guitar, piano and he sings. And he was on Disney Channel's "The Next Big Thing." So he does that and he does a little bit of the acting.
Has anything scary happened to you on the show?
Yeah, there was one time when we were doing a scene and all of a sudden we heard the piano playing and so we thought somebody was playing it, so they're like, "Quiet on the set." They looked over and nobody was there. The piano was just playing by itself. It was so weird. And the AC turns off by itself sometimes and it's one of those manual ones. It's not the kind that actually is supposed to turn on by itself. So that was weird.
Who do you think is the funniest cast member on the show and why?
I think everybody's funny in their own ways. Like Curtis [Harris], who plays Miles, does impressions of people. And then Lil' P-Nut [Benjamin Flores Jr.] is really funny just because he's like this little kid, but he's like so mature and he says the most random mature things and he's got like the most random jokes, and then Breanna [Yde] is just so silly and random. I think everybody in their own way is really funny.
Did you always want to be involved in acting?
Yeah, definitely. I started like doing entertainment things when I was in kindergarten. I started doing violin, guitar and piano and I loved doing things like that. And then I found the whole acting thing when I was like 5 or 6. And always having a passion for it and looking up to people like Shirley Temple, because I love those growing up.
Do you think becoming an actress changed you?
I think the only thing it's done is it made me more confident in myself, but I don't think it's changed who I am really. I'm still the same person. I'm definitely more appreciative for what I have because I know how hard it is to get where I am and how easy things can totally just go away. I know people who get shows and they get really like big head about it and then they lose their shows and I don't want to be one of those people. Always be grateful with what you have and appreciative.
Are you anything like Taylor on the show?
Taylor loves her family and she sacrifices a lot for her family. For her mom, she wanted her mom just to have a normal life. So she packed up and moved to a completely different state. Left all of her friends and everything. I wish I did the same thing when I left to do the acting. So I can definitely relate to that and she just wants to be normal but she has to balance the whole crazy part of her life at home.
What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
I love playing piano and guitar, which I just mess around on. My guitar is actually out of tune right now, but I don't care. I don't really go out and hang with my friends that much and party and stuff like that. I just love to be home by myself and be with my family.
Do you get to see your friends and family frequently? Do they travel with you?
My mom goes everywhere with me and my dad he focuses more on my brother, like with the music and everything.
How do you juggle school and your career?
I go to school on set. We have a room where I go to school with Breanna [Yde] and the boys are with a different teacher in another room. It's actually easier than public school for me just because we have our own full attention from a teacher, which I really appreciate. When I'm at home I just do it by myself and my mom will help me out.
In the episode with the talking dog, how did you make Wags talk?
There were trainers on the set, so the trainers got him to like lift his leg on the couch or wipe his butt on the floor or stand on his hind legs. It was really cute and it was funny. But when they did all the [video] editing they made him look like his mouth was moving and gave him the little fang teeth.
What is Frankie on the show like in real life?
She is really funny and she is really cool to be around. It's really awesome because I grew up with brothers, so it's nice to have like a sister on the set.
Are you currently working on other TV shows or movies in the future?
Right now I'm just working on "The Haunted Hathaways" and hopefully in the future I'll be able to work on maybe some [other] shows or do a movie.
When you're not working do you spend time with all your cast members? If yes, what do you all like to do?
Well, we always have birthday parties together and so have pool parties and stuff and we do hang out a lot on set. Sometimes we don't just because we have our own things going on, but we do love to hang out. Breanna and I always have sleep overs and it's really cool because she like mature for her age, so she talks about stuff that I talk about and I'm really silly and kind of immature for my age.
If you were not an actress, what would you be?
I'm not sure. I would love to do something probably like doctor-related. Even since I was like 4 I would tell people I wanted to be a pediatrician. So that's probably what I would try to do.
Do you ever disagree with other cast members about how things go on different episodes?
I don't think we ever really disagreed on anything. We do have our own ideas on stuff. Like the director will tell us what to do or if we have a scene where we have to enter from a certain way because there are different ways to enter. Like in the bakery you can come from the kitchen, the elevator, or outside. If the director doesn't really have an exact input on where we're coming from, we can all say, "Oh, well what if I come from there?" and then the other cast members will be like "That's not going to work because you're supposed to be coming from upstairs" because in this room you see this happen. So we all have a some input on stuff.
What's the nicest thing a fan ever did to you?
Honestly, the nicest thing a fan could do for me is just tell me they just support and love me is the best because I love all my fans. But I've had fans send me stuff in the mail from different countries -- like all kinds of really cool stuff -- and I appreciate all that stuff and I keep it in my room and sometimes I reply to them. I love that. I love when fans know my favorite candy and bring it to me whenever they see me. That's like awesome.