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Actress Jane Levy has played the gamut of high-school stereotypes, including a rebellious, nose-pierced teen in Shameless and a push-up-bra-clad Halloween cat in Fun Size. She currently stars as 16-year-old Tessa Altman, a New York City kid who finds herself trapped in middle America on ABC’s Suburgatory, which returns tonight at 9:30. In our January issue, Allure’s Kate Sullivan asked Levy, 23, about her own style as a teenager—and life with that fiery red hair.
You’re 23 but play 16 on Suburgatory. What’s your take on teen style?
“You watch television or a movie and everyone who’s playing a teen is in their 20s, so I had forgotten what actual teenagers looked like. Then one day we were shooting at a high school and it all came flooding back; I saw kids wearing slippers and pajama pants. I used to wear so much eyeliner and really tight hooded sweatshirts and Adidas half shells with big, colored shoelaces.”
On Shameless, your character dressed a little bit goth. Did you ever go through that phase?
“No, but it was really fun to see myself like that—my fake nose piercing, my thong sticking all the way up my back. I was a little hussy!”
Would you describe your style as minimalist?
“If I’m not working, I either wear no makeup or very little makeup. And I have the same rings that I wear every day.”
Are you a natural redhead?
“No. I’m a blonde. For my first job, Shameless, they dyed my hair dark. Afterward, I wanted to go back to blonde, so I just started coloring it in stages, and it turned out red. I auditioned for Suburgatory and they loved the red hair, so it stuck. The upkeep sucks, I have to admit. I go to the salon once a month. I sort of wish I never did it, but I do like the color.”