Kelly Rowland: Singer Running Scared
Slim, pretty 22-year-old Kelly Rowland made her mark on the entertainment industry as part of the Houston, Texas-based platinum group Destiny's Child. She recently released a popular solo album "Simply Deep" and her only time in front of a motion picture camera has been for music videos and as a guest on t.v.'s "The Hughleys" before making her feature film debut as "Kia", a tough teen with attitude, in the monster showdown film Freddy vs. Jason.
Kelly breezed into our interview room in a pretty pink summer dress that really complimented her mocha-colored skin. New to movie press junkets, the singer turned actress was very candid and friendly as she told us about everything from living with her dog Mocha to gettting in trouble as a teen with her pal Beyonce Knowles. Kelly is so polite that she found it hard to portray a teen who just speaks her mind and sometimes comes off as pushy. She got some acting tips from Beyonce, a veteran of the Austin Powers' Goldmember film and admits that, as a kid, she was terrified of Freddy Krueger and she's waiting for a cool guy to come on over and get to know her.
TeenHollywood: (We notice Kelly's great slim figure when she enters). How do you stay so slim?
Kelly: I'll say metabolism because I eat a lot of food. I love food. I'm sure you are like, "It don't look like it." But, I love food.
TeenHollywood: Do you exercise?
Kelly: No. Between traveling and my dog Mocha, I'm everywhere. I'm all around the house, when she's around. I have to run after her. And plus, she's so small, so I'm constantly looking for her, up and down the stairs. She's a Yorkie. She's so pretty. I think I've got the prettiest dog.
TeenHollywood: Is she spoiled?
Kelly: Oh, she's [spoiled] rotten. She's been in all kinds of publications and all kinds of doggy magazines have called for us to do photo shoots. I'm like, "Thanks Mocha!"
TeenHollywood: What kind of teen were you, compared to the one you were in 'Freddy vs. Jason'?
Kelly: I was a very soft-spoken teenager. I didn't really go out. I was just at home with my parents. Plus, Destiny's Child has been out since we were 15 or 16 years old, so we didn't really get a big opportunity to be youngsters. So, it's really cool for me to get a chance to live through Kia, in this movie, and actually be a bad-mouth and be outspoken, and not give a crap about anything, as she would say. She's a little sparkler, isn't she?
TeenHollywood: Do you regret not having a typical teenhood at all?
Kelly: No. No, not at all. You know what? Everything was so worth it because of the fact that I'm where I am today in my career. I'm so blessed. I don't regret anything. Everything that I've gone through has just been a blessing.
TeenHollywood: Did you have even a little bit of trouble in your past?
Kelly: [grinning] No, except for this one night we came home really late. We were, actually, supposed to be in at 12 and we didn't get in until 3. We didn't have a cell phone at the time and our parents were calling everywhere. We were so embarrassed. Our parents are really well known in Houston because they own a hair salon. So, basically, me and Beyonce and the rest of the girls were just cruising through Houston, chilling, when Beyonce first got her truck. We came home and they were just standing at the door, just like, "Where have you guys been?" We just smiled and were like, "Hi!" We were grounded for the next two months. [Laughs]
TeenHollywood: So, Beyonce was a bad influence on you.
Kelly: No, she's not a bad influence. We got into trouble together. We were always there for each other, so that's what made it so good. That's why we're so close. Everything that we've ever gone through has been together -- getting in trouble, getting a record deal, losing a record deal, having a great song, having a boyfriend, that kind of stuff.
TeenHollywood: How did you handle boys? Was it easy for you?
Kelly: Uh uh. We were very shy as teenagers. I don't know why. Even still, we're shy. We won't approach a guy at all. Our parents told us just to wait until they come to you. I guess it's just a Southern thing, but to this day, I'm 22 and I'm like, 'Player, if you want to holler, please come over here, 'cause you look really cute [laughs]. Just come over here.' They don't really get it all the time. I guess that's why I'm a little single.
TeenHollywood: Now that Beyonce has Jay-Z, is she trying to hook you up with guys at all? Is she setting you up on dates?
Kelly: [smiles] I'm okay. You know, she's tried to do that. She told me about this one guy, and I was like, "B, I'm going to sit this one out. I'm just going to chill." I feel like, if it's supposed to happen, then it'll happen. God will send me somebody special, whenever the timing is right, so I'm just patient.
TeenHollywood: Would you consider yourself to be picky?
Kelly: I'm kinda picky. Oh, my God, I could not stop looking at Ken's teeth -- the guy who plays Jason. [In real life] he has the most beautiful teeth I've ever seen. If a guy does not have beautiful teeth like that, than I'm going to be mad. They're just white and when he smiles, it's so nice.
TeenHollywood: Okay but aside from teeth, what is important to you in a guy?
Kelly: His heart. I love a guy that can be emotional and get in touch with his feminine side. It's really sweet. It says a lot about a man to me. Also, a guy that's goal-oriented and has a good relationship with God.
TeenHollywood: What do you think about your character Kia? She's pretty outspoken.
Kelly: Kia is a really cool girl, but she'll read you up and down. If I'm looking at Kia and my hair is a mess, she'll be like, 'Go change your hair, that's a mess.' I love that about her.
TeenHollywood: Did you ever get a little of her attitude yourself?
Kelly: One time. I hurt this lady's feelings. This lady in a store. I think she said something smart about me, like, 'Oh, no, that skirt doesn't look right on you,' and I was like, 'And it would look better on you?' [Laughs]. That was a Kia moment. I was like, 'Oh, my god!' My sister looked at me and said, 'Did you just say that? That's so not like you.' And, I was like, 'I know. What just happened?'
TeenHollywood: You have a great confrontation scene with Freddy. Was that fun or hard for you?
Kelly: That, actually, was kinda hard because I was talking to my childhood fear, you know what I mean? But, Robert Englund really helped me through that scene. I was like, 'I don't know how to do it. I never cuss people out. That's not even like me.' He was like, 'Cuss me out, tell me I'm a punk, tell me I'm stupid, tell me I'm an a-hole,' and all this other stuff. So, it was fun. It turned out to be one of my favorite scenes.
TeenHollywood: So, you were scared of Freddy as a kid?
Kelly: I was. I was afraid of him and Jason. As a matter of fact, when I used to go to bed at night, I used to think I could see Freddy, right above my head. I was like, 'Momma!'
TeenHollywood: How weird then was it to actually meet the guy?
Kelly: It was really amazing. I met him while he was in prosthetics. We were both in prosthetics and we were just having a conversation. He was like, 'Are you excited about the movie?' 'Yes.' 'Have you followed Freddy and Jason?' 'Of course.' He's a very nice guy.
TeenHollywood: What made you accept this role? Did you have any second thoughts about doing this type of film?
Kelly: No, I had no second thoughts at all, simply because this is history. I get a chance to be a part of history. [These films] have been around almost as long as I've lived life, you know what I mean? So, that was really, really cool to me. And, what can I say about Robert Englund? He's a vet. I was so honored to be sharing the screen with him.
TeenHollywood: This was your first big role. Did you have to audition?
Kelly: I went to go audition for the role. It's so crazy because, earlier that day, somebody told me that it was hard to act scared, so I went into the audition like, 'I'm going to try, I'm going to give it my all, but I ain't going to get it.' They called me back, two or three hours later, and my agent said, 'Hey, you ready to go to Vancouver?' I said, 'What am I going to Vancouver for?' She said, 'You just got the part.' I said, 'Oh, my god!' It was one of my first auditions, so to land one of my first auditions, it blew my head away.
TeenHollywood: What else frightens you in your day-to-day life?
Kelly: Spiders. If there was a spider in this room, I'd be like, "Have a good day," and leave. I'm terrified of spiders. I'm so terrified of spiders. I don't know why.
TeenHollywood: What has this film done for your career and your life? Are you ready to have your own career, apart from Destiny's Child?
Kelly: Doing a solo album and, of course, doing a movie, has just made me experience more solo opportunities, which has been really interesting. Since 'Freddy vs. Jason,' I've done another movie, called The Seat Filler, that I just wrapped up last week. It's a romantic comedy. I thought that maybe I would do a romantic comedy first, but this movie just landed in my lap. I'm just steadily building myself up as Kelly Rowland, not just Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child, which is a blessing to be able to do that. I think that, if anything, because I am still in Destiny's Child, it broadens our audience.
TeenHollywood: Since Beyonce achieved solo success first, how did you do it differently so that you also stand out?
Kelly: Basically, you want to establish yourself, just as your name. I'm just me. I can't be Beyonce. I can't be Michelle. They have certain qualities that I don't hold. I know Beyonce can probably play a serious, dramatic role better than I can. Or, it would take me awhile to get to that point. And, there's nothing wrong with that. Or, she tells me all the time, "I couldn't have done a horror film. I can't scream. I wouldn't have done it." It's that kind of stuff. It's just that I can only be me.
TeenHollywood: Did you look to her for advice?
Kelly: Oh yes. The first day I called her. I was like, "I'm terrified! I'm standing outside the door right now and I don't want to go in." I was so scared because you've got Robert Englund, and all these people that have acted before, and producers and directors, and my mind was playing tricks on me, like, "They're going to judge you." And, Beyonce was like, "Breathe, let's pray, and go in there and just do your thing. If they didn't want you, then you wouldn't have gotten the part, so just chill out."
TeenHollywood: What's the best lesson that you've learned?
Kelly: Gosh, since I'm a performer, to keep everything that you're doing onstage. Keep your diva-ness onstage. Keep Kia in 'Freddy vs. Jason,' don't bring her off. Do not bring her off.
TeenHollywood: Would you like to do a musical?
Kelly: Definitely. We were actually offered a musical and we couldn't do it because everybody's schedules were crazy. [It was for] around the time that I'm in Europe, which is in September, and Beyonce's doing a tour here, and Michelle is doing her record and a play. It was too much.
TeenHollywood: But maybe someday?
Kelly: I would love to do something like that. I would love to. I studied Chicago after I saw it. Beyonce and I could not stop watching Chicago. It's just such an amazing film, with all of the theatrics and the costumes. I was trying to think of things to incorporate for my stage show.
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.