Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

32° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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CBS buys YouTube sitcom featuring alum

New York native Johanna Igel graduated from Northwestern with a double major in theatre and psychology in 2006.

Since then she’s moved back to New York and landed a role on the YouTube series “We Need Girlfriends,” which CBS bought before the writers’ strike, and learned a lot about herself.

The Daily: How did you land the role of Lauren on “We Need Girlfriends”?

JI: I met two of the actors, the guy Patrick who plays Tom and the guy Evan who plays Rod in a bunch of classes that I take. I became friendly with them and Evan had been talking for a long time. It’s funny because the three guys, they’re just actors, they don’t write it, but they totally are very similar to their characters. And then I met Patrick who was all like, “Hey we are having auditions for this thing, and I really think you should come and audition for it.” And they were, and I did.

It’s been a really great opportunity to be able to work on such a cool show that has a huge following. On MySpace, a lot of our characters have a little MySpace page where people write comments. And they’re like “Lauren, dump Rod,” “You could get a better man,” and stuff like that. It’s really cool to be part of this.

The Daily: Are you anything like the character you play on “We Need Girlfriends”?

JI: The script went through a bunch of different versions. I definitely felt like her in the beginning. I originally took the LSAT and thought I might go into law and originally (Lauren) was a law student. So there was stuff like that about her that I really liked and understood. But I guess that went to the wayside in the end. But I definitely tried to bring part of me to her. She’s a little more promiscuous than I would ever like to be. And I don’t necessarily see myself getting pregnant or having a baby anytime soon. But I have friends who are annoying and obnoxious, and I call them out on it and she does too. But she’s still friends with them, and she deals with it.

The Daily: Do you think living in New York has made it easier for you to find work?

JI: I don’t know about that necessarily. It made my decision to come here easier. I guess with the writers’ strike right now, there is not much work other than theater, and I think what I am starting to realize is that I am not really much of a theater actor anymore. I really am more sort of into film and television, and there isn’t much of that in New York so it seems like I am actually going to be maybe making the move to L.A., which should be pretty interesting.

The Daily: What have you heard about the writers’ strike?

JI: I’ve talked to a lot of people out in L.A. because I have been thinking about moving there and they all seem to say that everybody is talking about it because it’s making everybody crazy. Everybody is out of work. Everybody is losing money. Everybody is kind of going nuts about it. But it just seems like it’s going to go on for a while and nobody really knows … I took a class with the casting director of “Law and Order: SVU,” Jonathan Strauss – this was right after the beginning of the strike – and he was talking about how there are people affected by this that you wouldn’t even imagine have anything to do with it. Like for example, “Law and Order: SVU” has its own dry cleaning service. So, all the costumes have to be cleaned, and all those people haven’t been working for the past – what, like 74 days – because they have had no work. So it’s been a pretty crazy couple of months for all of us.

The Daily: When did you take that class? Are you in graduate school?

JI: No. I applied to two graduate schools to like “the top two” thinking that if I got in I would just go because they are supposedly amazing. I don’t really think graduate school is necessarily the way to go in this business. … A lot of time when you are in grad school it doesn’t really allow you to audition as well, so when I didn’t get in I ended up deciding to come here. And I just take classes around town.

The Daily: What would you say was the thing you took most from Northwestern?

JI: Before I came to NU, I loved acting and I liked who I was and all these things. But I think part of the acting program is you sort of grow as a group with your acting class … A lot of (the people from her acting class) are here now, and we started our own sort of weekly, you know we meet and sort of do work, you know work on whatever. And it’s really helped me feel like I know who I am and I know what I want. And I know what I want to do. And I’m not afraid to try for that. And I think before NU I’m not sure I would have had the guts to say, “yeah.” I now see everyone has always said, especially at NU, “You’re great for sitcoms.” I always sort of thought that, but I never really would have gone for it. And now I am. I think a lot of that came from everyone telling me to have fun. I have fun being myself and being goofy and being – I don’t know – kind of natural and quirky, and that’s who I am. And I realized that there. I started doing some student films when I was at NU. I guess I learned how to have fun as myself. I wouldn’t have done that without my teachers saying, “You can do this. Just be yourself. Have fun, and go for it.”

Reach Ashley Hudson at [email protected].

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CBS buys YouTube sitcom featuring alum