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ICYMI Gabrielle Haugh Interview

Gabrielle Haugh 734x365
Credit: Jason Agron Photography

My parents definitely like to say that I was a drama queen,” muses DAYS newcomer Gabrielle Haugh of what set her on the path to performing. But as she got older, she realized it was a way to fulfill her desire to “be everything. I wanted to be a detective and then I found out that it required running. I wanted to be an interior designer and then I learned that that required math. I wanted to be a vet and then realized that there’s blood. So, I was like, ‘Well, I guess I’ll pretend to be those things.’ ”

Haugh studied theater, musical theater and dance, then signed with her first agency when she was in the eighth grade and began taking film classes. She graduated early from high school and when she was 18, she made the move to Los Angeles. Her parents had mixed reactions. “My dad, 100 percent [support],” she recalls. “My mom? I went to the same high school as her and she wanted me to go to the same college as her and get a degree and then do this. I made a plan to tell her I wasn’t going right before I had dance class. [I said,] ‘I’m not going to college! Okay, bye!’ and ran to my car. She freaked out for a while, but I was back and forth to L.A. so much I think both of my parents just got used to the idea and it was like, ‘We’re spending so much money traveling you back and forth, you should just be there.’ ”

Unlike many new arrivals who struggle before they land their first job, Haugh booked something pretty quickly. “I was able to work on an incredible film called Headlock right off the bat with a fairly substantial role,” she relays. “I got to work with someone who’s a good friend to me, and I’m still very close with most of the people involved in the production. It was a very good way to get thrown into it. They taught me a lot and it was the most fun I think I’ve ever had. I definitely could have had a very rough couple of years trying to break into it, and I got insanely lucky booking that film right off the bat.”

Gaining employment so soon “definitely settled everyone,” Haugh says. Securing a paying gig as a model did, too. “I was working a lot with Forever 21 three or four times a week, so I was able to stand on my own feet pretty much right when I got out here.”

Other roles soon followed and last year, Haugh appeared in Lifetime’s MOTHER, MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER, which was written by and featured James Franco (ex-Franco, GH). “I’d worked with James a couple of times previous to that,” she explains of getting the role. “James has a group of people he goes back to and he just kind of wanted to work with friends and he wanted it to be a really fun project. He went to a bunch of us that already were really comfortable with each other and had worked together before, and we made a movie.”


The experience, she describes, “was incredible. It was freezing, and we were these sexy vampires standing outside in the cold in little clothing, but we were all good friends and it was such fun. It was a very feminist piece, so it was also fun to be able to, like, feed on frat boys and stuff like that. A little twist on everything.” Of Franco, Haugh remarks, “He’s great. I mean, he’s easily one of the smartest humans I’ve ever met in my life.”
Haugh also landed DAYS in the middle of 2016 but had to keep mum since the show tapes so far in advance. “I didn’t realize that I knew people who watched it, and then I booked it, and once my first episode aired, I got about a thousand text messages,” she marvels. “I was like, ‘Oh, okay. Cool.’ I never watched it. I don’t think I’ve had cable in, like, 10 years.”

As a recast for Paige Searcy’s Jade, Haugh had to get up to speed quickly on day one. “I didn’t have much time to go back and watch all the episodes that she was in,” Haugh says. “They sent me some information on Jade and gave me the lowdown on her, and I talked to James [Lastovic, Joey] and Mary Beth [Evans, Kayla] a lot to really work on the story so I knew where I was coming in. It’s tough to come in when your character’s already lived through all this stuff and you just have to pick it up, but they were very helpful with that because I would have been lost.”


Seven months into her first long-term TV role, Haugh is enjoying playing the darker shades of her new alter ego, since her personal experience has been so different. “I’ve been so lucky with my life,” she offers. “I have an amazing family and amazing friends and I haven’t struggled the way Jade has. That’s definitely something fun to work with because I don’t have things to relate to.”

Haugh feels she’s learning a lot in Salem, which will benefit her as she moves forward in other roles. “It’s fun and it’s a lot of hard work,” she enthuses. “We shoot a ton of stuff every day. Everyone’s constantly running around and running lines. They’re amazing here, and everyone’s always willing to help. I can say for a fact that I’m taking away an insane ability to memorize dialogue, and I’ve done a lot of emotional work. I’ve learned a lot as far as acting in ways that I hadn’t previously.”

We Are Family

Though Haugh was raised an only child, “I’m adopted, so I have two biological sisters,” she explains. “I’ve actually become very close with my biological mother and both of the girls. It was an open adoption, so my parents have been in touch with them growing up.” When Haugh turned 18, “that was sort of when I was allowed to go and actually meet them. We’d exchanged letters and we always sent gifts and stuff like that, but I met them at 18. It was like meeting one of my mom’s friends and her kids. I think because I’d always been aware of it, it didn’t feel weird. It wasn’t like a bomb dropped on me.”


Just The Facts

Birthday: January 7, 1996

Legal Ease: Of turning 21, Haugh says, “Feels no different than being 20. My mom made a huge deal about it. She set an alarm to wake me up — or to wake herself up, I guess, at 11:59 so she could call me at midnight, and she was furious when I was asleep already. She was like, ‘You’re not awake on your own birthday?’ Like, ‘No, it’s just you, Mom.’ ”

Hails From: Sacramento, CA

Puppy Love: Haugh has a new dog named Oliver. “He’s amazing and I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with him.”


The Single Life: “There’s nothing much going on in the personal life department.”

Getting Social: “The running joke with all my friends is that I’m 21 going on 65. All I ever want to do is sit at home with my dog and watch TV. They have to, like, drag me out. I’m the youngest of all my friends, too, so none of them seems to understand it. I liked to be out and I was more of a night owl up until 20. So about a year ago I was like, ‘I’m over it. I’m good.’ ”

Out And About: Off set, “I definitely hang out with James [Lastovic, Joey] a good amount. When you’re on set all day with someone, you become pretty good friends. And he lives pretty close to me, so we’ll go do stuff.”