Playing Liz Lemon's impossibly cute assistant Cerie on 30 Rock, Katrina Bowden won over the hearts of both her on-screen coworkers and TV fans across the country. This winter she's back at it with Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, and company, but the New Jersey native is also storming the big screen in American Reunion, Piranha 3DD, and Nurse 3D. How does the 23-year-old manage it? Here's a hint: pole dancing, kick boxing, and Britney Spears.
This is your first time in Maxim, and you're on the cover. Straight to the top, huh?
It was so fun. I started modeling when I was 14, and ever since I was little I was kind of a ham and loved getting my photo taken.
How did you make the transition from modeling to starring on 30 Rock?
I auditioned for the part of Cerie when I was about 16, which was a little bit young for the character, so they shot the pilot with a different girl. But when NBC picked it up a year later, I was old enough and they recast it.
It must have been pretty crazy having your first gig on a big show like that.
It was really exciting! I got the part and had to go to a table read, like, two days later. But I got lost going to the studio, and when I finally got there I was 10 minutes late. I barge into the room, and I'm standing there like a deer in headlights and everyone is waiting for me. Finally, Tracy Morgan goes, "Don't just stand there looking beautiful. Come sit down next to me!"
That must have been a relief.
Yeah. Everyone started laughing, and I just took a deep breath and said, "OK, cool. Everything is going to be all right." Everyone knew how young I was, so they were really sweet. I mean, it was a little intimidating at first, but they all just treated me like their little sister.
In one of your first episodes, you tell Tina Fey, "Career-wise, I'm just gonna marry rich designer handbags." We assume those aren't actually your career goals.
Definitely not! I really love comedy, so I want to keep doing that, but I also want to do something a little darker. Maybe play a villain or star in a super-hero movie.
Nurse 3D looks pretty dark.
Yeah it's definitely different from what I've done. It's kind of like Dexter meets Single White Female. Paz de la Huerta and I are both nurses. But she's a serial killer and she kind of becomes obsessed with me.
We can see why! What about American Reunion? Did you grow up watching those movies?
Well, I was a little young when the first one came out, so I wasn't allowed to see it. But I do feel like I grew up with it.
What was it like stepping into a reunion? Was Stiffler nice to you?
Basically, all the guys just turned into teenage boys once they got back together: burping, farting, and just laughing about gross things.
You look pretty amazing in these photos. Is it true you take pole-dancing classes to stay in shape?
Who told you that?! Um, it's a good workout. I also kickbox, and I'm pretty good.
You went to Catholic school. Did you guys dress like Britney in "...Baby One More Time"?
Ha-ha! Well, we had the kilts, which a lot of the girls would roll up to make shorter, and the knee-high socks and white blouses. But our outfits were not as cute as Britney's.
It's been a few years now, but do you still get Hurricane Katrina jokes?
Ugh, it's so lame! People will say it and think they're the first person to ever say it to me. They'll be like, "Your name is Katrina. You really tore it up down there in New Orleans." I'm like, "Really?!?"
OK, we won't make the headline "Hurricane Katrina" then. Anyway, you must have had the chance to meet a lot of cool guest stars on 30 Rock. Any highlights?
It was really cool to meet Jennifer Aniston. She was so down-to-earth and normal, and beautiful in real life. God, we've had so many. Oh! Bon Jovi!
That's the Jersey girl in you. So: Jon Bon Jovi, Frank Sinatra, or Bruce Springsteen?
Definitely Bon Jovi! That's more my generation. When he was on the show, we were talking, and Tina walks up and is like, "So are you guys talking about Jersey?" And we're like, "Yes. Yes, we are."