When Katrina Bowden auditioned for the role of Liz Lemon’s assistant, Cerie, on 30 Rock, she was a 16-year-old Catholic school girl with no experience in comedy. (We’d like to take a moment to say something to the person who took a chance casting the then-unknown Katrina: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!) For seven years now she has given more than a few extra smiles to one of the funniest shows in TV history, which wraps its glorious run this spring. “It’s so weird that it’s ending,” she says. “I was so young and inexperienced when the show started, and the cast has basically been like family to me.” Here’s to her next big role—may it have an even tinier wardrobe!
When you started off on 30 Rock, did you have any idea you’d still be on seven years later?
None. We didn’t even know we were going to get a second season. We always had critical acclaim, but it seemed like no one was watching, and if you don’t have any viewers, it doesn’t matter how many Emmys you win. It was when Tina went back on SNL as Sarah Palin that people really got interested.
Since 30 Rock was based on Tina’s time there, is Cerie based on someone real?
Yeah, a very wealthy girl who was really smart but never let anyone know that. And she never really tried hard, because she’d been given everything her whole life. So I think they took that and made it a lot bigger with Cerie.
How different is Tracy Morgan from Tracy Jordan?
Well, Tracy’s a comedian, so he knows what he’s doing, but the writing staff definitely plays up the wacky things he says. They give him complicated things to say, because it sounds so funny coming out of his mouth. He’s a sweet guy, but he has absolutely no filter. His dressing room is right next to mine, so I end up hearing a lot of very interesting conversations!
Was it strange being so much younger than the rest of the cast?
At first I felt like I was in over my head, but everyone made me feel so comfortable. I’d hang out with the people from the show and go to SNL tapings and the after-parties, and a lot of the writers were young. Like, Donald Glover wrote for the show before he was on Community, and he’s just a little older than me. But it’s not like I was going crazy and partying, which might have been different if I’d been on a show with lots of young people, like Gossip Girl.
Since you were just out of high school, were your classmates ever jealous?
Well, I had been modeling for a bit in high school, and I tried to keep all that stuff quiet. I went to an all-girls school, and girls can get pretty catty toward each other.
Read the full interview when you pick up our January/February issue, on newsstands now!
Want more Katrina Bowden?
Check out her 2012 Girls of Maxim gallery and behind-the-scenes video.