Actress Kyla Pratt made her debut in 1993 as a guest star on the series Where I Live. From there, she appeared on a variety of different television shows, including Sisters, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, ER, Touched by An Angel, Friends, Becker, Sister Sister, Moesha, Lizzie McGuire and Veronica Mars. In 2001, she scored her first big role as the voice of Penny Proud on the hit cartoon The Proud Family. That same year, she also landed the part of Breanna Barnes on the show One on One, which she stayed on until 2006. It would be six years before Pratt took on her third big television part: that of Crystal on Let’s Stay Together.
In between her starring roles on television, Pratt was also proving herself as an actress on the big screen. Some of her film credits include: Dr. Doolittle, Dr. Doolittle 2, Love and Basketball, The Seat Filler, Fat Albert, Dr. Doolittle 3 and Hotel For Dogs. Additionally, she has starred in a variety of TV movies, such as Maniac McGee, The Picnic, The Beach and Hell on Earth.
Now, she’s playing the bubbly and lovable Trish in the new Freeform drama Recovery Road, starring alongside Jessica Sula, Sebastian de Souza and Alexis Carra. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Pratt about the serious subject matter of the show, her character’s backstory and what we can expect to learn about Trish in the future. Keep reading to see what she had to say!
What appealed to you about the show “Recovery Road”?
Well, when I auditioned for Trish, the audition scenes were just like you’d expect from her: she was bubbly, optimistic and kind of all over the place, but I knew that somewhere, we were going to take a turn. I mean, it’s set in a sober living house, so there has to be more to her and how she got to this place. And I was excited for that; I was excited for the comedy and the drama. I didn’t realize coming into the show, but there is something unique about being a part of a show that talks about a subject that is very often swept under the rug.
We know that addiction is out there; we know that addiction is happening, but we don’t get to see it stripped down like it is here. I put a lot of pressure on myself doing this show because I have younger siblings and I’m a mom and I wanted people to see Trish in her meth state and be like “Ok, I don’t ever want to be there! I don’t ever want to do that” and realize that there is more at stake than just trying it at a party, you know? I watched documentaries–I watched so many different things and read so many different things–and a lot of those types of situations happen, where people try meth one time and it changes their lives forever. That’s what I love about the show and why I love being a part of the show: that we are addressing something that hasn’t been addressed completely and that needs to be addressed.
I feel like the show makes you come back every week because you want to see where these lovable characters came from; you want to see where they are now but you also want to know their backstory. I think that I’m just as excited as the viewers when I get a new script because I can’t wait to see what’s going on, and it’s great to be a part of something like that, especially when you love doing what you do. I’m blessed to be a part of something that’s actually about something significant.
So, when you were first introduced to Trish, what was your impression of her?
My first impression of Trish was that she was slightly annoying (laughs) but lovable at the same time. I felt like people would see that she’s a girl who is a little over-the-top sometimes but you can’t help but love her and wonder more about her and feel like “Ok, well, what’s there?” I think that’s why people really enjoy Trish because it’s like “Ok, she’s bubbly and all over the place, but what’s her real story?” And that’s what I love about the episodes that are coming on now. Now we get to see what the story is. You know, we have such an amazing group of writers working on the show, and it’s so awesome to work on a show where I’m always so excited to see what’s going on and where I’m excited for the viewers to see what happens next.
How difficult was it for you to get inside the headspace of a character like this?
It was really difficult for me, because like I said, addiction is kind of swept under the rug, and although I knew that it was out there, I’ve never done research about it or really looked into it. But knowing that I was going to be playing this character–you know, you want to do justice to this character and an issue as serious as this–I did a lot of research: documentaries, books, etc.
It was heartbreaking to even see the things that they have on YouTube. It puts you in a place of sympathy, empathy and wanting to do that character justice and wanting people to see this character go through these things so that they can learn something. As I mentioned, I have quite a few younger people around me who I love and there are so many other younger people in the world that I never want to have to experience what Trish has to experience in this show, and getting into that headspace was like “Oh my god, you all don’t understand how much energy they are using just doing drugs!”
Like, I was so exhausted–I was more exhausted shooting the drug scenes than I was shooting the ones where she was running around and being really talkative. I was way more exhausted doing the meth scene flashbacks.
In the episode that just aired, it was kind of hinted that there are issues with Trish that we don’t know about yet. Are we going to learn more about those issues in future episodes?
You’re actually going to learn a lot about those issues in the next episode, the one that is airing this week. You’re going to learn so much about Trish, and in future episodes to come, because her backstory is not done. We had one episode with a lot of craziness but there is so much more to Trish that I can’t wait for everybody to see.
New episodes of Recovery Road air on Monday nights at 9:00 pm ET/PT on Freeform.