Get To Know The Neighbors: '90210's' Jessica Stroup

Jessicastroup Playing Erin Silver, the half-sister of original 90210 characters Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth) and David Silver (Brian Austin Green), Jessica Stroup is really the bridge between old 9-0 and new 9-0, and she couldn't be more psyched. Listen in as we speak about lack of sleep, Silver's online blog, the alcoholic mom she inherited from Kel and more...

The show premieres tonight. Excited?
I can't believe it. It's been such a long wait, shooting and not sleeping. Our launch party was last weekend and I feel like we were all in a haze because we had just shot an 18-hour day into the morning. I got maybe two hours of sleep before the party. So now that it's actually [going to be on the air], I'm so stoked.

I was at the party, nobody looked like they'd been shooting all night.
Yes, the beauty of makeup. That's what it's all about. The beauty of concealer.

So how do you like playing Silver?
I love it. This is probably the most fun I've ever had with a character. She's so different than other roles I've had, especially since I'm working on a show that's just beginning and I'm getting to develop a character that I have input in. It's been a challenge, but it's been such a fun challenge. She's funky and funny and there are so many different facets to her. It's something I can be creative with and try something new every day.

Very cool that they're open to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.
Yeah, absolutely. The character has changed a lot from the original pilot, the Rob Thomas version. And it's changed quite a bit since I booked it. When I got word that I was officially Erin [Silver] and that [she] was going to have a [video] blog online, I literally read it on a website. It said that I was "a 15-year-old in a bikini" or something and I went, What? When did that happen? But yeah, it's been amazing. The main [influence] from my own life is that I'm a huge, huge music fanatic so I'm constantly listening to new bands, trying to find new bands, then changing my tapes all the time. Silver's kind of into that stuff too, so I'm throwing ideas their way. And when it comes to the blog, I give input. It's called A Vicious Circle, and there's a very fine line because I don't want her to come off as a bitch, but also, she's funky and she's going to say what she wants to say in a brutally honest way.

So you're sort of co-producing the blog in a way.
I mean, yes and no. It's my thing, and there's a short little intro that I usually do. We make a video and it's obviously scripted because it ties into the episode, but when it comes to what I'm saying, I kind of get to [improv], which is fun.  And we bought the domain name, so A Vicious Circle is going to be up at some point.

How often will we see her doing these video blogs?
Right now I believe it's every other episode.

As you mentioned, your character wasn't originally going to be Erin Silver -- the half sister of David and Kelly -- but that has now changed. I can't tell you how pumped old school 90210 fans were (myself included) when we heard.
Yeah, and I couldn't talk about it! That was the hard thing, because so many people were excited and it actually became true. It's such a different way to approach the character too because I am somebody who existed [on the original series]. You know, there are so many loyal fans out there, and I appreciate them and respect them, and I get it, so for me to play this, it's been amazing. I'm just having a blast.

You were very young when the original show was on, did you have to do a lot of research to catch you up on Erin Silver's family history?
Yeah, I was growing up, but I hate it
when people go, well I was a baby. It's just like, shut up. Granted, I was watching Rugrats on Nickelodeon at that time, but I still knew what it was. And as I got older, I'd sneak off to watch it at my girlfriends' houses because I'm from the South and my parents were strict. So I understood the hype and I understood what it was. But The CW gave us box sets in case we wanted to catch up and I've now watched all the DVDs. And I've done a lot of research on who the family was and also on Ann Gillespie's character, she's making a little [guest] starring appearance, as my mom.

Yes, I broke that news! I'm so psyched about her return. I hear old Jackie Taylor's still dealing with some troubles...
Yeah, I went online -- just for my own benefit -- to see what Al Anon was all about. Kids with alcoholic parents tend to feel that [their parent's issues are] their fault. They become the adult in the relationship, and that actually formed a lot of who Silver is because she's had to deal with stuff herself. She's such a strong person, having had to handle everything, that when it comes to Beverly Hills or other people caring about things that in her mind are stupid, she just doesn't give them the time of day. That's why she is so independent and strong-willed.

If you've now watched all the old 90210 DVDs, I assume you've seen the infamous fashion show episode with Jackie doing lines of coke in the bathroom?
[Laughs] Yes, doing cocaine in the bathroom and she gets caught! When I met Ann, I was like, Ann, omigod you were crazy!

But I hear she's now a minister in real life!
Yeah, when I got word that I was Erin and I was going to be working with her, I went online to YouTube and saw her indoctrination into her church in Virginia and I was like, no way is she going to come back and play the character! But the greatest thing about it is I think she is going to donate the money from her episode to her church. She is just such an inspiration to be around, such a cool person to come back and play the character again -- for the fans and for the show -- and then go back home to her real life.

So she's just going to do one episode.
That's all up in the air, we're not sure what's going to happen in the future, but you're definitely going to see her.

How much have you gotten to work with Jennie Garth?
Quite a bit. It's been amazing. In the beginning, of course, we were all like, well how is she going to feel about this? It was her life for ten years. It made her who she was at the time. And then there's the unneeded drama of people asking her, what's going on with Shannen [Doherty]? But she's just been great. She's completely supportive and open to talk to me if I feel I need it. She is kind of like a big sister in real life because she's been there, she's seen it, and she's here to help out any way she can. And she's also super talented. She's bringing a whole new life to this character.

Yes, it's cool that you've got both her and Shannen around, as they've been through your experience before.
Absolutely. They are supportive, and they don't try to make it about themselves. There are so many questions about what's going on with them right now, but they're not trying to overshadow our storylines, we're all working together and it's been amazing.