Attention dorks: Riley Voekel is open to dating you. And I'm not just talking about the adorable cheerleader character she plays in the new romantic comedy THE SECRET LIVES OF DORKS, but in real life too. In fact, the blond stunner used to be something of a dork herself.
In SECRET LIVES, Voelkel portrays Carrie, a good-hearted beauty who finds herself helping out nerdy classmate Payton with his love life. Like her character, the model-actress doesn't mind chatting up a uber-dork - how else to explain her talking to me? Riley, who can also be seen tackling Aaron Sorkin's dialogue on HBO's "The Newsroom," seems poised for a break-out moment, so I'm very happy to introduce you to her. Read on and learn about Riley's fondness 80s comedies, what's dorky about her now, and the most important thing a dork should know if he's hoping to have a shot with her. (Did I use the word "dork" enough?)
What can you tell me about your character in the film?
On the surface she's the popular cheerleader. In most movies she'd be the bitch, which sometimes she comes across as, but she's not. She has feelings and insecurities just like the rest of us. I think the movie shows that we're all kind of the same. She goes out of her way to help Payton and teach him about girls.
So you're not just playing the ditzy cheerleader...
Exactly, she looks like that at first, but she's really sweet at heart and wants to have a good soul. She wants to be seen for more than just her looks, she wants to be appreciated for what's inside.
Did you have to learn any cheerleading moves for the film?
I was a cheerleader in middle school and I loved it. In high school I decided not to be cheerleading anymore because there were no more competitions, it was just for the football games, so I went with a different sport. I remembered a lot though.
Was it fun revisiting that stuff?
It was absolutely fun.
What were you like in high school, were you a dork or were you one of the popular kids?
Freshman year I was more of a dork. I was very scrawny and had braces. I wanted to be part of the popular crowd, and I did have some friends in that crowd, but I was always one of the kids who just tagged along. I remember a guy told me in high school, "One day you're going to be hot, I can kind of see it." (Laughs) Then in sophomore year I switched schools, and there I started to find myself a bit more. I played softball, volleyball. I became very involved in school and had friends in every group. I was a dork and popular kid mixed.
What's the dorkiest thing about you now?
Well, I just found out that I need to wear glasses, so I wear glasses when I need to. And I wear a retainer. After I didn't wear my retainer after having braces for five years, I have to wear it now. At night, I'm glasses and retainer.
Would a dork stand a chance with you? What would he have to do to get your attention?
Absolutely they would. I'm not into the whole pretty boy, model type of guy. I do like confident guys, so if the dork has a lot of confidence and knows how to treat a woman - I like to be courted. And he has to have a sense of humor. So I think a dork would have a chance with me.
This film harkens back to the 80s comedies, sort of a John Hughes flavor, are you a fan of that genre?
Definitely, I've seen Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles more times than I can count. Dazed and Confused, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, too, those are the movies I think of when I think of my favorite comedies.
What do you like to do for fun? Do you like going out and getting crazy, or are you more of a quiet night at home kind of girl?
I'm a mixture, I do like to dance so I go out once in a while, but I'm not so much of a club person. I like anyplace that has live music; if there's live music, I'm there. Any chance that I can do that, I will. But I'm also the kind of person who enjoys a glass of wine and movie at home. And then make some Italian food, that's my comfort.
Is Italian food your favorite?
I'd say that's my favorite comfort food. When I'm cheating I'll do pasta and bread and all that. My favorite food outside of that would be sushi and oysters, I love oysters.
What do you do for fun?
When I was younger I'd play softball, I was a pitcher and I was very competitive. Of course after high school I stopped playing and I miss it, it was a big part of my life. Now I like to be at the beach and play guitar. I also love the snow, snowboarding, being in a cabin, that kind of thing.
What's your favorite TV show on right now? Besides The Newsroom...
(Laughs) Besides The Newsroom, I love Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Girls, American Horror Story.
What has being a part of The Newsroom been like, is that an actor's dream?
Oh totally. A dream come true. What initially happened I was cast in the pilot episode, and that's all it was supposed to be and I didn't think it was going to be anything more. When I was shooting the pilot, and Aaron Sorkin said he was thinking about writing more of the character. When he asked what I thought about that, I said, "Sure that'll be great," but of course inside I was freaking out. I just made such great connections with the cast and crew, we're like a family. It's really working with the best of the best.
Is there an actor or actress that you're dying to work with?
There's so many, but I love Morgan Freeman, I'd love to work with him. I'd love to work with Charlize Theron, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, her career is just fantastic. Angelina Jolie always plays badass characters, I'd love to do that as well.
Who is your celebrity crush at the moment?
I have a bit of a crush on Garrett Hedlund, especially in Country Strong. I like tall cowboys who can play music. I also like Tom Hardy, in Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises, he's great.
So not your Secret Lives of Dorks co-star Jim Belushi, huh?
(Laughs) He was definitely fun to work with, every time we were around him he made it fun.
Thanks so much for your time, congrats on everything!
Thank you so much.
THE SECRET LIVES OF DORKS hits theaters today. You can catch Riley on her Twitter page right HERE.