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Sitcom takes North Texas actress Hayley Orrantia on a time trip

09/24/2013 6:23 AM

10/02/2013 11:46 AM

Hayley Orrantia, who co-stars in ABC’s life-in-the-’80s comedy The Goldbergs, didn’t personally experience the decade they are re-creating on TV.

The native North Texan is just 19, after all.

So there are times when her reaction to what they’re filming is utter dismay.

“It usually has to do with the fashions or the hairstyles,” she says. “The clothes they wore were outrageous. And the hair, all the teasing! Oh, my gosh! I look at it and go, ‘Wow, y’all really did that?’”

But life on the set of The Goldbergs, which premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, means more than just ’80s history lessons. For Orrantia, who got her start as a singer, it’s also an on-the-job acting class.

“Every day, I soak up so much,” she says. “The only acting I’d ever done before this were two commercials and an independent film back in Lewisville, Texas. I was on X-Factor, too (in Season 1, as part of the girl group Lakoda Rayne), but that’s just music. I couldn’t be happier.”

We chatted with Orrantia, who grew up in Highland Village, about the new gig.

How did you get the role of Erica Goldberg, sassy 17-year-old?

I came out to Los Angeles in January just to take acting classes. I wasn’t planning on doing any auditions. But my agent kept telling me, ‘You need to audition for this new show.’ I read the script, and I thought it was hilarious.

So I put myself through the process of auditions and callbacks and screen tests, and I ended up getting the part, which is amazing. Then the show got picked up, which is even more amazing.

Getting the opportunity to do this, since I’ve watched sitcoms my whole life and fantasized about being in one, and now it’s actually happening — it’s crazy and kind of hard to believe.

What is it like living in a make-believe version of the 1980s?

It feels almost like I’m growing up in the ’80s now, because I’m surrounded 360 by nothing but ’80s stuff, whether it’s the outfits or the hair and makeup or the furniture or just the crazy wallpaper. It’s really cool.

There also have been a few articles of clothing that I’ve asked, ‘Is there any way I can take this home?’ High-waisted shorts are definitely back in and there were a ton of cute high-waisted shorts that they put me in. I know I make fun of the clothes, but some of the things, I’m like, ‘That’s adorable!’

How often, if at all, do you come back to Texas?

My mom and dad still live there and I have a ton of friends there, because I grew up in Texas my whole life. I’ve lived out in California full time for only two or three months. I definitely plan on making a good amount of trips back when I can, because Texas is home, my first home, and that won’t ever change.

Many North Texans know you already, thanks to events where you sang the national anthem (at FC Dallas, Frisco Roughriders and Fort Worth Brahmas games), as well as for performing on the main stage at the Texas State Fair. Does your acting career mean you’re through with music?

I’m definitely continuing with music. I plan to keep writing original music while the show’s going. Then, once we’re on hiatus, I can take all the songs and go into the studio and record them, maybe make an EP or an album. I can’t imagine not doing music. It’s just not at the forefront right now.

Are there any other North Texas sporting events still on your national anthem wish list?

I have not done a Cowboys game. I have not done a Rangers game. But maybe one day, because I would love to sing in my hometown for my home team.

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