Sara Paxton is only 23, but she's been acting professionally for 15 years, having gotten her start at age 8 with a bit part in "Liar, Liar" before landing on TV series like "Summerland" and "Darcy's Wild Life." Her big film break came in 2006, when she played a mermaid in the tween fairy tale "Aquamarine."
Now in her 20s, Paxton is transitioning to leading roles, starting with the scare-fest "Shark Night 3-D." We can also catch her on-screen in December in the ensemble romantic comedy "New Year's Eve."
Paxton talked to us about her preference for old-school pop culture, her Latina bonafides and why audiences don't have to keep quiet while watching "Shark Night."
Your co-star Dustin Milligan says you're very funny.
Ha. That's a surprise. He's usually making fun of my swimming skills.
Well, it's high praise from a Canadian.
They know what's funny.
Why do you think people should give "Shark Night" a chance?
I'm the only cast member who's actually seen the movie yet, and I think that it's scary -- but it's a great way to end your summer, with this scary shark movie. When I saw the movie, there was not a single silent moment in the theater.
So it's one of those movies where audiences ignore the "Silence is golden" rule?
People were either hysterically crying or screaming or dudes [were] jumping out of their seats saying "Yeah!" and fist-pumping. It's a rollercoaster-ride of scares, thrills and just a lot of fun.
Also Check Out: 5 "Shark Night 3-D" Clips
According to Latina magazine, you're one of those "hidden" Latinos.
Yes, I'm half Mexican.
Does it get old having to explain that you're actually Latina?
It is annoying, but I'm so used to it. People never believe me. If it happens to come up in conversation with people I've just met, they just kind of laugh in my face, they don't even ask me if it's true -- they just say "Ha!" I've given up, I don't even try to convince anyone anymore.
It's strange how the media portrays Latinos as having to look a certain way.
I'm the most fair-skinned person in my family, but if you come over to my house... That's what I tell people: "Come over to my house for dinner one night, and then maybe you'll believe me!" Everyone in my house is a brunette and more tan than I am and speaking Spanish and cooking Mexican food. My grandfather is always making crazy dishes like beef tongue.
Also Check Out: The 5 Most Dateable Mermaids
"Harry Potter" or "Twilight"?
"Harry Potter"! Since I was a child, I've been obsessed with "Harry Potter." Every time a new movie comes out I've dressed up like a different character -- I've been doing this since I was 11. When I was 12 I cried to my mom, because I never got my letter to Hogwarts.
So who did you dress up as for the final movie?
Unfortunately this last time, I couldn't dress up, because I wanted to be Voldemort, and the bald cap didn't work out, and I couldn't figure out how to make my nose into snake slits. It just didn't work out.
New York or L.A.?
This is hard, but I've gotta go with L.A., because I'm from L.A., but I loooove New York. New York is a lot more fun than L.A.
Twitter vs Facebook?
I'm gonna have to go with Twitter, just 'cause I'm over Facebook... It's so 2009.
Bieber or Timberlake?
Love you Bieber, but I'm going to have to go with Timberlake, because he's from my generation. I was a big 'N Sync fan, and I'm a child of the '90s, so... Justin Timberlake.
Interesting, Dustin picked Bieber.
Of course, Canadians stick together.
Lady Gaga or Madonna?
Once again I'm going to have to go with Madonna, because I'm old school like that.
Vampires, zombies or werewolves?
I'm going to pick zombies, because I feel like it.