The best new summer series of 2015 is back. Lifetime’s UnREAL returns tonight complete with an African-American Suitor and a whole new set of contestants vying for the football star’s affection. And, oh yeah.Â There’s more decadence, dysfunction and scandal-icious drama to behold.
For our preview ofÂ the second season, we chatted with Meagan Tandy (Survivor’s Remorse, Teen Wolf, Jane by Design),Â who plays Chantal. She is super excited to be part of this Peabody Award-winning series. And we don’t blame her.
I was literally a fan of the show way before I got on it. This was actually my third time testing for this show. It was like look. I need to get on this in some way shape or form.
In this TV Goodness interview, Tandy talks about working with UnREAL stars Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, gives you some vital background information on her character, discusses Chantal’s skills during a fierce competition, and previews the vibe between Chantal and Darius Hill, the Suitor at the center of all the action.
TV GOODNESS: Why should viewers tune into the second season?
Meagan Tandy: I think they’ll want to tune in to the second season because…so Sarah Shapiro, the showrunner, she actually went out on a whim and tried something completely different by giving everybody an African-American Suitor, which you just never really ever have seen on any of these reality dating shows. So for anybody who is ever just curious as to what that looks like, what that can be like, she definitely explores the journey of that this entire season. And, of course, you’ll get the drama of the contestants. They handpicked each of us and we all have our own little storylines and it’s just really interesting how they get the fireworks going throughout the season and so, I think, everyone’s in for a treat.
TV GOODNESS: What’s Chantal’s story?
Meagan: Chantal is on Everlasting and her fiancÃ© literally just died. I always tell people that I feel like Chantal, in the real world, is somebody who probably shouldn’t be on Everlasting because she’s still suffering. So she’s dealing with that loss. But at the very same time, she falls madly for Darius and she’s completely thinking that, okay, this is the guy, this is it. But what people will be interested to see is, she doesn’t know where she’s at. It’s like, is Darius just filling a void? Or is she really in love with him? And Quinn and Rachel do their lovely dance around her and getting her to do certain things, which will be interesting. But she is genuinely there for love. Unfortunately, she’s dealing with a loss.
TV GOODNESS: Yeah, I keep thinking about whether Chantal is even ready to find love again.
Meagan: I know. She thinks that she is. She genuinely is there because she thinks that she’s ready. But she probably should just be at home dealing with the loss, mourning and just relaxing.
TV GOODNESS: But now she’s going to be dealing with all of this on national TV. How does that work for her?
Meagan: Here’s the thing. Chantal is a Southern debutante, former pageant girl, so she doesn’t mind being in the spotlight. She welcomes it. She enjoys it so I think for her, of course, she’s going through the loss. But this girl, honestly, has completely put that to the side. She tries not to play it up at all. She tries to play up this fact that she’s this prim and proper former pageant queen that’s ready for love. It’s really Rachel and Quinn who try to play up the fact that she’s had a loss. But she’s moved on. She’s trying to just enjoy the cameras and do her thing.
TV GOODNESS: I feel like a person’s able to compartmentalize everything but at some point, it’s just going to come out.
Meagan: At some point, people will be interested to see what potentially might happen there. It’s hard to say.
TV GOODNESS: Are there other girls she finds herself in conflict with?
Meagan: Absolutely. In the beginning, everything, of course, is fine. It’s roses. Everything’s lovely. But, yes, as the storyline goes along, Chantal steps into pageant mode. This is a competition. We’re not getting a crown, we’re going after a man. She definitely gets very competitive.
TV GOODNESS: How does Chantal deal with conflict?
Meagan: Chantal’s number one thing is pure fakery, put on the pageant smile and just goes throughout the season. For her, she wants to give Madison, Rachel, Quinn — she wants to give them what they want because she knows that she’s putting everything on for the cameras, but she totally knows what she’s doing. How she kind of suppresses that and deals with it — she’s just fake. When the cameras are not rolling, that’s when you see the real Chantal. Sometimes she’s carrying that throughout the entire season but you’ll definitely see when the girl is fake and when she’s real. She gets through it by putting on her pageant smile and just pretending that it’s all great.
TV GOODNESS: You touched on this a little earlier but what else can you tease about Chantal and Darius?
Meagan: I will just say that there are definitely some sparks there. She very, very, very much thinks that there is absolutely something there. She thinks that she could potentially be in love with him. Sparks kind of fly between them pretty early on.
TV GOODNESS: What’s it been like to work with Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer?
Meagan: To be completely honest with you, it has been nothing but pure joy to work with Shiri and Constance. They are so freaking professional. They are such badass women not only on the screen but off the screen. They’re both moms and they’re out there doing all these interviews, working so hard. I have actually found both of them to be so incredibly inspiring. They’re so funny and open and free and I’ve actually had nothing but wonderful things to say to them and I hope I can work with them again. They’ve been really awesome.
TV GOODNESS: That is great because their characters are super scary sometimes with how manipulative they are!
Meagan: I know. They’re actually quite frightening on screen. They’re definitely two women that in the real world, I would never ever want to mess with . They will find you. You’ll be like dead somewhere if you mess with these two. They’re crazy.
UnREAL premieres tonight at 10/9c on Lifetime.
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