Even though Hilary Duff's fiercest fans will always know her as Lizzie McGuire, the 28-year-old actress is shaking up her public image with a starring role on TV Land's Younger. In the series, based on the Pamela Redmond Satran novel of the same name, she plays Kelsey Peters, a young and ambitious book editor determined to succeed at any cost—a far cry from the awkward teenager who longs to fit in.
"It was fun to play that 20-something girl who's dating the wrong guy but has her life sorted out," Duff said Monday in a live broadcast on our Facebook page during a visit to the InStyle offices in New York City. Below, she talked more about Season 3, what shows she's currently binge-watching, and the status of her music career.
Tell us about your character's trajectory this season. When we last left Kelsey, her boyfriend, Thad, had just died.
I think she's relieved that she doesn't have to marry him. She's not really struggling with his death, which is kind of messed up, but she wants to be successful in work. I think the reason she was with Thad was because he was the guy that she could mark a lot of boxes with: he has a good job, he's good-looking, he comes from a good family. But he wasn't a good person. I think she's relieved that he's gone so she doesn't have to be in that predicament anymore. This season is really fun for her because she goes on a bit of a boy bender.
Well, she starts dating again, and her friend Lauren on the show—who's my friend Molly [Bernard] in real life—makes her go to one of those speed-dating things where people approach you and you talk for a few minutes. And the first thing that comes out of her mouth every time someone comes up is, "My fiancé just died," and it sends all the boys running. So it's a terrible experience, and she's feeling really defeated. Then she has a fling with one guy, then she gets a boyfriend. It's been a fun season; it's a little more grounded and emotional, but it's still wild—we have to do some crazy things on the show.
What has been the most challenging scene to shoot so far?
Some of the rooftop party scenes were hard. We were filming over the summer, and there was such a small window when it was dark out, so we would have to shoot all night long. There was one incident on the tram that goes back and forth between the city and Roosevelt Island that involved two people doing some pretty adult things, and that was so awkward. We got quite a show.
Do you identify with Kelsey's wardrobe on the show?
Kelsey is very girly. I feel like I would wear everything she wears—maybe just not how she wears it. She's a little loud; her skirts are always just a little too short for the office. But I love that about her—it makes playing the character fun. We have amazing costumers on the show. Patricia Field is the creative director, so the fittings are always a lot of fun. She always has very fresh ideas and cool new ways to wear clothes. To still be hustling the way she does is really impressive.
She also famously did the wardrobe for Sex and the City. Did you watch that show? Were you Team Aidan or Team Big?
I was a big Sex and the City fan. It came out when I was on tour—and this was before you could record shows—so I didn't really watch it in sequence, but I feel like I've seen every episode. I think I was an Aidan fan, but I can't remember why!
What's your trick for looking and feeling younger?
Well, I'm addicted to binge-watching shows, and I do it more comfortably with Visine. I recently partnered with them for their #ScreenOn initiative [Editor's note: For each #ScreenOn hashtag used on Twitter, Visine will donate one dollar toward educational technology to adoptaclassroom.org]. Keeping my eyes bright and alert and awake is a good trick for looking younger. Then obviously drinking water, and under-eye masks—those things are a dream. The cast has those on pretty much every morning in the trailer.
What show are you binge-watching right now?
It was a sad day when I finished Stranger Things. It was so good. I watched The Night Of, and I really love Peaky Blinders and Chef's Table.
Do you still talk to your castmates from Lizzie McGuire?
People ask me this all the time! We don't talk too much, but not too long ago I ran into Lalaine, who played Miranda, and Jake [Thomas], who played my little brother, at a bowling alley. It was awesome. We were just so young ... nobody was texting or anything when the show was on TV, so when it was over we all lost touch a little bit. Adam Lamberg [Gordo] went off to college—he was a bit older than us. It's always friendly and happy when we see each other, but we're not texting all day, every day.
Can we expect more music in the future?
I think music is always going to be a part of my life, but it's tough right now. The shooting schedule is pretty intense, and I have a 4-year-old little boy, so obviously I don't want to miss out on him growing up—it's happening so quickly that I don't really have plans right now. But I always get itchy to get back into the studio and start writing.
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Catch the Season 3 premiere of Younger on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 10 p.m. ET on TV Land. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.