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JANA KRAMER- All or Nothing

By: James G. Boutilier

It’s how she started and what’s gotten her into film, television and fingers crossed, a music album.


Triple threat. Look it up, Jana Kramer’s name is there, along with a stunning photo, a list of popular screen credits and a definition that reads - Natural beauty, infectious personality, and enough spark to fuel the many aspirations this rising actress has set for herself.


A series regular on CW’s, One Tree Hill, a growing film presence and a budding music career in the wings, it seems Kramer is poised to turn aspiration into actuality, as the actress took the time to explain to UMM recently, during one of her trips back home.



You left home almost fresh out of High School.


JK:  I graduated in 2002…I did some Indies in Michigan, and just wanted to make the bigger step so I moved to New York [and] got some recurring day-players on All My Children. I was there for about four months and everyone told me to move to LA – so I packed my bags again, called my mom and was like, Hey, I’m moving to LA now [laughing]…The next thing I knew I was living in Los Angeles.


What were your expectations?


JK:  I’m the kind of girl who will not give up - I’m extremely determined.  My mom knew the second I graduated that I’d be gone, just because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  My dad, especially was like, You need a back-up plan, I’m like, I don’t wanna back-up plan because then I’ll fall back on it, and I need to make this work…Of course now he’s my biggest fan [laughing].


With an interest at such a young age, you had to be into High School drama?


JK:  No. I was really into sports.  I used to figure skate for about 12 years, so I was definitely into performing.  I wanted to do something along the lines of broadcasting


You’ve had a fast rise in popularity and television status, from “Friday Night Lights”  to “Entourage,” and now  series regular on the CW drama – “One Tree Hill”.  Does a series regular bring with it a sense of security?


JK:  I was just talking about that to someone on the plane…You hear big people all the time like, Who knows if this is my last job.  I definitely have more confidence, but I don’t know if I’ll ever feel secure in the business.


Your character, Alex Dupre, has a lot of drama in her life, which begs the question – Who’s the bigger Drama Queen, Alex or Jana?


JK:  [laughing] I’d say Alex is, but I don’t fall too far behind.  I definitely like to carry my own drama with me.


Seriously though, Alex suffers the unglamorous side of modeling/acting (suicide, drug addiction, etc..,) an all too real problem especially among young female performers.


JK:  It’s awful.  The good thing about our show is that our girls are not stick thin.  It shows you don’t have to be that skinny like some of the other shows girls are on.  It’s sad.


I mean yeah, some of the things are very dramatic and some things are a little bit stretched, but it’s still addressing issues that are current today.


It’s odd that although beautiful, you were self-conscious playing Alex’s model side.


JK:  I was.  I don’t really have the body of a model, and I’m short.  Modeling and acting are so different…like why would you want to take pictures of me, I just don’t understand.


Some of your characters are skilled liars– So who’s the bigger players, Men or Women?


JK:  Oh totally men. Yeah, hands down [laughing].


You’ve played both the glamour queen and the down-home girl.  Are you more the Jeans & Jersey Girl, or black dress and heels?


JK:  Oh, I’m so Jeans & Jersey Girl.  I’m obsessed with sports, so I can talk sports with any guy.  I hate heels, I love flip-flops…Whenever I get dressed up and I talk to my publicist, I’m like, Can I wear jeans and flip-flops, and he’s like, If you do, like, you’re not coming [laughing]. 


It’s fun every once in a while to get dressed up and feel girly, but I love just throwing on the sweat shirts and flip-flops.


Do you get out for Red Carpets and Premieres?


JK:  Yeah, I do.  It’s fun, but I suffer from anxiety, so, it doesn’t help sometimes [laughing].  I went to the SAG awards for the first time this past year and was like, WOW, people everywhere.


Anything you’re TVOing?


JK:  Oh yeah…The Biggest Loser because I love that show and I don’t care what anybody says, I think it’s awesome.


A night off is a Party Night or Movie Night in?


JK:  It’s rent a movie and have a glass of wine.  I hate going out.


What rentals would be on the sofa?


JK:  Romantic comedy or drama.


Wings & Beer, or Pop & Popcorn?


JK:  I don’t like beer.  I love wings.  And I love wine.  So it would be Cheese & wine, wings – yeah.


Any No-Fly Zones as to what you will not play?


JK:  As of now, no, I look at everything like a challenge.


As a young actress in Hollywood, has nudity been something with which to contend, or is it a non-issue for you?


JK:  Oh totally, and I’ve lost a lot of roles because I won’t show my boobs.  If it’s something like Wild Things 4, I’m not gonna show my boobs for.  It would have to be a good film, like a Scorsese, or something with more depth other than – here’s my boobs! [laughing]


Is it difficult to maintain that standard?


JK:  Of course.  Especially with the market now, people need jobs - so if it comes down to showing your boobs, they’re going to do it.


You have greater film desires too…just maybe not horror, like your debut, “Dead/Undead” when you were covered in meat and fat.


JK:  Oh...yeah…It was the most disgusting thing ever.  I couldn’t get it out of my hair for days [laughing].


And your Get-Away to Romania (for the “Return of the Living Dead” sequels) was less than exotic?


JK:  I ended up getting sick, and I had to get my appendix taken out.  It was awful.


What criteria do you use to select a script/project?


JK:  Well now it’s never gonna be Romania [laughing]. 


Do you have a dream role?


JK:  Yeah, it would be to do a time period film.  Something like, Young Elizabeth, or any of those Kiera Knightley ones, cuz they’re so romantic, and the outfits – I’m sure they can’t breath in them, but it looks so cool.  Or even a Western and ride horses.


Has there been a character who has a healthy dose of Jana in her?


JK:  There’s a scene where Alex breaks down because she was afraid to be alone - there’s a lot of fears that Alex has that I have.  It’s cool because I can bring in my personal experience and let it show in her… It’s very therapeutic. 


As an actress have you had any “fan-moments”?


JK:  Yeah, it’s weird and flattering.  I’ll never forget:  I was going to visit my fiancé in the country of Georgia, south of Russian, and I was standing next to Kiera Knightley, and I guy came up to me asking for my picture cuz he watches the show on the internet.  I’m like, I’m standing next to Kiera Knightley and even “I” want a picture with (her),  Why do you want a picture with me?


With whom would you like to work?


JK:  I’d love to work with Meryl Streep.  And Sandra Bullock; I’ve loved her from the very beginning.  She’s so down to earth.


Any advice for people writing for women, or women roles?


JK:  Don’t be afraid to dig deep, and not just show the surface of how you think girls are supposed to act.


Any projects outside One Tree Hill?


JK:  We go on hiatus in March, so I’m hoping to get a nice little movie role there for a few months…


And you sing & play music too, right?


JK:  I’m going to Nashville to record some demo stuff…I’m working with songwriter Kye Fleming; she was just inducted into the Nashville Hall of Fame (and) she’s gonna be my publisher…So we’re just trying to get a single and then start an album.


I’m excited…It’s fun to have a different purpose and focus, creatively.


With whom would you like to sing?


JK:  It’d be fun to have me, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift all sing a fun song together.  I’d love to sing with Brad Paisley.  Of course, if Johnny Cash was still alive, that would have been amazing.


It’s surprising you’ve said if not acting you’d be a sports caster or weather girl – not a singer?


JK:  I never thought I could do the singing thing…But now I’m going to do it, because I can’t live with a What If?


So, what’s the big attraction to the screen?


JK:  I love it.  I get to share my life through different characters.


Any charities you’re involved in?


JK:  I work with TACA (Talk About Curing Autism) about finding a cure for autism.


In a perfect world, you are where and doing what in 3-5 years?


JK:  Hopefully starting a family, happy, doing my music and having a career in TV or film.  Just having it all and being happy.



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