|Shauna Case at Nail Garden in Burbank|
At Nail Garden
331 N. Pass Ave., Burbank 818-566-4319
Shauna Case is anything but your typical teenager. When it comes to sheer talent, there's really nothing the actress/singer-songwriter/dancer can't do.
"I was always dancing and being very animated at my house. I took ballet and tap when I was little, and I've always been singing. I remember playing singing games with my friends, pretending we were on 'American Idol.' My friends would be the judges, and I would stand on the tire swing in my front yard and sing," she recalls. "I also remember trying to write songs every Saturday when I was 4. I mean, I was 4 – what did I know about writing a song? But at least I was trying."
Shauna was born in San Diego, Calif., but spent most of her childhood in Erie, Pa. The same drive that guided the 4-year-old to whet her songwriting skills, through countless hours of dance classes and to audition for a role in a summer theater camp production eventually led to the entire Case family relocating to Los Angeles so Shauna could pursue her dreams as a performer. The move proved to be a fortunate one, as she is currently a member of a talented young ensemble on Nick Cannon's sketch comedy show, "Incredible Crew," which airs on Cartoon Network.
"It was hard moving to L.A.; it took me a long while to get over the fact that I miss my friends a lot. Luckily I visit a couple times a year for Christmas and summer vacation, and we always Skype each other, text on the phone and Facebook," she admits. "I'm home schooled, and it definitely is hard to meet new people not being in public school, but being on 'Incredible Crew' has made it easier because the cast, we're so close, and they're all so funny. They're my type of people. I always like being around people who make me laugh, and they definitely do that."
In fact, even when they aren't working, the "Incredible Crew" hangs out together doing what Shauna likes to do most when she has free time.
"I like to go to the movies with my parents or my friends. The weekends that we weren't working, the cast of 'Incredible Crew' all went to the movies or out laser tagging together," she shares. "I also like just relaxing at my house because I'm a homebody. I like playing with my Pomeranian puppies. They think they're Dobermans. I used to have a Doberman, who was over 100 pounds, and he was more timid than the little fluffy Pomeranians."
Shopping is another of her favorite pastimes.
Americana in Glendale. It has all these shops and a movie theater. The place where I first took acting classes was at Westfield in Century City, which has great shops," she says. "My dad would kid around and say, 'No more shopping malls when you're taking acting. I already pay for the acting classes, no shopping!'"
Today, Shauna and her mom are doing what a lot of mothers and daughters do together on a typical afternoon off from work, heading to their favorite neighborhood beauty spa, Nail Garden. From the moment you step into the salon, there's a flurry of activity with women selecting polish colors and discussing treatments with technicians. Once you step into the spa area, there is an air of calm tranquility created by the lush, green foliage that surrounds each station of pedicure chairs and the soothing sound of running water.
As Shauna and her mom settle in for their spa manicure and pedicure treatments, I ask Shauna about her essential beauty products.
She immediately replies, "My mascara. I have naturally long lashes, so I like to lengthen them even more. Even if I'm too lazy to put on the rest of my makeup, I'll put on mascara for a cute, natural look that's easy on the go. And my straightener. I love my hair straightener! I have naturally wavy hair."
Don't mistake Shauna for a solely girly girl, though. She is quite an athlete as well.
"I've always had good coordination in sports. When I was growing up, my mom said, 'Let's just try everything and see what you like.' Everything I tried, I loved – except basketball," she tells. "I loved ice skating, I did competitive diving and swimming, soccer, tennis."
Being an avid sportswoman, Shauna is a perfect fit for the event she will be flaunting her fresh manicure at a few days after our interview. She and her "Incredible Crew" cast mates are invited to walk the red carpet, present an award and do a stunt at the 2013 Hall of Game Awards, hosted by their "Incredible" producer Cannon and Shaquille O'Neal. With awards presented to the best in sports, such as Robert Griffin III, LeBron James and the Fierce Five U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics team, by celebrities like Jessica Alba and the Wanted, it's quite the gala.
"I'm wearing a Sue Wong dress. It's blue, I love the color blue," Shauna gushes. "I'm getting a French manicure to keep it easy."
The petite, blonde and blue-eyed teen admits to favoring a certain sports-themed film franchise when choosing something to watch for movie nights.
"I like to watch Bring It On cheerleading movies because I was a cheerleader from age 7 to 12. I've always loved tumbling," she confesses. "I started gymnastics when I was 3, then I got into cheerleading. I went to classes every week at my elementary school that's where I learned all my tricks, like how to do a backflip on the hard ground."
Shauna also took ballet, tap and hip-hop dance classes in Pennsylvania. When she first moved to Los Angeles, she took a hip-hop master class with Robert Hoffman at the famed Millennium Dance Complex.
"I still go to classes at Millennium all the time. It's so much fun. In Pennsylvania I went to a smaller dance studio, so coming out here and doing the first class, I was so pumped because there are so many amazing dancers and the choreography was so much fun."
Music is also something that has always been a big part of her life.
"My dad started teaching me guitar when I was about 8. He's been playing since he was 6. He's really good and was even asked to audition for REO Speedwagon. I also took lessons in Pennsylvania," she says. "I know a couple of chords ,and it's good because all the Taylor Swift songs that I like to sing have, like, three chords. She's one of my favorite artists. I love her music; her songs always tell a story."
Growing up, Shauna mainly listened to Christian music, but as she got older her friends exposed her to radio music: pop and rap. She began to love those genres even more when she started hip-hop dance classes. She likes artists like Ke$ha, Maroon 5 and Carrie Underwood. Currently country pop is what she loves most and is predominately what she sings on her own material, which includes a forthcoming EP and her first music video for one of its tracks, "Some Kind of Fairy Tale."
Shauna co-wrote several of the songs on the EP, including "Some Kind of Fairy Tale," "That's Our Story" and "Better Together," with Mach 1 Music, helmed by acclaimed producer Eddie Galan (Backstreet Boys, Allstar Weekend, Jordan Knight).
"I've been keeping a journal since I was 10. I usually get ideas for a song at night, that's when I think of ideas and write it down in my journal. I like to strum my guitar and sing up in my room. I like to write songs starting with the beat and the melody and harmony first," she reveals. "My EP has five songs on it, and they're all on my website. I worked with Mach 1 Music and Eddie Galan, and it was super fun. We're all great friends, as well as a strong music team. I couldn't be happier working with a Billboard Award winning producer in Eddie. He's amazing."
Galan was nominated for a Grammy and won the Billboard Award for his work on the High School Musical soundtrack. A theater production of "High School Musical" was actually a very pivotal point in Shauna's own career. She garnered her first role as Sharpay while at summer theater camp.
"It was my first musical theater production that I had ever done and the first time I performed on stage. I was so excited and amazed to be in my first big production," she remembers, and the over-the-top role of Sharpay is one that she was prepared to play. "I was always animated and comedic growing up. My dad's pretty silly and goofy. At home, he's the comedian. We always joked around, doing different accents and characters at home. In public with my friends at the mall, I was always the one to act up and get a laugh out of them. I'm definitely the crazy, funny, fearless girl in my group of friends."
"Another one of my favorite roles was Martha Cox in a 'High School Musical 2' production with a bunch of kids that were older than me. I was excited to get that role and be with the big kids," she says with a grin. "I started hip-hop dancing on stage during that production. I got my worm down on stage for that show."
It was during rehearsals for yet another role when Shauna was hit with the realization that performing was definitely it for her.
"We were doing 'Godspell Jr.' at a summer camp, and I had a big solo. During rehearsal, it became so quiet when I sang. I actually made one of the counselors cry when I was singing. I was like, 'Wow, OK, I guess I can do singing and acting.' That's when I started to love it, getting the crowd's reaction. It was then that I knew. When I got to California and took my first acting class, I knew that I loved doing it, being different characters."
Getting the chance to stretch her acting, singing and dancing muscles all in one project through the many sketches of "Incredible Crew" is something that Shauna is extremely grateful for.
"An awesome aspect of the show is that I get to do everything that I love to do," she says. "My favorite part of being in an ensemble is how we are all so funny in our individual way, we all have a different take on comedy, so it makes 'Incredible Crew' really fun. You never know what to expect in each sketch, just because they might say a line much differently than I thought they would say it. We all challenge each other as actors."
Shauna has two favorites when it comes to the sketches she appears in this season.
"One is 'Slo-Mo Girl,' where I'm a normal girl walking down the hallway and the wind's blowing in my hair. It's that scene where there's a popular girl and everybody's looking at her. It was so much fun because I think every girl wants to walk down the hall with the wind blowing in her hair. Then I get hit with these outrageous things, like goo, a fish and a chef spills flour on me. I'm drenched in all this gross stuff and it's all in slow motion, so it's really funny," she laughs. "Another favorite is the 'Hidden Cameras,' the hidden camera pranks, because even when I was back in Pennsylvania with my friends we would always do funny things in the mall, and people would look at us. In one of them, I pretend to be a small-town girl who just came to L.A. with my guitar, an amp and cowboy boots. I'm in the middle of this amusement park with a mic that was turned up really loud. I say, 'Hey y'all. I just came to California, and I'm trying to be a country singer and get signed to a label. I'm going to sing you this song so gather 'round now.' I start singing this pretty song, and everyone's like aww this girl is cute. Then, all of a sudden, I break into a horrific rock star scream into the microphone. It's super loud, echoing through the amusement park. All of the parents stare at me with shocked faces, holding their babies' ears. It was one of my favorites."
Shauna is preparing to take a test in March to graduate high school early. Besides prepping for the test with her dad, they like to play Wii Bowling together. She confesses to having an intense competitive streak when it comes to all games. During their downtime on set, the "Incredible Crew" cast would make use of a ping-pong table backstage, and she garnered quite the reputation for being a competitive player. But striving to be the best is never a bad thing.
"I remember playing on my GameBoy when I was 5 and losing a game. I just screamed. You don't want to be around me when I'm playing," she says with a laugh. "When we played ping-pong on the set of 'Incredible Crew' I would get so competitive. It comes in handy, though. Not only in games, but in my career – to always want to be better and not settle for less than what I'm aiming for.
"Incredible Crew" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on Cartoon Network. For more information, visit shaunacase.com.