Mandy Musgrave, <EM>South of Nowhere</EM> Mandy Musgrave, South of Nowhere

During this second season of The N's South of Nowhere, Ashley (played by Mandy Musgrave) has already had to cope with the death of her rock-star father, watch her girlfriend get beaten up as part of an anti-gay hate crime, and cope with the surprise appearance of her illegitimate half-sister (who, on top of it all, is suddenly interested in Ashley's ex-boyfriend). And things are just getting started. TVGuide.com caught up with Mandy, who, despite a killer sore throat, dished about what else is in store for Ashley and Spencer.

TVGuide.com: What do you think of the season so far?
Mandy Musgrave: Compared to the first season, I can actually watch myself and be proud of it, and the characters are much more developed. They all kind of do their own thing, and you get to see that there isn't just a good side to everyone, or a bad side. Like with Madison, you get to see a softer side. You get to see a tougher and more vulnerable side of Ashley. I like that.

TVGuide.com: I really like the awkward relationship between Ashley and her new half sister.
Musgrave: Ugh. A lot of people aren't liking it, they think Ashley is being so mean. But I'm like, "You know what? Imagine if you had a sibling come into your life who has never been there, and she starts living with you."

TVGuide.com: Is there hope for Ashley and Kyla to ever be friends?
Musgrave: I think so. That is one thing about siblings  when you are blood-related, you have no other choice but to get along. No matter how much you don't have in common, you will always have your genes. Everything aside, they are still sisters.

TVGuide.com: You had some heavy emotions going on when Ashley's dad died. How was that as an actress?
Musgrave: You noticed that, huh? That was probably my favorite because I like challenges. I was with [Gabrielle Christian, who plays Spencer], and she's like, "How did you do that? You are always happy and bubbly and you get these really dramatic crying scenes and you can just pull it. You don't cry in real life ever. And at the end of every take you start giggling and laughing." I don't know. It is challenging because I think of things in the past, or how I'd feel if my father were to die. It is really hard and devastating. But it is the most amazing thing that could have happened for the character, because now you can see who she really is.

TVGuide.com: Plus, you have this adorable relationship between Ashley and Spencer. We get to see the soft, gentle side of the normally tough Ashley.
Musgrave: Yeah, she's actually a really good girlfriend. There is so much more of that coming, like the teddy-bear scene, which was the cutest thing ever. I remember when we were shooting that, I was like, "I want to kiss the ["Get well"] bear. Can we have a kiss mark on the gauze?" They didn't let me do it because they didn't want me to ruin my stage makeup. I was mad, but they had someone else do it. It was so cute. She went right up and carried Spencer's books. I want an Ashley.

TVGuide.com: Did you know where they were going with Ashley when you signed on last year?
Musgrave: No. I thought she was straight. When I found out [she wasn't], I was really excited. This is a whole new world, and I knew it would affect a lot of teens. Every once and a while, I get letters or e-mails from people who say, "You are turning America's teens gay." That's ridiculous, people aren't like that. You can't turn someone gay. If they are gay, I'm just helping them come out. There is a part of me that wants to write back and shove it in their faces, like, "Glad I have so much power. Thanks."

TVGuide.com: But have you gotten any response from gay fans?
Musgrave: Tons! I only get one [negative response] for every 400 or so e-mails. I have ones from people trying to come out, asking how to do it. I try to give them advice and then [I remember] I'm Mandy Musgrave, not Ashley Davies. I'll start giving them advice like, "What I did... " and then I'm like, "Oh, I'm straight, I can't give you that advice."

TVGuide.com: I've got to know, who is the better kisser, Gabrielle or Matt [Cohen, who plays Ashley's ex, Matt]?
Musgrave:
Oh god! Um.... [Laughs] I don't know. I've kissed Gaby so many times. I love kissing Gaby, so I'm going to have to say Gaby. She has those full, lovely lips, and she's an adorable girl. Although, [comparing] this season to the first season, Matt kisses a lot better than he did.

TVGuide.com: He got some practice over the break?
Musgrave: [Laughs] I don't know how. Maybe he's been kissing Gaby and been able to improve? He's a much better kisser the second season, but I prefer Gaby's kissing.

TVGuide.com: Will we see Ashley and Aiden together again, or is Ashley happy with Spencer?
Musgrave: I don't know. I hope all throughout the second season, and even the third season, she remains with Spencer. When teens are finding themselves, they aren't completely set in their ways. I have a hunch that Aiden and Ashley will go through some drama; he's always been there for her so you never know what is going to happen. But I think right now they are just friends, and I hope she stays with Spencer. I think they are a good couple.

TVGuide.com: Any good stories from set?
Musgrave: It is amazing, working on the set. It is so much fun. We all get along so well. It is amazing how opposite we are from our characters. There was a scene [recently] where I run after Spencer and I'm limping. They had to try to shoot from the chest up. I was running and tripped on my heel and planted my face into the ground. It was ridiculous. I don't like people being able to see me cry, and Matt ran out and picked me up and carried me back to the trailer and I just started sobbing like a little girl. It was really crappy, because now I watch the tapes and I look like one leg is longer than the other.

TVGuide.com: Are you better?
Musgrave: I'm OK now except for my voice! 

Send your comments on this Q&A to online_insider@tvguide.com.