Now that Amanda (Becki Newton) knows who her mom is — the late Mode editor and fashion legend Fey Sommers — what's her next quest? A chance meeting with eerily familiar temp Helen (guest star Kristen Johnston) gives her a glimpse at her not-so-rosy future, which sends her on a very surprising path. As Ugly Betty returns for its fourth season, Newton tells us how Amanda will grow this season, what she really thinks of Betty and with whom she'll be making out.
TVGuide.com: Tell me about working with Kristen Johnston.
Becki Newton: She's completely genius. I want her to come back, I want [Helen] and Amanda to become besties and go clubbing together. She took a part that could have been a wacky caricature, but actually made it the perfect balance, where just when you think that Helen is totally insane, you see that she has some heart.
TVGuide.com: So Amanda meets Helen, who's kind of like the ghost of Christmas future for her. What's next?
Newton: I think that for the first few seasons, it was very clear that Amanda didn't want to be bothered with any type of work. She's at a fashion magazine because she loves fashion — mostly just wearing it. There is a certain reality show with a certain stylist [Newton declines to identify it, but duh, it's Bravo's The Rachel Zoe Project], and I thought, "Oh my God, that's a glimpse of Amanda's future." We're going to see that Amanda's love of fashion can help her get ahead in her career. Amanda has a real skill that can actually benefit Mode magazine, apart from looking cute — not that she won't still look cute.
TVGuide.com: So what exactly is she going to be doing?
Newton: I've always loved the idea that Amanda knows the entire inventory of the closet [from memory] because she's stolen everything. But that knowledge could really come in handy if, say, an editor was looking for something for a photo shoot. Amanda could say, "Third shelf on the right."
TVGuide.com: So she'll be helping Betty with the shoot in the Bahamas?
Newton: She's going to be the associate stylist. That will be the first time that she has a title other than idiot receptionist. But I'm sure Amanda would say that Betty is helping her. In her mind, everyone including Wilhelmina will be assisting her, because she got a promotion.
TVGuide.com: What does Amanda really think of Betty?
Newton: I think Amanda is partially in love with her. Every time Amanda makes fun of her for looking so wacky and for coming up with those weird outfits, there's a tiny ounce of admiration that Betty doesn't care what other people think. I mean, clearly — look at the patterns she puts together. Amanda would never admit to it because she cares desperately what people think of her. But Betty will tell Amanda the truth, and I think there's some value in that for Amanda.
TVGuide.com: I like when we see Amanda in moments of vulnerability.
Newton: At the beginning, I always got the sense that Amanda cried herself to sleep every night. But on the surface, she had this total air of confidence; she was like a shark. Over the last couple of seasons, though, she'll cry in front of everyone and anyone. She was kind of a mess. This season she actually has goals. It's Amanda, so it's always going to be a little obtuse and flaky, but I think she now actually possesses the confidence she pretended to have in Season 1.
TVGuide.com: Will Amanda find love this season?
Newton: Well, she has Marc, who is her one true love. She had Halston, who I think got a pilot on another network because I haven't seen that dog in a while. I think that she'll continue to search for love, but I get the sense that Amanda's moving more toward being independent and complete on her own.
TVGuide.com: What's your favorite scene that you've shot so far?
Newton: There's a scene in the fourth episode where Amanda makes out with a few different people, people who you would not expect. And that's right, I said a few. Amanda goes all ways, and this little sequence will prove it.
The new season of Ugly Betty airs Fridays at 9/8c on ABC. Catch encore airings Thursdays at 7/6c on TV Guide Network.