Boy Meets World’s Rachel McGuire is all grown up and she’s sent us the photos to prove it. Maitland Ward has been popping up all over the Internet and gossip mags lately for her revealing outfits and of course the reboot of the highly popular TGIF show. We caught up with her to see what she thinks of the hype around Girl Meets World and what Ward has been up to for all these years.
Playboy.com: What are you up to this year?
Ward: While everyone has been speculating about the new Boy Meets World show Girl Meets World, I took off to New York for a while at NYU and I’ve finished two of my screenplays. It’s so funny because they’re such a stark contrast from how people remember me from the TGIF family: they’re very edgy comedies in the vein of Bridesmaids. I think people will be surprised where they came from; they push the envelope a bit. Writing these scripts was something I’ve always wanted to do. I actually went to Sundance this past year and networked with some really great people. I’m happy that it’s all coming together!
Playboy.com: So are you just in the writing role or are you going to take on more, like directing or producing?
Ward: I’m actually attaching myself to it! There’s not a ton of great roles out there for women that are strong, funny and sexy. That’s what I really wanted to write for myself, something that I wanted to do and saw myself excelling at. Lots of physical comedy! A girl can be sexy and funny at the same time! She doesn’t have to be geeky or awkward, she can do it all! I think it’s empowering for me and other women to write these roles—if you want something done, you do it for yourself!
Playboy.com: You mentioned that you “wouldn’t expect something like this from a TGIF girl.” So I guess even after all this time, the show affects your life.
Ward: Over the years Boy Meets World has gotten more and more iconic. At the time we didn’t even realize it would make such an impact on people. At the time there wasn’t Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and all of that stuff and there wasn’t the Internet presence as there is today. It was all word of mouth, and those who were religious fans of the show would swap their favorite things with whoever else they knew. Now that the viewers have gotten older it’s become a part of their lives again through reruns. People who are in their late 20s now see it as iconic, so it definitely follows you around.
Playboy.com: That time slot was something a lot of people bonded over, so it must be hard to forget that you’re not 17 anymore!
Ward: Yes, and it was a Friday night thing they could do together. People will always tell me that they would get together every Friday night with their girlfriends for a slumber party and they would watch TGIF and Boy Meets World was their favorite. They wanted the relationship of Cory and Topanga and the friendships of everyone. Everybody tells me that Mr. Feeny was either like their father or their grandfather and they just live by his words; it’s all very sweet. It’s funny because when I go out and dress sexy or anything like that, people always get surprised. I don’t know if it’s stigma or what, but c’mon, guys, I’m all grown up! It’s been a while. [laughs]
Playboy.com: Have you always dressed that way?
Ward: No, I wasn’t really in tune with my sexuality when I was younger; I definitely grew into it. Over the past years I’ve become more and more comfortable and have become more athletic. I’m actually a certified yoga instructor! I haven’t taught, but I’m interested in doing videos. I did it to explore myself and ultimately it opened me up to be more in tune with myself and be comfortable enough to be who I am and love my body. Being comfortable in your skin as a woman is hard. Women will always feel self-conscious, especially young women since they are always comparing themselves to others. You really have to take what makes you special and make it shine. Don’t compare yourself to everyone you cross paths with, just be who you are. I think working out helped me with that to get in touch with my body and I would say that my writing has really helped me with that too. It brought out a lot of my creativity and who I am as a person. It actually surprised me how much I discovered about myself through that.
Playboy.com: It’s always refreshing to see someone who is unapologetic about who they are and how they present themselves. As women we always have that backlash at whatever we do, there’s something wrong with it.
Ward: I know! You just have to say fuck off to these people. Do what you want, be comfortable with what you want to do and go out and show it.
Playboy.com: I saw some photos of you online dressed up in a couple of character outfits; do you cosplay?
Ward: Yes! [laughs] I have so much fun with it. I’m a geek at heart; I’ve been told that I’m a “nerd’s dream girl” because I am good at video games, computer savvy… I had nerdy friends in high school that I really got along with. I’m definitely a guy’s girl in that way, I’m just that kind of girl. It’s so great to dress up in costumes but I’m really surprised at how much attention it got, to be honest. It’s just kept going and going. I’m so happy that geek culture is more accepted. I am going back to San Diego Comic-Con again this year; I had a blast last year. I dressed up as Robin last year for the Playboy Kick-Ass 2 party! I was testing the waters out with that little number, but now I’m pushing the envelope a bit more with my latest pieces. I like a little sexy shock value, but I’m sweet too! But I like it, I don’t care what people think. It’s so funny, though, that it was everywhere; I was really taken aback by how people reacted. Last year at Comic-Con was just nuts.
Playboy.com: Will you be on Girl Meets World or is that something you still can’t talk about?
Ward: We still can’t really talk about it because they want to have the surprise factor down the road, but definitely down the line they’re incorporating the old cast. They’re starting off with the new cast to introduce them to the world first, but yeah. There’s a real outcry for the old cast to come back, so that’s definitely in the works, but the details are still murky.
Playboy.com: What’s your…
Favorite food: Guacamole or chocolate chip cookie dough from the tube… Yeah, that would be it.
*Favorite drink: *A lemon drop or fine champagne.
Worst pickup line: I have a tattoo of a butterfly on my back. In the middle of a yoga class a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You’ve had a butterfly on you that hasn’t left all class. Do you want me to help you get it off?” I was like, what are you talking about?! It was the worst! How are you going to get it off?
Most embarrassing moment: When I was very young I was on a soap opera and I was doing my first love scene. I was 17 and I think he was 25. I had to wear whatever I had to wear. My dad came to the set to bring me something and he came into the makeup room asking where I was and the stylists turned off the monitors and kicked him out into the hallway where it wasn’t being broadcast. [laughs] It was a “losing your virginity” scene or something, that would’ve been not too exciting for him to see.
First memory of Playboy: Looking in my dad’s magazine drawer and finding Playboys there. My first memory was that the women were so beautiful. I’ve always admired how the brand has celebrated the female body in such a respectful way. That’s what I love about it; I just think it’s so beautiful.