Plucked straight out of college into FX’s hit drama Rescue Me, our newest woman to watch has worked her way up from major daytime soaps to roles in award-winning series such as The Sopranos, Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy.
After hitting the big screen in J. J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s thriller Super 8, our latest Femme on Fire, the stunning Katie Lowes, was cast as the mysterious Quinn Perkins in ABC’s crisis management drama Scandal, which returns for its second season tomorrow night. We sat down with Katie for a chat about her hit series, not getting knocked off by showrunner Shonda Rhimes and her own scandalous past.
Playboy.com: Scandal returns tomorrow night; what we can expect after the crazy cliff-hanger the show left on?
Lowes: The character of Quinn Perkins was the cliff-hanger (in the first season), with Kerry Washington’s character asking Quinn, “Do you want to tell them who you really are, or should I?” She’s a great character because she has a totally fake identity. The first episode of the second season will see the audience find out who she is. Unfortunately, audiences, I think, won’t be completely satisfied — “Who is Quinn Perkins?” isn’t as large as “why” and “how.” It’s very scandalous! [laughs] There are a lot of huge scandals this year, including political sex scandals, which happen to be my favorite because we all know it happens all the time. [Rhimes] says there is no lack of material to work from.
Playboy.com: How would you describe the show?
Lowes: Scandal is based on a real crisis management fixer named Judy Smith. She works with people on the worst day of their life. Politicians, athletes or celebrities go to her before their scandal can get out in the press. It’s a show where we’re dealing with those scandals, as well as those going on in the office between the characters.
Playboy.com: Tell us about your character, Quinn.
Lowes: She’s the rookie. Quinn has never worked in crisis management before, and in the first season was very much the eyes and ears of the audience. She asks the questions the audience who are new to crisis management would want to know. In the second season, it’s going to be very interesting because Quinn is evolving and changing as a character.
Playboy.com: Shonda Rhimes has a rep for killing off her characters. Any fears?
Lowes: Yes. [laughs] Fingers, toes and eyeballs crossed that I’m in it for the long haul. There are so many scandals and twists and turns in the scripts, which is really the addicting crack of the show, but “Oh no, if I flip the page is my character going to end up dead?” [laughs] So far I’m in the clear, but whatever is meant to be will be.
Playboy.com: What scandal from your past would you use this team on?
Lowes: I’m a bit of a Goody Two-Shoes, but a really racy scandal from high school: my high school sweetheart — watch him read this — I was with him forever. He and I broke up right before prom but I still wanted to go with him. But instead, he didn’t take me, he took my little brother’s girlfriend. Her name is Kate and my name is Katie. I thought it was such a scandal. I threw a hissy fit in front of everybody and ruined the prom. If I had Judy Smith at the time, I think she would have told me to put my game face on.
Playboy.com: So where’s the revenge plot?
Lowes: This [interview] is my revenge plot. I get to talk about it now. [laughs] I hope that every time I do an interview I’m like, “Hey, look at me now, bitch!” I’m kidding. [laughs]
Playboy.com: What has been your most fun role to date?
Lowes: I did a guest spot on Ghost Whisperer, which was one of my first big TV jobs out of college. It was really fun because I played a ghost who had drowned. I had to be hosed down in all of my scenes, so I got to go around set soaking wet. Every time I had to speak they had to rig this hose in my mouth; all this water would spill out — it was insane! Then we actually had to film the drowning bit on the Universal lot in this 15-foot-deep tank. I had to go down there with divers and pretend that I was dying. It was crazy fun.
Playboy.com: You worked with J. J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg on Super 8; what was it like working with those two?
Lowes: It was unreal. It was so special. I had a smaller role, and J. J. Abrams could not be more supportive on set. He’s just so collaborative, and my scenes — we made them up on the spot. I didn’t even get a script for the movie, and I’m so type-A that I was flipping out in my trailer: “What do you mean they can’t give me my lines?” It was an actor’s dream because you got to be off the cuff.
Playboy.com: Lightning Round:
Favorite City: [Sings] New York City.
Drink: Anything with tequila in it.
Food: Potato chips…I wish it wasn’t, but it is! Salty Lays potato chips.
Shot: …Tequila. And I don’t even care if it’s good tequila. What I’m rocking right now is Patrón, soda water and a ton of lime squeezed in. 12:17 as I’m talking to you I’m lightly sipping some Patrón. [laughs]
Guilty Pleasure: Watching crappy reality television shows. I was a big Jersey Shore fan. Funny enough, my prom weekend was in Seaside Heights where the show is shot, and we were evicted from our hotel for being badly behaved. I should have called Judy Smith! Also, The Bachelorette; I like miming the lines.
Playboy.com: Would take part yourself?
Lowes: No, no, no. Dating is scary enough as it is. Why would someone want to do it on television?
Radio Song: “Some Nights” by Fun. I also love to drive around dancing, “We Found Love” by Rihanna.
Secret Talent: It’s not a secret, but I love singing. I can also touch my tongue to my nose, and I used to be on the kickline team in school. I can do super-high kicks and a decent splits. But bringing it around, I could eat potato chips until I burst. [laughs]
Dream car: A Porsche, just so I can say “Porsche-ah” instead of “Porsh.” But an old one.
Embarrassing Moment: First day of Scandal I jumped on a golf cart and wasn’t holding on and got flung at least 10 feet onto the pavement and landed on the back of my skull. I was mortified…and really sore. I’m waddling around trying to walk all sexy in my Washington suit and walking like I took a crap in my pants.
First Playboy: My first Playboy was definitely in my family who I will not name. But a relative of mine had some in his house and I brought one into the bathroom. I remember thinking the articles were really good. Of course, I remember seeing all the naked chicks and being like, “Ooh, ahh…I don’t look like that at all!”