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Dressing Room

by GaPJaxie

Chapter 1


Are you all ready?

“Uh... sure. Just a second.” The mare in front of the camera squirmed in place, trying to find a comfortable position for her rear legs. The couch she was sitting on was not a regular feature of her dressing room, and it fit her snugly, which was to say tightly. Lying upon it end to end, her tail bumped up against the pillows at one end, while her forelegs draped over the rest on the other. It was technically enough room, but the throw pillows by her rear pushed up against her dock and there didn’t seem to be anywhere to put her rear hooves. She tried to solve both problems at once by tucking her tail in around her hind legs, but one of the set ponies came and straightened her tail back out, brushing it straight again with one motion of a brush.

“Am I not supposed to do that?” she asked. Her eyes followed the set pony as she walked off camera, leaving her staring vaguely off to the left. “I guess? It’s not comfortable,” she explained. A moment later, she added, “You can see my cutie mark just fine. It... you know? Fine, whatever. I can just deal with it.” She turned her head to the right. “Is the lighting and makeup all good?”

The mare turned her head back to inspect herself, eyeing the way her leg rested on the couch and her tail draped over the pillows. She was a lavender unicorn with a particularly prominent horn which poked out from between her heavy bangs. Her mane was dark blue, streaked with purple and violet, and her cutie mark was a pink star surrounded by five others. “What about the sound? Can you shut the door to the hall? Yeah, just—right, thanks. We’re all good there? We’re—yes, okay. Great.”

The mare turned back to the camera, her alert ears tilting forward. “Okay! Ready when you are.”

Why don’t you start by introducing yourself?

“Sure,” she said, flashing a smile to the camera and adding a cheerful kick behind the words. The ears folded back a few degrees until they seemed more at ease, and her dock relaxed as well, draping her tail over the pillows. “My name is Star Power. I’m seventeen years old, I’m from Baltimare, and I play Princess Twilight Sparkle on the hit TV series Friendship is Magic.”

Tell me more about that?

“The show?” she asked, staring just off camera for a moment. “Well, if you’ve never heard of it before, I suppose I would say it’s this sweet foals show about six friends who go on magical adventures together. It all starts when Twilight Sparkle arrives in this little town called Ponyville to help organize a festival, but she gets drawn into the return of a...” Star leaned forward slightly and grinned as she spoke, “dark, shadowy monster.”

Star laughed slightly before she continued. “It sounds like the setup to some cheesy sci-fi serial, but what makes it really stand out is the characters. Twilight doesn’t save the day with swords or sorcery, but with the help of her friends, and the show really brings their relationship to life on screen. We’ve got an amazing team of writers here, and we all work hard to realize their vision.”

Friendship is Magic is your first major acting role. Can you tell us what that’s like?

“Well, in a day to day sense, it’s pretty much the same as doing commercials,” Star tilted her head back and forth. “It’s the same cameras, the same lights, the same 5AM makeup call. The big difference is the ponies. When you’re doing little roles, everypony just wants to get the job done and get out of there.”

She tilted her head up for a moment, making a vague gesture with a hoof. “But here on set... I don’t know. I’m not sure how to explain it. There’s so much care that goes into doing every scene. All the actors and the staff want to get every little detail right. It’s an infectious feeling.”

Tell us your cutie mark story.

“Well, when I was little, I saw Princess Celestia raise the sun at the Summer Sun Celebration...” Star laughed again, giving a firm shake of her head. “No, it’s actually really boring. When I was eleven, I got to play Princess Platinum in my school’s hearth’s warming eve pageant. I got really into the role, with that whole bombastic speech she gives during the negotiations? I was just belting the words out.” The mare made a sharp striking gesture with her forehoof, as though pounding an invisible table.

“And why should we believe you!?” she shouted abruptly, her face twisting into a snarling mask and her ears folded tightly back. “What has a pegasus ever produced but grief and pain. You grow nothing, you forge nothing, you write nothing—and nothing is what you are! Nothing but the storm and the fear and rain that falls yellow upon the heads of unicorns and earth ponies alike! For generations it has amused you to piss on the heads of all ponies below!” Star made a commanding, sweeping gesture, ending with a sharp strike against the invisible table. With nothing to hit, her hoof hovered in mid air. “And now I think it amuses you for it to freeze before it hits the ground.”

As suddenly as the anger had come to Star’s face, it was gone, and she giggled as she settled back onto the couch. “You know,” she said cheerfully. “For foals.” That produced another brief bout of giggling. “The whole play, I thought ponies were staring at me because I was messing it up. But when the play was over, I had this.” She pointed at the set of stars on her flank. “And a parent/teacher conference,” she added as an afterthought.

It seems like you really enjoy acting.

“Absolutely,” she nodded firmly. “I think everypony has parts of their jobs they don’t enjoy—for me, that’s the late-night school and the early-morning makeup—but when I’m in front of the camera, it’s all worth it. I love getting into a characters heads and imagining how they feel. Twilight is really bold and decisive, but more than that, she’s just such a happy person deep down. It makes her fun to play.”

Friendship is Magic is a foals program, but it also has a significant older male viewership. Any thoughts on that?

“Well, I get it for the regular show. I mean, it’s a really foal-friendly program, but you’ve also got Butter Up on screen strutting her stuff. So...” Star lifted a hoof to cover her mouth. “I get why there might be some older stallion viewers there. But I don’t understand this whole Equestria Girls craze. It’s like, cartoon apes? What’s up with that?”

With Friendship is Magic about to start its fifth season, have you given any thought to what role you’d like to play next?

“Well.” Star tapped the couch beneath her, and her tail flicked slightly to one side. “The movies, probably. Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks were both big hits. So there will probably be a few more sequels there, plus tie-ins and stuff.”

So you intend to keep playing Twilight Sparkle?

“It’s... well.” Her tail flicked back the other way. “It’s a brand recognition thing. When a pony sees Tom Flanks going down the street, they go ‘Hey, it’s Tom Flanks!’ not ‘Hey! It’s Captain Muster.’ But when ponies see me, they go ‘Hey, it’s Twilight Sparkle!’ It’s...” She shrugged. “It can be difficult sometimes.”

As a foal actor, do you ever have trouble working with your older counterparts?

“Well, I’m not going to be a foal actor for much longer,” she answered, giving a small smile as she did. “But, no, not at all. The older actors are all really supportive—particularly Amazon. It also helps that all of the main cast are my age—except Butter Up; she’s twenty-two—and we have a lot of fun working together.”

Star tilted her ears up and turned her head to the side, completing the motion with a little wave of her her hoof. “And the director is great as well. Working with foal actors can be hard because, you know, we get older! But he’s helped me stick with the role, and even turned my character into an alicorn to hide how much taller I was getting.”

Tell me about your fellow actors.

“Well! There’s Amazon,” Star said brightly, sitting up a little straighter. “She plays Princess Celestia, Twilight’s friend and teacher. It’s a great role for her. As a... well. It’s easy for mares of her size to get typecast, particularly earth ponies. She did Xena, Clobberella, Batmare. Don’t get me wrong, she does great stunts, but I’m glad she’s finally getting a chance to show off her acting range. She’s got the alicorn makeup, and the nurturing character, and she’s just killing it.”

And what about the rest of the main cast?

“Well, uh...” Star paused, turning her gaze down and raising her eyebrows slightly as she thought. “I guess I’d start with Deep Cover. She plays Applejack, and she is a serious method actor. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her break character. Like, ever. She speaks with that corny country accent all the time. It’s kind of crazy.” Star shook her head and let out a breath, the sound tinged by the ghost of a laugh. “But it’s also kind of cool. She actually spent a month on an apple farm to get ready for the role. And she’s really fun to hang out with."

Star paused, her tail flicking to one side. “Then there’s Barnstormer. Or, Rainbow Dash. She’s a little different from the rest of us. She’s a real stunt flyer—like, professional circuit and all that—so acting is pretty much an experiment for her. At first, people thought she was just a ratings booster—like, ha ha,” Star swirled a hoof in the air, “obvious celebrity casting is obvious—but she’s grown into the role.”

Star leaned forward and glanced up and to the left, pausing momentarily before settling back against the couch. “Of course, everypony knows First Take. Definitely the most talented actor on set, if I’m allowed to be humble. She plays Rarity in Friendship is Magic, Pam Halter on The Stable, and Kelly Canter in Saved by the Bit. I mean, when you see her play those parts?” Star lifted her hooves to the sides of her head, and pantomimed an explosion, making woosh noises with her lips. “You’d swear she was three totally different ponies. And when you see her on set it’s not hard to tell why. She’s really devoted to the craft. Spends a lot of time in her trailer reviewing her tapes to see what she did right and wrong. That sort of thing.”

Star leaned back against the cushions, her horn glowing as she levitated a glass of water to her lips and took a sip. “Then there’s Pan Flash. She’s just a pleasure to work with. Always friendly, and energetic and very responsive to the director’s feedback.” Star took another sip from her water, and then returned the glass to the table. “Actors can be prima-donnas, it’s true, but she’s just so humble and eager to please. You can’t help but like her.”

Star smiled at the camera, and let out a gentle laugh. “And of course, the show wouldn’t have half the viewer base it does without Butter Up. She’s a little old for the role—Fluttershy isn’t even seventeen yet, and Butter Up is twenty-two—but the makeup crew here is stellar, and they make it work. It just means Fluttershy is a little, well, you know.” Star’s smile evolved to grin. “Mature. But that’s good for ratings.”

You made a similar joke at this years Equus Awards, and it didn’t look like Butter Up enjoyed it. Is it true that there’s some tension between you two?

“Not really, no.” Star gave a weak shrug, and shook her head. “Sure, we tease sometimes, but that’s just in good fun. Like.” She swallowed and paused for air, shifting her position to get more comfortable. “When we were shooting Ponyville Confidential, there was this scene where I was reading off everypony’s secrets. And it was a really simple scene, but the humor just wasn’t landing. Like, I’m reading the lines, but nopony is laughing, and even the director is getting frustrated.” Star’s smile brightened as she spoke, and she made a waving gesture with her hoof.

“So we’re between takes,” she continued, her tempo picking up, “and the director says ‘Look, just make it funny,’ so I just burst out, ‘Fluttershy has tail extensions!’ And Butter Up turns beet red and slinks away, and the director just goes, ‘wait, were we rolling for that?’ and we were and just went with it.” Star laughed. “It was hilarious.”

Does she have tail extensions?

Star quickly retrieved her glass of water, taking another sip. When she returned the glass to its table, her voice was more steady. “You’d have to ask her about that.”

Any other funny stories from the set?

“Well, most of it is pretty spontaneous, but Deep Cover is usually pretty funny in the mornings.” Star nodded, lifting the tip of a hoof as though for attention. “Because she really never breaks character, but she’s a night-owl by nature, so at five in the morning she is just dead on her hooves. Usually she does okay, but some mornings when her brain isn’t quite started yet, you’ll hear things like: ‘I’m happier than a rattlesnake in a spelling bee!’ and all the makeup staff get a good giggle out of that.”

Star tilted her head back and forth for a moment, pursing her lips in thought. “Then there’s the whole Barnstormer/Butter Up versus Rainbow Dash/Fluttershy dynamic. See, in the show, Rainbow Dash is this booming extrovert, while Fluttershy can hardly raise her voice above a whisper? But in real life, Butter Up is the extrovert and Barnstormer is the introvert. Don't get me wrong.” Star Power raised a hoof. “Barnstormer is loud, and even pretty brash, but after a few hours on set she’s ready to hide in her trailer. Its lead to a few times when Butter Up has to psych Barnstormer up for a scene where Rainbow Dash is trying to psych up Fluttershy. It’s pretty funny.”

What about Pan Flash and First Take?

“Well, they’re fun to work with, but they pretty much go back to their trailers right after each take, so...” She turned both her forehooves up to the camera.

What about Spike? Is it ever difficult having to work with a CGI “actor”?

“Well, that depends what you mean.” Star settled back against the couch, nudging a pillow with her rear leg. “We certainly do more takes in the Spike scenes because the animators are going to have to fill him in later, and that has a bunch of weird rules. Like, if I grab Spike like this.” She held out a hoof, crooking her ankle slightly. “That’s fine. But if I grab him like this.” She crooked her ankle slightly differently. “That costs the studio half a million bits to fix it so my hoof isn’t going through his head. So we do a lot of takes to make sure we get a good one. But in terms of acting skill?”

Star flicked her tail back and forth, glancing up at the ceiling as she thought. “I don’t know. I think if I had a little brother he’d be a lot like Spike. Sort of annoying and underhoof but with a heart of gold. So I just try to picture that in my head and forget that I’m talking to an empty spot on the floor. It works pretty well.”

How does your family feel about your acting?

“They’re very supportive.”

Could you expand on that?

“Well... they’re a little strict, but they mean well.” Star Power shrugged. “All the money I’m making is going into a trust fund. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to get a million bits as soon as I turn eighteen, but they’re concerned I’d lose it and I guess that’s fair.”

She lowered a hoof, tapping the wooden frame of the couch once. “My mom insists I have to stop acting long enough to go to college. I’m not really sure I see the point in getting a degree, but the classes should be fun. Learning is very rewarding.”

Any idea what you want to study?

“16th century literature.”

Why that specifically?

“Well, all the books we have on set—Twilight Sparkle’s collection, I mean—they’re this old collection of classics one of the prop designers picked up from a closing library. Like...” Her horn glowed, and she levitated a book from off screen into the frame, holding the copy of The Praise of Folly towards the camera. “Right now, I’m big on philosophy. Utopony, The Princess, The Worth of Stallions, and Praise of course.”

You must be very smart.

“Well, sometimes I struggle with it, but it’s fun. So, sure?” She shrugged. “Besides, it’s not like there’s much else to do after a take.”

You don’t go home?

“Night school starts at seven, so if we finish early I’ll usually just hang out on set and read until it’s time to go.”

What is night school like?

Star Power snorted. “Magic kindergarten.”

Could you explain that?

“Sorry,” she shook her head. “Inside joke. I don’t really get along with the other ponies there. It’s part of why I prefer to read on my own.”

Do you have any friends who share your interests?

“In old books? Not really.” Star Power made a slight wave, settling her hoof near her chin. “That’s kind of a solitary thing. But Amazon and I hang out sometimes.”

Star straightened her posture, cracking her neck and drawing a breath. “I mean, she’s a great actor. She’s funny, and does her own stunts, and she’s really supportive. She even helped me find a new agent. Not that my old one was bad, but it’s not often that an actor manages to break out of being typecast like she was, so I’m totally willing to take her advice.”

So would you say you’ve been typecast then?

“I didn’t say that, no.”

But you do intend to keep playing Twilight Sparkle?

“I already answered that. Next question please.”

Alright, we’re just about out of time, so one final question: What’s your favorite part of being on the program?

Star Power let out a breath. Then, she smiled brightly. “Getting to spend time with my friends, of course!”

Well, Twilight, it sounds like you’ve learned a valuable friendship lesson.

“Absolutely,” Star answered with a firm nod. “Life can be stressful. Sometimes, whether you’re at work or at school, it will seem like there’s nopony who understands you and that you don’t know where you’re going in life. But if you stop and look around, you’ll find that there are ponies who make it all better. Ponies who are ready to help, to give advice, or just to appreciate your skills. Those ponies are your friends, and as long as they support you, there’s nothing you can’t do! No matter how bleak things seem the magic of friendship will always prevail.”

Is that a friendship lesson we’re getting in Season 5?

Star pulled back from the camera, and turned her eyes to the ground. Her hoof tapped the wood of the couch, and her tail flicked back and forth. “No,” she said. “I was just doing a bit.”

Well, thank you for your time.

“Thank you.”

Author's Notes:

Continued in the sequel, Deep Cover.

Return to Story Description

Other Titles in this Series:

  1. Dressing Room

    by GaPJaxie
    38 Dislikes, 16,684 Views

    Star Power isn't Twilight Sparkle -- but she does play her on TV.

    Everyone
    Complete
    Slice of Life

    1 Chapter, 3,444 words: Estimated 14 Minutes to read: Cached
    Published Dec 16th, 2014
  2. Deep Cover

    by GaPJaxie
    31 Dislikes, 11,712 Views

    Deep Cover isn't Applejack -- but she does play her on TV.

    Everyone
    Complete
    Slice of Life

    1 Chapter, 6,246 words: Estimated 25 Minutes to read: Cached
    Published Jan 12th, 2015
  3. Butter Up

    by GaPJaxie
    41 Dislikes, 10,126 Views

    Butter Up isn't Fluttershy -- but she does play her on TV.

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