Part of the immense appeal and success of Odd Mom Out, Bravo’s first scripted comedy series currently in its second season, is that its creator and star, Jill Kargman, expertly toys with the lines between art and life to hilarious effect. As Jill Weber, an Upper East Side mother of three who casts a gimlet eye on the conspicuous wealth and absurd lifestyle rituals surrounding her, Kargman exudes a sense of groundedness and an air of disbelief that rings true with viewers. Yet Kargman, a native New Yorker and real life Upper East Side mother to three, also comes by her material from a position of membership to the club she lovingly satirizes.
Adding to this layered portrait is the casting of her eldest daughter, Sadie, 13, in episode three “Hamming it Up,” which aired last night. The young Kargman plays a superstar teenage blogger (with a predilection for MDMA) whose site BagBitch.com has catapulted her to fame.
We caught up with Sadie, currently at sleep away camp, hours before her scenes aired to chat auditioning, swearing and adjusting to having her mom’s photo plastered on New York City buses.
Did you know that your episode is airing tonight?
I did not know that. I knew it was airing soon, but I did not know it was tonight. Awesome, I’m excited!
Tell me about how your casting happened. Did you ask to be on the show or did your mom ask you?
Ever since I was little I really loved to act, and my mom knew that I loved to do it and I would be willing to do it. So she had this part on the show [where she] had to hire someone my exact age and she thought I was definitely capable of doing the role. And she didn’t [just] give me the part; like everyone else, I had to audition. She knew I could do the part well, so my audition was before they even announced [the casting call]. Because if they thought I could do the role, they’d rather have me do it, because I’m very familiar with the show and the characters around me so I feel more comfortable. So my mom let me audition and the people who were holding the audition thought I could do it so that’s how I came to do it.
Was this the first time you’ve ever auditioned for something?
I did a couple of modeling things when I was a baby. And also when I was older I did a fun thing for my mom’s friend, but I don’t really do [auditions regularly]. It’s not part of my life. I know people who do that at my age as a profession, but I don’t really do that yet. Or I’m not doing it now. I’m really focused on school and this is a fun opportunity that I got to audition for.
Was she in the room when you auditioned?
She was not in the room. It was just me because she wanted to make sure it was a really fair experience. So it was just me and the scouts, the people who auditioned me. And then my babysitter waited outside because she wanted to make sure I was in an environment where my mom couldn’t distract me or anything.
Does your mom have a tendency to distract you?
Well no, it’s just she’s a familiar face and I love her so much and she’s really funny and her smile could potentially mess me up. Because whenever she smiles, I smile back. She’s just a fun person all around.
You would break character, I guess.
Yeah. And also the character on the show is very bossy and smiling is not really part of it. I had to really be in character.
So what is your character like?
She’s very sassy and at that age where she has all the power in her to be like, “I’m the boss.” She has a really big sense of entitlement. My role on the show was a fashion blogger, because my mom’s heard so much about little bloggers, teenagers, who have become famous. So when they were writing the part they really wanted a sassy, entitled blogger whose blog became famous. My mom read an article about a girl like this a couple of years ago, except she wasn’t sassy or entitled, she just had a blog and became famous from it.
How did you access the character? Were you inspired by anything?
I don’t really think of myself as a bossy or sassy person. But I’m a teenager. I sort of have that in me already and I just need to access it a little more or channel it into a character.
What is the name of the blog?
It’s called BagBitch.com. So it’s a little scandalous.
Do you actually say that word on TV?
Umm, I do. And my mom doesn’t like to swear at home, she didn’t want me growing up around those words, she didn’t want me using them. I know I’m playing a role that’s not me. I don’t actually like to swear on a regular basis, I think it’s not great to do and not a good habit. This is purely a character, and the words I used on the show and the things I did were purely just a role. It didn’t have anything to do with my everyday life.
What was it like being bossy? Was it fun to play that part?
It was fun, definitely. It was fun playing her because I got to play around and be sassy and I’m not the bossy type in real life. I understand when to have a little sass and when not to. There were some parts I wasn’t sure I could do well, like for example swearing, or I could do without being like, “ooh, sorry!” But all in all I think it was a really fun experience. Even if the person I was playing wasn’t really a nice person, I thought it was very fun to play her.
Did your mom give you any tips while you were shooting the scenes?
My mom was there watching, but she wasn’t anywhere close to me. She could see me through the cameras but I couldn’t see her. Really only the director gave me tips. Because she didn’t want to distract me. As I said, when my mom smiles, I smile and that isn’t really what my character is all about. So my mom gave me pointers before but when it came time for me to play the part, she stepped back and let the director talk to me and give me tips.
What kind of pointers did she give you before you started shooting?
Just like the basics. Speak clearly. Make sure they can hear you. Make sure to speak in a way where you really get into your character. Be sassy and bold. And really just channel [my character].
What did you think of your costume and makeup?
Even though I wouldn’t wear it in real life, I thought it was so much fun. It was like a game of dress up I played when I was little.
And what do you think of the show? Does it feel like an accurate portrayal of what you experience on the Upper East Side and at school?
Yeah, definitely. And all the stories she’s heard and all the stories I’ve heard I see in the show. I myself go to a uniform school and it’s very sophisticated, I guess, and it’s very similar.
Have you given her any stories from school that have ended up in the show?
I haven’t given her any stories that are really deeply portrayed in the show, but I have given her lines and she’s like, “Ooh, that’s funny” and then she puts them in and I’m like, “Oh, that’s mine!”
Has it been weird adjusting to seeing your mom on TV playing a fictionalized version of your family?
It was a little weird at first, but I got used to it and I knew that everyone she was working with was really nice. And the people who play her kids on the show, they’re a little younger than me, but my siblings and I are friends with them. At first it was a little weird, but I’ve gotten used to it. And it’s also just a part. It’s not her actual family. We’re her family.
You and your siblings were actually cast in the pilot as your mom’s onscreen children. But then you didn’t end up being in the show regularly because of school. Was that hard for you?
I think that doing the pilot was so much fun. I can’t really see myself dropping [school] and not seeing my friends and having to go to a special acting school and doing all that stuff. I couldn’t see myself dropping my whole life to be on the show. I think the kids on the show do a great job with their roles. So I wasn’t that disappointed.
Do your friends watch the show?
A lot of my friends watch the show. Even the parts that I don’t watch. They’re always like, “Sadie, I saw your mom on a bus!” It’s just funny stuff like that. And it’s really fun and my friends tell me about stuff that they saw and it’s just a cool thing.
Did you tell all of them about your part in tonight’s episode?
Umm, no I haven’t told that many people. I sort of wanted to keep it on the down low. And if they see it, they see it. Because I didn’t want to brag and be like, “I was on the show!” I told my very close friends, but I didn’t Instagram about it. I was just on the down low about it.
I guess you won’t be able to watch it tonight?
No, we don’t have TVs at camp. But I’ve seen the whole episode, so it’s okay I’m not seeing it tonight. I wish I could, but it’s okay I’m not.