Maisy Stella, the 11-year-old star of ABC's Nashville had but one wish on her recent visit to Mall of America: Don't tell her older sister (and co-star) Lennon that there’s a Free People at the mall!
"She would have hit all the stores, bought everything in them, and we'd have no money," declares Maisy, whose flair for the dramatic landed her, and Lennon, 15, plum parts on the ABC series without any formal acting experience. Lennon—wearing a Free People belt on a white mini dress she found at T.J. Maxx for $8—begins to protest, but then admits, she does love to shop. Free People, Urban Outfitters, H&M, and Forever 21 are among her mall favorites.
“Shopping for her just takes hours,” Maisy continues. “I would just like to visit a candy store.” I suggest Peeps. "Peeps?! Like the marshmallow candies? They have that here?!"
Having done my homework on the harmonizing sisters, I know they always get asked about their TV mom Connie Britton. And yet, all I want to do is ask them about their TV mom Connie Britton. Because, she was Tami Taylor on my all-time favorite Friday Night Lights! And she is a Dartmouth grad! And a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador! And she adopted a baby boy from Ethopia on her own! And she was roommates with my other favorite, Lauren Graham! And she is the rare actress who found true stardom in her 40s, when most women in Hollywood feel past their prime! And she is Rayna James!
So I go there with the sweet Lennon and Maisy, who joke that everyone asks about Connie’s famously fabulous blond mane. Duh—I already know Connie uses Kerestase. So I go way deeper and ask Lennon and Maisy what they’ve learned from working with Connie Britton.
“To stay in your character, even between takes,” Maisy says.
“The first scene I ever shot with her, in a car, I had memorized everyone’s lines,” Lennon adds. “I thought you had to get every single word right, but (Connie) told me it’s not about the words, it’s about the message, the emotion behind it.”
“She never messes up,” Maisy adds. “Because every time she kind of messes up, she just goes with it!”
And who does not take Connie’s advice? That would be Will Chase, who plays her former fiancé Luke Wheeler. “He’s never off,” Lennon says. “He would do anything to make you laugh.”
While the sisters are spending their summer doing live performances—like the one at Mall of America on behalf of the Special Olympics—and promoting their new children’s book "In the Waves," they will soon be back on set in Nashville, where their family now lives. Last season ended in a cliff hanger, with Deacon Clayborn and his sister Beverly both on operating tables and one of them flat lining.
“I don’t want Deacon, or Beverly to die,” Lennon says.
“I don’t want Beverly to die in real life, but I don’t like her character,” says Maisy, adding a rather unpopular option: she’d like to see Rayna James get back together with Luke Wheeler.
Lennon pounds the table in (half) mock outrage—but it’s not just because she, like most of us, believe Deacon and Rayna are meant to be together. It’s because if Rayna were to get back with Luke, it would be awkward for Lennon's character Maddie, Rayna’s daughter, to date Luke’s son Colt who would actually become (are you with me?) her step-brother.
Maisy smiles. Exactly. “I don’t want to see my sister kissing anyone!”
Nashville’s season premiere is Sept. 23. So you have time to catch up.
For more celebrity sightings at MOA, check out my mobile guide Ali Shops Mall of America.