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ABC Family is known around the network streets for its ability to bring engaging programming to their hungry, loyal viewers time and time again. They’ve got us running from an anonymous bully in Pretty Little Liars, laughing at the incompetence of men with Baby Daddy, and as of August of last year [2014], they’ve got us shedding tears with their genre-bending series, Chasing Life. It should be noted, however, that credit should be shared with the drama’s leading lady. Italia Ricci plays a woman with her entire life in front of her who is suddenly presented with a stop sign named Cancer, and just like that, the tears begin to roll. 

Chasing Life has been received well. What has leading a series been like for you?

It has, and I’m so grateful. Our audience is incredibly supportive and committed to the show. Being a part of Chasing Life has been the greatest thing I’ve done, both personally and professionally. My perspective on life has been filtered in a beautiful way. I’ve gotten involved with organizations I don’t think I would have so eagerly pursued otherwise. I’ve said it before, but it’s so true: this show has made me a better person.

What can fans expect with the rest of the season?

The second half of season one focuses on April trying to get back to the life she left when she started treatment. So you get to see her try to function back at work, and in life, normally, which is incredibly hard because of the physical toll chemotherapy took on her body and mind. You’ll also get to experience her having to be around Dominic again, and how that goes…or doesn’t. Outside of April, you’ll get to explore more deeply into other characters’ lives beyond their relationships with April. So you’ll get to know Sara, Emma, Brenna, Beth, Dominic, and Natalie better, and what they’re up to independently of April. You’ll meet some new characters, say goodbye to some that you’ve gotten to know, and really just get to see what April does with her second chance at life.

American TV has been filled with “American adaptations” this year. Did you watch the program that your serious is based on, or did you steer clear from doing that? 

I waited until we had finished filming our pilot to watch Terminales. I didn’t want to watch it first and risk copying a performance, even if I didn’t mean to. The two shows tell the same story with different parameters. I’ve only seen the first episode because I wasn’t sure when or how our writers would incorporate each plot point and I didn’t want to spoil or anticipate what was going to happen in Chasing Life.

How do you think you’d react having been given the news that your character is forced to deal with so abruptly? 

I have no idea. I tried to react, as April, as closely and honestly as I think I would react in real life, but I can’t say that for sure. We even had takes that were completely different from the one that we used. I remember one take I just laughed in Steven’s face, which felt strangely natural but still terrifying. Because of the type of story we’re telling, I’ve really tried my best to put myself into April’s shoes to keep her as real as possible. It’s great because I think that the audience finds her genuine and authentic, but it’s not so great because being in her shoes for 14 or 15 hours a day makes it really hard to take them off. I’m still just so grateful to be telling this story; I’m so proud of everyone involved and the network for letting us do it this way.

Tell me about your new project, Must Feed and Water.  

It feels like these days KickStarter is all the rage among industry professionals. Must Feed and Water is a love story told from the point of view of “Love” as a character. He’s an adorable little monster who lives and dies by love. The Love Monster is a puppet, which I’ve never worked with before, so I’m excited to use that part of my imagination. KickStarter is an amazing platform that allows an audience to fund stories that they’re fans of and essentially become a part of the project by doing so. There are also perks based on how much you pledge, like a signed photo, walk-on role, social media shoutout, early dvd of the film, producer credit, etcetera. I think it’s a great way for people to invest in what they’re watching.

News broke recently about your engagement. What’s on your mind when looking ahead at married life? 

We’re planning on a long engagement, so I haven’t really thought that far ahead yet. Babies for sure down the road, [but] right now I’m just hoping to plan and successfully execute the wedding.

You were outfitted in some really cool pieces on your cover shoot. What’s your personal style like?

My personal style changes on a dime. One day I’ll be all about flowing, breezy, maxi dresses and the next I’m in tight leather pants. It depends on the day and my mood. This shoot has been great! I walked in and saw all of these badass ’90s outfits and immediately got scared that I wasn’t cool enough for them (laughs). But as always, Warren is a genius and whips me up in these threads I would never consider for myself, and all of a sudden I can’t live without these pieces. I can’t wait to see the pictures! Shooting with you guys is always a blast.

photography ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC www.alekandsteph.com

styling WARREN ALFIE BAKER www.warrenalfiebaker.com

makeup NICOLE WALMSLEY www.nicolewalmsley.com


special thanks to LOGAN HENDERSON

Production Bello Media Group | Words by Dio Anthony