McKaley Miller, a born-and-bred Texan who works on the West coast, could never abandon her Southern roots. As Rose Hattenbarger on Hart of Dixie, the CW series that plops a big-city doctor into the fictional small town of Bluebell, AL, McKaley must channel her Southern side from a sound stage in sunny California.
"Being a Texas girl does help me with the Southern charm," McKaley admits—and that as she counted down the minutes before her audition for Hart, she phoned her BFF for accent inspiration. "My best friend has the exact same Southern accent that I use on Hart of Dixie," McKaley says. "Before I ever went into the audition, I called her and said, 'Talk to me for like an hour. I have to get this Southern accent down!'"
Even from across the country, this former Girl Scout feels at home on the set. "I love how it's kind of been a second home to me," she says. After taking a break from filming, "I can just come right back, and I know everybody. I've worked with almost every single character on Hart of Dixie, so I love having interaction with everybody, with all of the cast. It's great."
McKaley said she was drawn to the show because of her character's individuality. "Rose is her own person," McKaley explains. "She does not care what the cool fashion trend is in town. She does her own thing, and she doesn't care what people think about her, I really do admire that about Rose."
Just as on Hart of Dixie Dr. Zoe Hart, played by Rachel Bilson, acts as a mentor to Rose, Rachel serves a similar role in McKaley's life. "There's honestly no word to describe her other than 'amazing,'" McKaley says. "She really is. She's so incredibly sweet and kind to everybody, and she's the ultimate person you would want to lead your show. She comes to set prepared, and she knows what she's doing. She's nothing but supportive of me, and she's extremely approachable. We have a great relationship, and I love her to death."
Back home, McKaley counts her friend Amber as a role model. "She's kind of like my big sister," McKaley explains. "I definitely look up to her. I come to her with any problems that I have, and she helps me make all kinds of decisions. I basically trust her with my life!"
McKaley also relies on her close-knit family. "My parents have sacrificed so much for me," she says. "My family is fantastic. We're very, very open and we talk about everything and I love that."
In fact, her family's influence sparked her initial interest in show biz.
"Since I was little, I used to put on performances and plays, and I'd make my parents come watch them," McKaley says. "My grandma was a performer, so I used to go on stage with her and sing and do my little thing, so I've always loved performing! Acting just kind of came naturally with that."
The Short of It
McKaley dishes on a few of her favorite things.
Must-Have Beauty Product: Mascara
Favorite Place to Shop: Forever 21 or H&M
Movie on Repeat: Coraline
Celebrity Crush: Niall Horan from One Direction
Dream Date: To go to an amusement park. "I think that would be so much fun, to ride rides and play games and eat funnel cake."
Dream Costar: Reese Witherspoon or Emma Stone
Favorite Social Media Platform: Instagram. "I would never, ever, ever give up my Instagram. I love photography, so I think the idea of Instagram is so creative. That's where I interact the most with people online." Pssssst! Follow her on Instagram at McKaleyM.