‘American Teen’s’ Hannah Bailey: Surviving a Hollywood party with ‘fun-free’ drinks

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The senior year of high school. Nine months, and then it’s over. Unless you’re Hannah Bailey. The 20-year-old may no longer be living her final year of high school, but now she has to promote it .

Bailey is one of the kids at the center of “American Teen,” the docudrama opening July 25. The film follows a group of kids from Warsaw, Ind., during their senior year. Rather than a ‘jock’ or a ‘mean girl,’ Bailey was the self-described “in-between” teen. That means she wasn’t captain of the cheer squad or the student council president, but she was a few rungs above the dorks in the class caste system -- just a vintage-T-shirt-wearing film-loving geek who makes her boyfriends crawl around public parks in dragon costumes while she takes photos.

In the film, Bailey longs to escape Indiana for the West Coast, and dreams of being a filmmaker. While ultimately deciding she’s an “East Coast girl” -- she’s currently a film student at New York’s SUNY Purchase -- we won’t hold that against her.

We caught up with Bailey two weeks ago at the Los Angeles premiere of “American Teen” at the Ford Amphitheatre. Currently residing in Los Angeles courtesy of Paramount Vantage, Bailey and her “American Teen” peers are spending their summer vacations working for the Hollywood promotional machine. One of their assignments: Blog about their experience for the Los Angeles Times.

We asked Bailey to document one of her first nights in Los Angeles, in which she once again watched her senior year play out on film, and was forced to attend a studio-sponsored schmooze-fest. -- Todd Martens

On June 25, a little movie that I happen to be featured in called “American Teen” made its way to the Ford Amphitheatre here in LA. Wow! Somehow, despite a serious case of jet lag, I found myself, and my fellow teens, in one serious state of excitement.

The evening began at the Paramount lot, where we schmoozed, drank fun-free cocktails, and snacked on curly fries, cotton candy and churros. The teens and I wandered around, each pimping ourselves respectively.

One of the publicists ushered me about, introducing me to various industry types. I met three generations of a movie review-writing family who had come to check out our flick. The eldest of the women, Aunt Flo (no joke), was a real spark plug. When asked if she still drives, she said: ‘Oh, when I stop driving you can get rid of me. Send me to the glue factory!’ She reminded me of my Grandma.


The party lasted about an hour, at which point, everyone boarded two giant school buses bound for the theater. Colin (the Jock) and I chatted a bit with Rock the Vote, and I found myself marveling at the fact that I was, in fact, sitting on a loud, rowdy school bus for the first time in five years. The irony never seems to cease.

Upon arrival at the Ford, us teens were herded away to do some interviews. During one such sit-down, I was able to ask Megan a question that’s been burning in my mind since all this promotion started: Which male teen was the cutest? We both agreed that Jake had made a steady climb to the top, and was currently kicking both Colin and Mitch’s butts. I hope he sees that interview someday.

I was elected to introduce the movie, so we made our way out to the stage, and I dropped an “L.A. in the HOUSE!” on the crowd. I expected to hear one of those silence FX with the crickets, but this crowd took the sympathetic route and threw their hands in the air. What a sweet bunch!

The screening was amazing. Despite being able to literally quote every line in the entire movie, I really enjoyed watching it again. Spirits were high and emotions ran wild. The response was great, and after talking to some very enthusiastic people afterward, I was feeling as if I’d actually done something cool.

People ask if it’s hard to watch the movie with all the sad scenes and everything. I’ve seen it so many times now, so truthfully, it’s not. Not in that way, at least. The most difficult thing about watching the film is seeing my family and my best friend, Clarke. I miss them all so much.

Us teens headed out for the night, as it was Mitch’s 21st and we just couldn’t wait to see his face as the sweet nectar hit his lips. The studio would’ve had to do their studio thing, so we slipped off to celebrate without them. The real party started, however, when we went over to a friend’s house and alternated dancing in the kitchen with waxing philosophical in the backyard.

It was a night for the ages. Thanks, L.A., for laughing at our jokes, even when you didn’t have to. You really make us teens feel like real people.

-- Hannah Bailey

Top photo: The cast of ‘American Teen’ introduces the movie. Credit: WireImage