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From theater geekdom to TV teen angst, Landry Bender looks for balance | My Favorite Room

When actress Landry Bender and her parents moved recently from mid-city to Playa Vista “to take advantage of the beach more,” she quickly shut down one part of the plan.

Amy and Trey Bender (both sportscasters) wanted to give their daughter more space within the 1,300-square-foot townhouse by tearing out her bedroom’s built-in bookcase.

“I was like, ‘No, this is the best part of the whole room!’ I’ve been wanting something like this for a while to display all my mementos, coffee table books and knickknacks,” said Bender, 19, who stars in Hulu’s “Looking for Alaska,” which premiered last month.

Numerous items celebrate Bender’s favorite icon, Audrey Hepburn, including a coffee table book and a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” lunchbox, which were both gifts.

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“I love her. She’s been an obsession of mine for a while,” Bender said.

Bottles of Marc Jacobs’ “Daisy” perfume and a copy of “It” by Alexa Chung are among the many fashion-inspired items, and a collection of Vogue, Teen Vogue and Elle magazines takes up an entire shelf.

There’s also a section dedicated to Broadway including books on “Hamilton” and its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (“a big inspiration” to Bender), a replica of Mary Poppins’ peacock umbrella and a binder of Playbills from all the shows she’s seen.

“I started doing community theater when I was 5 because I saw a play with my mom and I asked if I could try that, too,” Bender said. “I wasn’t too good at sports, so luckily I found my outlet when I was really young.”

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A copy of the book “Looking for Alaska,” personalized by author John Green, is an “amazing prized possession” because she grew up reading his books.

Why is your bedroom your favorite room?

I love having my alone time reading, writing and watching shows. I am always really at peace having my “me time” here.

Cute photos; why are they special?

This is from the other day at the premiere of “Looking for Alaska” — it’s a photo of me and the girls on the show posing in front of a replica of the phone booth from the show. We were having this deep conversation about how amazing the shoot was and how much we bonded. And there’s one of me and my two childhood best friends who I’m still super-close with. I just finished a community theater show and had little whiskers because I was playing a cat. They’re equally passionate about sports as I am with acting. We all kind of bond over that even though we’re all so different.

Tell me about the framed photo of you and Betty White.

I have a short list of people I want to either work with or meet, and she was on there. I was working on a pilot when I was 14 and was gushing about her to a bunch of people, and the assistant director was like, “Landry, I work on ‘Hot in Cleveland’ with her, why don’t you come to a taping?” So I went and got a photo with Betty; she was a sweetheart. She had been working all day but was cracking jokes and was so great.

What else do you do in here besides sleep?

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I watch a lot of shows; it’s the best way to wind down. I spend a lot of time on my computer, whether it’s reading or writing scripts, which I am trying to get my foot into. I’m taking my general college classes online at Santa Monica City College, so I do homework for philosophy and things like that. It’s a lot to balance, but I’m trying.

Nice guitars and ukulele; what do you like to play?

I really love taking songs and making them acoustic and folksy. I sing but I don’t consider myself a singer, I just love doing it in my room. When I was on location in Louisiana for “Looking for Alaska” I took them with me. I was living alone for the first time, which was hard at first. Having instruments in the apartment made me feel super at-home.


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