Hating High School? DETROIT 1-8-7 Star Erin Cumming Swears, “It Gets Better.”

Do you count yourselves among the millions of teenagers out there who were disappointed to discover that high school isn’t quite akin to an episode of your favorite television show? Well, it gets better. Just ask DETROIT 1-8-7 star ERIN CUMMINGS, who knows a thing or two about tough times growing up.

“Kids are cruel man, they suck, they really do,” explained the Huntsville Texas native during on a break from shooting on the set of DETROIT 1-8-7. “In my case I had acne like nobody’s business, which wouldn’t have been such a problem except that I was very visible, very Reese Witherspoon in Election. You know, captain of the dance team, editor of the school Yearbook, secretary of the French club. So rather than hang out with me and be my friends, people would just talk trash and make up lies.”

Evidently, you don’t just have to be struggling with your sexuality for high school to completely suck. “I remember coming home crying to my mom that I would never have a boyfriend, bemoaning my big forehead, obnoxiously large lips and all these things that I was really insecure about. And my mom would just sit on the swing with me on the front porch and tell me it’s going to be okay. She’d tell me about all these actresses, like so-and-so who now has an Oscar but never had a boyfriend in high school, or that other actress who was once the ugly duckling, really not that popular and just kept her head looking forward and achieved her goals. So I kinda went, okay, maybe that’s what I have to do, just keep my focus.”

And focus she did.

After escaping high school relatively unscathed, Cummings graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Journalism only to later go on to study Shakespeare at the prestigious London Academy of music and dramatic art before landing in Los Angeles. Where she quickly discovered that all of that bullying and teasing in high school, not to mention the thick skin that developed as a result, came in handy when it came to the only thing crueler than high school mean girls: Hollywood casting agents.

“Being bullied in high school helped me with all the negativity and the rejection where any dip-sh*t can be like, ‘Her forehead is too big… blah blah blah,’ said Cummings, who credits her parents as the primary reason why she survived her somewhat less-than-successful early years pounding the pavement in Los Angeles. “This will mark my 10 year anniversary of struggling, waiting tables, being an assistant, massage therapist and every other job I could find so I could do a play with 2 people sitting in the audience, a student film or an independent film and my parents are the reason I’ve been able to continue pursuing my career. They never let me stop believing in myself.”

A belief that over the past few years has undeniably begun to pay off.

After getting her start as “Prostitute #1” on ENTERPRISE, an “unforgettable” role that will always hold a special place in the actresses’ heart (“Honestly, it was one of the coolest jobs ever. All my friends still make fun of me for it, but when you do something like that, people outside of LA don’t get that you had to compete with 5000 other actresses for those two lines.”), Cumming has quietly built up quite a respectable resume. Culminating most recently in memorable stints on SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND and MAD MEN. Suffice to say, it really did get better. Which made attending her 10 year high school reunion that much sweeter.

“At that point I still hadn’t done anything huge with the exception of an episode of THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL — which by the way was the worst, if you ever find that footage, you’d wonder how this girl ever got hired — but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” said the actress. “I showed up and was so nervous, thinking people would be snickering, but it was all hugs, which reminded me that amidst all the negativity and tornado of torture that was high school, there were still friends and people who supported me. One guy came up to me and asked why we didn’t ever date in High School and I said, ‘Don’t you remember the prom when I didn’t have a date and I had to ask someone who couldn’t even drive yet and you took a freshman?”

“I got back to LA and his mom had called my mom to get my home address and he sent me a bouquet of flowers with a note that read, ‘Here’s a bouquet of flowers that you should have received on prom night from the guy who should have asked you’.”

DETROIT 1-8-7 airs Tuesday nights at 10PM on ABC.

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