October – WWD: Kat’s Meow

Twenty two-year-old actress Kat Dennings may have spent much of the last decade in Los Angeles, but she hasn’t gone native yet. ” I’ve never had my hair done or my teeth fixed. I’m not some stick-thin model. Plus, I don’t really like shopping. If that doesn’t make me weird in Hollywood I don’t know what does,” says the curvaceous brunette, who started acting professionally as a tween and is currently starring in the quirky romantic comedy ” Nick and Norah’s Infinite Play List.”

” I wanted this part worse than anything I’ve done before,” says Dennings of her character, Norah Silverberg. In the film, an adaptation of a novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, she asks Nick O’Leary (Michael Cera), to pretend to be her boyfriend for five minutes. It turns into a wild night of misadventures during which this couple of necessity fall for each other. ” I loved the idea that it was one-night-thing between two very different people. I was also excited about Norah being Jewish,” says the actress, whose real name is Katherine Litwack. ” Feature films don’t usually have the Jewish girl in the lead. Having the opportunity to alter even one small thing in Hollywood appealed to me.”

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Dennings launched her career as a spoiled 13-year-old planning her mega bat mitzvah on ” Sex and the City.” That was quickly followed by the part of Bob Saget’s daughter in the short-lived 2001 TV series ” Raising Dad,” requisite appearances on ” CSI” and ” ER,” and roles in feature films such as ” Raise Your Voice,” (2004), ” The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” (2005) and ” Charlie Bartlett” (2008).

But this was not exactly the life that Dennings’ family had envisioned for her. ” My parents were pretty upset with my decision [to act],” she says. ” [But] I popped out of the womb wanting to act. I don’t know why.”

By the time the determined Dennings was ten, her mother decided to put an offer on the table. ” She told me ” Try this for a month. If you hate it we can stop. If you love it we can do it for another month, ” remembers Dennings. ” My parents figured I still had time to change my mind and go to college.”

Instead, the young actress, who idolized Madeline Kahn and Angelica Huston growing up, persevered despite naysayers. ” People told me ” Lose thirty pounds, fix your teeth, highlight your hair, ” recalls Dennings. ” [But] I was just a normal girl. My parents’ only question to me was ” Why would you even dare do what these idiots are suggesting? “

Now, she’s perfectly happy with not being the typical size-2 blonde. ” I know I look very different than most starlets. But I hope that inspires people,” says Dennings. ” I’ll never cave into pressure, but I know it’s hard for young actresses. Los Angeles is an alien planet.”