Jill Wagner Tells All About A Christmas Miracle For Daisy & Teen Wolf - Exclusive Interview

If you're serious about an acting career, you know you have to be versatile — the more varied the characters you can portray, the more options you have for success. (Not to mention that throwing your fans for a loop can be big fun.) Jill Wagner's surprising career twists are a case in point. Getting her first big break as a regular on MTV's reality prank show "Punk'd," she returned later to MTV for a big role as Kate Argent on the hit show "Teen Wolf." In the show, her character is (spoiler alert!) killed, but she later returns from the dead as a shape-shifting werejaguar bent on revenge. In short, Wagner got to play a memorable villain that people loved to hate.

Then fans got to see a completely different side of Wagner: She began showing up on the Hallmark Channel, making a name for herself as the wholesome lead in holiday movies. She also worked with GAC Family on her latest Christmas movie, "A Christmas Miracle for Daisy." In this movie, she plays Whitney, an interior designer who gets her dream gig decorating a historic home in her small town for a big Christmas party — only to find the home's new owner is (surprise!) her ex-boyfriend, who's now raising his orphaned young goddaughter, Daisy, as a single father.

In this exclusive interview, Wagner shares what she loves about "Teen Wolf" and Christmas movies and why playing both murderous werejaguars and sweater-clad romantic heroines makes perfect sense for her.

Jill Wagner's baby daughter is named Daisy, making her latest movie especially meaningful

Could you tell us about "A Christmas Miracle for Daisy"?

Yeah. "A Christmas Miracle for Daisy" is probably, I would say, my most special Christmas movie to date. It's odd. When I got the script, I hadn't announced the name of my new little girl. I had a little baby girl about three months ago and I had not announced her name yet. And so when I got the script, you can imagine, I was kind of surprised to know that the young girl in the movie was named Daisy. And I think that that automatically attracted me to the script.

And so I think it's just a really special message. You've got the typical lead love story about the girl and the guy, but then you've got this really, I think, more precious love story between Whitney and this little girl Daisy. And I love the message that she's been unfortunate and she's lost her parents, but her wish this year is to have a mom. And I just think it's so special and it's just so heartwarming how they tell the story. And so I was really proud to be a part of it.

What else drew you to the project? I mean, those things in particular, but anything else?

Yeah, I think obviously what drew me to the project initially is the little girl in the film was named Daisy, and so that caught my interest. And then I think the story just in general, it had a bit of sadness to it, which I think it's important to know that not everybody has this picture-perfect Christmas during the holidays. I mean, there's been a lot of times that, I guess in my own life, I think about loss at Christmas, and for other people, you think about the family members that you've lost that aren't there to celebrate with you. So I think sometimes it can be a very reflective moment and a sad time for some people. So I think this story in particular and thinking of it that way, this little girl was able to turn something so sad to her around and turn it into such a beautiful thing. And she's so open to finding a mother and she's so open to love. And so I love that message.

The best and worst parts about filming her new Christmas movie

For you, what were the best and worst parts of filming this movie?

Oh, the best part of filming this movie was, let's see. I think the best part for me is always the same: It's always getting to know new people, whether it be the cast, some of the crew, producers, all aspects of making the film. I love meeting the new people and just creating with them. It becomes kind of like a family. And so that's always been the best part of any project.

I do have a worst part of this project. This one, in particular, it was really hard for me because I had just had a baby. And so this was — in less than a month I had to leave my new baby girl to go to Vancouver to film. She had some health issues, so we didn't want to take her away from her doctors. And so I left her back home with her doctors to go film. And I will tell you, it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And I think in that moment, I just had to think, "Okay, I'm doing this for you. And later on you'll understand why Mommy had to leave and do that." But it's not easy leaving your child at any point in time. But I think being a new mom that was really, really hard for me to do.

Christmas has always been special for Jill Wagner

What makes a Christmas movie special for you? What would make a really, really good one?

Well, I think what makes Christmas movies special for me and me personally is I know that if I think back in time about my grandmother, she'd have the Hallmark Channel on. She always had something on in the background that was Christmas related, whether it be a Christmas movie or whether it be the Christmas parade, something like that. So to be part of people's traditions, I think it's really kind of special to know that you're just in someone's house when they're experiencing Christmas, and you're a part of the ritual, and your face is there, and you make people happy. And I think that, that's always been a goal of mine, and whatever project that I do is, is just to entertain people and to put a smile on their face and make them happy.

So I hope that this Christmas movie does that for people. I know I made it sound a little sad, but it's not, I promise, it's not sad. It's really, really heartwarming. And I think at Christmas time, it's okay to get a little emotional. And some of these movies that we film, they pull [at] your heartstrings. And I think it's important to remember that at Christmas time, if you can go back to when you were a kid, that magic that Christmas has, there's a certain air of magic around it. And when you think about Santa Claus and all of that, and what that meant to you as a child, I think that's what makes these movies so special. Because I think all of them have a little bit of Christmas magic in them.

Are you planning anything special for Daisy's first Christmas?

Oh gosh. I think I'm not planning anything in particular. I think for me, for my girls in particular, I would say it's very important for me to just surround them with love and family. I think that's the most important thing. And later on in life, I'll teach them the true meaning of Christmas when they can really understand that. But I think right now the most important things is not any gift you can really give them; it's just letting them know how much they're loved. And then, of course, the baking and letting them eat all the sweets that they can. I think that's pretty special too.

Playing her character in Teen Wolf was a different kind of fun

Going back a little further in your life, you were also known previously for your role in "Teen Wolf." That is quite a different role doing all these holiday films. How do you go from one to another?

That's a good question. It's funny because when I first started out in my career, I was really cast as the villain, as the bad girl. And I remember my grandmother, one day we were sitting in her living room and we were talking about my career, different things that I've done. And she made a comment. She said, "I just don't understand it, Jill. I don't understand why you always have to play the bad one because people don't understand you're good." And I laughed at that because I always told my grandmother, I said, "Grandma, it's actually fun to play the villain." It's fun sometimes to play the bad girl.

But earlier on in my career, it was completely opposite. So I think the people that really know me know that there are two sides to me: There is the good and the bad. But I certainly do love playing the good girl in the Christmas movies and things like that. Because I think that's closer, obviously, to who I am, and it's not a far stretch. I always say, "Look, I'm not going to win any awards for my acting," but I will say this: I try to play as true to who I think the character is. And a lot of the times the character is very close to how I feel in my real life.

And I think that's the magic of these movies — is I think as human beings we can kind of put ourselves in these people's shoes or either we've felt these feelings before [or] we can understand where they're coming from. And I think that's why so many people gravitate towards them.

What initially attracted you to your role in "Teen Wolf"?

Oh gosh. I think what initially attracted me is the fact that I got to do something that was very exciting. I had been on MTV before. In fact, MTV gave me my first show, called "Punk'd." I was on that with Ashton Kutcher. I was the first female sketch performer. And so to get a chance to be back on their network was great.

And then I think it's just exciting. I didn't quite know that she was going to be the villain of one whole season, but I knew that it would be fun. It was the first time that I was going to go under extensive prosthetics. And so I would sit in the chair for about an hour and a half ... each day, just so they could get my — I guess it's called a werejaguar face on. And that was a lot of fun. It's just fun to play a character like that because it gets you into the role.

Her next role will be another change in direction and she can't wait

So did you expect the show to receive the passionate following that it did?

You know what? I think when you start a project, you kind of hope, you always hope, but I never knew it was going to go quite that crazy. I mean, look, there were a lot of talented, what I called, "kids" at the time because they were. I feel like they were kids when they started. They're very talented actors. And so I'm glad that it received the kind of accolades that it did because it was a really good show. I mean, I put it up there, same thing with "Twilight."

There's a new "Teen Wolf" movie coming out. Are you going to have any part in that?

I don't know. You know what, I have no idea. My next year is going to be pretty, pretty packed, I do know that. I'm filming a new series called "Lioness." I'm a co-creator and executive producer and starring in that. And it's a Taylor Sheridan project. There's not many people that don't know who he is, but he created "Yellowstone" and directs "Yellowstone." And that's one of the No. 1 TV shows on right now. And so we were very lucky to have a project with him involved.

And that's going to be something that's totally different than any of the films that I filmed. I would say it's a little less family-friendly. I don't necessarily know that I'd let my daughter watch "Lioness." It's more military-based. It's something that I'm training for right now. In fact, I get up every morning and I train for about an hour and a half. And it's not easy, especially since I just had a baby. I think you women out there that had a baby, I think you can understand where I'm coming from. It gets harder and harder, but it's something I feel very passionate about. And I think the character needs to be stronger than what I am right now, so I'm trying to do her justice.

"A Christmas Miracle for Daisy," starring Jill Wagner and Nick Bateman, premieres on GAC Family on December 11 at 8 p.m. ET.