When Brianna Brown's "Devious Maids" character, Taylor Stappord, departed at the end of the show's first season, fans thought that would be the last they saw of her.
After all, Taylor was pregnant, lost her baby in a shoot-out and moved to Washington D.C., understandably feeling a little disillusioned with her former devious neighborhood.
Brown did return for a guest spot on the Lifetime show's second season where it was revealed she and her on-screen husband Michael (Brett Cullen), were considering adoption.
So no one was more surprised than Brown when she got a call inviting her to return for the show's third season to play a mom. "They made an offer I couldn't refuse," the actress tells Headlines & Global News exclusively.
With Taylor (and her mysterious adopted daughter Katy) back in the devious fold the show's intrigue level has been amped up - and Brown loves her juicy storyline.
HNGN caught up with the gorgeous "Devious Maids" star who talked about life on the move, her rescue kitty, and her secret for staying in shape- so in other words, everything except any delicious scoop about the rest of this season. Keeping secrets is something Brown is good at on-screen and off.
HNGN: So you left at the end of season one and now you're back in season 3?
BROWN: Yes, because my character lost her baby after getting shot in the stomach. Now in season 3 I'm back with an adopted daughter who has emotional issues.
Did you know that you might be coming back?
Let's just say they made an offer I couldn't refuse.
How's working with your on-screen daughter?
She's lovely. Grecia [Merino] is so sweet and precocious - a bundle of energy. It's so sweet watching her vacillate between this fun energetic kid who's dancing around to being so serious and having 'scary eyes.'
So she's not that intense in real life?
NO! She's being told to do that [laughs].
Has going back to the show felt like a homecoming?
It's so lovely to be able to work with bunch of people I've become friends with over season one. Anna Ortiz and I get along like two peas in a pod; we're always dancing and singing and acting like 2-year-olds. But I've gotten to work with a lot of the other women this time because our storylines have been intertwined. That didn't happen a lot in season one, so it's been really nice to be able to play with the ladies. During the first season most of my scenes were with Brett Cullen, who I adore, and Ann Ortiz, who played my maid.
Has the show changed your perspective on maids?
Well, I've never seen a real maid wear heels, or look as hot as the ones on the show! But I wouldn't be surprised if they existed - I just haven't seen one.
Do you have a maid?
I have someone who occasionally cleans my house. But I don't have a 24/7 live-in maid.
Has the show changed your perspective on dealing with a maid? Some of the maids on the show aren't treated so well?
Well, I do pay a little more attention to details, but I was never unkind or anything like that [laughs]. I'm from Minnesota and I'm very far from my character Taylor.
What can you tell us about the show?
It's so hard because I can't tell you anything! There's a new twist every five minutes and as far as my character is concerned, she's constantly lying and concealing and crying and anxious - really just trying to keep it all together [laughs].
We hear it's a very light set to be on and everyone has fun, yet you're always so serious. Is that difficult?
My storyline is a lot heavier and if there are scenes that call for me to be anxious and crying, I kind of have to stay in that mode until we move to something else.
Is it very different from having worked on "General Hospital?"
I was very blessed in that I got to do at least a decade of primetime and film work before I ever did daytime. Daytime was a whole new genre for me, just learning how to work with four cameras at once and how fast they shoot and the structure of all that. I did "General Hospital" for a year and half, so after leaving that and coming back to "Devious Maids" has been really lovely. There are complete benefits to doing daytime because they are so efficient and fast; you are banging out a lot of material and you don't get time to think too much. It has been nice to have a little more time to rehearse.
How was working with Naya Rivera who played your maid this season?
It was great. We had a handful of scenes together and she is lovely to work with. She was very pregnant - normally she's teeny tiny - although she still was tiny and looked gorgeous. I knew she was pregnant because I was watching them hide it. For a girl who normally wears everything fitted, her clothes were a little baggier and they did a great job.
What's it like filming in Atlanta when you are LA based?
I have Gold Medallion status on the airline now [laughs]. I get upgrades when I fly. I'm also TSA pre-approved! I have that whole thing down, so there are advantages. I know how to zip in and out. I have a life set up in Atlanta and one in Los Angeles. With my schedule, I get a lot of downtime, so if I get a few days off I'll hop on a flight to visit my kitty.
Tell us a little about your cat?
Luna was actually found by Brandon Barash from "General Hospital." She was a tiny kitten frozen in fear in the middle of Fountain Avenue in L.A. He thought someone was going to run over her, so he literally stopped in the middle of the road, opened his door and grabbed her. He brought her to the "General Hospital" set, and I offered to look after her for the day. I ended up bringing her home and all of a sudden she had a litter box and all the necessities. I've always been a big believer in animal rescue and this one is really an indoor cat in need of a lot of love. Now she gets it.
How do you have time to stay in such great shape?
For me, it's all about diet. I try to work out almost every day and will do all sorts of different cardio exercises - like hiking or running or a dance class. I'm kind of hard-core about it. I run marathons and half marathons. If I work out, it's usually for about 2 hours [laughs], I have an athletic background, too, and played soccer, so I'm used to practicing. But I eat very clean and healthy. If I don't know something listed on a label, I won't eat it. I like to cook, too. The trick was learning how to cook healthy and make it taste good. There's an art to making healthy food taste delicious.
What's your secret?
Actually it's learning about what ingredients go well with what. Lemon zest is always good. I am really into people being educated about what they are putting in their bodies. I'm blessed to be in Los Angeles because there's so much knowledge and conversation about that; people really don't talk about it where I'm from. I usually take food with me when I fly, and I always take my own food to set. I like to make healthy shakes with nuts and chia seeds for energy. But, ultimately, it has to taste good; otherwise, what's the point of eating it?
Is it true the show "Freaks & Geeks" was one of your first jobs?
It was the first job I ever did - and it got me into the union. I am actually speaking the first line of the very first episode. The opening shot is the football field and when they move up to the risers I'm there as a cheerleader, then the camera pans down and you see the freaks.
Did you know that show would go on to be such a cult hit?
No way! I was from Minnesota and I was only 19; it was one of the first times I'd been on a set.
And you went on to work with the shows creator Judd Apatow again in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" - right?
I did, but I wouldn't consider myself part of that repertoire of actors he works with. If I did, my career would be on a very different path [laughs]. I mean let's call a spade a spade. But they were great experiences.
You also made an appearance on "Castle" earlier this year. Did you enjoy that?
Nathan Fillion is amazing and I'm super-close with Seamus Dever and his wife. I was actually in their wedding. It was wonderful to be on that set because I'm friends with the majority of people on the show. It was cool to actually get to play with them - that's what it felt like.
Do you have any plans for the summer or new projects you can tell us about?
I have a lot of side projects I'm working on apart from acting. I'm finishing a book that I'm co-writing on women in finance for artists; I have a nonprofit called "The New Hollywood" that we are expanding through 2016, including creating an LGBT branch. I founded it in 2006 and it's mainly for women in the entertainment industry. We help with people's personal and professional goals - so goal setting and continued education, support and charity. It's a wonderful group of women that just keeps expanding. I wanted to create a tribe of like-minded people who wanted to continue to be artists and make a difference in the world.
Have you heard anything about season four of "Devious Maids?"
We don't hear about the show's pick up until the fall, they usually wait a while and go year by year, which is kind of nerve-racking.
"Devious Maids" airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.