ATX Festival: Stacey Oristano talks Bunheads, FNL & True Detective Season 2

Actress Stacey Oristano is no stranger to Austin, TX and certainly no stranger to the ATX Television Festival that will take place there this weekend from June 4-7. The only difference is that this year Oristano will be there not only to celebrate her role as Mindy Riggins on Friday Night Lights, but also to talk about her time on the cancelled-too-soon series Bunheads.

Bunheads ran for one season in 2012 and was from the mastermind behind Gilmore Girls, Amy Sherman-Palladino. It starred Sutton Foster as a Las Vegas showgirl who suddenly found herself teaching ballet in a small town. Oristano played quirky clothing designer Truly Stone. While the main event at the ATX Festival this year is the Gilmore Girls reunion, there will be a panel reuniting the cast of Bunheads as well and Oristano can’t wait. “I was just on the phone with Sutton Foster telling her how much fun this is and how great it’s going to be,” the ATX veteran tells The TV Junkies.

Bunheads may have only been on the air one year, something that “was a blessing and a curse,” says Oristano, but has a loyal following. Oristano’s Truly was a character that many fans connected to, and the actress had no problem fitting in with Palladino’s fast talking dialogue style. “I learned quickly that I could talk really fast and do really well with all the dialogue that they threw at me,” she tells us. But above all working on Bunheads with Palladino taught Oristano some valuable lessons in that “I learned from Amy how great it is to be a woman in this industry. Almost our entire cast was women, almost all the writers were women – she just showed me to be proud to be a woman in this industry.”

ABC Family
ABC Family

But hey, we’re thinking those fast talking skills could come in handy for her should the rumoured Gilmore Girls reunion project every come to pass. After all, Bunheads saw a fair share of Gilmore actors during its run, from co-star Kelly Bishop (Emily Gilmore) to Liza Weil (Paris) playing Truly’s sister Milly. Oristano jokes that in the reunion the tables could turn. “I think Paris needs a sister. I’d totally be down for that,” she says. But above all, she’s in the same boat as other fans attending ATX because “I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan and I just can’t wait to check out that panel and see what they say.”

Oristano is also in town for ATX to pay tribute to fans of her other well-known role, Mindy Riggins from Friday Night Lights. “I was only supposed to be in one episode in Season 1,” she recalls. But “they asked me if I would do two more and it sort of took off from there,” she says before adding that “I was just thinking the other day how lucky I was to be a part of that show.”

Since the show was filmed in Austin it’s always been closely tied with ATX, and each year there’s an outdoor viewing party for fans that is attended by members of the cast and crew. “I’m still super close with Adrianne [Palicki who played Mindy’s sister Tyra] and Derek [Phillips who played husband Billy] and we will all be together this weekend, getting to come out for the tailgate, greet some fans beforehand and take pictures. It’s always a lot of fun,” Oristano enthuses.

Oristano is also still close with another co-star, Taylor Kitsch, who stars this summer in HBO’s second season of True Detective. After ATX ends, she’ll be in the same boat as many of us here at The TV Junkies – eager to check Kitsch out in his new role. “Taylor and Derek were like big brothers to me, so to drive down the street and see his face on a billboard. I’m just so proud of him. Out of everything he’s done over his career this is just super cool,” she says.


The Bunheads ATX panel takes place on Friday, June 5 at 10 a.m. CST.