Shalom Life | July 24, 2014

Top 20 Under 40 Los Angeles- Andrea Seigel

Novelist and screenwriter Andrea Seigel brings her distinct writing style and sense of humor to our Top 20 list.

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: August 27th, 2012 in Culture » Books » Interviews

Top 20 Under 40 Los Angeles- Andrea Seigel

In celebration of Shalom Life’s new Los Angeles office, we have decided to take our popular “Top 20 Under 40” series on the road.

Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will showcase 20 individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds that have made a significant contribution to their field both locally and globally. From entrepreneurs to philanthropists, entertainers to chefs, this list places a spotlight on a small sampling of the spectacular, innovative, and passionate Jews that call Los Angeles home.

Top 20 Under 40- Andrea Seigel

Age: 32

Andrea Seigel, born and raised in Southern California, brings a unique, fresh perspective to today’s overcrowded young adult lit markets.

After graduating from Brown, Seigel returned to Los Angeles and accepted a job at the Disney Channel/ABC Family. While working full-time, she completed her first novel, Like the Red Panda, at the age of 22 in only 4 months.

Seigel’s success with Like the Red Panda encouraged her to quit her job and focus on writing full-time. She has since released an additional two novels, To Feel Stuff (2006) and The Kid Table (2010).

Her passion for writing was sparked at a very young age.

“I wrote a poem about a fat cat in first grade that was published in a kid's magazine, and I remember thinking, ‘wow, I’m great,’ but I don't know if there was ever a definitive "calling" moment. I always just liked to do it - from the point that I was physically able to write.”

Seigel’s writing style, self-described as “pretty straightforward while also still conveying a nuanced worldview,” is inspired by her love for the unique combination of classic literature and modern-day celebrity pop culture.

“In terms of writers I read when I was younger and thought, ‘okay, this feels like what I’d like to be doing,’ Shirley Jackson, J.D Salinger. In terms of writers I read now who make me wish I could have their clearness of vision, John Irving and Bret Easton Ellis. In terms of filmmakers, people like David Lynch and Nicole Holofcener. I think I was also very influenced by being a teenager during the height of the WB and getting very emotionally involved with all those shows like Dawson’s Creek and Felicity.”

In the bio on her website, her boyfriend Brent adds that “she is obsessed with celebrity gossip. She’s even gone through the trouble of using her superior intellect to create a complicated argument for why it’s not a frivolous hobby. I believe she wrote a paper on this at an Ivy League college.”

Seigel has brought her brand of humor and distinctive style to Laggies, a feature screenplay being directed by Lynn Shelton and starring Rebecca Hall.

According to Variety, Seigel’s script “follows a woman who, unsure of how to respond to her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, pretends to go on a retreat but actually ends up spending a week with her new friends, all of whom are in high school.”

Laggies, produced by Anonymous Content, aims to start shooting in 2013.

Seigel and her boyfriend, Brent, recently brought baby Winona into the world. She plans to continue writing professionally, but has long-term goals for her family that include pigs, world records achieved by her french bulldog Christmas, and outdoor-mounted television sets.

“In five years I think I’ll be in south Pasadena because we don't want to do private school for our daughter, and I’ll still be writing professionally. Unless things go terribly, I’m going to assume that I’ll have had some movies produced from my scripts by then. Probably another book out. In 20, I hope I’m out of Los Angeles and living somewhere where I can have a lot of animals, including a teacup pig. I’m hoping my dog has made it into the Guinness book of world records by living this long- we've ordered her to live at least into her thirties- and I hope I have enough money to have a large pool with an outdoor TV mounted to the stone wall,” Seigel shares.

Finally, Seigel believes her Jewish heritage plays a part in her idiosyncratic world view.

“For me, I think (Judaism is) a personality thing more than a religious thing. I mean, my family celebrates Hanukkah and now that I’ve had a baby with a non-Jew, our daughter will celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. but Judaism has probably felt more like a point-of-view to me; I don't know if this is accurate, but I feel like it has something to do with a certain sense of humor, a wryness.”

Click over to Page 2 to learn some fun facts about Andrea Seigel!

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