On the Move: Allison Miller Talks About Her Journey & Her Breakout Role on A Million Little Things
On her days off, you will find Allison Miller catching up on zzz’s and the latest episode of HBO’s Big Little Lies. However, nowadays, those days are few and far between for the 34-year-old actress who stars as Maggie Bloom, a breast cancer survivor, in the NBC drama, A Million Little Things.
Allison, who was born in Rome, Italy, remembers moving around a lot during childhood. After spending some of her childhood in Kentucky, she moved to Tallahassee and became involved in an afterschool program where she performed three plays a year, was trained in tap, jazz, and more. “I was able to find friends and ultimately find the thing that I loved.” That thing was acting. Allison very briefly attended Boston University before attending Rhodes College for her freshman year. She then transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville. Throughout her time in college, she pursued fine arts and took up painting. Then, she thought she might go into speech pathology. [Fun fact: She speaks both Spanish and French.] “The whole time I was doing this, I continued to do plays. I just kept coming back to acting.”
In 2004, Allison was one of eight actresses chosen as finalists to play Laurie in the VH1 reality show, In Search of the New Partridge Family. “I auditioned completely on a whim. I thought I was going to live in New York and pursue theater. I was working at a bakery and I saw that VH1 was holding auditions in Orlando.” Once she got there, she lived at Universal Studios with others who were also pursuing the show. “That’s actually where I got a manager.”
In 2006, Miller made the move to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time. From there, she would appear in a few small roles on television series that included, General Hospital, CSI: NY, Desperate Housewives, and Boston Legal, before landing series regular roles as Michelle Benjamin on NBC’s Kings, Skye Tate on FOX’s Terra Nova, Carrie on NBC’s Go On, and Sonya Struhl in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.
Her big breakout role happened in 2018, when she landed the role of Maggie Bloom on NBC’s new drama, A Million Little Things, which centers around the lives of a group of friends who become motivated to live fuller lives after the unexpected death of a close friend. “I read the script last year. Wow, was that really last year? I immediately felt a kinship with Maggie. I cried at the script —the scene when Rome is sharing his struggles with his friends— and I just knew I wanted to be a part of it right away. I went into the audition and the showrunner told me I was really good, but initially, I didn’t get the part.”
A little bit later, she was called back to do a chemistry read with James Rodday (who plays Gary) and the rest was history. “I have never felt so connected to a character or project. Preparing to play Maggie, I talked to real breast cancer survivors. It makes the role much more accessible when I get to hear all of their personal stories. It makes me commit to the authenticity of the experience. I have a responsibility. I can’t half ass it.”
Season Two of A Million Little Things will take an in-depth look at Maggie and Gary’s relationship once out of crisis mode and we’ll get to see more of Maggie’s family, which is promised to be a “continued mystery. The showrunners don’t really give us too much either, so we’re in it with the audience in a way.”
In addition to making new friends in Vancouver, where A Million Little Things films, Allison is currently editing a short that she also directed. With such an exciting, whirlwind year under her belt, Allison is really focusing on bringing more ease into her life. “I operate from a pretty anxious place and so much of my focus needs to be on maintaining peace. I actually got a tattoo to remind me not to worry. It says Nessun Leone, which is No Lion in Italian. Because there’s really no lion chasing me. It’s a good reminder to slow down.”