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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Minnesota State Mankato actress on MTV's 'Next.'

Transfer student Liz Dowd had been in 'Man of La Mancha' and 'Steel Magnolias.'


By Amanda Dyslin

Mankato Free Press

A little more than a month after moving to Los Angeles, Liz Dowd is becoming an MTV sweetheart.

The 21-year-old Minnesota State University theater student took advantage of the National Student Exchange program, which allowed her to transfer to California State University, Northridge this year and still pay in-state tuition prices. The opportunity landed her in Los Angeles, in the midst of all kinds of entertainment industry opportunities, which was exactly what she was looking for.

"I've been so lucky here," said Dowd, who acted in such MSU Theatre productions as "Man of La Mancha" and "Steel Magnolias." "I always wanted to go to California. I kind of felt like I was wasting my time in Minnesota."

Dowd's initial plan was to hang back a while and get acclimated to her new school and city. But she says she's continuously approached by industry people saying she should be auditioning for parts.

An acquaintance from school mentioned a recruiter by name who had asked her to audition for the MTV show "Next." Dowd decided if she was going to get anywhere in this business, she had to take advantage of all the opportunities she could — and having important names certainly counts.

Dowd went to MTV and wrote her name on a sign-up sheet saying she had been approached by the MTV recruiter, too. A week later MTV called, she auditioned, and she got the part.

Dowd recently taped her episode of "Next," a 30-minute reality-based dating show in which she is given five guys to choose from and can pass each and go on to the next if she doesn't like what she sees or hears. Her episode likely will air in December.

"It's about as real as you'd think reality TV is," she said.

Dowd did not go on the show to get a date, she said. She went on it for exposure. She also was quick to point out parts of the "reality show" were scripted.

"For my intro I had to say, 'I'm Lizzy. I'm 21. I love to act. And sometimes I act naughty.' And then I had to growl," she said.

But MTV treated her very well, she said. She was picked up in a limo, and she had a personal assistant.

After taping the show, a casting director called and said she wanted Dowd to try out for another show MTV will be doing shortly. She couldn't release the name or a synopsis, but she said the show would be a regular scripted program.

In the meantime, Dowd will be playing Dolly in the university's "Three Penny Opera." She has a background in singing and dance, and she has been doing stage acting since she was 10 years old.

Mary Dowd, Liz's mom who lives in Mankato, isn't sure what she thinks about her daughter appearing on "Next." But she's happy for all the attention she's been getting by important people in the industry.

"I'm really excited about all the opportunities that are coming her way," Mary said. "I think something is going to come of it."

Mary envisioned her daughter waiting tables for years before appearing on a national television show. In less than two months, Mary can hardly believe she's taped a show and has been contacted by producers, she said.

"With the luck she's having, I strongly suspect she'll be staying out in Los Angeles," Mary said.

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