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Jessica Stroup: A Daredevil Who Likes to Play

Two truths and a lie from The Following star.

A) Before she can shoot a romantic scene, Stroup and her co-star have to devise an elaborate secret handshake.
B) She was a state high school volleyball champion in her native North Carolina.
C) Stroup’s parachute didn’t open the first—and only—time she tried skydiving, forcing her to use her backup chute instead.

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OK, that last one is a lie—but it does hold a grain of truth. Jessica Stroup, the beautiful, multitalented star of Fox’s The Following, which begins its third season this month, did try skydiving but hasn’t repeated the experience because, as she puts it, “I didn’t like the way it made my face feel.”

With that face, who could blame her? But the fact she even dared try the sport comes as no surprise.

“My father calls me his adrenaline baby,” says Stroup, 28, a former high school v-ball star who turned down an academic scholarship to pursue a career in Hollywood. Since then she’s scored major points, becoming not just a big-screen scream queen (she starred in Prom Night and The Hills Have Eyes 2, once nearly hyperventilating while recording screams in the studio) but also an in-demand TV actress, doing turns on megahit shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Family Guy, and 90210.

It was on 90210 that she first developed her unique pre-lovescene greeting policy.

“If I have to kiss someone on-screen, we need to have a secret handshake, something only the two of us know. So if we have to reconnect in a later scene, we can just do the handshake to reestablish a sense of intimacy,” Stroup says.

Are they elaborate routines? Absolutely. “That’s one of the few things I’m good at— handshakes.”

We’d give her a hand anytime. 

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