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'Music allows me to express myself, while acting allows me to get away from myself," says Amber Ojeda, who plays a recurring role in the TV show Veronica Mars, shot around San Diego. "I originally auditioned for the part of Cathy when the show was in its pilot stage," she says. "It's actually not as crazy and thrilling as everyone thinks. Most of the time, you're in your trailer waiting for your scene."

A former San Diego Gulls Girl, the 23-year-old has lived here since she was three. She currently performs with the band Chameleon, with whom she recently headlined at the Derby in L.A. "I've been offered recording deals...however, none gave me the ultimate control of my music, so it makes no sense to me to sign. I would rather be independent than sell myself short and be a marionette."

Ojeda feels she's struck a balance between her two careers. "I don't envision music forcing me out of acting," she says. "Last year, I landed the theme song in a movie called All That I Need. When I went to meet with the director to discuss what elements he envisioned for the lyrics, he ended up casting me to be in the movie as well." She also landed the lead role in the soon-to-be-released Prayer Before Murder, for which she has recorded soundtrack music.

Amber Ojeda performs April 12 at Stingaree in the Gaslamp.

WHAT'S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?

1. A Tribe Called Quest, The Love Movement ("This album opened up my eyes to a larger variety of hip-hop, not just the West Coast style.")

2. Zero 7, Simple Things ("I just discovered this band a few years ago.")

3. Solomon Burke, Don't Give Up on Me ("One of my favorite soul songs of all time.")

DESERT ISLAND DVDs?

1. The Wizard of Oz ("It's one of those movies you watch as a child, and it gives you hopes and dreams.")

2. Dirty Dancing ("Favorite quote: 'Nobody puts Baby in the corner.' ")

3. Braveheart ("It always makes me cry.")

FAVORITE TV SHOWS?

1. Grey's Anatomy ("It's addicting.")

2. Nip/Tuck ("The storyline is sick, but I can't stop watching it.")

3. Lost ("It still has everyone guessing.")

WORST PICKUP LINE YOU'VE HEARD?

"What's your MySpace?"

BIGGEST GLOBAL CONCERN?

"The safety and well being of our troops."

ADVICE TO BRITNEY SPEARS?

"I have only compassion for Britney. I can't imagine the amount of pressure, scrutiny, and self-doubt she's dealing with. It's amazing how, within a few months, your whole life can spin out of control. I would love to see her turn it around."

STAR TREK OR STAR WARS?

"I've always loved the original Star Wars trilogy. I remember my friends and I waited in the huge lines outside the movie theater just to see them. When it was over, it seemed like forever until the next one came out."

SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?

"I have an extreme phobia of L.A. freeways. "

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