Top

J!-ENT INTERVIEWS PUFFY AMIYUMI (2017) by Dennis A. Amith and Michelle Tymon (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

March 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

When I first discovered Puffy AmiYumi (known as “Puffy” in Japan), they took Japan by their storm with their simple style of t-shirts, blue jeans and sneakers.  Bucking the fashion trend and dance choreography of other Japanese female music artists during the 1990’s, Puffy AmiYumi impressed audiences with their style of music and presentation.

The duo consisting of Yumi Yoshimura and Ami Onuki burst into the Japanese music scene back in 1996 dominating the charts.  And while Puffy AmiYumi would release their debut album in America and perform in the U.S., it wasn’t until their music was featured in the Cartoon Network animated series “Teen Titans” that the duo would receive recognition internationally.

In 2004, the duo would have their own animated TV series titled “Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi”, would be featured on a GAP fashion ad and performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

And as I have interviewed Puffy AmiYumi for the next few years, our last interview with the ladies, was back in 2010 to celebrate the duo’s 15th Anniversary (view our 15th Anniversary Puffy AmiYumi special).

And here we are in 2017, celebrating the duo’s 21-year anniversary and knowing that there are not many female Japanese music artists that have had the same level of success of Puffy AmiYumi and continue to perform for audiences worldwide.

Starting on March 31st, the group will be performing at Anime Boston 2017 and on April 4th, the group will be performing at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, followed by a performance on April 6th at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco and on April 9th at Trees in Dallas, Texas as part of their Puffy AmiYumi US Tour 2017 “#NotLazyTour”.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Puffy AmiYumi about their upcoming U.S. performance:


I interviewed both of you when you made your debut in the United States and I have listened to your music when you first made your single debut “Asia no Junshin” in Japan. What is the biggest difference in your approach to music today versus when you first started out.

Ami: When we debuted, we really didn’t know anything. We were always surprised by how our producer, Tamio Okuda, and other musicians made music and the various things they concentrated on. But now, we really understand how that feels.

Very few Japanese acts were able to penetrate the American music scene, yet Puffy AmiYumi was able to create an audience thanks to the theme song for “Teen Titans” and you eventually had your own animated show in the United States. You had a GAP ad and performed on the Macy’s Parade on national TV. Looking back at your success and knowing that you accomplished something that many Japanese have not done, was there a lot of pressure on for the both of you to continue that success?

Yumi: There wasn’t really any pressure. We always make sure to have fun with anything we do as a part of Puffy’s style, so when we did all of those things, I believe we did while having fun. And those were all experiences that most Japanese people aren’t able to experience much, so we are very honored.

Last year, Puffy AmiYumi celebrated their 20th Anniversary and the music scene has changed a lot in the past two decades. One difference is the popularity of social media such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Do you feel that social media has changed the way for the both of you to communicate with your fans?

Ami: I believe that the spread of social media over the last 20 year is definitely huge. I personally have my own Instagram, and because of that, I’m able to directly receive messages of support from fans. And since we can see how our fans our reacting with so little time lag, it’s very helpful to us.

You are about to embark on another tour which includes performances in the United States (for Puffy AmiYumi US Tour 2017 “NOT LAZY”). It’s been awhile since you performed in the U.S., how does it feel to be coming back?

Yumi: Even though we hadn’t traveled to America for a while, we had been constantly doing concerts in Japan, so I think we’ve powered up even more since our last visit. So right now, we’re very excited!

As you celebrate your 21st year, after all these years…Ami, what are your top three songs that you love performing in front of a live audience?

Ami: “Asia no Junshin,” “Akai Buranko,” and “Circuit no Musume.”

I’m curious to see how your musical tastes have changed.   In our very first interview, Yumi you said you were listening to Nirvana, Eels, Hole and U2 and Ami said Red Hot Chili Peppers. But what about now?

 

Yumi: Of course, I still love all of those groups. When I listen to the albums that I love, I remember things from when I first heard the albums, or feel very nostalgic.

Back in 2002, for our second interview, I asked each of you to describe each other in one word. Yumi, you said of Ami, “Serious” and Ami, you said of Yumi “Young”. In 2010, Yumi said of Ami “Relax” and Ami said of Yumi, “Older Sister”. Ami, if you had to describe Yumi, what would you say today?

Ami: For Yumi…“Hanashi ga Tomoranai” (She doesn’t stop talking)

Yumi, you told me you were playing the video game “Ryu ga Gotoku” (known as “Yakuza” in the U.S.) a lot back then.  Ami you were playing “Dragon Quest Monsters Joker II”. Any certain games that you are playing now?

Yumi: I still love “Dragon Quest” even now and continue to play. Right now, I’m trying to figure out if I want to buy a Nintendo Switch or not.

Both of you told me you love tea! But I didn’t get to ask what kind of tea that both of you enjoy? So, I have to ask…what is your favorite tea? And if there is an area in Tokyo that serves the best tea, which area would you recommend?

Ami: We like tea… Did we actually say that? Either way, I do like tea. I like chai. I think I’d recommend the café next to Saigoyama Park.

It’s funny because in our 2010 interview, both of you said that you wished Taco Bell would open a store in Japan and now you can find a Taco Bell in Japan. And now there are more Mexican restaurants in Tokyo. But with you returning back to America, is there a certain food that you have wanted to try but never yet had the chance?

Yumi: While we weren’t in America, I can now eat some foods that I couldn’t before. For example, cilantro and lamb. Because of that, I’d like to try out some places that I never got to try before.

What final words do you have for your fans worldwide?

Ami: This year, Puffy is now in our 21st year. The reason that we’ve been able to continue for so long is the countless support we’ve received from people from various countries!! We’ll continue to work even harder so we can someday hold concerts in countries we haven’t been to yet!

Yumi: Last year, we celebrated our 20th anniversary, and we are grateful to all of our fans! The upcoming concerts should be a lot of fun. Please come out and see us!

For more information, please visit their official website or their Facebook Page.

Photos courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment Japan


Read our complete J!-ENT Puffy AmiYumi interviews and articles from 1996-2010 (Click on image)


ZappCon 2016 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

October 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

zappcon-148

Zappcon 2016 was held October 15 and 16th at the Valdez hall in Fresno California. ZappCon brings a wide range of talent from all kinds fandoms. You can learn about voice acting, building models from masking tape board, gaming and many more.

zappcon-120

I think this year at ZappCon, they improved on their organization of the booths and table, putting more like things together. If you are looking for cosplayers, go to one location, toys another location, videogames another location and so on.  I do think that made it easier if there was something that you wanted to buy, but you didn’t want to buy it right away, it made it easy to find that vendor later.

zappcon-118

Some of the special guest that were at Zappcon this year. Hynden Walch, she is The Voice of Starfire on “Teen Titans” and the new “Teen Titans Go!”, Princess bubblegum on cartoon networks smash hit “Adventure Time”, Harley Quinn on the Batman series as well as DCU animated feature “Assault on Akrham”, for which she received a BTVA People’s choice award. Lisle Wilkerson, she is a power house behind some of gaming industry’s most popular female fighting characters, such as Nina Williams, Christine Monteiro from “Tekken” and Sarah Brandt from “Virtual Fighter”. She’s acted alongside Bill Murray in the academy award winning film “Lost in translation” and had the lead role in the award winning in the film, “Kamataki”. D.C. Douglas the sinister voice of Albert Wesker in “Resident Evil”, The Voice of Legion in “Mass Effects” series and he was Bud in the movie “sharknado 2”. Chanda Hahn, a New York Times and USAID today best-selling author of “Reign (an unfortunate fairy tale)” she also writes the “iron butterfly” series. Eben Burgoon, started his career writing short fiction and sketch comedies for over a decade before embarking into comics, his first comics series was “Eben07: covert custodian”. Shawn Sutter, he is the creator of “Relicblade” and is the lead artists on the comic “B squad”.

zappcon-9

zappcon-18

There were some familiar faces down Cosplay row, returning this year Holly Brooke, based out of northern California, right now she is studying to become a veterinarian. Loki Hates You return ZappCon, and this year for his 2nd appearance and Mighty ThorTV to continue the panel they did last year the “awkward family panel” where they interview the audience. Yes is true Loki’s running for President. And new to ZappCon this year, Princess Marley cosplay, she has been active in cosplay since 2007 she is an advocate for body positivity in the cosplay community. She is also a huge supporter of cosplay in the things you love no matter how many people may recognize you. Originally reached nor I are to the running the popular tumbler blog “the little cosplay things”. If you wanted to get a picture of or with one of your favor characters they had several cosplay meet ups for photos. So if you are dressed up your get got to gather together to should a photo together and I was a great place if you wanted to get your photo with your favor character. These happened multiple times each day plus they had the all ages cosplay contest on Saturday and on Sunday they had a kids cosplay contest.

zappcon-2

Kirby Krackle A internationally touring nerd-rock artist, featuring the music of songwriter and performer Kyle Stevens. Pioneering the genre in 2009. Kirby Krackle is known the world over as the go to band for heartfelt songs dedicated to the best in comic books, videogames, Pop and geek culture with youTube videos, totaling over 3.5 million views and I have been featured on MTV, i09, boing boing, Gizmodo and more.

zappcon-4

Okay, you walked the floor, I maybe you made a few purchases, found if you must have items like comics may be some art from a local artist, but you’re not ready to go home yet. What are you now? Well if you have young ones you could take them over to the kid’s own where there was  Bat party for kids, Todd the snake man, the discovery center, California arts Academy, pro martial arts. And if you don’t have any kids. outdoors there was iron gate sword fighting, Terras Wars. You could go and get a photo taken with the 501st in the photo area. And you could check out any board games and play them there at the show in the gaming area they had set up. They also had a video game area also set up so you can go play video games while you are at the show and at certain times,The Voice actors were playing there games that they had voice characters in, so you could smacked down our get smacked down in person by the characters you play in the game.  if that wasn’t enough, after all of that they had multiple panels starting at every hour. You probably could of watch panels all day and never seen the floor.

zappcon-26

I really do think this is a fun show. Sure maybe it’s not one of those huge shows that you hear about on TV. And they always have something new big and exciting every year. But not everyone can go to those shows. I do see the event coordinators doing their best to create a fun and happy environment for their attendees. I enjoy the smaller shows because I think they stay to the heart of why we have all gotten into the stuff. For the fun in the enjoyment, for ourselves and that what we share with one another. With events like this where just all people, we all can be kids and act like kids. Here we are all friends and we help one another.

zappcon-37

So if you didn’t make it this year, you should think about attending next year.

 

More Photos by Derek Orchard Read more

Zappcon 2015 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

November 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article and Photos by Derek Orchard

zapp-14

ZappCon , took place on October 17 and 18th, 2015. At the Convention Center in Fresno, California.

                After spending the last year seeing what some of the San Joaquin Valley of California has to offer in ways of Anime/Sci-Fi/Comic conventions. It seems that I’m ending it with ZappCon. What a way to end it, I have really been looking for a traditional comic con that felt like, San Diego comic con felt when I first started to go. This is ZappCon’s 2nd year and is not a small as I thought it was going to be. The fact was very large.

zapp-6 zapp-2-2

                A few of the guests were voice actress Andrea Libman. TV and movie actress, Gigi Edgley. Illustrator for wizards of the Coast, RK Post. Webb artist Drew Green. Periscope studios from Portland, Oregon. Actor Joey Oglesby, of law and order:SVU and NCIS. The guest cosplayers they had of the show was Loki hate you, ThorTV, Christine Sprankle and that’s just naming a few of everyone who was here at this show.

zapp-16

                What I found the show is what I expect to find when I go to a well run comic convention, I expect to find everything that I want there and to me, they had at all, they had Anime, they had comics, they had steampunk, they had sci-fi/Star Wars. Videogames both current and classic. Vendors were selling all the main stream stuff that you’re looking for, a couple of vendors were selling stuff, they had picked up from Japan and were selling at the show.

zapp-10 zapp-9

                If you’re on a budget they had gaming areas for both card and table top games. They had games there that you could try out to see if you do even would like plainly game later on. So you do even need to know anything about the game before you were there to play it. An upstairs they had video gaming on all the major consoles And also had RPG gaming. Outside, Terra wars, Iron gate sword fighting and Sunspear Belegarth. They also had a kids zone, which offered  activities for kids, seem like everyone was Entertained.

zapp-4 zapp-17

                Let’s talk panels! The 501st Legion had a panel on making costumes from the Star Wars universe and they also talked about how to joined the ranks of the 501st. they had a panel on farscape with Gigi Edgley. A on panel how to be successful on YouTube, a game design Roundtable, tip and tricks for cosplay, working at Jim Hanson Studios, voice acting, making as independent artist, how to set up a kickstarter and be successful, that is just a few of the panels They had at zappcon.

zapp-11 zapp-7

                They were also showing off Artemis spaceship bridge simulator which is a game that allows you and your friends to be the bridge crew of a spaceship. Just think rock band, Star Trek flavored. But allows you to network 5 computers together play on a server where you are the crew of one ship all in one room. This is the first time, I have seen it in action and they had a set up. So you could play for a while but then’s a will allow another group players to come in and play the games there wasn’t anyone monopolizing the game play on it.

zapp-12 zapp-4-2

At ZappCon, each day they had a Cosplay contest, the first day was the all age contest, which I think they had at least 30 cosplayers and on the 2nd day they had a kids only contest, which I think they had just as many kids’s cosplayers as they did in the all age group.

zapp-3 zapp-1

                The thing That surprised me the most about this show. Was the amount of people that attended the show, there was another event going on across town. I did not expect to see A lot of people showing up on the first day. But There was not a shortage of attendee’s so they had done a good job of getting the word out about the show and when it was happening.  on the 2nd day which is a Sunday, and at most shows, it is a slower day at any convention. It started off slow but then people started showing up. I know a lot of these people must have come the day before. And for them to come back a 2nd day says they had a lot of fun and that they brought more people with them, I didn’t talk to anyone that had anything really bad to say about the show. Everyone was really happy and they all seem to have a really good time. I hope they can continue the momentum that they have an do the same or an even better show next year.

Check back for more photos from Zappcon 2015 in our J!-ENT 2015 Annual scheduled for November 2015

Long Beach Comic Con 2015 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

October 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article and Photos by Derek Orchard

Long Beach comic con, took place on September 12th & 13th, 2015 at the Long Beach convention Center.

jent!-21

           This is my first year attending Long Beach comic con and I had a fantastic time, I would say it’s grown into a midsize convention plenty of people attending, plenty of small vendors, cosplay , variety of panels and my personal favorite lots and lots of artist and independently created comics.  Some of the guests they had there at the show was comic book artist, Arthur Adams, Kris Anka, Chuck BB, Joe Benitez, writers, such as Sandy King Carpenter, Dennis Culver, Dean DeBlois, Jeff King, Jim Krueger, Sarah Kuhn and on the list of voice actors, they had Rikki Simons, Neill Ross, Bill Ratner, Alan Oppenheimer, Samantha Newark, Mary McDonnell Lewis. That just to names a few. they had so many guest there it was hard to see everybody, but there were something there, for everyone. Chloe Bennet from agents of shield was there for a photo op and to present the Girl Scouts with badges. John Barrowman was there for a Q&A.

jent!-18jent!-13

                    It was announced at Long Beach comic con that the Columbia Memorial space Center are working together for space Expo 2015. Space Expo was a part of Long Beach comic con and they have all sorts of different activities, they were doing 3-D printing, remote-controlled robots and a lot of different activities. Therefore, for the family and for kids and they also had a space suit that you could climb into get your picture taken. They had a lot of different panels, ranging from Star Wars Steampunk, Indi creators, animated films to Marvel comics. Buffy the vampire slayer panel. There was just a Star Wars panel. There even was a “Drawing at comic con” where you were able to get instruction on drawing, you brought your own material to work with, but there were people there to help review what you are doing give you some pointers on how to improve. So you could actually go to this comic con and learn something before you went home.

                       They also had a costume contest or cosplay contest. Now this wasn’t a masquerade, doing a little performance or something was not a part of it, it was as mainly showing the costume, but that didn’t stop some from doing a short little thing to show how much they are in character. I believe they had something around 50 entries of singles or doubles or groups in costume. It didn’t take the very long to get through it, it ran very smoothly. They had 3 cosplay judges and they were Vegas power girl, Raychul Moore and Giada Robin.

jent!-19 jent!-17

                 Long Beach comic con was a well run show tickets were available each day at the window and people were lining up to come to the show. Everyone was having a good time and there at the convention Center is not far from other attractions to the area of Long Beach and there’s a nice little shopping center across the convention Center, where there were different places to eat, a movie theater. Now outside of the convention hall there was a Starbucks and there is eateries inside for people to have the traditional “con food” but outside. They had food trucks, they had like for different food trucks with a variety of selections to to choose from. And also outside. They had a lineup of cars from different TV shows and movies, Magnum PI’s Ferrari the original Knight rider Kitt and the new Kitt, back to the future DeLorean, a Jurassic Park SUV.

jent!-1

            On top of everything else I’ve already mentioned, they had a kids play area. So you can have your kids playing around get them right of all the excess energy giving you a chance to catch your breath. Table top game mean card game mean all could be found here at Long Beach, con they had a huge area with I want to say at least 6 Row of tables 10 or 15 seats deep double-sided so you go buy cards and play a game right away.

jent!-15 jent!-8

                Yes. This is a comic book convention, but you could also find Anime, Manga, videogames toys statues from all the different genre’s. Some vendors were selling material to make costumes from, this is a very well-rounded show. I mean, you can go there and find everything you’re looking for just about. There was even a group promoting their roller derby team. There are quite a few people to come to the show but I never really felt like the room was overly crowded with people sure there were certain time. Something would be happy not more people would be in one area at one given time, but it didn’t stay like that indefinitely you could go and come back and then be less people and you could see an you can look at things and you can really have some fun.jent!-11

                   I sure would like to return next year, it not too loud, so you still think while you’re there, really pull in the feel. the show as a really Exciting, really friendly Vibe, inviting; Doesn’t feel like it’s overwhelming or that you’re going to just get sucked into this thing and just be lost for couple  hours. I do think you if you have young ones and you want to go you can take them with you to this show and you all can have a good day together!jent!-10

                    The odds are, this show is going to grow and it has grown. There’s no reason for it not to grow. No two Shows are the same, they change year to year. it is not like a Theme park. So I will tell you to go now and become a part of the fun, part of the legacy and share the joy that a show like this can bring.

Check back for more photos from Long Beach Comic 2015 in our J!-ENT 2015 Annual scheduled for November 2015

 

Big WOW! Comicfest 2015 By Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

May 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Article and Photos by Derek Orchard

Big WOW! Comic fest was held in San Jose, California on April 18 and 19th of 2015. At the San Jose Convention Center.

jentbigwow-2

jentbigwow-14

I want to start this by saying I had a great time at big wow. Some may say that big wow is a small show, maybe it is; you don’t have to stand in a Digital line and in the first 5 minutes, If you’re not getting your tickets,  you are NOT  getting A ticket. Big Bow, still a very accessible show, for fans, families and it brings is a lot of big name guest, both international and domestic.

jentbigwow-4

 

I wanted to go to Big Wow for quite a few years but something is always come up. So this was my first year attending Big WOW! Comic fest. When I have attended, comic book conventions “Comic Cons” it is usually been the big ones like, San Diego comic con and WonderCon in Anaheim  and as I watch those shows growing bigger and bigger.  I think they have lost some of the heart of why these thing started in the first place. It’s not supposed to matter , if your boy or girl or if you’re black or your white or your pink and green or young and old, any of those type of things. Were there because we want to be a part is something that we all like that we all find a common interest in and  we think its FUN.  Big Bow is that type of show, where it is just about what is brought us all there, our fandom.

jentbigwow-6

jentbigwow-1

They had areas set up for kids so they had coloring activities reading activities. games for kids. They had a they had a gaming area where people were able to play rock band and another videogame area set up to play a lot of the 3-D fighting games like street fighter 4 or dead or alive 5. They even had a mechanical bull, You could ride and if you hang on for the amount of time you got a prized. They had an art exhibit for Vampirella and the swamp thing. Then you have all the panels!!  too many to go though And also the coveted free stuff table.

jentbigwow-3

Big wow was celebrating the 45th anniversary of Vampirella with a art book, you could purchase it at the big wow table and they were also selling to different big wow T-shirts and with the announcement for next year the Silicon Valley, con they were selling the a T-shirt for that convention for next year for 2016. They had a lot of different vendors stuff for props for sci-fi comics artist tables both big name celebrity artist table little name artist and craft makers and I mean if just about assume. I just about any toy, they had their you they had their you could get, and if you were really smarting a really looking for a good deal you can to save money on buying stuff there.

jentbigwow-10

Some of the international guess they had their they had Dave Givens, the Co. creator a Watchman and Kingsman: the Secret Service and International best-selling French artist Claire Wendling. Adi Granov concept designer and illustrator on all 3 iron man films, Toshio Meada of Urotsukidoji and La blue girl. Some of their domestic guest some the new ones  first time at big wow this year was of the swamp thing creators, Steve Bissette, John totleben and Rick Veitch.  Some of the returning guest were Arthur Adams, that has worked on Books like Batman, Superman, X men Vampirella ,danger girl, Monkey man and O’Brien. Frank Cho best known for his work in liberty Meadows, jungle girl, Mighty Avengers. Adam Hughes,  worked on Wonder Woman, Before Watchman: Manhattan, Fairest, Ghost, Star Wars legacy. Don Rosa an artist for scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, the Son and the Sun and the life and times of scrooge McDuck.

jentbigwow-11

Cosplay, I that they had a lot of people in costume there. They did a special photo shoots on both days where they had everyone together. group shoot of  marvel and DC United where they had everyone dressed up in costumes altogether standing together for photo opportunities, then into just Marvel, just DC and then  groups of deadpool , just Batman groups  or  avengers groups. alot of people show up. They did everything to get everyone involved, I think for those who dressed up feel like they were part of the show. They had a cosplay contest, which in the in the end, there was barely standing room only for people wanting to watch the show. They had a with the called “Cosplay Row” and for the first time you would find Ani-Mia, Marie Claude Bourbonnais, Holly Brooke, Danquish, Bill Doran, Kit Quinn and many others. Some of the returning cosplayers from years previous was Riddle, Valerie Perez, Kelly Delcambre , Vegas Power Girl and many more.

jentbigwow-13

jentbigwow-9

I know I spent a lot of time here, naming names and trying to wet your appetitive what is going on at this show. There’s a lot going on here. If you haven’t heard about this show, you should have it is pulling people from all over the United States and its even bringing in people in from overseas. I know you may be saying, “I want to go to the really big show’s were lots of things are happening”, There IS a lot to see and there is a lot to do here. Maybe, you just want to go to a smaller show smaller than the show that’s okay too, this show is small enough that you won’t be overwhelmed with people . you will get to see some of the big time stuff here, that normally at small shows you don’t get to see. I’m just saying that if there is A show, should be on list to check out, this is one.  if you’re making the trip from some far off land, it be worth your time to come and see Big Wow Comic Fest.

jentbigwow-7

jentbigwow-5

Check back for more photos from Big WOW! Comic Fest 2015 in our J!-ENT 2015 Annual scheduled for October 2015

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Italia Ricci of “Chasing Life” (2014) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

June 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Italia Ricci of “Chasing Life” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

chasinglife

On June 10th, ABC Family will show the premiere episode of “Chasing Life” starring Italia Ricci, Mary Page Keller, Aisha Dee, Richard Brancatisano and Haley Ramm.  The series is an adaptation of the Televisa Spanish-language Mexican TV series “Terminales”.

With the season premiere coming up, ABC family recently held a Q&A with lead actress Italia Ricci (“Don Jon”, “American Pie Presents Beta House”, “Unnatural History”, “Secret Girlfriend”, “Aaron Stone”) about her new role and more about the series and what viewers can expect.

In the series, Italia Ricci plays the character of April, a reporter who tries to balance her life with her widowed mother Sara (portrayed by Mary Page Keller) and her rebellious younger sister Brenna (portrayed by Haley Ramm), her grandmother and co-workers.

But just when she is trying to succeed in her career as a journalist and having a new boyfriend, she finds out that she has cancer.  And now, April is determined to fight cancer and enjoy life the best she can.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.

italiaricci-a

Moderator    Will we see more of your character’s chemo process? What sort of research did you conduct to prepare?

Italia   You will see more of that, absolutely, because it’s all part of the horrible process that cancer throws at people, but you will see the stages. And the research — immediately after I booked the role, I thought I was going to learn everything I could about cancer, become and expert and be able to handle anything that the writers threw at me. But then I realized that my character doesn’t know everything about cancer and so I thought it would be better for my performance if I didn’t know more about it than April knew. So I wasn’t anticipating anything that was going to happen to her.

Moderator   What attracted you to Chasing Life and your role as April?

Italia   The show itself is just so incredible and it’s real. It could be happening to anybody. It is happening to anybody. It has happened and it will be happening and it’s such a real story and it’s written so well and it’s so inspiring. It has so much of everything in it that I’ve wanted to be a part of telling it. I feel so lucky —I was just an actor sent in on a mission to go in. I wasn’t sifting through scripts being like “I only want this one.” This is when I got the audition I was auditioning for everything during the pilot season and this one was like a golden ticket. This is the role that you’re just like “Oh my gosh, this is going to be one that everybody is trying to get.” I got so lucky.

Moderator    Did you know Scott Michael Foster from Greek? What’s it like working with him again?

Italia   We didn’t really stay in touch after the episode of Greek, which was five and a half years ago or something. He didn’t even remember me at the table read for Chasing Life for the second episode [laughs]. I introduced myself and I was like “we worked together” and he’s like “really, when?” I was like, “oh wow” because we had to kiss in Greek. But we are so close now. He’s hilarious. You can see we’ve had to post a couple of videos talking about the show and I can’t keep a straight face when I’m with him. He’s hilarious and he’s so talented it’s insane. It’s sort of intimidating sometimes and I’m like “can you try to suck a little more because you’re making me look really bad.” [laughs]

Moderator   How would you describe your character April?

Italia   She’s so many things. She’s just a regular girl. She’s a stubborn, smart, ambitious girl who just wants happiness and success in her career and love, everything that most people want. She’s written so well that I feel like she’s every man’s woman because she’s not always in the same head space. She gets giddy and girly and goofy and then she’ll just be an angry drunk, we’re all a little bit bipolar [laughs]. It’s just the way the world works, but she’s so inspiring and she makes mistakes and then she relies on people to help. She’s not a hero. She’s definitely a role model, but she knows she’s not perfect. I think that’s really important for a character we want audiences to relate to.

Moderator   How did you get your start in acting and what do you enjoy most about it?

Italia   I started when I was really young. I did a lot of local theatre. I always enjoyed it. I was always putting on shows for my family or even just myself in the mirror being a total psychopath just screaming monologues till I was crying or laughing or a complete nut case. And then I went to college and got my degree in drama, but I’m very much a Type A. I’m not really much of a risk taker. I’m very calculated, so I didn’t really want to just move out to LA and try my best at something that I didn’t know for sure I could succeed at.

So I decided to go to law school to do entertainment law. This way I could be in the industry, but in a controlled career within it. But before I got to start law school, a friend of mine is with an agency and was an extra on a movie near my hometown one summer and asked if I wanted to go for the day and get paid to pretend I was at a party. And the writer saw me and asked me to audition for a role and I got it and they wrote me into the next one and it all just sort of snowballed. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

Moderator    Do you think Chasing Life can properly portray what cancer patients go through?

Italia   The show isn’t all about cancer. From the people that I’ve spoken to everybody goes through it differently, so there’s no one way to try and show the world what somebody would be experiencing. So I did my best to play April as authentically as we can within the confines of entertainment television. I’m sure there will be some people who completely disagree with how she’s reacting to certain things physically and emotionally and then there’s some people who might say that’s exactly what they experienced, or what they saw somebody experience.

I hope people can at least understand. They’re going to know it’s still television. It’s not a documentary, but at the same time being on set doing some of those scenes, it does get scary when you have to remind yourself that you’re not sick.

Moderator    How do writers keep a show like this from getting too dark or depressing with such a heavy subject matter?

Italia   People just have to take my word for it, it’s not depressing. It’s not dark. It’s not going to leave you feeling heavy after you watch it. The writers are so brilliant. It’s funny. They deliver the bad stuff or the dramatic stuff and then it’s right back at it just like real life is. There’s comedy in it and there’s so much more to it than the cancer. It’s about friendship and her family and her romance and there are episodes that you totally forget that she’s even sick.

Moderator    What was your experience like filming in Boston?

Italia   I had never been to Boston before shooting the Chasing Life pilot in 2012. I love it there! It’s so amazing and the sense of community there and it makes you feel like you’re in the movies. I found myself speaking like the locals saying “wicked good” and stuff, which I’m sure everybody in Boston hates, but I had a lot of fun there. Everybody was go grateful for us to bring the show there and they were all really informed about it, too. I went beside the hotel to get a bottle of wine somewhere and the guy asked me what I was doing. I was like “I’m here for a new show” and he goes “is it the one about the journalist?” And I was like “oh my gosh; you know the show! That is so cool.” Anyhow, I was more excited than he was. I almost wanted to take him out for dinner I was so excited.

And the food, oh my gosh, the food. Every time we go to do exterior shots, I leave ten pounds heavier. Good God, I love the North End. I love it!

Moderator    Are there any other favorite landmarks that stuck out to you in Boston?

Italia   I don’t have a lot of time off when I’m there to get to play, but the cast and I did get to go to Harvard, which is cool, very touristy. We all bought sweatpants. We went to the Beacon Hill, because that’s where the Carver family lives, which was also really, really cool. We got to shoot in Fenway, which actually got cut out of the pilot, but we spent the whole day shooting in Fenway. It was really, really cool. I think Fenway was probably the coolest, but I really do wish that I had more time. I went to the aquarium one day by myself. That was really nice, too. I want to explore it so much. There’s one street you feel like you’re in Europe and then the next street it looks like New York — there’s just so much to it.

Moderator   What was your favorite part about filming “Chasing Life”?

Italia   My favorite part about filming the show, we’ve got pretty good food on set [laughs]. Yesterday we had a mac and cheese bar, like four different types of mac and cheese, it was bizarre; it was amazing. But really, the cast and crew are my favorite things. I am so excited to go to work every day. They are some of my favorite people in the entire world. One camera man moved to another show in the middle of shooting and I broke down and cried on set. But definitely the cast and crew.

Moderator    How are you and your character April are alike?

Italia We’re both pretty stubborn and hyper organized. I can’t function if there’s a dirty dish in the sink or if things aren’t where they belong. My friends when they come over, they’ll just try and mess with me by like turning a vase, rotating it, so that the handle is not out or something and I’ll stop in the middle of the room and notice something is different; this is not okay [laughs]. I’m a little OCD, so I think April and I share that. There’s a bunch of jokes in the show about how organized she is and I think that’s really the writers just taking shots at me. I wish I was as ballsy as her. I hope to be. She’s actually inspired me a lot more than I expected her to, which is great.

Moderator   What was the audition process like for you? What was your reaction when you found out you got the role?

Italia  The audition process, I was so nervous about this audition because it was for such a great role. Besides one other series that I did called Unnatural History, I had only ever played quintessential stereotypical hot girl one or something, so when this one came up, I was like “oh my gosh, it’s real.” It’s something that I can actually lose myself in and become and something that’s going to scare the hell out of me because I don’t know if I’m good enough for it.

So I went to the first audition right after getting a couple of shots because I was getting my green card and I’m not good with needles, much like April, so I felt a little green. I didn’t even remember the audition. I remember getting into the car and just crying and thinking I ruined it; I screwed it up. I called my agent to see if I could get another appointment and they’re like “actually you’re screen testing” and I just about peed my pants [laughs]. Then I screen tested against two other girls who were amazing and then I booked it and I got the call October 9, 2012. I was at McDonalds and I grabbed my Big Mac, forgot my fries and went and had Big Macs and champagne at my manager’s.

My friend has a video of me getting the call and screaming and running around McDonalds like a complete psycho.

Moderator   Do you feel like this role will give you more opportunities as an amazing actress?

Italia   There’s so much to do with April and it’s so exciting that some days I get to come in and bawl my eyes out; and some days I get to come in and scream my head off. And some days I get to come in and laugh like a hyena. April gets to do so much and I don’t have to wake up and play the same tone every day, which keeps it so interesting and I think keeps the performance fresh. I feel like I’m just sitting here crossing my fingers and hoping people enjoy watching me, but I just hope that people relate and are interested in what I’ve done with her. I’m just so terrified still.

Moderator   What is the hardest part about playing April?

Italia   At the beginning the hardest parts were days when I would have scenes where I’d have to get to a pretty emotional place and then we would finish the scene and move on to a happy scene or a regular scene. I would feel like I hadn’t finished letting all those emotions out, so I would end up just crying in my car on the way home or in the shower or something just to let it out [laughs], so I didn’t project it onto to some other part of my life that didn’t deserve it.

But now that I’m getting a lot of fan mail and people are sharing their stories with me and it’s so beautiful and I’m so grateful that I can be somebody that makes them feel like they’re being heard. The hardest part, I don’t feel so great when I get to come home and not be sick when there are so many people who can’t turn it off.

Moderator   What’s the atmosphere like on set?

Italia  It’s amazing! We’re constantly laughing in between takes, you’re making all these jokes, but I feel like that’s just sort of what you have to do sometimes. Everybody just gets along so well and we know so much about each other, crew included. Everybody does such a fantastic job. We’re all just so grateful to be there. There are no egos anywhere. It’s like I have this gigantic new family that I get to hang out with every day and I would do it for free.

Moderator  What is April’s role and relationship like within her family?

Italia   April’s dad passed away two years before the pilot in a car accident, so she’s become almost the rock, the man in the house so to speak. Her mom is still dealing with it in her own way and her sister is just trying to become who she is and her grandma is just hilarious, so April is sort of keeping it all together. And you learn that she was planning to move away after college, but had to stay home to be there for the family, so she’s definitely the foundation that keeps all the wheels turning.

When she gets sick, I think a lot of her hesitation before coming clean about being sick is because she doesn’t want the people who she feels she has to take care of are needing to take care of her. She feels so much responsibility to make sure that everybody is happy and when she tells them that she’s going to need the help now and she can’t play that role as well as she would before then, then she thinks it will sort of all fall apart. Obviously she’s scared. She’s terrified.

Moderator   What will viewers be most surprised by when they watch Chasing Life?
Italia   How funny it is. The pilot is always tough and general audiences don’t always realize that you have to jam so many stories and so many characters and so much information into a pilot episode that a lot of the times it’s not like the rest of episodes. But even in our pilot, you feel that it’s not heavy. It’s a feel good show. It’s a feel good family show and I think that people are going to be surprised at how much more they’re going to laugh than cry.

Moderator   What has been your favorite episode to film?

Italia   The sixth episode was fun because I got to drive around in a Maserati as fast as I could, which was pretty cool. It’s more or so just moments in different episodes, scenes that are a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to this one scene in the finale that I’m going to be filming next week, but I can’t tell you what it is. I would say driving the Maserati around was pretty cool!

 

italiaricci-b

Moderator   Can you share anything about the new upcoming season?

Italia   The season is going to explore how the diagnosis elevates all of the stakes in April’s life. All of her decisions matter to her a little bit more than she thought they did at this point and how she handles that and the mistakes that she makes and the victories that she also accomplishes. It’s interesting to see her whole world getting massaged because of this big awful thing, but people can expect to see so many things. I read the scripts and I get so into it like “seriously, what, where, why?” It’s so cool.

Moderator    Did you do any journalism or interview research to prep since your character is a journalist?

Italia When we filmed in Boston, we filmed at the Boston Globe, so I took some time and walked around and watched people more for physical mannerisms and posture and to see what being zoned in as a journalist looks like. I’ve been interviewed a few times, but I was never seeing this in the building at the desk, so that was really good.

Being interviewed now I feel like I’ve blacked out and then I finish the interview and I’m like “did I make any sense?” [laughs] But it’s hard now because I don’t want to be repetitive but I can only answer with the truth and what I know. So it’s frustrating and sort of embarrassing when I break down and cry like a baby!

Moderator    Do you have some autumn memory that you can share?

Italia   Yes, my birthday is in October, so those were always pretty great right near Halloween! But my favorite Halloween costume would probably be my parents would always bandage me up and say I was a mummy every time; it was so great. One year my dad built a shower around me with a rod and curtain and everything, so I was just walking roundabout in a shower; that was pretty cool, too.

Moderator     What is something you hope fans get from the show?

Italia  Hope and inspiration to never give up.

Moderator   What is at the top of your bucket list right now?

Italia  I feel like I should say something super prophetic, but I don’t [laughs]. I would say to travel. I’ve never really traveled much, so it would be nice to be able to do that.

Moderator   Where would you like to go?

Italia  I would like to go to Italy.

Moderator   How difficult is it to portray the shows subject matter?

Italia   As an audience member, I enjoy watching things that make me feel represented and I feel like people are interested in seeing this because no matter what role you play, there might be somebody you can relate to, whether it’s the mom of somebody who’s sick or the best friend or the boss. There’s something that you’re like “okay, I can relate to that and I feel that validation,” it piques a lot of people’s interest if they can find something that they relate to. And then there are people who just want to feel like they’re not alone in this and they’re not. There are so many people that feel everything that every character is feeling in the show.

I’ve seen The Fault in Our Stars, and it’s pretty similar to our show. The types of cancers are different and some of the plot points, but it’s a wonderful movie and I hope people watch it. But 50/50, when Joseph Gordon Levitt and I had reshoots for the movie we did, he actually is the one that pulled me aside and was like “I think it’s amazing what you’re doing, but don’t forget that you’re not sick.” I never really took it to heart before I started shooting and now I’m so grateful that he had said that to me, because like I said, that’s sometimes the hardest part.

Moderator    Do you feel because you’ve taken on a role like this that means that now you have a responsibility when you’re off the set to help with cancer awareness?

Italia     Yes, absolutely. As soon as I booked it, I was like what can I do. It always felt like this massive dark presence that I was uncomfortable addressing or even looking at because I didn’t know very much about it. Now it’s all about awareness we’re bringing and we’re taking that stigma away from that. We’re taking the power away from that and I think that’s great.

When I first started shooting and even when I booked it, it didn’t really cross my mind that people would look at me and I would be taking on these responsibilities. I don’t want to screw it up. I obviously hope that it’s going to help some people, but I’m still just a really lucky girl who booked a really great job.
Moderator     Can you talk about the significance behind all the things April is chasing in Chasing Life?

Italia  Oh gosh, she’s chasing everything! She’s chasing that success as a journalist. She’s chasing the happiness for her mother to find love after her father. She’s chasing her sister all around as she’s figuring out who she is becoming. She’s chasing —before she gets diagnosed —she was already chasing life. You can see she’s already working hard. The first scene of the episode shows you that, but now she’s just got to run a bit faster.

Moderator    Could you talk a little bit more about what people are writing you and what that’s meant to you?

Italia   People just share their stories or whether it’s having known someone or knowing someone or being someone who has been diagnosed. I get these letters and they’re just so amazing and inspiring to me. These guys are the real heroes. It’s incredible, the strength of the young adults and adults and children with cancer that I’m beginning to know. It’s a little overwhelming, but in a great way. I wish I could do more for them than just respond to a message. I wish I could really make a difference and I guess listening is all I could really do at this point, but I’m always going to try and do everything I can.
Moderator    If you could play any other character on the show, who would you choose and why?

Italia     I think maybe Beth, she’s just so funny and snarky and she’s got a great accent and her clothes are amazing. She’s got the coolest wardrobe. April’s is pretty cool, too, but I think it would be fun to play Beth. I think it would be fun to play all of them. Leo is a pretty fun character, too, because you think he’s a jerk for a lot of the time, because he’s just so sarcastic and ridiculous, but yes I think Beth.

 

For more information on “Chasing Life”, please visit the official website here

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Vanessa Marano of “Switched At Birth” (2014) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

June 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Vanessa Marano of “Switched At Birth” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

Vanessa Marano  (Bay) and Sean Berdy (Emmett) - "Switched at Birth".  Image courtesy of ABC FAMILY.

Vanessa Marano (Bay) and Sean Berdy (Emmett) – “Switched at Birth”. Image courtesy of ABC FAMILY.

With “Switched at Birth” to air its summer premiere on June 16th (the second half of season three), we revisit actress Vanessa Marano, one of the main lead characters of ABC Family’s hit drama series “Switched at Birth”.

Vanessa has starred in TV series such as “Scoundrels”, “The Young and the Restless”, “Dexter” and “Without a Trace”.

“Switched at Birth” is a one-hour scripted drama that tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital.

Vanessa Marano plays the character of Bay Kennish, a girl who grew up in a wealthy family with two parents and a brother, while Daphne Vasquez (played by Katie Leclerc), who lost her hearing at an early age due to a case of meningitis, grew up with a single mother in a working class neighborhood. Things come to a dramatic head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls.

The series also stars Lucas Grabeel (“High School Musical”) as Bay’s brother Toby, Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”, “Caroline in the City”) as her mother Kathryn and Constance Marie (“George Lopez”, “Selena”) as Daphne’s mother Regina.

An ABC Family Q&A session was recently held with Vanessa Marano to promote the second half of the latest season of “Switched at Birth” and also to discuss the renewal of a new season of the series plus more about her character, her relationships and more.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A session.

vmarano-2014-a

Moderator    How excited were you when Switched at Birth was renewed for a new season?

Vanessa    You know, it’s so funny; I’ve been doing this for a very long time so I go into everything very cynically; like, “Alright, well, let’s see if we’re coming back.” We never know. But Switched at Birth is the first show I’ve ever been on that’s generated such a positive strong audience response. We’ve got incredible support from our viewers, specifically, the deaf community. There’s an amount of confidence there knowing that we have an audience rooting for us and wanting us to come back, so that was nice. What’s great about the way ABC Family works is that they split up your seasons seasonally, so to speak, so you have your winter season and your summer season. We have a hiatus, a break, for two months knowing that we were coming back airing in the summer, so that’s kind of nice to have a break and then also know that your job is coming back!

Moderator     Is there any one topic on the program that has had a very large impact on your personal life?

Vanessa      We deal with so many topics on our show. We’ve covered the deaf community. We’ve covered a lot of social and cultural differences. This last season, we introduced a character who was in a wheelchair, which actually was very close to my heart because I work with The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  And they’ve been working so hard to find a cure for paralysis. It was great Switched introduced the character who was paralyzed and was so hopeful to find a cure because that particular foundation is so close to finding a cure that it’s unbelievable. So that tugged at my heartstrings a little bit.

This coming season, it gets very emotional; and there’s a particular episode, in the middle of the season, that I found very relatable. I think everyone’s going to find relatable. I can’t give you too much information about that. All I can say is that it was a very emotional episode for everyone involved, and everyone’s experienced it.

Moderator    What is going to happen between Bay and Emmett this summer?

Vanessa   I think Bay and Emmett fans are going to be very happy this summer. But of course, it’s Bay and Emmett, so they’re not without their trials and tribulations. It’s a relationship that I think all the fans have been waiting to see, revisited and brought back to life. Now that they’re finally there, it’s not without its struggle. You can’t just get back into a relationship specifically the way they got back into the relationship. It left with Emmett cheating, and they got back together with her cheating on her current boyfriend. So there’s a little bit of a mess right now, but they’re together. They’re in the mess together.

Moderator   What’s going to be happening with Bay and Daphne’s relationship?

Vanessa    It’s a particularly difficult season for Daphne. She’s very nervous about her mother’s safety now that she’s involved in this East Riverside Project. In the premiere episode, Bay and Daphne team up to find the guy who threw the brick through the window in order to make peace with him so they know Regina is safe where she is. I don’t know if that’s going to go according to plan, but again, does it ever go according to plan?

Moderator     How does Bay address her new relationship with Emmitt to her current boyfriend Tank?

Vanessa   Bay has been cheated on. She’s experienced the heartache of it. She is very sensitive in that situation, and she immediately wants to tell him. She wants to break up with him. She wants to not hurt him. She doesn’t know what she wants to do, but she knows what the right thing to do is. So she’s being pulled into two different directions as far as her knowing she doesn’t want to hurt him, but she also knows that he needs to be aware of the situation. Bay is feeling so terrible about herself, and Emmett having no way to really comfort her. I think what hurts the most is in her situation with Emmett, it was someone who cheated on her who cared so much about her, and she cares about Tank, but not in the way that Emmett cares about her. I think that brings up a lot of scars for her as well. The premiere episode is a rough one for everyone involved in that triangle.

Moderator   How will things continue to escalate between Emmett and Matthew after the Mandy ordeal?

Vanessa   We find out a little bit more about Matthew and his reasoning. He is not exactly the most grounded, well-rounded human being in the sense that—that may be with a little bit of an overreaction, but, yes, we definitely find out more about him and his motives behind the whole ordeal this season.

Moderator   What’s it like working with Marlee Matlin?

Vanessa   So fabulous! She is the definition of a fantastic actress. She is so talented, but also so lovely to work with. She brings this humorous energy to a set that’s contagious, and she really is a joy to work with. The fact that we had her on our show, a show that is really the first show on television to feature a guest character so prominently, and then feature the deaf community so prominently, was such an honor that she agreed to be on. She’s part of the Switched at Birth family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, and we love every minute that she’s on set.

Moderator   What’s your favorite part about working on “Switched at Birth”?

Vanessa   I would say the people that I get to work with. I think part of the reason that the show has resonated with audiences is the energy that we all have with each other, and we really all got along from day one. It’s nice because I’ve worked on many television shows and what we have on Switched at Birth is actually something very special and very difficult to find. I can say I love going to work every day: 12 hours, 5 days a week, no sleep; I love going to work every day!

Moderator   What is it like working on the actual “Switched at Birth” set?

Vanessa    It’s great! It’s one of the best sets I’ve ever worked on. I really love everybody I work with!

Moderator   What was your favorite episode of this past season?

Vanessa   I would shockingly enough say the field hockey episode where I was in the goalie outfit because I love the woman who directed that episode. It was the first time that they’ve written into a script that Vanessa skills and Bay skills matched up with one another, which is that they had no skills — so that was very easy to play.

Moderator   What is your personal fashion style like and what influencers are involved with Bay’s style?

Vanessa   Our fabulous costume designer, Courtney Stern, is very collaborative, so she’s definitely open to suggestions and ideas. I would say what’s similar about me and Bay is definitely we both go dark, we like our dark colors, but that’s because Bay and I have the same coloring, obviously [laughs]. Bay is definitely more of a fashion risk-taker, which I think you see reflected because our costume designer is as well. Bay does more of the combat boot thing, the lacey thing. She dresses herself up in that artistic way, which is a little bit different than me, but always something that I’m working on, like, “Okay, how can I take that and put it into my wardrobe and mesh it together?”

Moderator     How does it feel to consistently be recognized and part of a program that has an outstanding achievement in television?

Vanessa   Awesome! It’s something that you don’t necessarily expect coming into a show about family and a show about teenage girls. It’s not a genre that actually gets recognized and honored in the way that Switched has been honored, so it’s such an amazing feeling. It’s so great because you feel like you’re doing something that people really enjoy, and it’s really resonating with people. That doesn’t come around very often, so we’re enjoying every minute of that.

Moderator Are there any special guest star in the upcoming season of Switched at Birth?

Vanessa   We will be seeing a lot of the guest stars from last season in this season of Switched at Birth, as well as some new people too. I’m not sure that I can reveal too much about who’s coming on, but we love our guest stars! We’re a big fan of guest stars on Switched at Birth.

vmarano-2014-c

Moderator   Are you big a fan of the Disney brand?

Vanessa   I was just at Disneyland Resort on Memorial weekend with my little sister, funny enough, and she was just at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, so I’m going to go with a yes on that one [laughs].

Moderator   What is your favorite Disney theme park?

Vanessa   I’m going to go with Disneyland, the original in California, because I’m a California girl so all my childhood memories are there. You can’t beat the park that you were going to when you were two years old!

Moderator   What’s your favorite Disney ride or attraction in a Disney park?

Vanessa   I would say it’s a coin toss between Splash Mountain or Pirate of the Caribbean. I do enjoy water.

Moderator   What’s your favorite food or restaurant within a Disney park?

Vanessa   There’s something about a pretzel shaped like Mickey Mouse that fills my heart with glee. I love soft pretzels. That’s a big guilty pleasure of mine, it’s shaped like Mickey’s face and it makes me feel like I’m five years old again.

Moderator   What is your favorite Disney character?

Vanessa   My favorite Disney character of all time, that’s hard. I think it changes; my favorite princess growing up was Belle. I watched Pinocchio over and over again as a child because my dad’s from Italy and that was the movie that he was like, “Look, it looks like where I used to live!” Also, Peter Pan, I watched over and over again. I love Alice in Wonderland and then Lion King. It’s really hard to choose; there’s so many that I enjoy!
Moderator   What’s one piece of advice you would personally give to Bay?

Vanessa   Think things through! Girlfriend doesn’t think anything through [laughs], she says the first thing that comes to her head. She does not ever think of the negative repercussions of anything. It’s funny because I think that’s directly related to her two mothers. Regina is very independent and very much does what she wants no matter what anybody says. And Kathryn always looks on the positive side of things, always, everything’s going to turn out okay. Those two combinations create Bay, someone who does what she wants and never thinks anything negative is going to happen.

Moderator   What’s going to happen on the upcoming season with Bay and her art?

Vanessa   This is their last year of high school for the Switched at Birth gang, so I’m sure as all the teenagers who watch the show know that’s a very stressful time when you’re applying to colleges and your future is right there in front of you. Bay has always known what she wanted to do with her life, so she’s applying to art colleges and that’s where she’s at right now. It’s a very scary process because you just don’t know what’s going to end up happening.

Moderator   What’s going to happen with the families this season?

Vanessa   As always, they’re together and have each other’s back. That’s not without their conflicts because the Vasquez/Sorrento clan is very different than the Kennish clan. We’re reeling from Toby’s divorce, so everyone’s trying to get him back up on his feet; as well as Bay feeling whether or not it’s the right time to tell everyone that her and Emmett have rekindled an old flame. As always, there’s Regina’s safety at this point in time just because the project that she’s working on in East Riverside with her boss, Wes, is such a dangerous idea to the point where a brick gets thrown through your window. It’s a matter of taking care of her as well. No matter what’s going on in their lives, they always have each other’s back.

Moderator   What has been the most challenging storyline you’ve had to play as Bay?

Vanessa   Bay and Emmett have so many different aspects of their relationship that are so difficult. For the first portion of their time together, it was me having to learn sign language, which was very hard. For the second portion of their time together, it was him cheating on her and still playing that you’re in love with someone who’s cheated on you — because I have my own opinion about cheating, which is that you don’t go back to the person — but Bay obviously went back to him. So that’s a very challenging thing for me to portray. You throw in trying to sign all of that when you’re angry, when you’re sad, when you’re happy, and all the rants that she could be going on because she’s at so many different emotional levels of the whole thing, it gets very challenging. But at the same time, that’s some of my favorite stuff to do because I like being challenged when I’m performing.

Moderator    Could you talk about your work with Cruelty Free International?

Vanessa   I’m not a vegetarian or anything like that, but I can’t stand the idea of animals not being treated properly. There’s something so terrible about the fact that we take advantage of creatures who can’t speak for themselves, and they do so much for us from a place of happiness, from so many other aspects in this world, that I feel like it’s our human duty to make sure we treat them with care. Cruelty Free International really wants to promote that there are so many other ways to test cosmetics. For something as narcissistic as putting makeup on your face, you really should be going to the other options that don’t involve hurting an animal.

Moderator   What are some of your hobbies/talents outside of acting?

Vanessa   I’ve been asking for a very long time, so I’ve devoted a lot of time to that. I also draw a little bit. I’m not as talented as Bay whatsoever. Other than that, really if I have a massive amount of time off when I’m not working, I try to go to school. That’s the extent of the Vanessa Marano talent book — her ability to sit and take notes in a class and doodle on those notes [laughs].

Moderator    Who would you personally choose, Tank or Emmett?

Vanessa   I don’t like cheating, but Bay cheated on Tank, so there you go. It’s a really interesting situation that she’s in because I think she was with Tank because she felt so safe with him, and she hasn’t felt safe with Emmett for so long, so she wasn’t really with Tank for the right reasons. She wants to be with Emmett, but there’s a lack of trust there that’s going to be a hard relationship to be in as well.

Moderator   How do you get into character?

Vanessa   I don’t [laughs]. I’ve been acting for a very long time and I started in children’s theater and really you don’t have the time in theater to really get into character. It’s so quick. The philosophy that theater has is that you really get yourself into the headspace. You just kind of turn it on and off. For me, that’s how I do it just because I wouldn’t be able to be staying in the headspace of the character for so long. It wouldn’t feel real to me because I know in my gut that I am not that character. While imagining and performing it, and being able to slip in and out of it feels real to me because I know it’s not me and I’m creating something. I feel like it’s similar to creating a painting or creating words on a page. That’s the same thing that acting is to me.

Moderator   Do you have any fun summer plans during your next filming break?

Vanessa    Not at the moment, there’s a possibility that I might go to New York a little bit to visit family, but other than that, nothing planned out right now. It’s very hard to plan your life as an actor because you never know when you’re going to be working. I think that actually goes for anybody who’s in the entertainment industry because you never know when you’re going to be working!

 

For more information on “Switched at Birth”, please visit the official website here.

Media Q&A with Cassie Scerbo of ABC Family’s “Baby Daddy” (2014) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

February 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

cassie-2

Cassandra (Cassie) Scerbo is a familiar face for ABC Family.

Her breakthrough role was in the TV series “Make It or Break It” as gymnast Lauren Tanner and appeared in movies such as “Teen Sporit”, “A Holiday Heist” and most recently in the cult film “Sharknado”.

Currently Cassie Scerbo is the voice of Heidi Weinerman in “Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja” and will now appear in the ABC Family comedy series “Baby Daddy”.

“Baby Daddy” stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Ben, a man who’s ex-girlfriend left a baby girl on his door step. Now Ben, the surprised and inexperienced new father, must raise the baby with the help of his mother Bonnie (as portrayed by Melissa Peterman), his brother Danny (as portrayed by Derek Theler), his best friend Tucker (as portrayed by Tahj Mowry) and his close female friend Riley (as portrayed by Chelsea Kane), who happens to have a secret crush on him.

Cassie Scerbo will play the role of Heather, a young woman who will cause trouble for Riley.

In promotion for her appearance on “Babby Daddy”, Cassie recently took part in a media Q&A.  Here is a transcript from the Q&A with Cassie Scerbo:

babydaddy

cassie-1

Moderator    What attracted you to the role of the frenemy character you will be playing on Baby Daddy?

Cassie    I knew Chelsea before I even read the part of the show! I just love her, I think she’s great. I was really excited to work with her. My character basically comes in and stirs up a bunch of trouble for Chelsea’s character [Riley]. I tend to have a lot of fun with these characters and happen to be cast as this type of girl very often so it’s very fun for me — I guess I play it quite well! It was just fun to hop back on board and play another fun, catty character and stir up some trouble.

Moderator    Were you a fan of Baby Daddy before you got the role?

Cassie    Yes!  I was actually just laughing about this with somebody.  I was on ABC Family for a couple years on “Make It or Break It”, and I’m that person that is such a fan of their own network.  When I was on the show, I would watch so many shows on the network, Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars.  Now, I’m very into Twisted.  So, I was very aware of Baby Daddy and I was a fan.  I’m a fan of all the shows.  I think they’re great!

Moderator    How does your character on Baby Daddy compare to your character on Make It or Break It?

Cassie    We all know that my character on Make It or Break It [Lauren Tanner] was pretty snarky and catty.  She was kind of the “B-word” of the show [laughs].  Make It or Break It was a drama and Lauren Tanner had a lot of layers.  She had a very vulnerable side, and I think as the show progressed, people were able to understand why she was so promiscuous and always causing trouble. There were a lot of things in her life that had caused her to be that way.

With my character on Baby Daddy [Heather], it’s a comedy.  She just comes in right off the bat super snarky.  It’s just one of those girls you’re like “Ugh, I can’t stand you!” [laughs].

Heather is just better than Riley in everything by a little bit and it’s really funny.  There are just so many funny things that happen throughout the two episodes, but I would say they’re both very catty; yet, the difference is that on Make It or Break It, I was playing a much younger character.  In this show, I’m playing a young attorney, and it is a little bit of an age difference and whatnot. It’s a comedy opposed to a drama, but it’s just another one of those fun catty characters that you just can’t help but to hate.

Moderator    How was it working with the Baby Daddy cast?  

Cassie    I honestly had the best time!  They are such a down-to-earth cast.  They’re so much fun.  I still keep in touch with all of them, I think they’re amazing.  They’re like one big family.  Definitely one of the most amazing casts I’ve ever worked with by far.

Moderator    How did your guest appearance on Baby Daddy get started?  

Cassie    I actually had gone out for a bunch of auditions that week and they had all went really well, and I’d been waiting. I was waiting around like every actor does to hear feedback and to figure out if I booked one of these jobs. Then the phone rang and I was like “Oh, so which one was it, which one that I auditioned for” and they’re like “No, we actually have a different offer on the table,” and I think the fact that I’ve been a part of ABC Family for a couple years now, they just felt that I would fit this character really well and they had offered me the role. I didn’t actually audition for the role of Heather, but I was so excited when I got that phone call.  I was like “Look at that, I’m sitting here around my phone wondering what on earth it’s going to be and it’s the one I didn’t audition for,” but I was so excited and it was such a surprise. I said yes right away because I already knew Chelsea and I love her.  I think she’s an amazing girl.  I was so excited to work with her and I was happy to be back on ABC Family.

Moderator    Do you prefer working on TV or films, since you’re really well rounded in both areas?

Cassie    It honestly just depends on the script.  People sometimes ask would you rather pursue film in the future, is it going to be TV, and it’s honestly just whatever script comes along that intrigues me that I get to try something new and pursue a different character.

Moderator    How did the cast welcome you to the show?

Cassie    The first day on comedy you start off doing your table readout on Monday, and I had to come in so sick.  I had food poisoning the night before, of course [laughs].  I walked in and thought “Oh my God, this is so embarrassing! It’s my first day here, I’m clearly ill & pale just trying to battle this terrible sickness [laughs],” and everybody was so welcoming. They were all asking if I needed anything to help me out. It was so good to see Chelsea.  It was so fitting!

Because it’s ABC Family, there were a lot of the same people in the room.  I know some of the executive producers very well, and our dialogue coach, Eva Charney was there. Also, the costume designer is the same costume designer for Make It or Break It. It felt so familiar to me because I had known a lot of the faces in the room, and then on top of it, everyone was just so welcoming. Everybody was so kind, and they’re just so fun.  They’re just such a fun cast.

cassie-3

Moderator    Who was the biggest jokester on set?

Cassie    I think everybody is so funny on that set!  Melissa Peterman, she’s so great with improv and she’s always throwing the most hilarious lines out there — especially during the live tapings.  It’s such a different adrenaline rush, so some of these fun & different things come out. It’s really exciting and it’s obviously different from Make It or Break It, which is a drama.  They’re both great, but it was just cool to try something different and to have this live audience. So many things are just so exciting, you have this adrenaline running.

I can’t think of specific moments, but we all had a great time.  We would laugh constantly and try different things while shooting. There’s this one scene in my second episode, “The Bet”, where Ben is in a hospital bed and there’s one line he says that I lost it every single time [laughs]. It was even on the gag reel at the wrap party a couple weeks back.  I could not keep it together.  It’s just the little things with comedy and with live audiences that give you this rush.

Moderator    Are there any other acting genres you are hoping to get into?

Cassie    Yes, every genre if I can!  I think that’s the best part about being an actor is that you get to step out of the box and try out all these different characters. You also learn so much about an array of people playing these different characters and researching how they would act in certain situations. I think that’s the beauty of acting.  I would love to take on many different types of characters and roles.

I want to play the furthest thing from who I am, that’s always the most fun. That’s why I took those science fiction roles because they were just so fun and they were just so different. I finally get to play a tomboy – and mess with guns and sharks and random sea vampires, and I mean that’s what I think it’s all about.  It’s just having fun, trying out different things.  I would like to dabble in many different genres.

Moderator    Who has influenced you the most in acting?

Cassie    There’s so many! First of all, I don’t know any young actress who wouldn’t say Meryl Streep.  She’s incredible.  I would do anything to work with her, just to be on set and learn from her.  I’m a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio from his roles in Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, Gilbert Grape, so definitely big fan of him.  I love Ashley Judd.

I love some of these younger actresses out there that are so incredible. Blake Lively, she has had a great career path.  I think it’s so cool the different things she’s done, going from Gossip Girl, which is a fun & younger audience with all of the clothes and teen drama — to Savages and The Town with the really gritty roles.  There are so many.

Moderator    What was it like filming in front of a live studio audience?

Cassie    It’s so fun!  My parents actually were in town visiting that weekend and they got to be there and watch right front and center.  Your nerves are in knots, but it’s so exciting.  It’s so different because you have a couple of takes, but just the fact that there are people watching you.  It’s just really exciting.

You have the director, the producer, everyone behind the scenes and they’ll give you different notes here and there and you try different things out and it’s really exciting to do that in front of an audience. It makes it so much more fun to act just knowing that you’re entertaining people. It raises the bar a little bit and makes you a bit nervous but excited.

Moderator    What are some of your talents outside of acting?

Cassie    Sometimes it surprises people because I come off as this blonde, bubbly girly-girl, but I’m actually really into boxing.  I’ve been boxing for seven years. That’s one of my favorite things to do, one of my favorite sports. Ever since I skydived two years ago for charity, I’ve been really into that.  I love skydiving now.  My mom hates the fact that I love it [laughs]. Oddly enough, my roommate is a professional skydiver, so I’m dabbling in that.  It’s crazy but it’s so much fun.  I did karate for a very long time.  I was a high Brown Belt in Taekwondo.

That sometimes surprises people, and another thing is I also played soccer for nine years.  So, I’m actually kind of a tomboy underneath the girly appearance and the high heels.

Moderator    Do you have any other upcoming projects?

Cassie    As of now, it’s just pilot season. I’m just auditioning.  There are a couple of great projects I’m crossing my fingers on that I’m really excited about. I’m on a cartoon on Disney Channel.  It’s a new cartoon.  It’s called Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja and it’s just so fun.  It’s just a different thing, and you can go in your pajamas and just have some of the different voices.  I play Heidi Weinerman.

I’m getting back into my music.  I finally released a very simple fun cover video because I told my fans when I reached 100,000 followers on Twitter that I would.  So, I released my first one and I look forward to continuously releasing some others.

Moderator    What are some of the hardest thing about adjusting from the east to west coasts?

Cassie    For me, it’s being away from my family.  I have a very big Italian family. It’s like the Scerbos’ Sunday dinners.  Every time my parents are in town, they cook a huge pot of sauce and a ton of meatballs and pasta and everyone’s like “Oh, can I come this Sunday, can I come!?”  So, it’s just being away from my family and we have a lot of traditions and we’re a very close family.  So, that’s hard for me.

It’s just a different pace too.  California is a lot more laid back whereas—even though it’s the entertainment industry and all, but the vibe is way more laid back. On the East Coast, especially in New York, which is where I was born and I grew up part of my life before we moved to Florida, like every other New Yorker, New York is so fast paced.  It’s just very different.  So, I would say that would be the main difference really.

Moderator    Do you ever get the chance to visit the Disney parks in Florida?

Cassie    Yes!  That was my favorite thing in the world was to go to Orlando and go to all the different parks and water parks.  ABC Family had hooked it up and I spent my 22nd birthday there!  I have loved Disney my whole life. So, I got my family and a couple friends out, and I just went there almost two years ago now for my 22nd birthday and had the best time. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been enjoying the parks.

Moderator    What’s your favorite Disney Park?

Cassie    I would say Magic Kingdom.

Moderator    What is your favorite Disney attraction or ride?

Cassie    I really love Space Mountain.  It’s just so cool.  It’s super dark with all the stars and I’m just really into all that.

Moderator    What is your favorite Disney character?

Cassie    If we’re going to do princesses, I’d have to say Belle.  When you’re a little girl, you want to look like the princess that looks like you and I was always like the blonde little girl that just wanted to be Belle.  I just wanted to be Belle.  So, she’s always been my favorite.
Baby Daddy is seen on Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC Family

Media Q&A with Nicole Gale Anderson of ABC Family’s “Ravenswood” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

February 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

NICOLE GALE ANDERSON

Actress Nicole Gale Anderson may be known for her supporting role on the Jonas Brothers series “Jonas” and others may be familiar with her from the series “Beauty and the Beast”, but now Nicole stars in the hit ABC family show “Ravenswood”.

A series that takes place in the fictional town of Ravenswood, Pennsylvania, the series revolves around five strangers whose lives become intertwined by a deadly curse that has plagued Ravenswood for generations. And now all five work together to solve the mysterious curse.

Nicole Gale Anderson plays the role of Miranda Collins, a teenager who has lived as a foster child and takes off to Ravenswood to find her uncle, the person who raised her but put her in a foster home as a child.

Having died in the series and now as an immortal ghost, Miranda assists others to find out more about the mysteries in Ravenswood, Miranda uses her power to find victims of the curse that has affected people of Ravenswood.

To help promote ABC Family’s “Ravenswood”, Nicole Gale Anderson recently took part in a media Q&A.  Here is a transcript from the Q&A:

NICOLE GALE ANDERSON, ASHLEY BENSON, TYLER BLACKBURN

Moderator    How does Miranda handle Hanna showing up in Ravenswood?

Nicole    Well, see Hanna shows up by surprising everyone, so it definitely takes Caleb and Miranda off guard for sure.  But she’s very respectful of what they’ve shared together, and she really likes Hanna.  I mean Hanna was so helpful and supportive of her journey to Ravenswood and having Caleb stay out there with her. So she definitely allows for them to talk things through, but she’s definitely heartbroken for sure.

Moderator    What are your hopes for Miranda in the second season?

Nicole    I would like to see maybe more of her connecting with her uncle again, maybe he’ll be able to start seeing her.  And then maybe something like, I don’t know, a ghost companion.

Moderator    Did you know before you got the role of Miranda that you’d be playing a ghost character?

Nicole    I did.  Yes, I found out during the testing process.  So during the original audition I had no idea, during the callback I had no idea, and then when it came time for me to go to studio network and have my chemistry reads with Tyler. The new scene that they added to the audition process was the scene where Caleb sees Miranda for the first time as a ghost.  So I was going through it, preparing for the test, and I was just like, “Whoa, wait.  What?  She’s a ghost?”  And then my next thought was, “Oh, wait, so if I get this and then I die I have to make sure that I die in a really comfortable outfit.”

Moderator    Did you have to do any research about ghosts or the paranormal for your portrayal of Miranda?

Nicole    I did a little bit just for fun.  I watched a couple of movies, like Ghost with Patrick Swayze.  Yes.  But it’s an ABC Family ghost, and I think at the end of the day Miranda, even though she is a ghost, she still is Miranda and she still was the girl that she was before all of this.  She just has a lot of other problems in her life now.  But, yes, I have fun with it.

Moderator    Were you excited to learn that your character was killed in the first show, since it’s something you’ve never really done before?

Nicole    Yes, I think that with the ghost component of Miranda aside, Miranda as a character in itself is just different than anything I’ve played before.  I’ve played the hyperactive, bubbly Macy and I’ve played a lot of mean girls before, but never really played a bad ass, if you will.  And even though Miranda has a sweet side, she definitely is, I think, stronger and more outspoken than a lot of the other characters I’ve played.  So, yes, I think I’ve really just been enjoying playing that kind of role.

Moderator    How do you interact with other actors who aren’t able to see Miranda’s ghost?

Nicole    I think my biggest challenge playing a ghost has just been not being able to touch anything.  As an actor you want to fill the scene with movement — like if you’re walking through a kitchen you go into the cupboard and get a glass of water and you fill it up, and it keeps a realness to the scene and a realness to your character.  But as a ghost I can’t touch anything, I can’t play with anything, and if I sit down on a couch it can’t sink underneath me because ghosts can’t transfer energy in that way.  So I think that for me is it’s been a challenge for me being able to feel comfortable within a scene.

Then as far as all of the sneaking up on people, especially with Steven, who plays Uncle Collins, we’ve just had fun with it.  I’m just always like, “I’m just always snooping on you.”  So, yes, that part of it I think is fun.

I get to watch really cool scenes! There was one between Uncle Collins and Mrs. Matheson in the police station, I think it was in the last episode, and it was just a beautiful, well-played scene.  Being able to watch them as two actors connecting that way — I just had to stand there and watch them do their thing. So, yes, it’s fun!

Moderator    How did you handle of the spiders being on set for the most recent episode?

Nicole    It was really creepy!  I hate spiders, and I thought they were just going to tease you.  I went in and I had no idea that they were planning on having a huge tarantula on set.  But the wrangler was so awesome, and he was just taking them out and playing with them and scratching their heads. So that made me feel a lot better, and luckily I didn’t have to have it on me; it was all on Tyler.  So, yes, I think being able to have that on set made it easier for me to naturally react to it, because I hate spiders.  So reacting in that scene was just easier.

Moderator    What is it like working with Meg Foster?

Nicole    She’s brilliant, I love her! One of my favorite moments with her is when Miranda decides to haunt Mrs. Grunwald, and she gets up right by her ear and says, “I’m getting better at this,” and that whole moment playing that out with her.  She was just giving me tips on acting along the way and telling me certain things about inflections in your voice and little nuances that you could add in to just make it fuller.  Every time I work with her I learn something new.  She’s amazing.

Moderator        What do you find most rewarding about playing Miranda?

Nicole    Being able to go in and do what I love to do every day has been really awesome, and to be a part of this really successful team has been really exciting.

But my favorite part about playing Miranda specifically has just been the transition that’s she gone through, being so confident and just really tough and sure of herself to then lose everything, including her life, and then starting from square one.  She became vulnerable and scared and timid, and she really lost herself in the way.  So I think being able to progress throughout the season and help her get her fight and spunk back. Especially in episode 108 where she enters Remy’s dream and takes on Abaddon I think that was a really pivotal point for her in terms of becoming more of her own person again.

Moderator    What is it like working with Tyler Blackburn?

Nicole    Oh, it’s the best!  I honestly couldn’t ask for a better partner in all of this.  Ever since the Pretty Little Liars episode he’s been amazing.  He’s been a big support throughout this whole thing.  Any time we have questions or concerns or anything, we can call each other up and vent it out and just be there for each other throughout the whole process.  So, yes, he’s really collaborative and a huge professional and a really easy person to get along with.  I could just go on; he’s great.

Moderator    What is your favorite part about filming Ravenswood?

Nicole    Probably just working with the cast!  We have so much fun.  Brett is hilarious; anything that he just says, anything that comes out of his mouth I’m immediately laughing.  I had a lot of fun getting to know Merritt, and we hung out a lot off set and it was really nice to have a gal pal in New Orleans.  So, yes, I think getting to know the cast this first season has been a lot of fun.

Moderator    Do you ever get scared or experience anything supernatural like your characters?

Nicole    I don’t think anybody ever sees anything supernatural.  I think that the show has definitely made us paranoid, like if anything slightly odd happens we’re just immediately like, “Oh, my gosh, where’s the ghost?  What is happening?”  But nothing actually supernatural has happened, I don’t think, but it’s made for a lot of good on set pranks.  Steven totally got Tyler just by pranking him when we shooting in a haunted abandoned children’s hospital.  It’s made for good pranks, but I don’t think anything has really happened.

NICOLE GALE ANDERSON

 

Moderator    How does the costume designer approach the changing wardrobe of Miranda since she is a ghost?

Nicole    The opportunity that Miranda has to change from the green jacket to the purple sweater was in her dream state, where she was at her parents’ house and she had that closet and she was changing in and out of her pajamas and everything just felt real to her.  So she was able to change in that world. I was like, “Gosh when she was in Remy’s closet in her dream in episode 108 she should have stole a bunch of clothes, have like five different wardrobe changes.”  But she didn’t; they were too busy running away from Abaddon, so totally understandable.

As far as collaborating with the costume designer, there are a good three or four different versions of those outfits so I don’t have to keep wearing the same one over and over and over again.  I think when we chose the purple sweater, even though Miranda was more punk when we met her in the Pretty Little Liars episode; she had the garter belt with the big jacket, the big jean jacket and she just looked a bit more punk.  We figured with her being at her parents’ house and her being happier we wanted something softer, and then it just ended up playing for the rest of the season.

Moderator    Is there any hope for your ghost character to ever have a physical connection?

Nicole    I think that the huge cliffhanger at the season finale will definitely leave that window of opportunity open for Miranda. There’s definitely a huge cliffhanger at the end of the season; it’s literally the last scene of the episode where Miranda could have a ghost companion.  So you will see!

Moderator    What’s your most and least favorite thing about your character, Miranda?

Nicole    My favorite thing about her is that she’s so loyal.  She will bend over backwards for anyone that she cares about, and I think that’s a really nice quality to play in a character. The fact that I can really like Miranda and enjoy playing her in that sense has been a lot of fun.  My least favorite part about playing Miranda is not being able to change clothes!

Moderator    What’s your favorite episode that’s aired so far?

Nicole    My favorite episode was the winter return episode, it was episode 106 with all of the flashbacks.  I had so much fun being able to change in general, but also being able to dress up in all of the old Edwardian clothing.  It was a lot of fun for me!  I love historical fiction and Keira Knightley movies, so I was eating it up.

Moderator    Has anyone ever considered what could happen to Miranda if they do break the curse?

Nicole    Yes, definitely.  It’s all discussed during this huge showdown between the kids of the pack and Abaddon in the season finale.  There’s this huge battle between them, and there are a lot of questions that are answered as far as Miranda being able to come back to life or staying dead.  It’s all brought to the surface during this whole battle.

Moderator    Do you think the gang should be thinking about ways to bring Miranda back before they do anything drastic?

Nicole    I don’t think they’ve really thought of it as a possibility up until the showdown.  I think Miranda’s finally coming to terms with being a ghost and being content.  Well, not content, but just more accepting of her situation.  I don’t think they’ve really thought whether or not to be able to bring her back.

Moderator    Have you had a chance to go out and experience the haunted city of New Orleans?

Nicole    I visited New Orleans two times prior to shooting Ravenswood, so I had already gone on the haunted history tours and all of that stuff, because I love all of that!

I think while I was down there I was pretty busy shooting the show.  But I know that Brett had a lot of weird things happen to him in his apartment; he said that he felt a ghost in his bathroom.  So after that I was like, “Well I’m never hanging out in your apartment again.  I guess hangouts are now in my place. [laughs]” I think the city’s really, really cool in that way. You feel it in the energy and in the people.

Moderator    What do you think is going to happen with Mr. Collins’?

Nicole    I think Steven does such a great job at confusing people!  His true colors finally show in this upcoming episode and during the season finale, which I think will be very exciting for fans to see.

Moderator    If you could play any other character on Ravenswood, who would it be?

Nicole    I would probably want to be Remy.  I think she’s a really smart and quirky character. Her sleeping nightmares have been a really cool aspect to her storyline as well.

Moderator    How did you get your start in acting?

Nicole    I started acting when I was 13. It all began with this random pageant that I decided to sign up for, and one thing led to another and I finally come out to LA for one pilot season, and it ended up going well.  Ever since then I’ve been taking commercial gigs and print modeling. Then it led to a couple of pilots, and after that I booked JONAS when I was 18; that kind of started everything.

Moderator    Do you ever hang out with the Jonas brothers since the filming of Jonas?

Nicole    We hung out a couple of times since we’ve wrapped; it’s an annual reunion for the cast.  We’re all busy; Kevin’s all the way on the East Coast getting ready to be a dad!  But we definitely try to all get together when we can.

Moderator    What are your thoughts about Kevin and Danielle expecting their baby?

Nicole    I think it’s all so exciting!  When we were shooting JONAS they were still this long-distance couple, not even engaged or married yet. So to see them married and moving back to Jersey and having a kid is all really, really exciting.  I think Danielle is so sweet.  She’s going to be the best mom ever; she’s just so soft-spoken and nurturing.  I’m very excited for them!

Images are courtesy of © 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Media Q&A with Cierra Ramirez (2014) (of ABC Family’s “The Fosters”) (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

January 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

fosters-b

Cierra Ramirez has come a long way as an actress. From earlier roles on “CSI: Miami”, “Desperate Housewives”, Cierra would eventually appear in multiple episodes of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and on the final season of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and her first feature film with Ava Mendes in the 2012 film “Girl in Progress”.

Cierra Ramirez is one of the stars of the ABC drama “The Fosters”, playing the character Mariana Foster.

The series revolves around a bi-racial lesbian couple Lena (portrayed by Sherri Saum) and Stef (portrayed by Teri Polo) who raise a biological son and several adoptive children. Lena, an altruistic school principal wants to save children and tries to introduce new children into the family, while Stef is a police officer who is not always aware that Lena has brought new additions to their growing family. Especially with the addition of Callie (portrayed by Maia Mitchell), a troubled teenager who is known to turn family’s lives upside down.

Previously in the series, the character of Mariana Foster is one of the adopted daughters who is the fraternal twin sister of Jesus. She is popular, smart and cares for her appearances a lot. But she has recently connected with her real mother who needs money and so Mariana resorts to drug trafficking. But when she gets in trouble, she puts the blame on the new adopted and troubled girl of the family, Callie.

With the second half of the season for  “The Fosters” airing on ABC Family, a media Q&A was recently held with Cierra Ramirez to promote the second half of the season.

Here is a transcript from the Q&A:

fosters-a

Moderator    What do you think has made The Fosters such a quick fan favorite series?
        
Cierra    The fact that it deals with topics and issues that are so real and relevant right now in the world — but they aren’t often on television for the viewers to see.  I think it has done really well, being able to connect to the audiences. That’s the best part about the series — having people approach you saying that they really relate to a certain character or storyline.  That’s what the whole idea of the show is, it’s so universal.  I think that’s really awesome to see.

Moderator    Who are some of the great guest stars we’ll be seeing this season?

Cierra    Well, you did see Rosie O’Donnell, that’s going to be really awesome.  I’m really
excited for that.  I wasn’t really a part of that whole filming process, so I’m    excited for that as well.  Garrett Clayton will be guest starring as one of Mariana’s possible love interests, so that’s going to be interesting as well.

Moderator    Will this half of the season finally give Mariana the chance to be happy with her new possibly love interest?

Cierra    Well, you did see Mariana deal with some very dark issues on the first half of the season, so it has definitely lightened up.  But I wouldn’t say that it’s all just gone.  A lot of her stuff will come back to haunt her, so you can definitely look forward to some dark stuff coming up.

Moderator    Would you say Mariana is struggling without Lexi around?  

Cierra    It is a story that will continue, and you’ve kind of seen how the relationship and dynamic has changed with Lexi now dating her brother. You’re going to see how that kind of comes into play.  And with her leaving, yes, I definitely think that she will miss Lexi in her life.

Moderator    What has been Mariana’s most important & pivotal moment?

Cierra    I think it would have to be episode 9, where Stef is in the hospital. You see all of the issues that she’s dealt with bottle up and come out.  The reason her mother is in the hospital is because of her, so she’s left with this guilt.  She got shot because she was in contact with the biological mom and with that she wonders if Lena and Stef want to keep her or if they still love her.  I think that she really needed to hear from Lena and Stef that she really is part of this family. It was just something she dealt with, growing up and being curious it did get her into some trouble, and I think that at the end of the day she really needed to know that she was loved.  I think that’s one of my favorite moments.

That was my most favorite.  It was the toughest.  I’m a sucker for anything, you know, I’m very dramatic. I love crying, and I just think that episode was just so beautiful.

Moderator    Is there anything that you would like to have changed about the character in the past?

Cierra    Up until now, she’s no longer keeping in contact with her mother.  I think that was one thing I was a little iffy about, was how close she was getting with her mom, and you see the results of that.

Moderator    Is there anything special you’ve had to do in order to prepare yourself for the role of Mariana?

Cierra    I didn’t really know much about foster care, so my learning process was gradual with the pilot. The cast and crew also helped out. Luckily we’ve been able to meet with foster care companies, and we were able to meet a lot of kids who come from the foster care system. They’ve been able to give feedback, tell us how they relate to something, or if they don’t relate to something.  It’s been really great to see how they relate to The Fosters, and I think that has really helped me shape my character as well.

Moderator    How much of Cierra are you allowed to bring to Mariana?

Cierra    One thing I’m really big about is that I love nail polish!  I just love getting my nails done and I’m really into really funky colors and patterns. They’ve really helped me bring that into Mariana.  I think that’s helped shape her style – she’s very daring and colorful. I love being able to bring the Cierra nails into Mariana.

Moderator    How does Mariana feel about the near loss of a potential sister after Callie ran away?

Cierra    I think that’s really hard, especially coming from a fostering background.  Up until the Foster’s Mariana hasn’t really known a family, and up until Callie she was the only girl sibling in the household. At first she was a little territorial and she didn’t really take a liking to Callie.  But you’ve seen their relationship bond. They’ve gotten so close, and for her to leave like that was hard on the whole family, especially Brandon. I think it is really hard.  She’s never had a sisterly figure in her life, and for Callie to disappear like that was very hard.

Moderator    What do you think Mariana would be like as a girlfriend?

Cierra    She’s never had a boyfriend, so she’s going to have a little hit-or-miss. She’s not going to really know how to be a girlfriend, but I think at the end of the day she will be very romantic and thoughtful.  She’s very creative, so I think she would be very romantic.

Moderator    What is it like working with Garrett Clayton?

Cierra    It’s awesome!  Our friendship actually started from our mutual obsession with Kristen Wiig. We’re just constantly doing some of her impersonations and impressions. I love working with him.  He’s such a great actor and he brings so much to his character Chase. I’m really excited to see how it all turns out and have a blast with him on set.

Moderator    Can you give away any hints behind Mariana’s deep and dark secrets?

Cierra    She doesn’t really have as many this half of the season, but like I said, her mistakes will definitely come back to haunt her.

Moderator    Do you see Mariana as the nice girl she is portrayed to be, or something more?

Cierra    I see Mariana as a 15-year-old girl who is growing and with that she’s going to make a few mistakes here and there.  At the end of the day she loves her family and it means the world to her.  But she is growing and she comes from a different background. She’s very curious, but she’s sassy, she’s witty, she’s loving and caring at the same time. I love her.  I think she’s a great character and I love being able to portray her.

Moderator    How are these perceived expectations of teen normalcy (having a boyfriend) going to affect her actions this half of the season?

Cierra    It actually unravels in one of the upcoming episodes. There is a lot of pressure, and especially if there’s competition. I don’t want to say too much but there might be a little competition in the running towards a love interest.  But, yes, there will be pressure, and you’ll see that all unravel.

Moderator    What other actresses do you look up to?

Cierra    Angelina Jolie!  She is fabulous, on and off screen. I just think she’s an awesome person.  I love Kate del Castillo, I’ve got to represent for my Latinas.  Rachel McAdams is such a beautiful person.  They are all some of my biggest inspirations.

Moderator    What is it like working on The Foster’s set?

Cierra    Oh, it is amazing!  It’s constant laughter.  They really are a great reason to wake up early in the morning.  Whenever I’m rolling out of bed and my bed is just so comfy, I just look forward to seeing them.  They make the day go by so much faster.  It’s honestly not work.  It’s so much fun.  The relationships on and off screen are just so light, it’s just so full of love.  I love it.  It’s a dream.

fosters-c

Moderator    What issues in the upcoming episodes would you like to see Mariana take on?  

Cierra    If I had to go back to the idea of pressures, pressuring in the teen dating life, I think maybe dealing with the idea of sex or virginity. They have touched it briefly on the show. But I think it’s different with a girl. I think Mariana would be interesting in that scenario. You might be able to see something like that on this upcoming season.  It will be interesting.

Moderator    Is there any type of social issue or a problem that you would not like to see Mariana take on?

Cierra    No, actually.  The one thing I really admire about the writers is that they can really touch base with a lot of different topics really fast, but it all blends so well and all of the storylines just match.  I love the idea of touching so many different universal topics that people can relate to.  I think that’s really awesome.  I don’t think I would be against anything.

Moderator    How is working on The Fosters similar or different than working on The Secret Life of the American Teenager?

Cierra    When I was on The Secret Life of the American Teenager I had signed on the last season of a total of five, so Iwas the new kid on the block.  That was different because on The Fosters we started as strangers on this pilot and took it on from there. It was kind of a whole different ballgame with The Secret Life, coming in as the new student.  Everyone on The Secret Life was so welcoming and so warm, it was a family already. It was so much fun acting on The Secret Life — the drama, I couldn’t get over it, it was awesome.  It was the same in the sense that on both sets the cast and crew were just such family, so that was really fun. It was such a huge blessing to hop on one awesome project to another. It’s been a great ride!

Moderator    Did you already know that you had this role before The Secret Life ended?

Cierra    No, actually.  My auditioning process was very different.  The creator of The Secret Life had called to tell me that The Secret Life was no longer being picked up for another season, so I got on the phone with my agent and I told him, “I’m out here.  I really want to get a new project,” and he told me about The Fosters, but they were already testing for the role of Mariana.  As a spur of the moment I wanted to put myself on tape. The day after we sent it in, I found out that I had booked the role, so it was a really different process. It was a huge blessing.  It was really unexpected.

Moderator    Is there a possibility of something happening between Mariana, Zac and Chase?

Cierra    Oh, I don’t want to give too much away, but maybe you’re on to something! You know she’s never had a boyfriend, so a lot of that topic will surface and there could possibly be a love triangle.

Moderator    What do you think about Jesus finding a new love outside of Lexi?

Cierra    I don’t think that Mariana’s going to be okay with that.  The idea of him dating Lexi — it took so long for her to be okay with. Now that she’s fine with it and she’s away, I don’t know how that’s all going to pan out for Jesus.

Moderator    What does Mariana feel about Brandon and Callie’s relationship?

Cierra    Her relationship with Callie has grown and progressed so much over the first half of the season into this sisterly relationship. She’s known Brandon for so much of her life, that’s her brother, and for them to be dating, I don’t think she approves.  Cierra is definitely Team Brallie, but Mariana’s definitely not.  I’ve got to say I love those moments.  Brandon’s truth comes to play — you’ll see how the whole Foster family really approves or disapproves of it.

Moderator    What is it like working with Hayden Byerly?

Cierra    Hayden is literally a 40-year-old man trapped in a 13-year-old body.  He is the most mature person, he’s probably the most mature out of everyone in the cast, I swear.  He’s so awesome, so giving, and I love being able to work with him.  I love those moments too, because I just love his character Jude. Being able to interact with him as Mariana is just so awesome.  I love it.  I think you’ll definitely see a lot more of them and their friendship in this season.

Moderator    What information or advice do you receive from your friends and family regarding the show and subject matters?

Cierra    My family is just so supportive of everything I’ve taken on, and they are the first people to tell me about the episode! They’re always watching it live and I love hearing their feedback. They love everything that The Fosters has talked about or dealt with, and the same for my friends.  It’s just been so amazing, the whole process and the whole ride of the show. It’s a huge blessing that people like it so much.  It’s really fun to hear that from my family and friends as well.

Moderator    If you could take on the role of any other character on The Fosters who would it be?

Cierra    Probably Jude, just because he has a special place in my heart – if I was a boy [laughs]! I think he has so much underneath that has come into play, and he’s such a strong character, he’s so brave. For a 13-year-old boy he’s just so brave with everything he’s had to deal with, it’s just so cool.  I definitely would want to be Jude.

Moderator    If you weren’t an actress what do you think you’d be doing?

Cierra    I would probably want to be an investigator.  It’s always just been a dream of mine.  I love mysteries and stuff like that!

Moderator    What are some of your other talents other than acting?

Cierra    I originally got into acting through singing.  I grew up in Texas, so I would do lots of local county fairs, so I grew up competing.  I did a competition here in L.A. and they had acting as another category, and since I was out here I thought I might as well just try it.  I didn’t know that I’d end up falling in love with it, I got my agent through that competition, and I’ve been with him ever since.  I love singing and I love acting!

Moderator    Have there been any noteworthy stories or great perceptions from fans that you’ve received?

Cierra    You know that’s one of the main things I love being able to experience — the fans coming up and saying that they relate to a certain subject.  I met a few lesbian couples raising families and blended families, and I’ve been able to speak with them about the show. They’re so excited about the fact that there’s something on the air that they can relate to.  I think that’s just so awesome that the show is honestly making history. It’s ground breaking and it’s real, and being able to speak with fans is just an awesome thing.

For more information on “The Fosters”, please visit the official website.

“The Fosters” airs on ABC Family on Monday nights, 9/8c

Next Page »

Bottom