Disney actress Cerina Vincent talks about hit sitcom Stuck in the Middle, and playing Yellow Power Ranger
Disney Channel actress Cerina Vincent talks about playing Suzy Diaz on the latino based sitcom "Stuck in the Middle", and playing the Yellow Power Ranger Maya. Also Cerina remembers her cult classic film "Not Another Teen Movie".
You play the quirky mother Suzy Diaz on the Disney's Channel smash sitcom "Stuck in the Middle". The show is, about a 14-year-old Harley Diaz played by Jenna Ortega who maneuvers her way through the bustle of being a middle child in a family with six other siblings. What was the audition process like for Disney casting, and can you tell about your character Suzy?
The audition process was fascinating, actually. Before this, I couldn’t even get an audition to play a mom. When I got the material for Suzy, the mom of 7, I was elated. I knew in my heart that it was mine. I just had to convince the executives that it was. I come from a big, family and I feel incredibly maternal, so I really related to the quirkiness of Suzy. When I booked the pilot, and it was the greatest feeling in the world.
For a minute, before Disney picked up the show, they thought about replacing me with someone older and more Latina looking, etc. As a result, I had to re-audition for my role! It was a very stressful process but with a lot of patience, mediation (and wine) I ultimately got to keep my role. I love those kids deeply, and I think ultimately that it came through in the audition and I’m grateful that it’s my role.
The Disney Channel sitcom "Stuck in the Middle" stars 15-year-old Jenna Ortega from Jane the Virgin who quickly became, a household name after the series took off while, still in the first season. Can you tell what it's like working with Jenna, and do you guys hang-out offset?
Jenna is extraordinary. I met her when she was just 11 and now she’s this beautiful young woman. She’s so talented, smart and professional. She works so hard. She has a heart of gold and it’s no surprise to me that she’s a household name. Jenna has a long career ahead of her and I feel lucky that I get to play her mama on our wonderful Stuck in the Middle journey. As far as hanging out? We really don't hang out. We are so busy shooting the show and on weekends she has her own family and friends she needs to spend time with. But I love every juicy moment I get with her on set!
I was fascinated to learn at the age of sixteen you won the Miss Nevada Teen USA title which, must have been one exciting experience, because after that you also competed in the Miss Teen USA pageant. I'm interested to learn what you must do to prepare for the Miss Nevada Teen pageant, and how did you feel about people who don't agree with having women compete in pageants?
Yep! I was Miss Nevada Teen USA in 1996! I watched cousins and friends in the pageant when I was younger and I always wanted to enter. When I was 16, I asked my parents and they said “NO,” but I raised the money to enter, bought myself a dress, and WON! And then yes, I was off to Miss Teen USA. That was an interesting experience for me because I didn’t grow up a “beauty queen” like some of those other girls. I was pretty shy, but I actually did very well. They only had a top 10 that year for Miss Teen USA, but apparently I came in 11th or 12th?
As far as training... I loved to workout so I was in pretty great shape at the time and that’s about it! I practiced answers to typical pageant questions about politics, the environmental and social issues. At the time it was a pretty stressful process but looking back, it was a blast and an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You're first big on-screen role was playing the Yellow Galaxy Ranger Maya in the 90's television series "Power Rangers Lost Galaxy" which, must have been a real trip to actually play a Power Ranger. What are some of your memories from that series and, what was like putting on that suite every week?
Yep! Power Rangers was my first series regular job and I learned SO much. Honestly, most of my memories are from just being tired! Ha! We worked 16 hour days, 5/6 days a week and I had to get up at 3am to be in makeup at 4:30! But I made life long friends with my other fellow rangers, the producers and crew too! The Power Ranger world is like a little family. Rangers, crew, fans… we are all one. Regarding the costumes: I always joke that no one looks great in yellow spandex but the suits were absolutely fun to wear.
My character was from a jungle planet so I wore a little leather shirt and half top every single day and then “morphed” into the yellow ranger suit. But little secret was that any time the helmets are on… that’s not us actors. When the helmet are on, they used really badass stuntman under the helmet!! We couldn’t make that show without those guys. They are some of the best martial artists in the business.
In 2001 you appeared the cult classic comedy "Not Another Teen Movie" playing the character of Areola who is nude throughout the whole film. Did you have any reservations about taking the role, and how do you feel about the film now looking back almost seventeen years later?
I did have some reservations about it. Actually, I first turned the role down—I didn’t think I could do it. But it came back to me, they offered it again and after a long talk with my family, I made the decision to do it. It’s a brilliantly funny movie with an incredible cast! It’s a spoof and I loved the concept of my character and working on the 5 different accents. It was all very professional and on a closed set. Everyone was sensitive towards me and great.
I was painfully nervous but shooting those scenes wasn’t as hard as it was for the movie to come out! When the movie came out to the world, I wasn’t quite prepared for the judgment! I got a few cruel comments and push back. But in the end it just made me stronger and more secure with myself and my body. I have no regrets.
Congratulations on becoming a published author with three books under your the Hot Chick series including How to Eat Like a Hot Chick, and How to Love Like a Hot Chick. How did you start writing books, and can you explain the Hot Chick series is all about?
Well, thank you! My co-author and best friend Jodi Lipper and I thought there needed to be a voice out there that made women feel good about themselves! We were tired of books with restrictive diets that seemed more like tabloid magazines that picked apart women bodies. We redefined the term “Hot Chick,”—It’s not about looking a certain way, it’s about an inner confidence. The books are irreverent and silly. They are uplifting and in the end, women of all ages have thanked us for making them finally feel beautiful and secure with themselves. Harper Collins is doing a reprint of How to Eat Like a Hot Chick and you can get them all at Barnes and Noble or Amazon!
You currently have a new film coming out called "Broken Memories" which, follows a beautiful and mysterious caretaker who helps a man battle his father's Alzheimer's. What did you learn about Alzheimer's from the film and, can you tell some more about your character?
I actually have a smaller role in this film but, I did appreciate the subject matter and I think it is important for all of us to have a better understanding about this horrible disease. Rance Howard gives a beautiful performance. I think I went into the film with a better understanding than most because I had an uncle who battled with Alzheimers. My aunt was his primary care giver and when you see what families dealing with Alzheimers actually go through I think one of the big take aways is how much love and care a family has to have to care for their loved one. It is a disease that fully affects everyone in the family, not just the patient.
What advice would you give someone looking to break into acting?
There are no rules in this business. If there was one sure way to make it, we’d all be rich and famous and be in and on the best films and television shows. It doesn’t work like that but that’s a good thing! Everyone gets to write their own story. It’s a hustle. It takes a lot of dedication and for me, meditation! Work hard and be kind to others. Get into acting classes. Read books. Make short films with your friends. And again, I can't express enough to always work hard and be kind. Thank you so much!
Watch full episodes of Stuck in the Middle on Disney Channel.com
Don't miss the world premiere of Stuck at Christmas (The Movie) premiering December 8, 2017
Follow Cerina on Instagram, and Twitter.
Disney's Adam McArthur talks Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, and voicing Lee-Char in hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Disney's Adam McArthur talks about playing Marco Diaz in Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, and voicing Lee-Char in the hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also Adam dishes about his expertise in Kung Fu.
You grew up in San Francisco, got your degree in film production and were in improv groups in LA. How did you transition from improv to scripted roles?
I've actually been doing both in tandem for many years! Improv teaches you to trust your instincts, and really listen. Any great acting teacher will tell you how important those qualities are in scripted work as well. I've never thought of them as separate kinds of acting or performing, but rather different sides of the same coin that can make me a more well-rounded actor. I'm thankful for all of my training! It really allows me to have fun, feel the freedom in the moment to trust myself and what I'm able to bring to different roles.
You play Marco Diaz on the hit Disney XD show "Star vs. The Forces of Evil." Marco is the quirky, almost Charlie Brown like best friend of Star and her companion on her adventures. What has the process been like in creating this fun teenage character?
Oh man, it's been an insanely fun process. Marco and I have so much in common that it's comical at times. I like to say that he and I "just get each other. I pull from a lot of my own personal experiences with this guy. Through the guidance of Daron Nefcy, the creator of the show, and Kelly Ward, as well as all the other amazing directors and creatives involved behind the scenes, the creative process has been very collaborative.
You also voice Lee-Char in the hit series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." You have done live action roles such as 'Casey' in "The Coin," starring Christopher Lloyd. What are some of the greatest differences and similarities you find in playing live action characters and voiceover characters?
I think the differences lie in the nuances of the different styles of acting. For an on-camera role, there is a whole different type of technique you use when acting for the camera. Same goes for VO. Mic placement, how loud you are, what your body is doing. It's all very different between the two styles. There are definitely some similarities though! Knowing your character and making strong choices are helpful no matter what style of acting you're doing. The good thing is, both are so much fun! It's like exercising different parts of my brain.
You recently attended San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo for "Star vs. The Forces of Evil." What have been some of the greatest experiences you've had at these, and other events?
The best part about any convention is the time I get to spend with the fans. We have so many amazingly sweet, talented, funny and weird fans of this show! (Haha. You weird ones know who you are.) There's no greater feeling than meeting people, and hearing how you've impacted their lives by doing what you love. That will never get old, and I am forever grateful to be where I'm at.
You created your own short film "Showdown at High Noon" back in 2013. What are some things you learned about creating your own content, and do you plan on directing/producing more in the future?
Showdown at High Noon is actually a credit someone else put on my IMDB, and I have no idea what the heck it is lol. So if IMDB is reading this, please take that off! (Side note: I am currently working on a project that I'm writing and acting in called The Adam & Brian Show. I'm working on it with my good buddy who is a puppeteer with the Henson Company. It follows two best friends, one who happens to be a puppet, on a pretty wild journey through their pretty mundane lives. Keep an eye out for it!)
You also specialize in Kung Fu. You have won numerous tournaments, and have been the subject of several PBS documentaries. How do the principles you have learned in Kung Fu seep into your career as an actor/filmmaker?
Great question! I think the greatest lesson I learned from the martial arts is the ability to cope in the uncomfortable. As you can imagine, there's a lot of pain both physically and mentally during martial arts training. My teacher taught me to never give up, even when things got difficult. He also said that sometimes in order to be comfortable, you had to be uncomfortable for a while first. It's so similar to acting. Sometimes things are difficult. You might have a bad performance, a creative block or lose out on a big role. But you can't let it get you down. You just have to keep pushing through, and come out stronger on the other side. So that's what I do! It keeps me pretty happy most of the time.
You sometimes lend your voice to video games such as the mysterious Joker in Final Fantasy Type-0. How is it different playing a video game character, rather than an animated character?
The great thing about animation is I get to see a full script, and often times get to record with other actors. On Puss in Boots, we record in a big room together where everyone is playing off each. Video games are quite the opposite! Every single video game I've worked on, I've had zero idea what game it was until much later (sometimes years!). Because games take so long to make, their stories are kept under wraps so tightly that even the actors don't know what they're working on. I'll typically get a page with just my lines, and I don't record with anyone else. From there, the director gives me vague context and we give it a go! It's wild and a lot of the time feels very spontaneous, exciting! They're both a lot of fun to work on!
Can you tell us about what you are currently working on?
I'm currently focused on recording the upcoming season of Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, which I'm super excited about! You can also hear my voice all over Disney XD, as well as in the new Far Cry 5 coming out early next year. There are a few other things coming soon, but I can't talk about those yet. So stay tuned!
Teen sensation Joshua Rush dishes on Disney Channel series Andi Mack,and streaming CNN news twenty-four-seven
Teen sensation Joshua Rush dishes on the popular Disney Channel series Andi Mack, taking us threw a typical day on set for his character of Cyrus Goodman, and streaming CNN news twenty-four-seven.
Congratulations on a leading role in the Disney Channel series "Andi Mack" as Cyrus, one of Andi's BFF! How did you get started acting? Tell us about your acting path that led to playing Cyrus.
Thanks! My mom got me started in the business. At a very young age she set me up with an acting coach in Houston, which is where I lived at the start of my career. Eventually my acting coach told us we should try out Los Angeles, and that was all my mom needed to hear! She had us move to LA for 3 months (I was 6 or 7 years old) and eventually we called her and said "We're not coming home!"
Cyrus is quirky, not athletic and a little bit awkward, but he has a sense of humor that can make just about anyone laugh. What are some of your similarities and differences to the character?
I think Cyrus and I are similar in a lot of ways. Our awkwardness, sense of humor, and general weirdness are definitely similarities. I think something amazing about Terri Minsky is that she's not only an amazing writer, but an amazing observer too! We (the cast) would just be talking around her, and she would just sit and listen. A week or two later, one of our sentences would appear in the script! I'm still waiting for my writer's credits!
Andi Mack" is a coming-of-age show about not only the usual young teen issues, but deals with family drama. Do any fans reach to you out about issues they face, both with family and peer relationships, and how do you respond to those questions?
I've certainly gotten some fans who ask me for some help with their issues and, when I respond, I try to make it as clear as I can that I'm not really a great person to be asking for advice on these things! I try to give them a personal anecdote from my own life and explain how my solution to the problem worked and how it didn't, and what I'd do differently. When I'm at a loss, I get advice from my Dad, who is a psychotherapist!
You played the younger version of Zachary Quinto's character in "Heroes" and younger version of Zachary Levi's 'Chuck' in "Chuck." Did you have to research your older counterparts' characters beforehand, and did you get to rehearse your characters with them? Tell us some special memories of working on these shows.
I don't have as many memories from those shows as I used to because when I worked on "Chuck" and "Heroes" I was only 7 and 8! It's been almost 9 years since I worked on them! I do know that when my episode of "Criminal Minds" came out, I wasn't even allowed to watch my scenes, because my parents thought I was too young. Eventually I watched "Chuck" (I think around age 10) and saw my episodes; I really liked them! But researching the part at that age wasn't much of an option.
You can be heard in hit shows such as "Family Guy" and "The Cleveland Show" and, on the big screen, fans may recognize your voice in movies such as "Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman". You voice 'Jeremy' on Disney's "Star Vs The Forces of Evil", and 'Toby' on Netflix's "The Adventures of Puss in Boots". Have you done special training for voiceover and what are some of the differences between on-camera roles and voiceover?
I've worked one-on-one with David Kaufman, who coaches me, and has starred in roles like Danny Phantom (basically my childhood!). I think the biggest difference is the time. Working on voice over we can record an episode in 5 hours (for a 45 minute episode, with every character on-mic) while on "Andi Mack", it takes us a week to record a 21 minute episode! We work 9.5 hours per day with an hour for lunch and 10 minute breaks every hour on "Andi Mack", and on "The Lion Guard" — other than the first episode (Return of the Roar, a 45 minute TV movie with a few songs) — I've never taken longer than 2 hours, with a snack break of 5 minutes in the middle. It's a major parallel!
You've had some starring roles in some big budget productions such as "Parental Guidance" alongside Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei, and "Break Point" alongside Jeremy Sisto and David Walton. What films, television or VO projects should we be watching for you in next?
I'm focusing on my three shows in the Disney family ("Andi Mack", "The Lion Guard", "Star vs. the Forces of Evil") right now, as well as finishing up the final season of my Dreamworks/Netflix show ("Adventures of Puss in Boots")
I read that you a passion for cars and could name the make and model of many styles of cars at just 2 ½ years old and were featured on the news. What are some of your other hobbies and interests outside of acting, and how do you balance school, friends and family with your successful career? Do you have any charities you are passionate about?
My biggest hobby right now is reading the news! I read and listen to the news about 3 hours per day. I carry bluetooth earbuds where I have CNN streaming 24/7. I read the Atlantic, New York Times, Washington Post, and a few others daily, and I watch cable news probably an unhealthy amount. It's not easy to balance my school, friends, and family, but something really important to me is a strong calendar. Every minute of my day from 6 am to midnight is scheduled out, and I try to give every part of my life as much time as I can, even if it means combining time with friends with work time. For example, Sofia and I work together on lines almost every night but at the same time we play poker and pool. We have to keep it fun!
What advice would you give our readers that are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry?
It's hard but having the right people behind you makes it easier. Get an agent or manager and a coach who is behind you, and who will really help you put the right foot forwards. And always remember this: out of 100 auditions, sometimes you will only book one role. So don't get discouraged if you don't get a callback!
Disney actress Kimberly J. Brown, dishes on working with Debbie Reynolds, and recasting of Halloweentown
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY LIz assitstant to Kimberly J. Brown
- Los Angeles, California
We Blab Entertainment Magazine, catches up with former teen actress Kimberly J. Brown about her memories working with the late legend Debbie Reynolds (Singing in the Rain), recasting of Marine Piper in Disney Channel's Halloweentown 4, and advice for breaking into Hollywood.
Most people remember Kimberly J. Brown, from the Disney Channel Halloweentown trilogy. Can you tell us how you got started in the business?
I started in NY w/commercials and print and eventually did my first of three Broadway shows at age 7. My parents had put me in a class in my MD hometown because I loved acting out pretend “plays” in my house, and I was one of the few students encouraged to try auditioning in New York. My parents always told me if I didn’t like it I could stop but I fell completely head-over-heels in love with it and here I am all these years later!
Halloweentown premiered in 1998 which, made you a household name with my generation. What was the audition process like for the role of Marine Piper?
I read a couple of times for the role. If I remember correctly, we did the scene in the beginning with Marnie arguing with Gwen about going trick-or-treating and the scene with Marnie telling Dylan about Halloweentown in her bedroom. I was so thrilled when I found out I booked it because I loved Marnie as a character and couldn’t wait to pretend to have magical powers :)
When filming begun on Halloweentown you were just 14 years old. How did your personal life change after the film became a hit on the Disney Channel?
It’s been amazing to watch the movies’ fanbase grow over the years. I’m so flattered by fans who still come up and quote the movie to me. It’s the greatest gift to have something you’ve acted in enjoyed by people, and have them tell you about it.
After two more successful sequels the Disney Channel chose to recast the role of Marnie. You originally voiced your disappointment; can you elaborate on the recasting for Return to Halloweentown?
Yes, I was disappointed for the fans but I’ve been doing this for over 25 years. My fellow actor friends and I have all had stuff happen through the course of doing this for a living that sometimes you just have to chalk up to being in a crazy industry.
The sudden death of Debbie Reynolds was a complete shock to the whole industry. Can you tell us what it was like working with the legendary Debbie Reynolds?
I can’t say enough about what an incredible human being she was. Getting to grow up with her and become her friend outside of the “Halloweentown” shoots was such a blessing to my life. She was the ultimate supportive, insightful, hilarious performer and friend and I will always miss her.
Also the death of Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in Star Wars was quite emotional. How did her untimely passing affect you?
It was quite shocking. She was such a strong, funny, bold woman. Her amazing talent and sense of humor will be missed.
We often speak to kids who want to enter the entertainment industry. What advice would you give someone if they wanted to pursue a career in acting?
People ask me that all the time and I always say to start with training, because it gives you a real idea of what it takes. Many people think that the industry looks fun because of what celebrity looks like on social media but it is work. Fun work, and work that I love and have loved since I was little. So I think taking classes first to see what kind of work it takes is a good start because that fundamental love of acting will drive you through all the ups and downs of the crazy business aspect of it.
Our readers are very interested in what you are currently up to professionally. Can you tell us about any future projects your working on?
I’m currently performing improv at UCB, and write & direct original skits and videos for my YouTube Channel. I also have a film called “The Wrong Side of 25” in post-production, with a couple other films in development. ;)
Kimberly will be appearing at the 2017 Cherry City Comic Con happening April 8th-9th in Salem, Oregon.
Follow Kimberly J. Brown on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.