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.