In support of the January 4th return of ABC Family’s “Make It or Break It”, I have an interview with Josie Loren, who plans Kaylie Cruz. Josie chats about her role, memorable moments from filming and her background with gymnastics.
Q: I was wondering what about your role continues to challenge you?
Josie: Well, we have a great team of writers. I feel like our characters are always developing. Kaylie started off as one thing and she’s now going into something else completely different. So I have different things that I have to deal with, different issues, different troubles that have to deal with these ten episodes that I didn’t have to in the last ten. In last ten episodes, Kaylie kind of played this golden girl, very naïve. I thought she was kind of—she’s really just soft and she’s now stepped into the role of national champion. And just dealing with all of those things that the writers are giving me, dealing with envy, having to be even more aggressive now because she actually has the title. I think that that’s very challenging because it’s just all different.
Read the rest below.
Q: Have you had a memorable moment from filming these ten episodes?
Josie: I’ve have a few memorable moments. I just saw this girl the other day. Actually, she was doing a stunt for me. I think only a handful of girls can do this in the entire country and I saw her do this amazing trick. It’s called a Double Arabian. I was able to see it first hand and it was incredible. I was like, “Wow!” I get to see this live. So those are just one of the many things on our set that we get to appreciate and enjoy.
Q:I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about your background with gymnastics, if you were a fan of watching it, if you ever took gymnastics and where you fall in that spectrum.
Josie: I was a gymnast when I was younger. My parents put me in gymnastics and I was actually only good at the floor. I was terrible at everything else, especially beam. Unfortunately, you can’t be a gymnast unless you’re good at all of the apparatuses, so I became a competitive cheerleader. I was just the main tumbler for my squad. We competed in big state and national championships. We were on ESPN, did that whole thing. So I’m really knowledgeable about the world of gymnastics and the competitive nature of it and all of that. But unfortunately, I was only good at one of the things.
Q: Has there been anything that you learned from cheerleading that has helped you with this role?
Josie: Yes. I think Kaylie is a huge performer. I think her best asset is floor because she’s just such a ham. If cheerleading taught me anything, it was performing. Cheerleaders, they know how to spice it up. They know how to ham it up for the fans and Kaylie definitely does that for her audiences as well.
Q: So now that Kaylie is national champion, she has a lot more responsibilities, distractions, stuff like that. What do you want to see from your character going forward in terms of handling all those new things?
Josie: It’s kind of funny answering this question because we’ve already filmed six episodes. What do I want to see? Honestly, I’m pretty happy the way that she’s been handling all of this, what the writers are writing. I didn’t know what to expect after winning the national championship. I didn’t know if it was going to be a good thing or a bad thing because it could have been a negative thing in terms of she would just—once you’ve won the national championship, like well, kind of just give up on the rest because she’s already number one.
But actually, she’s working a lot harder. She’s becoming more and more focused as a gymnast. In the last episode, she shed her father and Carter and everything else that was a distraction. And it’s kind of kept that way so far. Like I said, we’ve only filmed six episodes, so we have another four to film. But so far, she’s remained really focused and very, very dedicated to gymnastics, which is what I was hoping for.
Q: And are we going to see more of Kaylie/Carter … drama?
Josie: Yes, you are. Carter is definitely not going anywhere. He cheated on her, but you can’t help what you feel. And Carter was Kaylie’s first love and even though he hurt her, she’s still in love with him. So you will see a lot more of Kaylie and Carter.
Q: And there are lot of gymnasts on set. I know you mentioned that and probably some at least national champions. Did you talk to them about your new role on the show and how that impacted them?
Josie: Yes, we have I think one of our gymnasts, she’s absolutely incredible. She’s the most decorated college athlete in the United States and she’s won I don’t know how many national championships. I’ve talked to her and she says that you just kind of have to let everything go, let everything around you go because once you become national champion and I see it in these episodes, so much follows that, endorsement money and parties for celebrities, just a lot, a lot of distractions. And she says that she just kind of had to remember what she used to do before she won anything. And if you keep to that formula, that’s what works. And if you keep that, then you’re going to continue to be successful. So I’ve seen the writers try to cast Kaylie for sure with celebrity, I guess, privileges and it’s interesting to see how she deals with it.
Q: Kaylie just won the nationals. Speaking of endorsements, why did she reject sponsors?
Josie: She didn’t reject sponsors. She rejected in the last episode – she plays MJ. MJ comes up to her asking to talk about being her agent. She says no to MJ at that moment because she needs to go to the hospital to go see Payson. And it’s kind of a little bit of a slap in the face to MJ as well because she didn’t believe in her when she came to her first, when Kaylie first came to her. But she doesn’t reject sponsorships because you’ll see that she is sponsored in these ten episodes. And MJ does come back into the picture, but just at that moment, she says no to MJ. But she definitely is sponsored. She has a few sponsorships and MJ comes back.
Q: Okay, how is Payson’s fractured back factor into this season?
Josie: Well, up until now, Payson will still have a broken back. That hasn’t changed. It’s interesting how the writers have kind of still kept Payson such a part of the Rock. Yes, she has a different life now. She’s obviously no longer a gymnast, but she’s still an active member of the Rock in a different way. And she has her own life now away from the Rock and they’ve incorporated Emily and Kaylie and Lauren into her life outside of the Rock as well. So we’re still in the gym a lot, but when we go out of it, it’s mostly for Payson. So I think you get a nice balance there.
Q: What would you say is Kaylie’s biggest obstacle in following her gymnastics career even though she just won the gold?
Josie: I would say right now it’s not getting caught up in the hype. When Kaylie comes back from nationals, the entire town of Boulder, the city of Boulder is just going nuts and is celebrating the huge win for Boulder. Her coach is excited. Everyone is just so excited for her and she does get an agent and her agent is piling up her plate with so much that it’s just hard to focus on gymnastics when there’s so many other things going on in her life. And I think that’s going to be her biggest obstacle, just staying grounded and staying focused and remembering why she is the national champion.
Q: I know in these episodes, it seems that Kaylie’s mantra seems to be focus, focus, focus. If you had a mantra in your own life, what do you think it would be?
Josie: I would say just give it 100% all the time, give it 100%, whatever it is, whatever might be in my life at that moment 100% I know when I don’t give it my all for whatever reason it might be, it just eats away at me. But if I know that I give it 100% and I still kind of came too short, at least I’m happy with myself. And I know most the time 100% is enough. But if it isn’t, I’m still okay with myself. So I would say yes, that would be it, give 100% all the time.
Q: So with Kaylie getting the first place, are we going to see some guilt on her part because of Payson’s injury? Like is she even feeling guilty that that should have been Payson’s sort of thing?
Josie: Definitely. Like I said, Kaylie is dealing with a lot and that is a huge issue. You’ll see it right from the beginning. Kaylie feels very guilty for winning the national championship because half the time, she doesn’t even think she deserved it. And the then other half of the time, she’s thinking she took it from her best friend, so she’s really torn. And for the first few episodes, she can’t even enjoy the privileges of being the national champion. So, yes, it’s a struggle for sure with Kaylie and her and Payson have to go through some things before they can reconcile and Kaylie can step into the light of being the national champion.
Q: Speaking of friendship, are we going to see Kaylie forgive Lauren for …?
Josie: It’s funny because we’ve only filmed six episodes, so I’m very curious to see what’s going to come in the next four because Lauren is still Lauren. Kaylie does forgive her at some point. She forgives, but she never forgets. The writers are still making comments about what happened between Lauren and Carter. So you could see that Kaylie does forgive Lauren at one point, but it’s still in the back of her mind and it’s kind of like you hurt me once and I’ll forgive you, but I’m watching my back. Lauren, like I said, Lauren is still Lauren doing her very evil thing. So I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next four episodes and how Kaylie will react when she finds out. There’s only so much I can say about that.
Q: Were you nervous to work with Candace or Peri like considering their TV experience?
Josie: I was more excited then nervous. I remember watching Candace on Full House and I was little. I grew up on her and I remember when I first got the call that she was going to be on the show, the first person I called was my little brother. He’s a year and a half younger than me. I was like, “Guess what?” and he was so excited. He knew that we had already film the pilot and the pilot had gotten picked up and I had not heard him as excited as when I told him that Candace was going to be on the show. He was like, “Oh, my God, now you really made it.”
So I was more excited than nervous and I kind of felt like such a dork because once I got to know her a little bit, I just bombarded her with questions about Full House and what it was like and all of those things. So not so much nervous, but really excited.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Image Credit: INF