Tell me about yourself and career.
I am originally from a small town right outside of Houston Texas and started out dancing when I was 3 1/2. I instantly fell in love with it and that was pretty much my whole life until I was about 11 when I auditioned for a prestigious musical theater academy in downtown Houston.
I ended up making it into that academy which is called Theater Under The Stars. For the next 5 years I trained with them, 5 days a week for classes while also performing in many of their shows year round. In January of 2016 I came out to LA for a few workshops and classes.
Then a couple days into the trip I ended up signing with an agent and a manager which really wasn’t part of the plan. They really wanted me to move out here for the upcoming pilot season, so we went home, packed up our whole lives and less than 2 weeks later we were officially living in LA. About 9 months after we moved, that’s when I booked my first job, the pilot of Knight Squad. I filmed two seasons as a series regular role while making a couple guest appearances on other shows such as Bizaardvark, School of Rock, Cousins For Life.
How did you get involved in The Secret Lives of Cheerleaders.
I was actually on set filming an episode of Knight Squad when the audition came in. I was supposed to go in the next day but I was going to be filming all day and into the night, so there was no way I could make it. My manager asked casting if we could change my appointment and we did, to that afternoon. I was going to be on set until 5:30 and my audition was at 6:30 in Calabasas. So while I was on set, my mom ran home to grab a change of clothes and everything I would need for the audition. When I wrapped for the day I ran to my dressing room to get changed, jumped in the car and hoped we would make it on time haha. I mean, our studios were in Hollywood and it was going to take us at least an hour to get to the casting office. I hadn’t even read the script until I got in the car and when I read it, I instantly had such a strong connection to Ava. Once we got to the casting office I was a little worried because I only had about 1 hour to completely memorize a five page scene that was pretty deep and I didn’t know if I was truly prepared. I went into the office, I walked over to sign in and there was a piece of paper next to the sign in sheet that said, “Please prepare a 5-8 8 count dance/cheer for your audition.” So that’s what I did! Luckily having such a heavy dance background, I am always prepared to improve any kind of dance. I did my audition and I remember feeling really great about how it went but I honestly didn’t know what they were looking for. About a week later I got a call from my team and they told me I booked it!
What is your role?
I play Ava, she is the new transfer student at Roosevelt High. She grew up dancing but after a life altering accident, she kind of lost her way.
When she gets to her new school and finds out they don’t have a dance team, her overly ambitious mom convinces her to try out for the cheer squad. Once she does and makes the squad, she goes from a nobody to instant High School royalty. None of this sits well with Queen Bee and captain of the Roosevelt Lionesses Katrina. That’s when Ava begins to realize that being a part of this elite squad comes at a price.
How did you prepare?
For this character, I really wanted Ava to blossom throughout the film.
In the beginning, she’s a little more timid and is afraid to let anyone get too close because of her dark past. As time goes on she starts to turn into this strong, determined girl who knows how to make things right within the school. I read through the entire script so many times prior to filming so I would really be prepared to take on a role like Ava. My main goal was to make sure that the audience was able to see a huge transformation for this character.
What are some memories from filming?
One of my favorite memories was when some of us girls were filming at this abandoned Macy’s. We use that building quite a few time throughout the film and it was honestly so creepy to be there. This one particular scene we were trying to film was where Katrina gets the four newbie lioness cubs to go into this sketchy loading dock elevator. The shot we were trying to get required the elevator door toclose and then the camera would pan across all four of our faces while we say our lines and then the door would open again in time for us to get out. The only thing was, we couldn’t take the elevator up or down, so we had someone holding the “close door” button until we needed itopened at the end of the scene. Well, when we tried filming it the door wasn’t opening. It got stuck! So there were 7 of us stuck in this sketchy elevator and the four of us girls just started laughing nervously trying to make the moment lighter. Even though it was kind of a scary situation, we had a good laugh.
What was it like working with the cast?
It was a blast! Even from the first day of dance rehearsals, we all just clicked. There were so many intense scenes that we had to do with one another and if you didn’t have a cast that really got along, it would be really tough to film them. The only thing we had a problem with was trying not to make each other laugh during the take. It made filming even more fun! Also, every single one of them were incredibly talented and professional. They all made their characters so unique and you can really see that within the movie. It was an honor to get to share the screen with all of them and I would LOVE to work with any one of them again in the future.
What do you hope people enjoy about the movie?
The movie has a little bit of everything so I think everyone will be able to enjoy it. There’s drama, suspense, teen romance and a few dance/cheer numbers. It’s gives off a very strong Bring It On vibe but a WAY more intense version. My overall hope is that the audience is able to see how much time and effort was put into making this film.
What was the biggest challenge of filming?
The biggest challenge was actually something I can’t talk about because it would be a major spoiler. However, let’s just say towards the end of the film, there’s one scene that’s really thrill seeking and suspenseful that was a ton of fun to film. The only thing was, we had so many safety rules that we had to follow due to the location we were filming at and if we barely broke one, even by accident, it could put everyone in danger. So it was a little nerve wracking to say the least.
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I can do a lot of different eye tricks. I can cross them both at the same time, cross one while keeping the other one straight and I can flutter one eyelid really fast while my eyes roll back in my head. I guess it’s way more weird than fun but it’s fun for me when I scare people with it.
What are you watching on TV these days?
I watch SO much TV it’s hard to keep track of everything. One of my all-time favorite shows is The Office! I’ve re-watched it about 25 times now I think. For a show that is currently on TV, I’ve really gotten into Grand Hotel on ABC. It’s such a clever concept and I feel like there are plot twists in every episode. Another one I’m really obsessed with is Big Brother. Since it’s only on once a year during the summer time, that makes it even more exciting to watch. So many people in our family watch it that my Aunt and Uncle have everyone over on Sunday nights where we watch the past three episodes that have aired that week. We also have family friends that are really into it so they come over too and it becomes this really fun binge watching party. It is one of the main things I look forward to when I visit Texas for the summer.
Anything else you want to share?
I just want to thank everyone that has already been supporting the movie and talking about watching the premiere of The Secret Lives Of Cheerleaders. I’m so excited for it to come out and for people to see what exactly goes on at Roosevelt High.