10 Minutes with The Fosters' Cierra Ramirez on LGBT Fans, Foster Kids & Guesting On Pretty Little Liars?
At age 19, Cierra Ramirez, who plays the sassy 15-year-old Mariana on ABC Family’s The Fosters is super publicity savvy, admitting to SheWired that she knew the LGBT-inclusive series was going to be a big deal once the anti-LGBT group One Million Moms began protesting it.
It’s no surprise though that Ramirez knows her stuff since she has an extensive résumé to accompany all that savvy. Before landing her role on the Jennifer Lopez-produced series about lesbian moms raising biological, adopted, and foster kids, Ramirez made a name at age 10 singing on the classic talent show Showtime at the Apollo. She went on to star in Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and later she landed a role on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teen. If those credits alone weren’t enough to cement Ramirez as a force to be reckoned with, she won an Alma award for her role in Girl in Progress, in which she played Eva Mendes’s daughter.
SheWired chatted with Ramirez at a Fosters’ press junket on the Warner Bros. lot, where she discussed LGBT fans, feedback from adopted and fosters kids, who the biggest prankster on set is, and which other ABC Family show she would appear in if she could!
Look for more interviews with The Fosters cast leading up to the June 16, 2nd season premiere!
SheWired: How did you come to the role of Mariana?
Cierra Ramirez: What drew me into the project and the role was the fact that it dealt with issues and topics that are so universal, so common, but aren’t really talked about on TV. I mean, you never seen two moms raising a family, or a mixed family, for that matter. So, it’s been really fun to portray something that’s so common and so relatable. It’s really been a fun experience meeting people and hearing their stories that resonate with a certain story line or character. It’s been a huge blessing.
Did you know when you first read the script that the series would be mean so much to so many?
Definitely. You know when I really knew it was going to be something big? It was when One Million Moms came out about it. Because, you know, any publicity is good publicity. I just knew that it was going to be groundbreaking and shake things up when that happened and it really is. And the whole reason for this show is to make people open to the idea of these families that are so common and so real… and there are so many out there but no one is really representing for them, so it’s really cool!
Have you had any chance to go to any events like the GLAAD Awards or HRC?
Yes. I have gone to the HRC. I think I have been to some part of the GLAAD. So that was just a huge honor. I’ve had people approach me in the mall -- same-sex couples saying, “I really love this. I love that people are being able to portray my life. This is me so thank you for that.” And that’s just been awesome.
Have you been approached by foster or adopted kids who thank you for telling their story?
I have, and we’ve gotten to meet with a lot of group homes and a bunch of foster care kids. And up until this project I really didn’t know that much about it so it was a huge learning process and I’m still learning everyday and it’s so awesome.
Specific to Mariana, she really came a long way on the back half of last season. She grew up a lot. Do we get to see more of that?
Definitely. I mean, you’ve seen the decisions. At first they came off as selfish but you really saw the reasoning behind and how. She just came from this fostering background and didn’t really know anything about herself really. She is 15 trying to find out who she is and what that means to her so she felt that the only way she could find out was through her birth mom and you know, she’s really came to the conclusion that’s not a relationship she wants to keep pursuing and it’s not for her. You definitely will continue to see her grow. No selfish deeds will be done. She isn’t going to be selling her brother’s pills this season. She’s left that behind. She’s still got that sassy side but she’s definitely thinking more before doing.
Do you have a favorite scene that you’ve shot? Either last season or coming up that you can talk about?
I think my all-time favorite would have to be the moment Mariana and Lena share when they are at the hospital after Stef has gotten shot. Mariana, after everything that’s happened just kind of assumes that her moms don’t want her anymore. Lena sits her down and really reassures her that they love her and that DNA doesn’t make a family, love does. And I just think that that’s the best quote because it’s so true and I just love the moment that they shared. I’m a sucker for crying scenes.
Can you talk a little bit about working with this cast? It seems like you all really are a family.
It has been that way from the get-go. In the pilot, we just all bonded so well, really genuinely, like a family. It’s weird that we are already taping the 10th episode of this season and it’s like, “Where has the time gone?” They just make it so much easier when I have a 5:15 a.m. call time. It’s just seeing their faces in the morning. Being with them makes the day so much easier. It’s not work at all.
Who’s the biggest prankster on set?
My answer all day, and anytime they’ve asked me about the cast member -- it’s been Teri Polo. I love her because she just has no filter. She is just crazy, always down to prank. I think it would be a tie between Teri Polo and Maia Mitchell. Together they are trouble.
If you could do an ABC Family crossover with any other ABC Family show, what would it be?
I think I would have to say Pretty Little Liars. They are like right here (on the Warner Bros. lot) and sometimes I will see some of the cast members and I just like freak out a little inside. They’re just such different worlds (PLL and The Fosters) but I think it’d be kind of cool.