Interview with Josie Loren from Make It or Break It

Josie Loren

I recently got the chance to chat with Josie Loren, who plays Kaylie Cruz on ABC Family’s new hit show Make It or Break It. When we last saw Kaylie in episode 10, All That Glitters, she surprised everyone and took home the gold at Nationals. It was a great moment for her and for the show. Josie Loren is a very down to earth girl to talk to, with a lot of great insight into the acting world, and a genuine family girl. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with her.

As with the others it was a group of people who got to interview her on a conference call, I’ll let you know when it’s me 🙂 Enjoy!

Jamie- I was wondering what about your role continues to challenge you?

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.

Have you had a memorable moment from filming these ten episodes?

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.

Traci-So 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.

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 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.

[Note from me: I think that’s great that she has experience with tumbling and performing, it really helps with her performances in my opinion.]

Has there been anything that you learned from cheerleading that has helped you with this role?

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.

Alex- 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?

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.

And are we going to see more of Kaylie/Carter … drama?

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.

[Note from Me: That makes me happy and sad. I love Carter and Kaylie together but I would love to see Kaylie find someone who truly adores her, enough not to cheat!]

That’s good to hear. 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?

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.

Troy-Kaylie just won the nationals. Speaking of endorsements, why did she reject sponsors?

She didn’t reject sponsors. 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.

[Note from Me: Pay attention to the shows you are asking about people. Silly question, but a graceful answer! I was cheering for Kaylie when she passed up MJ for that moment to go see Payson, it was great.]

Okay, how is Payson’s fractured back factor into this season?

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.

What would you say is Kaylie’s biggest obstacle in following her gymnastics career even though she just won the gold?

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.

Emily-I know in these coming 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?

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.

Here are my first questions, I had so much fun!

Megan-So with Kaylie getting the first place, are we going to see some guilt on her part because of Payson’s injury? Is she feeling guilty that it should have been Payson’s win?

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.

Speaking of friendship, are we going to see Kaylie forgive Lauren for {all that she did}?

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.

[Note from me: I’d say it’s hard to forgive your best friend for sleeping with your boyfriend. I know I’d struggle with it 😉 .]

Were you nervous to work with Candace or Peri considering their TV experience? {Candace Cameron Bure from Full House and Peri Gilpin from Frasier}

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.

Lisa-Kind of the first ten episodes, we see the Cruz family is kind of this golden family and then near the end, they start to crumble with the affair becoming public and the lies between the dad and Carter and everything. Are we going to see that family built up again in the next ten episodes?

Yes, the immediate answer right now is yes, but that’s all subject to change. They’ve kind of set it up so it will change. It’s funny because right now after having just finished the sixth episode, we’re at this point where you don’t know what’s going to happen between Ronnie and Alex, my parents. I’m very curious to see what is going to come in the next episode. But as of right now, the Cruz family has really kind of bonded together. My dad is having a hard time stepping back from the spotlight and not managing me. He kind of lets my agent take that position. And it’s really helped Kaylie’s relationship with her father and also the relationship between Ronnie and Alex having him step down from that spot and letting to go to somebody else.
So right now, all is good. But who knows what the next four episodes will bring?

We had recently talked with Nicole Anderson {she plays the uber witch Kelly Parker} who told us she was coming back to film a few more episodes.

Yes, she’s in the next episode. I’m really excited to work with her again.

The cast actually seems to be, you all seem to be pretty close. Is there a fun fact you can tell us about each of your co-stars maybe?

Well, Ayla { Payson} is a certified cake maker, so she’s kind of like our Martha Stewart who we love and adore. Cassie{Lauren}, I can’t even like say Cassie’s name without laughing. Cassie is like the—she’s the glamorous one on set. She’s the one that will walk on set wearing her leotard and like the heels that she brought on to work today. It looks absolutely ridiculous and hilarious, but that’s Cassie and that’s why we love her. She always has the funny comments and the things that you’re just like, “Really, did you really just say that?” So we’re just constantly laughing with her.
Chelsea{Emily}, what can I say about Chelsea? She’s the momma of the group. I was sick one time and she literally made me a list of what I had to buy from Whole Foods to get better quickly. It was like wellness formula. She introduced me to all of these different vitamins and literally wrote them out, so I could go that day to Whole Foods and buy all of these things to get better quickly. She’s definitely the momma of the group, so we’re lucky to have her.

You also mentioned that now since Payson is injured; you guys will be outside of the gym. Does that mean you get to film off set?

Yes, we’ve actually gotten to film on location a couple of times, a lot more actually, a lot more these ten episodes than ever before. A lot of it is because of Payson has her own life outside of the gym and they’ve incorporated us into that. So most of why we go on location is due to Payson.

And now that the first ten episodes have aired, do you get recognized more when you’re out and about?

Yes, I definitely do. It’s kind of strange. I haven’t gotten completely used to it yet. I’m actually home right now for the holidays. I’m in Miami. I’ve been recognized actually every day since I’ve been here the past three days a few times here and there. My family, they’re such hams. They love it so much. I’m more kind of weirded out by it still. I mean it’s completely flattering, but you’re not used to it, but they love it. My brothers and sisters, my mom, they get such a kick out of it. As long as I can give them a laugh, that’s what counts, I guess.

Do you have any message for your fans?

I’ve always said the first ten episodes that we got picked up by the network and they thought that this was a show that could be really good. So that’s why they picked us up for the next ten. But these back ten episodes, these were picked up because the fans liked it and they wanted it back. And I’m just so thankful that we have such a large following who are so committed. And all I can say is thank you a thousand times over because if it wasn’t for them, we would not be on the air again coming back January 4th. So thank you, we appreciate it and we really do love them.

Roger-We talked a little bit about the second set of episodes. And you just said going into it, the network picked you guys up. But now that you’re a hit, does that change how you approach things or how you feel about things going into this set of episodes?

Not really. I’ve kind of always had the motto you go to work and you give it 100% all the time and that hasn’t changed. I would say the only thing that has changed is how my life outside of set because our set is kind of like a second home. We spend so much time together and everyone gets along so, so well that that really hasn’t changed. The fact that we have such a great show, that our fans have come to love, that hasn’t affected anything on set. Everyone is so as humble and as nice as they were from the first day we walked on to our set. So that really hasn’t played a role in our everyday work life.

How would you describe your acting style? When you’re acting, are you thinking about your own experiences or how does that work for you?

It’s kind of complicated. I had a really great acting teacher who taught me a lot of different things. It just depends on the scene. Usually if I have a really emotional scene, which Kaylie loves to cry, it just depends. If I can plug into it immediately, just because we have such good writers and they write so well, sometimes it’s just very easy to tap into what they write. But other times it’s not.
I use what my acting teacher calls a 50/50. So I’ll plug in people that I know in my life, people that I love, maybe a family member or a best friend, I’ll plug them into this situation instead of, let’s say, Payson or Lauren. I’ll plug in somebody else to that situation and it makes it a lot easier for me to get emotional about that.
But other times when I’m completely reaching and I’m not getting the emotion to where I want to be, I’ll create scenarios that get me emotional. If you just think about the core emotion of the scene because every scene has a core emotion, whether it’s happiness or loss or frustration. And if you could think of a moment where that was the core emotion, whatever it might be, that makes it easier to tap into that scene. Even though my scenario might not have anything to do with what’s going on in the scene, as long as the core emotion is the same, then it helps. And then the scene can go from there. So there’s a lot of different things that I use.
Actually, music helps a lot, too. A lot of the times I’ll pick a song that kind of goes with the scene. It’s really difficult. I just actually had a scene with Carter in the second episode. I have a heavy scene with him and I picked this song that just went perfectly with the scenario. That helped so much, so just a combination of a lot of different things.

You’re such a young actress, but you’ve already played a lot of different roles on TV and film and have been very successful. What would you say is the biggest factor contributing to your success?

It’s hard to put it into words. I think that I was raised by two of the best people ever. My mother and father are just the definition of hard work, like what hard work brings to you. They’ve taught me and my brothers and sisters to set your goals high and to give everything to reach them. They taught me what work ethic is, what discipline is and what it gets you.
My dad, my mom not so much, but my father came here from Cuba with absolutely nothing and literally worked his way to the top. He’s taught me and all of us that. I think that’s kind of gotten me to where I am now and I’m eternally grateful to them. Yes, there’s not much that I can say, but my parents just really taught me well and I have everything to thank for them.

Emily-Do you have a specific routine that you do to get ready for your day?

Not really. Our days starts so early, so so early, that there’s little that you can do. I don’t want to wake up any earlier than I have to. But just while we’re in the hair and makeup chair, we get our breakfast and in the hair and makeup trailer, we just try to relax and go over, I try to go over my script and the scenes that I have that day, remember what I had rehearsed by myself and just mentally prepare for the day. And then if it’s a day with a lot of physical stuff going on, once I get into my wardrobe, which is usually a leotard, I’ll go on to set and warm up, take a little bit of a jog around the gym and just get my body set for what’s to come.

Speaking of leotards, because you guys do wear a lot of leotards on the show and some of them are just so elaborate and fancy and sparkly, do you have a favorite one?

Yes, any leotard with velvet on the bottom, that’s my favorite because the other ones are just the plain stitching and that really irritates our bodies in that area. It’s just hurts really badly once you’re wearing them for 12 hours. So anything with velvet, that helps.

Playing a national champion on the show and being a successful actress in real life, do you have advice for a fan who has really big dreams?

Yes, I think everyone has dreams and it’s just how you go about pursuing that. And I think anybody can do anything that they set their mind to. So if you set your mind to do something and you exhaust every opportunity, I think you’re going to get there. I mean it’s just about working really hard and staying very focused, not letting the distractions get to you because especially the older you get, the more distractions you have, whether it’s boyfriends or girlfriends or nightlife and just trying to strip yourself of all of that.
I’m not saying if you work hard, you can’t play hard, too. But especially at first, just kind of being completely dedicated to one thing and even if it’s something small; I think it’s very important to do something towards your goal every day. Whether it’s reading a little bit of a script or memorizing half of your monologue. It could even be as simple as doing an improv game with a friend if acting is what you want do. But if you do one thing every day towards your goal, it’s going to happen.

I’m curious to find out how you think Kaylie’s relationship is going to change over the next ten episodes with Lauren and Payson and Emily.

Well, the fact that she’s national champion kind of puts a strain on their relationship. There’s a lot of jealousy issues that come to play and it really tries their friendship. Lauren is a different case completely because she’s – I don’t even know how to describe Lauren. But with Payson and Emily, it’s really about whether their friendship can stand this and whether Kaylie has the character to not let this get to her head and remember who her friends throughout all of this. But definitely being the national champion puts a serious strain on her friendships. Lauren doesn’t like it, I can tell you that.

Here are my follow up questions!

Megan- What’s your favorite TV show?

Can it be an old one?


I’d have to say Friends. I don’t think there’s a TV show that makes me laugh like that or I haven’t found it yet.

Is there any show that’s on TV at the moment that you would want to be a guest star on?

I’d give anything to work with Tina Fey on 30 Rock.

What are your goals for the future besides acting?

I have seven classes at the UCLA, so I hope to finish this year. And if we get picked up for a second season, which cross our fingers we do, I’ll probably have to take at least one or two classes maybe at night or something just to meet that goal because it’s not enough to graduate. But other that than, I mean, if we get a long enough hiatus, I would love to branch out into do another feature film, get another kind of character that’s not so Kaylie under my belt and play with that because it’s always good to stretch yourself. I’d love to book a voiceover. I’ve gotten so close to so many that I would love to just book one already.

You would be perfect as a little character. You have the cutest little voice.

You know, it’s something about voiceovers. By this time now, they scare me because I’ve been so close to so many and now it’s like almost hopeless, but never lose hope, never lose hope.

Any other things you’d like to accomplish?

Actually, my New Year’s resolution this year is to get a lot more involved in community service. My brother started his own organization with a couple of his friends that’s just grown so dramatically in I would say the past five years. It’s just doing so well and it inspired me to do something myself. But anyway, my New Year’s resolution definitely is to get more involved in community service.
Being in the position that I’m in, I’ve gotten to do a lot of charity work being invited to different things and it’s just opened my eyes to the amount of people that are in desperate need for our help. It’s almost like called me to action. I feel like I have to do something, so that’s my New Year’s resolution for this year.

What’s your favorite family holiday tradition?

Every year my family, well, we used to obviously do Christmas morning at our house. But now it’s at my sister’s, I have a niece and a nephew and my nephew is three and a half. My niece is one and a half. So the minute everyone wakes up, which is super early, everyone just runs to her house. So we do Christmas morning over there.
And so Santa, I guess he really liked our family, he writes us a Santa letter every year. Our Santa letter is about, I would say, six pages typed single-spaced all beautifully decorated. And Santa writes to each and every one of my brothers and sisters. So he starts off, it’s like an intro and then he starts off with my older sister and my older brother and then me and my little brother. And he just recaps what we did this year and how proud he is of our accomplishments and what we have left to do and what he hopes to see of us and then mentions other family members at the end as well.
But I love to hear what Santa has to say about me and everybody else every year. We all sit down. We read it out loud. Everyone reads different part of it and we have each Santa letter on video of the past years. It’s been happening since my sister was born, so 31 years ago, the Santa letter tradition started. So, yes, that’s what I look forward to most every year.

[Note from Me: It got cut from the transcript, but Josie and I were talking after this about how neat it was because we just started doing letters from Santa last year with our daughter and she loves it. It wasn’t nerve wracking at all to chat with Josie because she was just so talkative and easy going.]

That’s it for the interview, don’t miss an all new episode of Make It or Break It when it returns on January 4th at 9 pm on ABC Family. If you are in Canada, MuchMusic just started airing the series from the beginning on Wednesdays, in case you want to get caught up!

Thanks for reading.

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