Cierra Ramirez and Michael Grant: “Secret Life’s” Newbies
By: Lynn Barker
She came from Texas with a baby bump and gained a shaky friendship when Amy (Shailene Woodley) became her mentor. Now Kathy (Cierra Ramirez of the movie Girl in Progress) has fallen for Ethan (Michael Grant), Ricky’s half-bro. Will history repeat itself or will Kathy give up her baby for adoption as her parents expect?
We’re in Beverly Hills chatting with Cierra and Michael who tip us on the show, their music, what it’s like to be newbies on a popular show and more….
Kidzworld: Okay, Cierra, do you still have a crush on Ryan Gosling (for “Girl in Progress” she told me she had a crush on Eva’s Mendes’s boyfriend Ryan).
- Cierra: Always! It’ll never die.
Kidzworld: Talk about your characters on the show.
- Cierra: I play Kathy. I’m an incoming freshman to Grant High School and I plan to give my baby up for adoption. I get paired with Amy (Shailene Woodley) as a partner to be mentored because she’s a senior and has been through my situation. I meet Ethan (Michael’s character) who kind of sweeps me off my feet and we have an instant connection.
- Michael: I play Ethan who is Ricky’s foster brother from many years ago and who resurfaces, needing some help and he enrolls in summer school then the normal school semester. He meets Kathy and they embark on a journey together.
Cierra and Michael at our interview
Kidzworld: Where do they stand now? In the friend zone or more?
- Cierra: I think it’s warming up.
- Michael: A little bit.
- Cierra: At first it was introduced as a friendship but not anymore.
Kidzworld: But we still aren’t sure if Ethan is a good or bad guy?
- Ethan: Yeah. Amy has her doubts about Ethan. She’s not very supportive of Kathy being friends and possibly something more than that with him. His heart is often in the right place. He tries to do the right thing.
Kidzworld: Kathy tells Amy that she doesn’t like girls and had rather be friends with boys. Are we going to learn why? Is it because girls are mean to her because she’s pregnant or is it something from her past?
- Cierra: I think that she’s not bitter about the whole situation. She just goes into this high school knowing that she’s gonna be looked at. She knows she’s new and then she has this baby bump. She doesn’t want to get too attached. She planned with her parents, that once the baby is delivered, she’d be coming back to Texas. So, I don’t think she wants to get too attached, even to Ethan but it’s just kind of hard. She has that connection with him.
Kidzworld: So do you think she will give her baby up?
- Cierra: I don’t know. But there’s some question about that, definitely with Ethan involved in her life. That will come up.
Kidzworld: It seems like you guys are the next generation for the show. The seniors will be out and it will then center on you….right?
- Cierra: I could see that.
Michael: I don’t know. I’m just trying to take it episode by episode.
Kidzworld: Were you told the role was recurring and not a regular?
- Cierra: I’m based in Texas so the role came to me through my agent and I put my audition on tape. It was originally set as a recurring (not every week) role. I auditioned on a Wednesday and found out on Friday that I’d be a series regular. So it was crazy. I had to relocate. They don’t really give us that information. So it’s one episode at a time.
Kidzworld: What was that like to think you would just be in a couple of episodes then learn you are a regular on the show?
- Cierra: It was a little bittersweet because it happened so fast. I remember my dad told me I had gotten the series regular role when I was at the rodeo with all my friends so he was like “Congratulations! You got the role and you’re moving on Monday”. I’m like “Uh, oh, okay. Bye everyone”. But I was excited about what was coming to me and I was welcomed by the entire cast and crew. It’s a great experience.
Kidzworld: So how did your friends in Texas react?
- Cierra: They’ve always been so supportive. I’ve been putting my auditions on tape from home so they’re kind of familiar with it. Everyone was such a big fan of the show already at my school so they were rooting for me and wanted all this information. They’re watching every Monday so I have a little support group at home.
Kidzworld: You are both musical so do you think they’ll work that into the show?
- Cierra: I hadn’t even thought about that.
- Michael: Well, in the 100th episode it was revealed that Ethan does play the keyboards which is very cool because I’m a classical pianist and have been doing that for many years. But I don’t know.
- Cierra: It hasn’t been introduced that Kathy sings yet but who knows. Maybe we could do a little duet.
Cierra (center) as Kathy
Kidzworld: How about Cierra? Are you doing any music on the side?
- Cierra: Yeah. I’m actually working on a record that should be out late fall, probably September. My dad owns a record label so I’m working on that. It’s an indie label. I’m trying to find my sound right now. I’m really inspired by classic stuff and also what you hear on the radio. So, I’m trying to find a nice blend of the two. I love Frank Sinatra, Etta James, Patsy Kline. I grew up on stuff like that.
Kidzworld: Cool! Ethan, were you part of the Flash Mob musical, “Glee-like” scene that was on the show a while back?
- Michael: Yeah. It was a ton of fun to work on. We’ve never done anything like that on the show. To be so new and have something that different happen so soon was really cool.
Kidzworld: What kind of impact will your characters bring to the show do you think?
- Michael: Hopefully, through the writing and the scripts, we can be some something that kids can look at and identify with in some way. Just be something they can see themselves in and relate to.
- Cierra: I love anything with a message and this show deals with real situations, stuff that you see commonly throughout the U.S.. Being in a public school especially, I’ve grown up with people getting pregnant. It’s real so that’s what drew me to the character. It’s something people deal with every day.
Kidzworld: Who influenced you two when you were younger?
- Michael: I have to say my parents were a big guiding force when I was younger.
- Cierra: Same here.
- Michael: There are always teachers and coaches who offer words of advice and a helping hand.
Cierra as Kathy on the show
Kidzworld: Michael, are your parents in show biz in any way?
- Michael: No. They’re both in the medical profession. They’re not upset that I’m not following in their footsteps. They’ve been completely supportive of me doing whatever I wanted since I was a young kid.
Kidzworld: Did they come out to L.A. with you when you left Tennessee?
- Michael: Yeah. I’m out here with my mom now. We’re renting a little house. My dad commutes back and forth because he has his practice back home but he’s always looking at possibilities of coming out here to L.A. one day.
Kidzworld: Both of you. Is acting everything you expected it to be?
- Cierra: And more! There’s a lot of let-downs and I’ve had my share of “no’s” but I love getting into a new role and breaking down a character. I just love that whole part of it. There’s always something new and you can step into other people’s shoes. It’s also fun to see yourself on T.V. (laughs). That never gets old for me. It’s fun.
- Michael: Yeah, it’s what I thought. It’s a fun profession to do because it is so intricately tied to who you are as a human being and your own life. To me, it’s been all about deepening my creativity and myself as a person so it’s been a fantastic journey so far.
- Cierra: That was a good answer!