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Interview with Ayla Kell of "Make It Or Break It" on
ABC Family 3/21/12
ABC Family’s Q&A Session with Ayla Kell– Make It Or
Moderator Since this is a gymnastic show, do you think it's going to
inspire girls to be more active in sports?
A. Kell I do think so. That's one of the things I love about the show is
that it isn't showing just the boys’ side. Something like Friday Night
Lights does where only the boys are achieving and the girls are a side
note to the boys achieving. This is more about the girls going out there
and getting at their dreams. They're capable of achieving anything and
their strength is more than the boys have, I'd say, for gymnastics. So I
love that it shows strong women at their best. I do think that girls
will want to go out and get some sports after seeing this because I know
that after I watch an episode I have to go move my body and do
Moderator Would you and the other girls on the show consider starting a
program for young girls, maybe touring schools and talking about proper
diet and exercise?
A. Kell Oh yes, that would actually be a great idea. I know that we've
gone to a couple of gyms already just to be a presence and make sure
that we're being a positive influence with those girls because we know
that gym girls especially do look up to us. But that would be a great
idea to be able to expand that even more.
Moderator We really love the dynamic of where Season 2 left off with the
girls finally getting Team USA together and fighting so strong. But now
with Jordan thrown into the mix, how do you think that's going to skew
A. Kell Well I think it skews the dynamic in, actually, a really good
way. It posed this problem for the girls of what's more important: the
individual medal, the team medal, or us three making it to the Olympics.
So we have this kind of battle throughout the season of, is she
competition or is she a teammate? It's a little bit of a struggle.
So we start to finally figure out what it takes to win and what it takes
to be a team and what it takes to be in this sport. I think that she
added a great level of realness to this season. I think that, one, she's
just gorgeous. She's just gorgeous. But she's also just a talented
actress and she had so many wonderful scenes. They did so much with her
character this year that is going to, I think, really play as a real
thing this year because it's been very prevalent in the news.
Moderator With the summer Olympics just a few months away and gymnastics
is always such a huge part of it, are you and the cast going to watch
and maybe get some inspiration for your characters?
A. Kell Oh, absolutely. We went to one of the qualifiers for the
Olympics, actually, right before we finished, just to get pumped up for
shooting the last episode.
Moderator How did your training as a ballerina prepare you for playing
the role of a gymnast in the show?
A. Kell I have to say, when I got the script it read so real to my life,
just because I knew what it was like to give 110% into something. I knew
what it was like to be able to focus on nothing but dance. Then when I
saw Payson, who was that character for gymnastics, I got really excited
that I had some real life experience for it.
Then, I'm always used to be in a leotard so that wasn't a huge culture
shock. Although, their leotards are way more spandex-y than dancer ones
are. But also, we use our bodies a bunch doing the floor routines. So
I'm actually able to do all of my dance stuff, my floor routines, my
beam and stuff like that. So it really helps when I have to do filming
stuff as well.
Moderator How much of the actual gymnastics do you perform on the show?
Do they ever use any stunt doubles?
A. Kell We use a lot of stunt doubles just because–these girls have been
working at what they do since they were four. We got cast when we were
like 19 and 20. We didn't have time to go back and learn all that
gymnastics they had been studying their entire lives. But we have girls
who do all of these really, really amazing tricks.
I'd say that I do the little stunts. I do all the dance stuff. So any
leaps, turns, anything like that, it's all me. Any kicks, extensions,
it's all me. But when it gets to flips like double backs or any type of
gainers or a double Arabian or anything, that's all going to be the
Moderator Payson is one of my favorite characters on the show because
she's transformed so much over Season 1, Season 2. What are the core
values and principals so that she's retained over the last two seasons?
A. Kell I think she's really retained the core values that her family
instilled in her. The fact that if she does keep working hard and if she
does strive for what she believes in and what she dreams about that
she's able to make it there. It's through the love and support of her
family that she's really able to make it because otherwise her family
wouldn't have been able to afford this. They've pulled all these strings
to make it happen.
Speaking on the transformation of Payson in the last two seasons,
though, this season, I think, is the biggest transformation for Payson.
She really starts to understand that it's not just gymnastics. That she
has to find her voice as a woman and it’s thanks to a boyfriend, which
she never thought that would be the case. So we really see a change in
how she carries herself and how she handles herself and how she even
used herself, which really starts to benefit her gymnastics routines
because she's trusting her body more.
Moderator What changes should we expect to see from Payson as she starts
to prepare for the 2012 Olympics with her new boyfriend and things like
A. Kell She's starting to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. She's going
through this other side of the battle which is her coach thinks she's
safe, which is something she never thought she would ever hear. Because
of her back injury she went into ballet. So now all of the sudden she's
being called safe.
So she has to do something to completely blow the coach out of the
water. So her solution is to try going to a salsa club scene because
going to a ballet class that Sasha had me go to, helped then. So she's
hoping that going to a salsa club will help. So we'll see if it does.
Moderator I'm excited to see that.
A. Kell It was my favorite scene to shoot, I have to say. That and the
make-up fight. Those are my favorites.
Moderator Payson had such a strong relationship with Sasha. Will she
click as well with her new coach at the USA Training Center?
A. Kell Well, anybody who knows Payson will know that she is going to be
a resistant to the change at first; at the change of style and the
change of how he views the girls and all of that. I think the hardest
part is having the Rock title ripped away from her because that's been
her home for such a long time. But as always, Payson is respectful and
tries to work her hardest and tries to be the best she can be.
Essentially, in the long run she ends up clicking with the coach, but
still needs Sasha to help her get to the Olympics.
Moderator What kind of changes, if any, will we see this year between
Payson and Kaylie and Lauren?
A. Kell We have such an exciting storyline between me and Lauren where
we start to really rely on each other because we're confiding each
other’s secrets in the other person. So it becomes this little bit of a
sisterhood between the two of us because Kaylie and I are on the out.
So, me and Lauren become very dependent on each other, and then have a
big falling out after I think I'm doing the right thing by telling one
of her secrets. So then we have to work back our relationship because we
are on a team, so we have to work as a team. I have to say, the whole
secret about who sent the kiss cam—it comes out this year.
Moderator Payson had a lot of love interests on the show with Nicky,
Ike, Max and Sasha. Who do you think is most compatible with her?
A. Kell I think that the one you're going to see this year is the most
compatible. Every time it's been somebody who didn't quite understand
what her goals were. Because with Max, the problem was he has his own
issues, obviously as we saw when he kissed Austin which, you know, kind
of unexpected. Then with Ike, obviously, he was in high school and was
offering me drugs and wanted me to go to the Prom and stuff like that.
So he wasn't really quite compatible either.
Sasha, obviously, that's a long shot; although that was one of my
favorite scenes to shoot last season. But I think that the one you see
this year, because we're at the USA Training Center where everybody
there is going to the Olympics. Finding a boyfriend there was, kind of,
the perfect spot for her because it's somebody who has the same Olympic
drive and that same 'go get them' attitude. Wants her to achieve
everything she can in gymnastics and just wants to support and help her.
I think that this year it's that kind of relationship that she has this
year that really brings her out of her shell and really starts to show
her the world outside of gymnastics.
Moderator Would you like to see her settled down with one character or
remain single for awhile and play the field?
A. Kell I like her settling down a little bit just because it's so new
for her. Both of the other girls have had boyfriends long term, and
Payson never really did. So I think that the security in that; it's
almost like a little bit of a security blanket for her.
I kind of want to see her stay in this relationship. Plus, I just really
like this year. I want to stick with this year's feel that we had; the
way that the whole season ended up coming together. It was just like all
of the pieces fell into place this year.
Moderator If Payson had to choose between gymnastics or love, which one
do you think she would choose and why?
A. Kell Well, she's worked so hard for gymnastics that gymnastics will
always win out. But on the flip side of that, in this year it's the
first time she hasn't had to choose between having gymnastics, or having
a boyfriend, because it's not against the rules to have boyfriends at
the USATC. So she's not breaking rules here.
But if she had to choose it'll always be gymnastics because that's her
love. But I can't wait to see what people think about the whole
relationship. But the whole relationship between the two of us ends up
being this very, very sweet, very heartfelt—it’s not like the other
girls relationships is what I'm trying to get at.
It's not like Johnny and Emily. Damon and Emily, or Nico and Emily, or
Carter and Kaylie, or any of that where there's all this drama in
between them. We're very settled. We're very calm. We don't fight. We
don't go back and forth or anything like that.
It's literally–we get together, we talk about what we're doing. Like,
they do vent a little bit, talk about the other girls and I'm off. It's
just this great, like, it's a normal relationship. That's what I like.
Moderator If Emily doesn't return for Season 3, how will that affect the
dynamics? You've talked about the relationship between the girls, but
what can we expect between the three Rock girls this season and the
trials and tribulations they go through?
A. Kell With no Emily this year it left us with a little bit of a hole.
But it kind of forced then the three Rock girls to kind of step it up.
Then all of the stakes get higher because we realized how easy it is to
be–how quickly it can happen that you're gone. So it makes it kind of
real for us that there's no room for error.
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