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Transcript of Interview with Francia Raisa
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
ABC Family’s Q&A Session With Francia Raisa (Adrian on
The Secret Life Of The American Teenager)
Meg I want to thank you all and especially Francia for joining us today.
Francia plays Adrian on ABC Family's Family, The Secret Life of the
American Teenager, which has all new episodes airing every Monday at
Moderator We have our first question from Lisa Steinberg from Starry
Constellation Magazine, please go ahead.
Lisa What kind of emotional journey does Adrian get to go on this new
Francia Well, we all found out last night that she is in fact pregnant.
She was trying to hide it from everyone. In the last scene that you see
with Adrian, you see that she is calling the women's health clinic. The
reason why she was hiding it from Ben and trying to hide it from
everyone else is because I think she's calling to decide whether she is
going to keep the baby.
I think in her head right now, she's not going to, because she's trying
to think about her life with a baby, and I think she's seeing Amy's life
and the way it's changed. She has this big decision coming up this
season. She has to decide for another life as well as her own, so there
is a lot of growing up that she has to do this coming season.
Lisa Speaking of emotional journeys, it has to be pretty emotional for
you these past couple of seasons to see the evolution that Adrian has
gone through, right?
Francia Oh, yes. So much has been going on with my character, being in
love with Ricky, and then the relationship with her father, and then her
mother, and then now with her pregnancy, it's just been an emotional
roller coaster for Adrian. Once things are going well, then something
happens and she feels like she has to get revenge. That's the only
reason why she's in the situation right now is because she thought
something happened between Ricky and Amy right when things were going
really well between them. And then she goes, "Well, I have to get them
back," so she sleeps with Ben, and now look where she is. It's just been
a whole roller coaster for her -- insane.
Moderator The question is from Alix Sternberg with TheTVchick.com,
please go ahead.
Alix How do you relate to your character? Are you anything like Adrian?
Francia I'm flirty by nature, so I think I relate to her in that sense
from how she was in the beginning of the show. Back when I was in high
school if anyone did anything to me, I was like, "Well, I'm going to get
them back." So I guess in that sense I can relate to her.
I feel a deep connection with Adrian just because a lot of her
personality traits reminded me of myself when I was growing up, and then
a lot of what her decisions reminded me of a lot of decisions that my
friends made, my close friends made. So it was almost like it was a part
of me just because I heard about so much and I was so involved in it. So
I do have a personal connection with her.
And then the relationship with her mother, I didn't have the best
relationship with my mother when I was in high school, just because, I
don't know, I was going through puberty and I hated the world.
And now I have an amazing relationship with her now the same way that
Adrian has with her mother and the same with her father.
Alix What would you like to see from your character going forward, like
what would you like to see from Adrian that we haven't seen in the past
Francia I think what I wanted to see from her and you guys are actually
going to start seeing, was her growing up a bit, realizing that life
isn't all about sex and boys and everything that she was focusing on.
Obviously, she’s also focused on her education, which I really
appreciated that they added into the show. But she was also so focused
on this guy loving her that she put herself aside and didn't really
think about herself, and now she's in the position where she needs to
think for herself and realize that she's more important than any other
guy or person around her. She has to think for another life and not just
for hers and so she's really growing up and maturing a lot, and letting
people in her life, and opening up friendships.
Moderator Our next question is from Sarah Fulghum with Totallyher.com,
please go ahead.
Sarah Being on the Secret Life, do you ever feel like you're taking on
the role of spokesperson about teen sex?
Francia Oh, yes, definitely. I feel like people are paying close
attention to what we're doing, because I remember when I was younger and
anytime anyone did something on TV, I wanted to do that too. I was a big
Mary Kate Olsen fan growing up, so anytime they did anything on TV, I
was like, "Mommy, I want to do that, I want to dress like that, I want
to be like that." Yes, I do feel a big responsibility, like they're
paying close attention to every decision we make. I feel like they're
relating their lives a bit to ours and saying, "Oh, I'm just like that,"
so whatever we decide on the show, whatever the consequences come about,
they've related to themselves and their own lives.
With the show, what I'm hoping is when they see the consequences of sex,
and young teenage sex, that they pull away from the emotional side of it
right then and they think about it twice, because pregnancies can occur.
You don't always get the guy and it's really not the best decision when
you're so young. There's a whole life ahead of you.
Sarah Yes, and the whole emotional roller coaster and everything of it.
Francia You get really attached to a person when you make that decision.
It's a big emotional responsibility, and at that young age, you can't
really handle it. And you don't really realize it until you go through
it, unfortunately, but we're hoping that with this show it opens your
mind a little bit and it shows you what it can do.
Sarah Yes, and I think you guys do a really good job about showing the
whole range of everything that's involved.
Francia Thank you, I really appreciate it, I hope so.
Sarah And I have another question, with your character being more kind
of the bad girl role, have you dealt with negative feedback from viewers
or have you had more positive, and have you been surprised either
Francia I've been surprised either way. Mostly the negative that I get
is of course I'm Latin and they give me this type of role. They take it
as a stereotype. They take it as racism. But I never took it that way
when I took on this role. I just felt la connection with Adrian and I
think I just did a good job at the audition and they gave me the part,
because there was also a Caucasian girl that auditioned for my role. So
that's really the negative feedback that I've gotten.
But then it's also very positive in a way, because I have had girls come
up to me and say, "Your character reminds me so much of myself when I
was in school," or "Now that I'm in school and I don't want to be that
way." Now, girls who might identify with Adrian are seeing it from
another point of view and they say, “I see why people don't like me, and
I see why I don't have any friends, and I see why I'm so unhappy in
school.” And they change their lives because they're seeing from another
point of view what is going on in their own life and they can really see
why a person doesn't like them. Because I had a lot of people come up to
me and be like, "I don't like you, you're so mean." They're like,
"You're so mean, but then I'm like that, too, so maybe I shouldn't be
that way," and I'm like, "Maybe you shouldn't!"
Moderator Our next question is from Roger Newcomb with We Love Soaps,
please go ahead, sir.
Roger When you were in high school, which secret life character would
you say was most like how you are? Is it Adrian or someone else?
Francia I guess I was a lot like Adrian, funny enough, but then I had a
little bit of Grace in me, too, because I went to a Catholic school and
I was very into my religious beliefs and about being a virgin and
waiting until marriage. I preached about it in school all the time,
like, "I'm waiting until marriage, I'm this, and I'm that,” and I did
that a lot in high school. I remember people making bets with me, being
like, "I'll pay you $500 if you wait," and I was like, "I'll take that
bet." So I was like Grace in a sense, but then I was a lot like Adrian
just because I couldn't keep my mouth shut. I was very blunt, and a lot
of my friends say I have no filter. And I'm like, "Well it's true and if
I'm thinking it, I'm going to say it."
I was a bit vindictive at times and I was obsessed. I had a Ricky in my
school. He was a guy that I was in love with and that he was always
messing around with other girls, but yet dating me on the side. That's
why I can relate to Adrian so much, because his guy never took me
seriously; just like Ricky doesn't really take her seriously, but
secretly loves her, but yet can't stop being with other girls.
Roger Did you ever think, when the show first started, that it would be
Ben that got Adrian pregnant?
Francia Never. My jaw dropped when I heard about it. I heard about it
in, when was it, I heard about it right before we came back on the air
in February. I went to this event and Brenda [Hampton] told me, and I
was like, "No way, you're kidding me," like never in my life did I think
that was going to happen. I thought it would be Ricky and Adrian, all
the way Ricky and Adrian. Never in my life did I think I would even have
a scene with Ben.
Roger What have you learned if anything about yourself from playing the
character of Adrian?
Francia Let's see, I learned a lot about myself, like I said, I relate
to her a lot, but I wasn't so aware of it or conscious of my actions,
until I started playing her. And then my friends kept telling me,
"You're just like that," or "You did the same thing," and I 'm like,
"Really? Maybe I should be a little nicer sometimes.” [Laughs]. But ,
yes, it made me a little more aware of my personality and it just
brought back so many high school memories.
Moderator Our next question is from Kiko Martinez with Extra Chicago,
please go ahead.
Kiko We know these young teenagers are watching the show, but where do
parents come into play? Would you like parents to be sitting down with
their kids or do you want this to start conversations with them or where
do you see mom and dad in here?
Francia Actually, I know that a lot of parents do watch the show with
their kids. I have parents coming up to me constantly and actually
thanking me and appreciating the fact that this show does exist, because
sex is a very touchy subject to talk about with parents and children.
You never really know how to bring this up. And this show it kind of
opens the door for that conversation seeing a pregnancy and heartbreak
and just everything that sex brings into young teenage lives is a way
for a parent to have examples I guess you can say.
It's like the cool thing to talk about and so if their parents are
watching it and talking to them about it, then their parents are so
cool. It just opens a better relationship I guess for a lot of parents
and their children. They've told me before that they watch it and they
really appreciate it and they really enjoy it and it's really easy for
them to talk about it now, because my mom could never talk to me about
it. My dad still turns pale when I even bring up the subject.
Kiko And I wanted to know, I read that Bristol Palin is going to be a
guest star on this season and I wanted to know what the experience was
like having her on set and do you see her as a role model for young
women who find themselves in these situations?
Francia I actually didn't get to work with her, Shailene [Woodley] got
to work with her. But she's definitely a big role model. This show is
about teen sex and teen pregnancy, so she definitely has a voice about
her experience being a teen mother, and the positiveness about it and
then also the negativity. She is a big example for a lot of teenagers,
especially having her mom being such a big figure in political culture.
But yes, I was really glad to have her on the show and I know a lot of
people are going to be looking forward to watching her and listening to
what she has to say.
Moderator Our next question is from Patricia Pimentel with Allykatzz.com,
please go ahead.
Patricia What themes or emotions take place in season three that you
think viewers can relate to?
Francia A lot of the same emotions that have been taking place in the
previous seasons. Like I said, there's a new pregnancy, so there's
another emotion there with a teenage pregnancy. There's drama between
families, which a lot of people in families can relate to. And like I
said before, it's easier to see someone else go through, so you can see
it for yourself or relate it to yourself. It's a lot of the same that's
been going on in the previous season, it's just different storylines and
it's in a different aspect.
Adrian handles her situation in particular a little differently than
what Amy does. She actually wants to, before she goes through, oh, I
can't even say it, because then I'm going to give stuff away, never
mind, but she handles it differently and in a different aspect, which I
think is, I can't say it, but that's as far as I can say, because then
I'll give it away, sorry.
Patricia That's alright, I totally understand.
Patricia How do you feel your character, like what do you feel about
your character contributes to season three in terms of her new
Francia Like I said before, she handles the situation a little
differently, so she contributes a different aspect to a teenage
pregnancy. And because I cannot give away exactly what's going to
happen, it's hard for me to answer that question. But like I said
before, she had sex to get back at someone, and she only did it once, as
a result she got pregnant. So there's another example of what can happen
when you have sex, even if it's just to be a little vindictive, there's
consequences. So just think about your actions before you do it, is it
really that big of a deal, is it really that important, is he really the
love of your life? You're just in high school.
Moderator Our next question is from Lisa Steinberg with Starry
Constellation Magazine, please go ahead.
Lisa I know you and a lot of the other cast members are on Twitter and
other social networking sites, and I'm wondering what it is about those
sites that really makes you want to connect with your fans through them?
Francia It's so easy to connect with them. And we can promote the show,
we can talk about the show, and it's great to hear their feedback. I'm
technologically challenged and I find twitter the easiest thing in the
world. It's easier for me to talk to them and they give me their
feedback. And they themselves start promoting the show and they share
how excited they are, and we all love talking to our fans. We love
hearing their feedback. We love sharing with them our personal lives and
how we all hang out, and we know that they want to hear about it. We're
really drawn to it and we try to tweet as much as we can. I'm actually
really obsessed with tweeting. It's a problem.
Lisa I know you also talk a lot about the relateability of the show, and
I want to talk a little bit about the negative side of that. There's a
lot of talk recently I guess online that the show has been steering away
more recently from being relatable to a lot of other people who had
previously had enjoyed the show. Do you have any response to that?
Francia Everyone's experience is different, every single person. Maybe
the people that said that were able to relate a little more to Amy's
storyline or the first season, because that's how their life is going or
that's what they could have seen. And then other people, they can relate
to mine. Every person's experience is different. I don't think it's
steering away from what the show is about and why Brenda created this
show. I just think that they, like me personally when I see a show, I
like a show to stay where the path is going, and then when there's a
twist, I like, "Wait, no, what's going on?" But I can see why it
happens, you want to cater to every single person.
Sometimes people don't like change. I'm one of those people, but I think
change is good sometimes. And like I said before, everyone's experience
is different. Everyone can relate to a storyline the same way. I'm sure
people at first were saying that they couldn't relate to the first
couple seasons, but now they can. I think it's a positive thing.
Lisa And one last question. You talked a lot about the paths of the
show, and I'm wondering where do you see the longevity for the show?
Francia I heard that Brenda wants to break her 7th Heaven record. I
think the show can go really, really far as long as people enjoy it and
they want to keep watching it. I want to be on it as much as I can. I
see it personally going really far. I know that the audience enjoys it
and there's so much more that can be written and done on the show. I
believe she can maybe even beat her record.
Lisa Well, we're going to keep our fingers crossed and keep watching so
that that happens.
Francia Thank you so much. I hope so.
Moderator We have a follow-up question from Kiko Martinez with Extra
Chicago, please go ahead.
Kiko Yes, Francia, I'm wondering what was your birds and the bees
conversation like with your parents?
Francia I never had it with my dad. He still doesn't like to talk about
it. He thinks I don't know it exists and I still believe that babies
come from the storks. When I was much younger, my mother told me that
when a woman wanted to get pregnant, she would pray to God that she
would have a baby and then it would just appear in her belly. So it
wasn't until, I think I was watching Clueless and I kept hearing the
word virgin, and I'm like, "Mommy, what's a virgin?" And people kept
talking about it at school. So she almost had to talk to me about it,
but she was really nervous, and she kept saying, "Wait until you're in
fifth grade, wait until you're in fifth grade, and you’ll learn,"
because I guess that's when you have the sex talk.
After fifth grade, she realized that the conversation just kept coming
up in school. Because I think when I was in sixth grade one time, we
found a condom during recess, and I didn't know what it was, and my
friends did, and I didn't want to feel stupid, so I told my mom, "Oh, my
gosh, yes, we totally found a condom," but I had no idea. I thought it
was balloon. I asked my mom about it, and after that happened in sixth
grade, she couldn't steer away from it, so she finally talked to me
about it, and I was like, "Oh, well I already knew that, people told me
Kiko And then last question, I'm going to throw some stats at you, of
the 765,000 teenagers who become pregnant in the U.S. each year, there
are at least 50% to 55% of them choose to parent, 30% to 35% choose to
have an abortion, and less than 1% will choose adoption. Why don't we
see people talking more about adoption?
Francia We talked about adoption a bit in the show with Amy’s storyline.
I think adoption is probably one of the hardest things a person will
ever have to do, because for me, personally, you have a baby growing
inside you for nine months, knowing it's your blood, and knowing that
you created it, and you took care of it, and nourished it for nine
months – only to give it up. It's probably one of the toughest decisions
you ever have to do give it to another family.
I don't know why it's not spoken about a lot, though. I do hear about it
all the time. AI think it's beautiful that even though a parent can't
take care of a baby, that they're willing to give it to another family
who unfortunately can't have a baby and they're yearning for one. We
touched, like I said before, on the show a bit. And you know what, we
might again with my pregnancy on the show, because we’ll be exploring
Meg Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we'll go ahead and wrap up
today's call. Francia, thank you so much for being with us today. And as
always we'll be sending out a transcript of today's call within two
business days. Again, please remember that The Secret Life of the
American Teenager airs on ABC Family, Monday nights at 8:00/7:00
Francia Raisa's Bio:
Tune-in to ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American
Teenager, airing Mondays at 8/7c!
The Secret Life of the American Teenager Official Site:
About Ken Baumann and Ben Boykewich :
Ken started acting at the age of 11 in New York and Texas. He moved to
L.A. at age 14 and almost immediately landed a role as one of the leads
in a pilot for Fox alongside Alan Ruck and Kristen Johnston, penned by
famed playwright Nicky Silver. In 2008, he appeared in Whore (rated R)
with Megan Fox and Johanna E. Braddy (aka Jordan on Greek). More
recently, Ken shot the as-yet-unrated film Spring Break '83, which
features John Goodman, Jamie Kennedy, and Joe Pantoliano. Ken was born
in Urbana, Illinois, and grew up in Abilene, Texas, where his family
still owns and operates a miniature-horse ranch and wildlife rescue.
· Ben's not the same hesitant boy he used to be. He's had a glammy
Italian girlfriend, he's kind of dating Grace, and he even had sex with
Adrian ... for all the wrong reasons. Which may lead to the biggest
complication yet in his young life. Even so, he decided to tell Amy
he'll always love her, which begs the question: Who's more confused?
Working in Leo's butcher shop has led to him being friends with Ricky,
which has been good. On the home front, Ben has a new stepmom in Betty,
but he's also having a lot more tension with his dad. What's next in the
About Francia Raisa and Adrian Lee:
· Francia was born and raised in Southern California, where her dad,
Maximo Renan Almendarez Coello, is the No. 1 DJ in L.A. (He's known as
"El Cucuy" on 97.9 FM, La Raza.) As a junior in high school, Francia
started modeling for print ads, starring in commercials, and even
dabbling in the world of sitcoms. After shooting Bring It On: All or
Nothing opposite Hayden Panettiere of NBC's Heroes, Francia starred in
the Nickelodeon film Shredderman Rules. In 2008, she shot a lead role in
Spanish horror film ASD: A Soul Disowned (formerly called Underground
and not rated) and was the female lead in ABC Family's original movie
The Cutting Edge 3: Chasing the Dream. You may also have seen her on the
big screen as Marly in Fired Up! or on TV as a guest on In Plain Sight.
· As Grant High's bad girl, Adrian used to do whatever she wanted. Her
flight attendant mom, Cindy, was hardly ever home, and since Adrian had
great grades (sshhh!), no one minded how she spent her free time.
Mostly, she spent it with Ricky, but so much has changed. Her folks
finally got married, and her dad, Ruben, has been trying to provide some
of the guidance she never had. She convinced him to buy the house next
door to Amy ... so she could keep a close eye on Ricky. Sadly, that led
to a case of TMI and one fateful sex act with Ben. Adrian was already
having a tough time syncing up with Ricky about love and commitment ...
has everything changed now? Will she ever get what she wants?
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