–SO-M recently had the chance to chat with Chelsea Hobbs & Ayla Kell from ABC Family’s new show, “Make It Or Break It.” The show is a 1 hour drama that follows a group of teen Olympic hopefuls as they train and prepare for their day in the spotlight. The cast includes Chelsea Hobbs (“Lords of Dogtown”) as gymnastic newcomer Emily Kmetko; Ayla Kell (“CSI: Miami”) as top gymnast Payson Keeler; Josie Loren (“17 Again”) as the beautiful gymnast Kaylie Cruz; Cassie Scerbo (“Bring It On: In It to Win It”) as ultra competitive Lauren Tanner; and Zachary Burr Abel (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) as the gym’s resident hottie, Carter Anderson. Also in the show are Peri Gilpin (“Frasier”) and Candace Cameron Bure (“Full House”).
Check out the interview with Chelsea & Ayla below. “Make It or Break It” premieres on ABC Family, Monday, June 22nd at 9pm EST. Stay tuned for our sneak peek with the cast of “10 Things I Hate About You” later this week.
How did you get started in acting?
Chelsea: I started acting when I was eight years old. My parents were actually divorced, and my mom put me in it as a creative outlet, so I’ve been doing this since then.
Ayla:I did dance forever, and while dancing, I saw that they were looking for a little boy in an opera. I went to the opera, and that, it just clicked for me, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What made you want to be a part of the show?
Chelsea: Well, I think that it was just a very exciting opportunity based on the fact that Olympics is – the Olympics just passed and gymnastics is something that’s always been so popular, and it’s never been done before. There’s never been a one-hour drama based on the world of competitive gymnastics, so just the whole perspective of that was very, very exciting to me, and fresh and new.
How do your characters interact on the show?
Ayla: Pretty much I’m kind of indifferent to her, to be entirely honest, because I’m so focused on gymnastics and what I’m doing. There’s so much stuff going on with her, and I really just want to train, but I’m supportive in her getting her opportunity to compete and be a part of the gym, unlike some other people.
How would you describe the show?
Chelsea: I guess I would describe it as a one-hour drama that takes place in the world of competitive gymnastics because it has everything else that all these dramas have, but it’s all based around this athletic component, which is really interesting and definitely changes all the motives and goals of every character on the show, so it’s definitely different. Yes, that’s probably the best way I could explain it.
Ayla: And the sacrifice that everyone around them has to go through.
Are you anything like your characters?
Chelsea: I think that you have to have a little bit of yourself in there. You know, I definitely can relate to Emily, maybe when I was a little bit younger. She’s coming into a new place, and the insecurities that come with that, and the toll it’s putting on her and her family, I can definitely relate to, yes, a lot of that.
Ayla: I totally relate to Payson Keeler entirely. She sees one thing in her mind, and that’s gymnastics, and I know when I was dancing, there was nothing else for me at all, that I woke up, and I stretched my feet. And now for Payson Keeler, she wakes up and just goes straight to the gym. So I agree with Chelsea in that you have to have some similarities, or you bring some of yourself to your character somehow.
What was it like working with Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner from “Full House”)?
Ayla: She’s fantastic. She’s really, really great. She is so sweet and so fantastic, and really comes in and does her work. I remember the first time we all met her. We all were so star struck.
Chelsea: We couldn’t pick our jaws up off the floor. We all grew up watching Full House.
You were both dancers, but how much training did you have to do to prepare for the show?
Chelsea: Well, before the pilot, we had virtually hardly any time at all. I was cast last, so for me it was just a couple of days, so it was a lot of watching videos and trying to pick their brains, all the gymnasts, as much as possible. And then they gave us actually about two or three months after we found out the show was going to series, so we had quite a bit of time to do training. And I guess it’s more about looking like a gymnast and walking and acting like a gymnast. And we also have been doing a lot of strength training. We’ve been doing beam and learning how to, you know, jump on the bars, so we have been – we’re slowly learning more and more every day, but we still do have gymnast doubles.
Ayla: We do what gymnasts do as conditioning. It is what it is. I’m not all of a sudden doing triple back flips, but I can pull myself up on a bar. Chelsea has got some awesome pull-ups, but it’s that kind of stuff that really helps us understand what we’re doing.
How do these characters compare to ones you’ve played in the past? Have you ever played athletes before?
Chelsea: I’ve played a dancer a few times. Definitely not anything like this. My character, as far as Emily goes, she’s similar to other characters I’ve played, but definitely I’ve never played anyone quite like Emily. She’s got a lot of depth to her and a lot of history, a lot of issues. So it’ll be interesting to see that all play out, for sure.
Ayla: I did professional dance for a long time, and I usually get characters who do something athletic, but it’s usually not this involved, not this much of the character. And when it comes to other character traits, I haven’t really played somebody who is so one focus and really sees nothing else, so it’s really exciting getting to divulge into that and figure out all the little nuances.
Are there any guest stars we can look forward to?
Chelsea: Nicole Anderson from “JONAS.” She’s going to be on a few episodes.
Ayla: Yes, and she was really sweet.
Chelsea: Yes, she’s really sweet, and that’s all we’re saying.
What’s the hardest part of working on the show?
Chelsea:I think that we do feel a lot of pressure to make sure that everything is very accurate. It is important to all of us, so I know for me personally, I’m naturally slight in frame, and it’s something that I work really hard at every day making sure that I have the muscle mass to pull it off, and you know it is a lot of pressure to really make sure that you’re doing gymnastics justice, so we all are working really hard at that.
Ayla: Yes, and on that level, I’m naturally curvy, and I have to be aware that it has to stay muscle since I’m in spandex every day, so the accuracy pressures and, I mean, when you’re doing a show, it’s stressful no matter what. And then doing a show about something so specific and something is such a top elite class know so much about, you have to really, really step it up. You have to Make It or Break It.
What advice would you give upcoming actors?
Chelsea: I think that the mistake that a lot of actors make is they don’t – they’re not themselves. They put too much on it. They forget when they walk into an audition room or something that when you walk in the room, the casting director wants you to be the right person, and they forget to just be themselves. They’re trying to be what they think the casting director or producers or directors want them to be, and I think that that’s a really important thing to remember is bring as much of yourself and take risks.
Ayla: And you have to remember that auditions are a huge part of the process, and if you aren’t doing your best on auditions, and if you’re not trying your best on auditions, you’re setting yourself up. It’s work at all times. Even if you aren’t getting paid, it’s work.
Be sure to catch “Make It Or Break It” on Monday nights on ABC Family at 9pm EST.
Photos Courtesy of ABC Family