In the ABC Family series “The Fosters,” Latina actress Cierra Ramirez (“Girl in Progress”) stars as Mariana Foster, a 15-year-old girl adopted and raised by an interracial, lesbian couple. In its first season, the program, which is produced by Jennifer Lopez, has received backlash from conservative groups like One Million Moms. The group says “The Fosters” is attempting to “redefine marriage and family by having two moms raise…children together.” During an interview with me, Ramirez discussed how a show like “The Fosters” could help individuals change their minds on topics like same-sex marriage, and what she thinks about groups like One Million Moms trying to boycott the series.
Can you tell me a little bit about the reactions you’ve been getting from people about the themes of the show? What kind of things have you been hearing, positive or negative?
The biggest reward I usually love as an actress is getting feedback and seeing different audience members relate to the character or the plot or anything like that. Thankfully, everyone has been so positive. People have found this very relatable and universal. It’s really fun to hear lots of peoples’ stories and seeing how they can just interact with the show. It’s been a blessing.
Do you think a show like this can make people change their minds on the topic of same-sex marriage if they are against it?
I definitely do think that it could. It’s about time a show like this [is] on the air. There’s never been anything like it and it’s about time. It has perfect timing with everything that’s going on in the world and with Prop 8 and stuff like that. I think it can help people become a little bit more open to the idea of it, to same sex marriage, and the idea that families being raised in certain households like that do turn out all right.
How do you define “family” in this day and age?
This show, in particular, definitely goes along with the ABC Family slogan, “A New Kind of Family.” And that’s definitely what I think it is. But family for me is someone, or it could be anyone; you don’t have to be related to them, just like in the show, but it’s someone or a group of people that will accept you no matter what, through thick and thin and will always be there for you and love you unconditionally.
The ultra-conservative group One Million Moms has boycotted the show because they consider it “anti-family” since there are two moms raising the kids. What are conservative groups who don’t watch the show not understanding?
I definitely think it’s just the openness. They need to have more of an open mind to something that’s such a big deal right now. It’s the biggest thing in the world right now. It’s a big issue and it needs to be more open. That’s what I love about this project. I’m hoping that it can get through to lots of different families and it can become a better issue.
The last time I interviewed you was for your role in the film “Girl in Progress.” What kind of film roles are you looking for now or what do you hope comes across your table in the next couple of years?
The roles I’m definitely looking for are generally the roles have been in. I’ve gone into different roles with the same mindset. I’ve loved taking on roles that have a very universal message that lots of people can identify and relate to – and at the end of the day can get people talking. I’m actually a very dark person so I really want to get into some really dark roles, maybe some thrillers. I’ve never done one of those, so I think I’d really want to get into that, but definitely something that would get lots of people talking.
As a young Latina in the industry, what do you think of a show that comes along like “Devious Maids” that portrays Latinas in that light?
I usually try to get into roles that are very universal. I try to stay away from those stereotypes, mainly because I just feel like every role that comes my way is a gardener’s daughter or something like that. But, it’s just the way you make it. With “Girl in Progress” you saw, my mother was a struggling teen mother, who was struggling with two different jobs. She was a maid and she was working in a restaurant as a waitress. So, I mean it really just depends. I’m for them. I just try to stay away from them. I don’t really care for stereotypes.