The audition for her first feature film may not have been a typical one by Hollywood standards, but actress Cierra Ramírez is thankful for the way it all turned out.
“I actually put my audition on tape and sent it to [director] Patricia [Riggen],” Ramírez, 17, told me during an interview. “It was a little intimidating, but thankfully she liked me.”
Not only did Riggen like Ramírez, she cast her in the lead role of “Girl in Progress,” the follow up to Riggen’s 2007 film “Under the Same Moon.” In the film, Ramírez plays Ansiedad, a frustrated teenager who decides she will create her own coming-of-age story so she can fast forward her adolescence and become an adult.
During our interview, Ramírez talked about whether she has gone through her own rebellious phase as a teenager and how actress Eva Mendes, who plays her mother in the film, helped her through the acting process. “Girl in Progress” opens at theaters May 11.
Since you’re around the same age as your character Ansiedad, have you gone though any of the same things she has? Were you able to relate to her?
Well, I definitely related to the character in a sense that I, too, am a girl in progress. I’m still trying to find myself and my coming-of-age story. But Ansiedad is in a very big rush to grow up. That’s very unlike me because I am really trying to enjoy my teenage years. I’m trying to take it slow and not rush into anything.
Did you ever put your parents through the same rebellious phase Ansiedad puts her mom through?
(Laughs) Definitely not. I’m not as rebellious as her. I’m thankful I don’t have parents that I feel I need to get their attention. They’ve always been there for me.
What was your experience working with Eva Mendes?
I was a little nervous going into the film because she is so well known. But she made me feel right at home and treated me as her equal. She helped me through the process of becoming this character. What helped me a lot is that she’s the type of actress that likes to stay in character throughout filming. We really had fun on the set because her character is very childish. She was a really great friend.
Something the film explains are these rites of passage a teenager must go through before becoming an adult. Have you experienced a rite of passage yet? Did you have a quinceñera, maybe?
I actually didn’t have a quinceñera, but I did get to take part in one for my cousin. I’ve just never really been into parties. But the thing I’m most looking forward to in that aspect is getting my license.
What else is happening in your immediate future?
Well, I relocated to L.A. because I booked a role on the show “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which is super exciting. But I still want to continue with school. A dream of mine is to become an executive producer and writer. I would love if that ended up happening to me in the future.