When actress Josie Loren received a text message from her “Make It or Break It” co-star Chelsea Hobbs last July that read, “I’m so excited for another 10,” she really didn’t know what her friend was talking about.
A few minutes later, Loren’s manager and agent called her and explained. Her TV show “Make It or Break It,” which debuted on ABC Family in June 2009, was picked up for another 10 episodes.
“Getting picked up for the first 10 is kind of a network call; they think the show is something that could do well,” said Loren, 22, who was born Josie López before changing her name a couple years ago. “But when you get picked up for another 10, it’s because the fans really love it and people want it back.”
In the show, Loren, who was born and raised in Miami and is of Cuban descent, plays Kaylie Cruz, a female gymnast who is training to make it to the Olympics.
“Make It or Break It” airs on ABC Family Monday nights at 8 p.m.
You’ve done some TV in the last four years, but how does it feel to have a “home base” now?
You’re grateful for every set that you work on, but it’s so nice to be on one set consistently. You feel like you are part of a family. You’re with them all the time. It literally becomes your home away from home.
When did you know acting was what you wanted to devote your life to?
Ever since I was 5, I was doing monologues and musical theater. It’s always been a lot of fun. I really love being on stage. When I came to L.A., my acting teacher really fueled the fire for acting. I really learned to open up as a person and fell in love with it.
Are you naturally athletic or is that something you had to work on for the show?
I was a gymnast when I was younger. I knew the world of gymnastic and had that in me already. I was also a competitive cheerleader. I knew what it was like to tumble and be under pressure. It was easy to get into that competitive nature.
Sounds like you don’t like to lose.
Actually, my friends won’t play board games or charades with me because they say I’m a tyrant. I hate losing. It all comes from my family. We call it the López blood. When you play a game with us, we fight to the death to win. It’s only helped me here in L.A. because Lord knows this is a really competitive industry.
You’re a 22-year-old actress right in the middle of all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. How do you plan to stay away from falling into any negative side of the industry that you might face as you become more popular?
Luckily, I haven’t had any negative press yet. I know it will come because it comes with the territory. The only thing you can do is stay true to yourself. I always try to live by the morals my parents instilled in me since I was little. I feel [that] if I follow what they’ve always taught me, I’ll be fine.
When did you change your last name from López to Loren and why did you make that decision?
It happened when I was a sophomore in college. My agent told me it was getting difficult to get me auditions for roles that were not Hispanic roles just because of my name. When you go to auditions, sometimes casting directors or producers can’t see past a last name like López. Changing my name has helped me audition for other things. It’s just broadened the roles I can go out for.
Do you feel it’s unfortunate that people can’t see past a last name?
I do think it’s unfortunate that I had to change my Hispanic name. But if it’s what I have to do to get my foot in the door now and help other Hispanic actors in the future, I think it’s for the best. My last name may be Loren, but I am extremely proud of my Cuban heritage. I pronounce it loud and proud. I would never abandon that.
How did you come up with Loren?
Actually, I didn’t come up with it. I was in a dorm room with two of my best friends and we were throwing names back and forth and my friend came up with it. She’s thrilled she came up with my new last name.
So, when your name is up in lights, she’s going to point to it and remind you that she made it happen, right?
She won’t let me forget it! She’ll probably say, “Look how far it’s gotten you!”