Cassie Scerbo is a beautiful and talented actress who, despite her young age, is a veteran of her craft. Having begun at the age of 10, Cassie has appeared in numerous television shows and movies over the span of her career including CSI: Miami and more recently Sharknado where she starred as Nova Clarke. But fans of ABC Family Channel probably know her best for her role as Lauren Tanner in the hit show Make It or Break It about a group of elite teen gymnasts whose dream is to compete in the Olympics. She is a true veteran of the network, having been involved in two other movies, Bring It On: In It To Win It and Teen Spirit. Cassie will appear next Wednesday as a guest star on the comedy Baby Daddy and I had the opportunity to ask Cassie a few questions in anticipation of her return to ABC Family Channel.
As a fan of Baby Daddy, I’m looking forward to your appearance on the show. This is your first return to the ABC Family channel since you were a regular on Make It or Break It as Lauren Tanner. How was the experience of guest starring different from being a cast regular?
Usually I would say it’s a little bit different. When you’re a regular it’s sort of like being a part of a family, but with this cast they were so warm and so welcoming, I felt like I was part of the family already. I worked with Chelsea (Kane) before so that was great. And I remain friends with all of them still.
Baby Daddy is a very funny show with some great themes about family and parenting. What about the show appeals to you?
I guess I believe in the “James Franco approach” do anything and everything. That’s the beauty of acting. You just never know what’s going to be next. For me, I had only done a small amount of live audience Hot in Cleveland and a pilot for ABC Family channel with Selena Gomez that didn’t get picked up. So I guess that was part of the appeal. I was looking forward to the adrenaline rush of the live audience where you can really feed off of the people and their reactions. And I’m so happy to be back on ABC Family.
I was reading some earlier interviews and it seems like you have a very close-knit family. What role did your parents play in helping your career?
My family is very close. They come out all the time. I just got done seeing them in fact. They were there to be in the audience for Baby Daddy. They’re amazing. As someone in the industry from a young age, I started when I was just 10, you can’t do it alone. You need someone to help drive you around, to offer you financial support, moral support, being kept grounded. My mom drove me all around. I was really fortunate that she was willing to take me out to LA and then take me back and forth for a couple months out of the year. My dad would come out every so often too. They still come out and support me all the time. It was tough but we made it work. I’m Italian so I come from an Italian crazy family. But it’s all about remembering where you came from. Family is always first. People lose sight of that sometimes, but it’s really important.
I imagine they must be very proud of you. How do you think parents can best support their children’s aspirations and dreams? What did your parents do that was especially encouraging?
Thank you. My mom . . . sounds so cliche . . . just the fact that my mom and my dad believed in me was so important. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have spent all the time and money on my career and on my passion. It was a huge deal just having them believe in my craft and my talent. It has been so incredible to have them believe in me, always telling me that the sky’s the limit.
Fathers seem to be extra-protective of their daughters. Was that true of your father?
I have an Italian father so it’s like that times 10. But my dad is like the coolest guy ever. My friends like my parents better than me. They come over and meet my parents and suddenly they’re hanging out more with them than with me. We’re a very East Coast Italian family so the West Coast can be a little different. My dad was definitely more hesitant about my coming out here. He wanted to make sure that I was safe, that people wouldn’t take advantage of me especially because I was so young, but he’s the same with my brother, too. He just cares for all of us so much. I am the baby of the family so it could be a little bit worse. Back when I was younger it was like “Let me do my own thing” but I’m so appreciative of him, especially now. I look back and I appreciate that he was persistent, that I had a curfew, that I wasn’t always allowed to stay out with my other friends. It kept me grounded in who I was so I didn’t lose sight of that.
It sounds like your father was a very positive influence in your life as you grew up — so what advice would you give other fathers whose daughters are old enough to date?
It’s important to give them the freedom and the space to date, to show you trust them. That actually might make the relationship between the girl and the father a little bit easier. Obviously, if the guy is someone the girl should not be dating you have to put your foot down. Sometimes a little bit of freedom and space makes them want to rebel less. Girls are going to date, it’s a part of life. But keeping that balance between knowing when to put your foot down and when to give them freedom and space is important.
What advice would you give to kids and parents who want to get into acting?
Advice? For kids, I would say that if it’s 100% – there are a lot of sweat and tears so unless your passion for it is 100%, find a different passion. But if it is 100%, if you know this is what you want to do with the rest of your life, then never give up. Perfect your craft. I’m still in acting class and I think that’s the way it should be. There’s always room to grow. It’s all about perfecting your art. As for parents, I’d tell them it’s a hard industry to watch their children get into. Probably harder than most. You have to be stronger and stay more excited instead of being let down. And it’s really important to support them. There’s nothing more important in the world than family.
Cassie Scerbo will debut on Baby Daddy next Wednesday, Feb. 26 on ABC Family.