ABC Family groundbreaking new show, The Fosters, tackles the challenges of creating love and harmony in a inter-racial, multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural family
Mondays 9PM on ABC Family
By Elia Esparza
The Fosters is about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids being raised by two moms. Folks, we’ve finally entered into the 21st century of American reality! Kudos to executive producer Jennifer Lopez for bringing us a cutting edge show that accurately represents the problems faced by many of our at-risk youth. The Fosters is clearly all about how love will move mountains for these troubled teens.
There will be those who are still hung up on the show’s premise consisting of two women who happen to be lesbians raising children. But time to get over it. It’s about the children and about helping them during their times of need… Helping children in need is a right every individual should have and not just left to straight couples. Love is love. Family is family. Children don’t care who loves them, just that they are loved and given a secure roof to protect them.
Two of the series teenagers include Cierra Ramirez, last seen in Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Jake T. Austin who has impressed us all since his Wizards of Waverly Place days. Latin Heat’s TeleVision columnist, Julio Martinez wrote an excellent article on The Fosters, (http://www.latinheat.com/tv/cierra-ramirez-and-jake-t-austin-the-fosters-arrive-june-3rd/), and the following are additional questions the teen stars (Cierra and Jake T.) have answered on their current TV experience:
There is — a bi-racial family, it’s a family of two moms, it’s a foster family. There is a biological kid and non-biological kids. Apparently you sell pills that your brother is on… does The Fosters have the potential for it to be the kind of show that changes minds and opinions?
Cierra: I definitely think so and like I said before, there is nothing like it on television right now. So I’m hoping that audiences can really relate and identify with a lot of the topics and storylines. And, it’s unlike any other ABC Family show. But it definitely falls into the whole idea of their slogan: A New Kind of Family, because it definitely is. And, I don’t know, I’m excited to see what audiences think of it. I definitely love it and I hope other people do too.
There is a lot of controversy about the gay parent issue… but there is also the current thinking that people your age in real life have less issue with the gay thing, for a lack of a better way to put it. Was it ever a thought for you, like ‘oh, I don’t know, that might be too much for me or too controversial,’ or did you just kind of think, oh, it’s just like any other role?
Cierra: Not at all, and I loved that about it. That’s what drew me to it. And, you’re always going to get hate no matter what and I think haters are motivators. And, if people aren’t talking about it, then you know that you are doing something wrong. So right away if people were talking about it, I knew it was going to be something that would make people talk and want to tune in. And, like you said, people are becoming a lot more open to it. Because it’s not so much about the same-sex marriage… it’s about the family and everything that they deal with in every day life. And, it shows that two women can raise a family and they can turn out all right. I mean they have problems, but so does every other family.
You’re ‘Jesus’ (Jake T. Austin) twin on the show, and behind your adopted moms’ back, you keep in contact with your biological mother who is a drug addict. How does this bio-mom relationship affect your brother and in moving forward?
Cierra: Jesus is the only person/constant… it’s kind of that twin telepathy thing, I think. He is the only person that always knows when something is wrong with my character [Mariana], and he is the only one that’s aware of what’s going on, as of right now. So, not that it’s blackmail, but even though it affected her and only her, as far as meeting her mother and how it went, but like I said, it’s definitely going to haunt her and it’s the drama with that is not over. It’s still going on… she can try to pretend that itn’s not happening, but it’s definitely going to catch up with her.
What attracted you to this role?
Jake T.: A lot of things, but Jennifer Lopez was a huge factor. Jennifer Lopez, Teri Polo — a lot of people I emulate, a lot of seasoned, you know, really, really talented people.
As a high school student on The Fosters you’re dealing with three things: Being an adopted child, being a minority, and then also having two moms. As ‘Jesus’ what is his largest hurdle to deal with?
Jake T.: Having been estranged from any parent for quite some time, that would definitely put a lot of pressure and a lot of anxiety and that’s where a lot of the character’s problems come from. A lot of his physical problems surface like when his pills are taken away from him. Jesus has medical issues to deal with… he doesn’t necessarily add to the controversy, but he definitely fuels the fire in a way.
Do you relate with your character?
Jake T.: ‘Jesus’ and I have a lot of personality traits that are similar, since we are both adventurous, impulsive at times and you know going against the grain in some ways. I think Jesus has had a lot of pressure on his shoulders and he’s had a lot to handle at a young age, and I think he assumes a paternal role in his life. That’s something I can relate to a bit but I’ve never had to raise anybody, so I can’t say the same. I’ve had more support but he definitely is a controlled character.
What are Jesus’ biggest challenges this season?
Jake T.: Overcoming his insecurity, his step into manhood, his lack of a mentor, a father figure and lack of — not a father figure — lack of guidance that he feels maybe that he is not getting from two moms. But he is also in tune and very aware of his surroundings, which I think you know fuels to his self efficiency and the fact that he doesn’t need that structure and doesn’t need anybody. And it ties into what the overall message of the show is… which is you know the structure of your family isn’t dependent on who is in your family, but it’s more dependent on how you deal with your surroundings.
You said ‘Jesus’ had some health issues, what’s the backstory?
Jake T.: He is dependent on pills… he’s on Adderall, which is like you know huge, like the biggest thing right now. He’s… I guess shedding light on a lot that you know is going on right now, and can certainly relate to a lot of kids in his position, who have ADHD or you know, need medication.
A 15-year-old with an active dependency… That’s amazing that’s being presented on ABC Family….
Jake T: It’s something to me to be a part of this generation… where it’s not something you’re proud of… but numbers don’t lie. You have more people addicted to prescription medication in this country… but that’s a separate conversation.
Check out the trailer to the pilot if you missed it: