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Episode Flyer for #84: Disney Channel Star Cerina Vincent- Defining Success, Raising Alzheimer's Awareness
Episode Flyer for #84: Disney Channel Star Cerina Vincent- Defining Success, Raising Alzheimer’s Awareness

Guest: Cerina Vincent      Guest Title: Actress and Writer

Date: November 29, 2017              


[Intro Music]


Debra Ruh:                             Hello, this is Debra Ruh and you’re listening to Human Potential at Work. I’m really excited to have our guest today. I feel like I’ve known her … I know my family has known her work for many years, and so it’s really a pleasure to actually get to speak to her live. Her name is Cerina Vincent and she has a really amazing resume. She is a very talented actress and she is currently starring in the Disney Channel comedy Stuck in the Middle, and it is the number one watched Disney Channel comedy. My daughter has watched it for a long time and loves it. On that particular series she is the overworked Suzy Diaz and the mother of seven, very obnoxious, rambunctious, and hysterical children.

Cerina Vincent:                    That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             Sounds like real life, right?

Cerina Vincent:                    Yes, it’s my life on set every day and I love it.

Debra Ruh:                             I love watching it. I can’t imagine what it’s really like on set, but also we wanna talk more about the rest of your career as well. Because I know that you’ve been in a lot of films, and a lot of films that I’ve watched, and my children have watched, including Cabin Fever, and Not Another Teen Movie. We own so much of your work.

Cerina Vincent:                    Aww, thank you.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, Mia, the yellow power ranger.

Cerina Vincent:                    That’s right.

Debra Ruh:                             Which my son is … still watches, and many, many other things including, How to Eat Like a Hot Chick, and Hot to Love Like a Hot Chick, and her books are best selling. It’s just very exciting and then of course, one of the programs recently that you were on. I mean I love your work across the board and I love how varied it is, but also I wanna talk just for a little while during the interview about Broken Memories. Your film about Alzheimer’s, something that’s very important to the work that I’m doing. Cerina, thank you so much for joining the program today.

Cerina Vincent:                    Thank you for having me, I really appreciate it. I listened to a wonderful introduction. Yeah, it’s good to be here. Thanks.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah. Cerina you really do have a varied career. You have done so much work, so do you mind telling us a little bit more about your career, and how you got started, and, I’m sure like everyone else, all the wonderful twists and turns that took you to where you are today?

Cerina Vincent:                    Absolutely. Well, there isn’t one way to make it and keep working, you know? You just … I came to LA and I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have any money, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to work in this business as an actor, and pretty … I think I had an agent within two weeks of living here. You know, way back, when I was like 18. Started auditioning and again, I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was, and just one audition at a time, one job at a time. Here we are and I have a career. Going back to what you said, I’ve done a lot of different things, and I’m really grateful for that. Just as an actor, the fun of being an actor, and of this job is diving into all kinds of different roles, and I’ve done all kinds of different roles in all kinds of different genres, and it’s fun for the whole family.

                                                      I’m totally grateful that I’ve gotten to do all kinds of different things. The horror genre’s been really good for me. Like you said, I started off with the Power Ranger, that’s still going strong. I did short films with David Lynch, and written books, and each project is like its own little journey. Now I’m back on a kids show, Disney’s Stuck in the Middle, and it’s an absolute blast. But, and I should say, there’s also many times when you’re not working and you’re out there auditioning like crazy, coming so close to life-changing jobs, and then they don’t happen. Just like any career, any path, there’s ups and downs and you just have to ride ’em.

Debra Ruh:                             Right, right, and I think it … I have a daughter that’s 30 that was born with Down Syndrome, and she would say to me … I would say, “What do you wanna do when you grow up?” And she would say, “I wanna be a famous actress!” And I would say, “Well, would you like to just be a working actor? Because that’s also real value in that.” Right?

Cerina Vincent:                    That’s awesome.

Debra Ruh:                             You don’t have to be-

Cerina Vincent:                    Well you know, that’s interesting that you say that, because people will always say, when you’re an actor, especially like family and people that are not in the business, will say to you, “Oh just keep working at it, one day I just know you’re gonna make it.” And I wanna say, “But haven’t I already?” You know, what is making it if you’re not A list, if you’re not Angelina Jolie, or Tom Cruise, have you not made it? It’s just interesting … it’s interesting.

Debra Ruh:                             Well I agree, especially with your work, because you have worked … and it’s been very varied, you certainly are not typecast or anything, so I would consider you have [crosstalk 00:06:02].

Cerina Vincent:                    [crosstalk 00:06:00] but I’ve worked through it, which is incredible. What you said about being famous is interesting because I do think that today, and what your daughter said is adorable, but I also think today there’s this big difference between being a working actor and a working … and end up having an appreciation for the arts, and being famous. With Instagram, social media, and all … YouTube and all of these things, people are becoming famous, and people are watching them. They’re watching themselves just constantly all day, every day, and I think it’s changed.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah I agree.

Cerina Vincent:                    The whole idea of fame has changed.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, and to be honest, even though in my field I’m well known, you could also be infamous instead of famous and I think we should care about the work more than … Who knows what it means to be famous anyway? You have such a really, really robust career and you’ve done so many different things, and I of course really, really did like … I wanna talk about some of your work but, the Broken Memories one I just think is a really beautiful show about a son struggling with his father’s Alzheimer’s. We learn in society by watching movies and by watching television. We are big, big fans of Disney in my household and my daughter loves Disney, and as she has tried to figure out her own life, she’s used things that she’s learned from shows like your show on Disney, Stuck in the Middle. She uses that sorta as a point of reference for her life. It’s been a very powerful [crosstalk 00:07:54].

Cerina Vincent:                    I love that.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah, it’s in some ways because of her intellectual disability, she’s learned more from watching shows like yours than sometimes her own interactions because, her interactions are … they’re not as robust as what she would see on programs.

Cerina Vincent:                    Right, they’re limited in some way. Absolutely.

Debra Ruh:                             Right and sometimes people assume that she can’t do certain things, and so, when she’s engaged with a program like yours, that once again … My family has been fans of yours for years in a lot of different ways, and we have been because of your work and the depth of your work. I think sometimes we forget as the public to say to working actresses, like you’re an actress, like you, that your work is having an influence on our lives. Then once again, when you do films like Broken Memories, about Alzheimer’s, or … How in the world do you deal with seven obnoxious, rambunctious children?

                                                      We as society learn a lot by movies and film.

Cerina Vincent:                    That means the world. It especially means the world about what you said about your daughter … the words about your daughter. I come from a really big family and we’re all really close and there’s a lot of love and chaos as well, just like in Stuck in The Middle. I don’t have seven siblings. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but when I got this audition, I had a feeling that it was … I had never played a mum before. I couldn’t even get an audition to play a mum. I had a feeling about this role, I was like “This is mine. This is the kind of role I wanna explore, but the world doesn’t think that I can do that yet.” It took a lot of convincing to Disney Channel. A lot of auditions and things and back and forth, but then ultimately it’s mine, and it’s really special to me.

                                                      I love these kids. I love them. I can’t explain it, like I’ve never loved any other co-star before. They’re so talented and they’re so sweet, and they’re really special and these writers are incredible. I feel like I’m getting to do, back to the work part, some really fine comedy that you do in acting class but until you are able to do it every single day, then you know that you can.

                                                      This show means a lot to me, family means a lot to me, and kids mean a lot to me. It’s been a blast exploring that maternal side on the television.

Debra Ruh:                             Even having the courage when you’re in between projects to keep going and, I think that’s something that a lot of our listeners can learn from you. How do you keep having the courage to go in and … to me it seems like it could be a really hard life, because you’re always certainly being rewarded, but being rejected too. Have you convinced the directors that you actually could be a mother of seven obnoxious children?

Cerina Vincent:                    That’s a great thing. It’s a really weird part of the business. You’re constantly … you get really easy at taking rejection. It gets really easy sometimes. I know you get used to it, but-

Debra Ruh:                             I was going to say, but does it really? Is it really easy?

Cerina Vincent:                    Well, no. It’s not. You have to … if you take it too seriously then it will take you down, you know what I mean? Most of the jobs that we audition for … a pretty small percentage of the jobs we audition for we actually book and you have to … There’s so many roles that I’ve completely fall in love with, and then it doesn’t go my way, and it’s challenging. A couple of days later, there’s new material in your email that you have to memorize and learn and go perform that. You get good at letting go and moving on, and moving through.

                                                      I hope that is a good life’s lesson, the art of detachment. Giving it your all. I think I would say, 15 years ago, I wasn’t right, my mind wasn’t right. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t putting … I look at every audition differently now. I want to go in and do the best I can do, no matter what. If you go in and you do the best you can do, and you leave it all up there, and it doesn’t go your way, then it wasn’t meant to be. But if you don’t, if you didn’t put in the time to dig into the character, you didn’t put in the work and then you go and the audition doesn’t go your way, and you leave with a little bit of, “Ah! I could have done more.”

                                                      For me, how I manage, how I can get through this, is just knowing that I did the best that I could do. Putting in the time, putting in the work. That’s part of the task. You could have dinner plans and then an audition comes in. You gotta have to stop everything, and put down your wine glass, and memorize a lot of pages. The fun part is absolutely being employed and being on a show, and having a project. The audition process is grueling for sure.

Debra Ruh:                             Yeah. I also would wonder how doing all these different roles has changed who you are as an individual, because I’m not an actor, I’ve never acted, but it seems to me when you’re preparing for the role, and when you’re diving into the role, it has to in some ways changes you.

Cerina Vincent:                    Well. There are two different ways of working. There are [inaudible 00:14:36] actors that when they take … when they’re looking at a role, they dive in and they change their own reality through this role. I studied with [inaudible 00:14:51] here in LA and pretty earlier on, I learnt that for me, it’s not the healthiest way to work, and it’s not the only way to work. You can wear any role, be in that character; transform and be in that character any moment when you need to be, and then, on cut, you can be you again, and not take that role with you throughout your day or your life.

                                                      I think that, that’s … I think that actors that are playing some sort of lowest [inaudible 00:15:30] depressed person, doesn’t make it right, because they’re going to be this lowest [inaudible 00:15:35] depressed person in their life? Come on, you’re taking yourselves too seriously. You need to be able to do your job, cry on cue, and turn it off and be a normal functioning human being and not … ” Oh, I’m an actor and everything need to be dramatic.”

                                                      If I was things like that, I don’t think that my parents might be able to put up with a daughter who’s like that. That’s just not the way I work. Sometimes I just finished a movie that it will be on Lifetime, its called the Killer Work Life. It was a 13-day shoot, I play this crazy character and this wild, crazy, manipulative, horrible life; a husband stealer, and you do that for the 12 working hours that you’re on set, and then you gotta turn off and go home and be normal.

Debra Ruh:                             How do you do that, because all I … Once again, I don’t know your field except for as a consumer, but I think life … I think this is life, because sometimes we get in these situations in our lives where if you take it too seriously, it will consume you and it will change who you are. How do you separate it so that you can-

Cerina Vincent:                    This is a … that’s a great question. This is so much fun. I guess, how I do it, is I work on myself. My job is my job, and I put my all into the character, into the works, setting my lines and becoming that character, or whatever it is. If it’s through videos, I’ll [inaudible 00:17:15] my head off, if it’s still in Broken Memories, I wanna talk about that. When I wake up in the morning, I meditate, I’m reading books about how to be better. I’m always trying to be better and get to know who I really am. That sounds a little like, “Whoa!” But it’s true.

Debra Ruh:                             I agree. I do the same thing.

Cerina Vincent:                    I know I feel like now finally, I’m constantly growing and learning I know more of who I am now, at 38 than I did at 28, and at 18 when I moved out here. I know who I am, I know what I like, I know what’s important to me, I know what I love, I know what don’t want in my life. I come from a good family, I still have a wonderful friend, I feel like I’m a grounded human, and then I get to dive into different roles for work, but I always come back to me. When I wrap a day at Stuck In The Middle, I wanna come home, and I wanna make dinner, and I wanna be normal, and I wanna watch Stranger Things.

Debra Ruh:                             I agree. I love that one.

Cerina Vincent:                    I drink wine, and then I get up, and I’m thinking how I can be my best self the next day, and [inaudible 00:18:42]. I think that every person should do that, no matter what field we’re in. We can get lost in whatever we’re doing. If we’re doctors, if we’re teachers and we can get consumed in the drama and the chaos and the negativity.

Debra Ruh:                             The labels. The labels, because someone would ask you, when are you going to be the famous actress. I would argue, you are a famous actress. I know most of your work, and your family in Virginia. I think sometimes the labels, especially if you look at it from the perspective of disabilities. Giving ourselves a label, and do you buy into that label, and do you let the world tell you who you’re going to be and that you’re not good enough because you didn’t respond to that.

Cerina Vincent:                    No. You’re totally [crosstalk 00:19:38]. This is so interesting because as an actor, we put our work out there for everybody to watch and judge. Not Another Teen Movie, I did nudity, and then everybody wanted to talk about that, and be judgmental for that and say, “Oh God, you’re going to be that actor that always doing nudity,” instead, I get launched into the horror world of Cabin Fever and the new conversation is, “You don’t wanna get pigeon-holed at the [inaudible 00:20:08]. You don’t wanna only do horror.”

                                                      Now, I’m on the Disney Channel and then you get the talk of, “Oh, you don’t what to get into Disney Show forever, right? Don’t you wanna move on and stuff?” That’s really interesting because-

Debra Ruh:                             Instead of appreciating the work.

Cerina Vincent:                    Right. It’s appreciating the work and also being in the moment now. This is what I’m doing now, and this is where I need to be. I’m not worried about … Yes, I want to plan for the future and think about what’s next, but I also be very present and do the best that I can now. It’s interesting that the world, people always want to pull you about and judge what you’re doing.  They think that you should be doing something else and why aren’t you? That stuff used to really upset me and I used to … it used to make me feel like, “Maybe I’m not doing the right thing, maybe I should be doing something else. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this movie.” I just realized that, I am where I’m supposed to be because that’s where I am. Maybe you are where you’re supposed to be, because that’s where you are.

Debra Ruh:                             Be happy for other people and where they are, instead of always judging your work. I just think it takes a lot of courage to be a working actor. I really do.

Cerina Vincent:                    You’ve mentioned Broken Memories, the main movie about Alzheimer’s. I have just a very small role in the film, but I just saw it the other night when we did some of the  screening and Frank Howard, Ron Howard’s father, is extraordinary in this film and you absolutely get lost in it, and you forget you’re watching a movie, and you really think that you’re watching someone with Alzheimer’s. He’s absolutely amazing in it.

                                                      It was a really special movie, because like I said, I have a big family, and that disease touched our family. I had an uncle who had it. Family is really important to me. I played the daughter of Frank Howard and the sister of Ivan Sergei, he’s the care taker of [inaudible 00:22:22] character. I got to explore that sibling relationship, which is really special. It was a really special touching film and it’s going to mean a lot to people that have been touched with that disease.

Debra Ruh:                             Right. I talk about that disease on this the show just because my family is walking that a little bit. It’s walking that. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States is being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Cerina Vincent:                    Oh my God.

Debra Ruh:                             It’s statistics are frightening. There are 45 million Americans heading towards Alzheimer’s, and we’re just not prepared for it. It’s … I believe-

Cerina Vincent:                    I didn’t know that.

Debra Ruh:                             The numbers are really frightening and I think that’s why movies like Broken Memories, and the other one, Stung Alice. Once again, society learns who we are by movies. We do. We decide … I’ve always appreciated that Hollywood and the … not just Hollywood, but that we’re trying got include actors with disabilities and actors-

Cerina Vincent:                    Oh! Me too.

Debra Ruh:                             Numerous actors and just really … I’m all about a story. What’s the story? What can we learn from the story? What can we learn as we watch the stories unfold? What are we learning about ourselves? I just do really think-

Cerina Vincent:                    Tell me, I have to say something really quick. Apparently, I don’t mean to cut you off, but this is [crosstalk 00:24:01]. Apparently my agency, [Camar 00:24:03] is the only agency in the world that represents actors with special needs.

Debra Ruh:                             Oh wow. Good for you.

Cerina Vincent:                    Your daughter who wants to be a famous actress, maybe, you should send them her information.

Debra Ruh:                             She’d love it.

Cerina Vincent:                    It’s … I just was in there the other day and found out that information and I had no idea that … I just didn’t know that there was only one agency in the world representing actors with disabilities.

Debra Ruh:                             I know. There’s a lot of work to do to make sure that actors with disabilities are included. If there’s a role for an actor that’s blind, how wonderful if we can actually use an actor that is right for the part that is blind. At the same time, I think, sometimes it really is about the individual … it should be about the individual. What the individual is bringing to the movie. I think there’s a lot of work to do, but I think that at the same time, have really to applaud actors like you that are really adding so much to our society by the roles that you are bringing to life.

                                                      I really, really appreciate you being on the show today. I really do. I was a little bit star-struck. I was like, “Really?” My family knows your work so well-

Cerina Vincent:                    [crosstalk 00:25:38].

Debra Ruh:                             Well you’re the one that’s put it out there, so we just found you and your work has really been very impactful for our family and I think shows like Broken Memories, and even season three of Stuck In The Middle is starting and you’re going to start with a Christmas special, called Stuck At Christmas, which ought to be funny.

Cerina Vincent:                    That’s right. December 8th it comes out.

Debra Ruh:                             You keep up the good work.

Cerina Vincent:                    Thank you.

Debra Ruh:                             Keep making the difference Cerina, because you don’t know who’s lives you’re touching in the work that you do, but you’ve actually touched our family, so we’re very grateful.

Cerina Vincent:                    Well, you too, you’re doing the same thing. You only see in me what you have in you. It’s true. We see in each other what we have in ourselves, and the fact that you get it, means a lot to me, and it means you’re giving that, and you’re giving all that back to me, and I really appreciate.

Debra Ruh:                             Would you just tell the viewers how they can find out more about your work? I know they can go to IMDb, but do you have a website? Tell us how we can find out more about your work.

Cerina Vincent:                    I do have a website that’s not updated, and you can just follow me at Cerina Vincent, C-E-R-I-N-A Vincent on Instagram, or Twitter, Facebook. I’m on all of those, and post updates and what I’m doing on social media like the rest of the world. Let’s do it now. When I started in this business, I didn’t exist. That’s so funny.

Debra Ruh:                             The world has really changed. It has really changed.

Cerina Vincent:                    It has. It has. Follow me @CerinaVincent and I really appreciate it.

Debra Ruh:                             Thanks again Cerina.

Cerina Vincent:                    Thank you. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye, bye.


[Outro Music]


 You’ve been listening to Human Potential at Work with Debra Ruh. To learn more about Deborah and how she can help your organization, visit If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and you wanna make sure that you don’t miss any future episodes, go to iTunes, and subscribe to the podcast, Human Potential at Work. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll be back next week with a new episode.