Cristine Prosperi – Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack
By: Taylor Gates
Q) Can you tell us a little bit about the movie and the character you play?
A) Sure. So, Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack is a really fun and high-paced movie with the same Bring It On flair as the old ones. This new one has a lot of relatable topics like social media and we deal with international squads from around the world…We also bring in an element of hip-hop to this movie, which is a new flavor to Bring it On. It’s a mixture of cheer and hip-hop and social media and we’re connecting squads from around the world which is really fun. I play Destiny. She’s the captain of the Rebels. She’s a fierce, sassy, fun character who knows what she wants, but throughout the movie we kind of realize that she’s in a bit of trouble and needs help kind of bringing herself back to earth a little bit. She meets Blake (Jordan Rodrigues) who helps her with her issues. In the middle of the movie she becomes a little more full, which is nice to see, but to start off she’s fierce and sassy—she’s a cheer-lebrity so she thinks the most of herself.
Q) How is this character different and similar to ones you’ve played in the past? I know you had a big role on “Degrassi.” Was this a very similar experience or was it quite a bit different?
A) It was so different. On “Degrassi” I played a really quirky, nerdy, funny, clever character. Destiny is hot and fierce and she’s kind of full of herself, which was a little funny to play because I don’t think that I’m like that. It was really fun to amp up the sassiness and the bitchiness because we don’t do that every day and so it was completely different from any role I’ve ever played. And it’s pretty exhausting being a bitch! So, I’m not one. [Laughs]
Q) You’ve mainly done television before this. How is shooting a movie different than shooting a TV series?
A) This movie was particularly special because we got to go to South Africa and film for three months. When you’re doing a movie you have such a short period of time to create that fast bond between your crew members and your cast. On the set of a series you’re working for so many years and you’re used to everyone and it’s like a family, but on a movie it’s exactly the same—it’s a family and there’s all this bonding, but it has to end. It’s really sad. My experience in South Africa with all my cast mates was so much fun and it was truly a life-changing experience.
Q) Do you have any favorite on-set stories or memories from working with everyone?
A) [There were] a lot of actors and dancers and most of them sing so we were always just like dancing and singing in between takes and off set and I feel like we were so annoying to everyone else just breaking into song. This movie I had so much fun on and it was funny because we had so many laughs in between takes and even when we were shooting it was kind of like, “Okay, guys, like we have to be professional. We’re making a movie.” We were all so close and such great friends that we shared so many laughs and it was just a really, really fun set to be on.
Q) Were you a big fan of the Bring It On franchise before you got this role?
A) I was such a huge fan. I remember when the first one came out like fifteen years ago, which is crazy. I remember having it on VHS and I would put it in the player and watch it over and over again until I memorized all the cheers. Every girl wanted to be Kirsten Dunst and every girl wanted to be Gabrielle Union and those quotes and those cheers are still quoted to this day. So, it was a huge thing when we were all growing up. And I think I was a bit too young to watch it looking back at it now and understanding all the jokes, but it’s such an iconic movie and I can’t believe that I got to be a part of such an iconic franchise.
Q) Did you know a lot about competitive cheerleading before this or did you have to do any research about the sport?
A) When I auditioned I sent in a tape of me dancing because I’m a dancer. So, I sent in a reel of me dancing and then I also sent in another video of me doing a few cartwheels and jumps—nothing that was like real cheerleading stuff but I kind of faked it. When they called me and told me I got the role I thought they were kidding. I said, “Are you sure? I don’t know if I should do this.” But, luckily, when I got the call and I found out that I was getting it they said, “Okay, you’re going to go through this five week cheer training.” So, I got to start from the very basics. But before I got the role I YouTubed all these squads from around the world and cheerleading just fascinated me. I did not know how huge it was. I did not know how big of a following it had. So, I went on YouTube and was looking at all these videos and I was just amazed. And I thought to myself, “Oh, there’s no way I can do that.” The first day of training I said to Tony [Gonzalez], our choreographer, “Oh, I’m not doing any of the stunts,” and he said, “Yes, you are.” It was crazy.
Q) Did you do all of your own stunts or did you have stunt doubles for some of them?
A) All of the actors did all of their own stunts. For the whole day we would do the basics for the first week and I hated it. We used to do cheerleading in the morning and dance at night and I hated it in the mornings. When you’re flying really high up in the air and all of these boys are throwing you up so high…I hated it so much. I saw videos of me going up at the beginning and I was so scared. I was like a little kid. And then by the second week all of the sudden I was just so comfortable with it. I was so obsessed with flying and being a flyer that I was addicted. And by the end of week five of the camp we were in I would go up to all the boys and say, “Okay, toss me up. Toss me the hands.” I would just be addicted to stunting. It was really cool. Cheerleading is such an awesome sport to be a part of. There’s so much teamwork and trust and it’s just a really cool and unique sport.
Q) Can you talk a little bit more about the role social media plays in this movie?
A) Social media is a huge theme. Destiny and her friends are all obsessed with their phones and Instagram and followers and likes. Through the whole movie there are squads from around the world on our iPhones and our iPads and it’s just crazy that you can make a video and it can reach anywhere in the world you want and get as many views as it can. Throughout the whole movie Destiny kind of uses her phone, but when she meets Blake he kind of brings her back down a bit and teaches her it doesn’t really matter how many likes and followers you have—it’s about human connection and having conversation in real life and people liking you in real life not on social media. I think that plays a huge part in today’s society and for those growing up. I think social media’s a great thing to show what you’re up to, but I think when you’re addicted and you’re constantly worried about what people think of you and whether your posts are good enough or waiting for that one like from the boy you like or something…I think it’s cool to see in the film that we kind of overcome that.
Q) What role does social media play in your own life, particularly as a performer? Does having quick, easy access to fans make things more rewarding or more difficult to do your job?
A) I think social media’s a great thing for me, especially doing shows that reach a lot of teens. I played a lesbian character on “Degrassi” and it was really cool to see tweets coming in from teenagers that said, “You really helped me with coming out to my parents” or “You really helped me be comfortable with myself in my own skin.” I think it’s just great because as an actor I think I’m just doing my job. I’m an actor. I go to work every day. I say these lines, but it’s connecting people. So, having people tweet me or Instagram me is really cool to see. But also, when I first started all this, I would see negative comments and they would really get me down. I cried to my mom like, “Why are people saying these things? Why don’t people like my stuff?” And my mom said, “You know what—you have to have thick skin and forget about all the negative comments and not let it ruin your day.” And I have. I just ignore all that kind of stuff and I don’t really care what people think anymore.
Q) What message do you hope people take away from this movie?
A) Obviously, it’s the classic Bring It On with all the sassy one-liners and flashy cheers and flashy dances, but I think at the core it really focuses on friendships and relationships. I hope people take away that social media isn’t everything in our lives and it really is the human connection and finding yourself and not letting other people dictate your life behind a phone. So, I think overall it’s about friendships and just being comfortable with yourself and not caring what other people think and just doing you.
Q) You have a huge, really passionate fan base. Is there anything you would like to tell them or anything you would like them to know?
A) Aww, that’s so nice! Sometimes I can’t believe people actually care what I do or that that many people follow me. I just want to tell the people who follow me or watch my stuff thank you. You guys really motivate me to make myself better and do better for my craft. I think at the end of the day it’s so cool to be an actor because I’m doing what I love, but it’s also cool that I get to interact with people from around the world. I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart and I love them so much.