“Make It or Break It” star Josie Loren
by Brittany Geragotelis
She plays a gymnast on the ABC Family hit “Make It or Break It,” but did you know that Josie Loren was also a Top Gun? AC recently got the chance to talk to the leo-wearing dynamo and convinced her to spill about her life, giving back and what it’s like being on a hit show.
AC: You were a gymnast before you were a cheerleader. Why did you make the transition to cheer?
JOSIE LOREN: I wasn’t really a fan of all the other events [in gymnastics] like beam, vault and bars. I loved floor, but I wasn’t as passionate about everything else. There’s a level of performing in cheerleading that doesn’t exist in gymnastics. Sure, [gymnasts] do their floor routines, but it’s totally different when you’re a competitive cheerleader. The fact that we would dance and perform…that’s what attracted me the most.
AC: Do you have any fond memories of your cheerleading days?
JOSIE: My teammates and I spent so much time together. We traveled all the time for competitions and I’ll never forget those trips. And even when we weren’t in the gym or traveling, I was always with those girls. We were always going out to the movies and then to birthday parties and things. They were family to me.
AC: Would you encourage other people to get involved in cheer?
JOSIE: I think it’s a great sport. I always teased my brothers because they’re big baseball players, and they’d come to my practices and be like, “Wow, you do work a lot harder than we do!” I have so much respect for competitive cheerleaders. They put in so much work, but what they get in return are friendships that literally last a lifetime.
JOSIE: I left cheer because I got into a magnet school for the arts in high school, and it was really different from any other school I’d been to. The school days were longer and after class ended we’d start rehearsals for whatever show we were in. I was also in a musical theater touring company there, and had rehearsals until 10 o’clock for that, so the school was just a huge commitment. I had to make a choice of what I wanted to do and ended up deciding that theater was what I really wanted to do. That was a big decision for me, and at the time I was like, “Oh my God, what are you doing? This is what you’ve done your whole life. Are you really ready to do this?” A big part of me said, “no,” but I’ve always wanted to be an actress, so I had to do it.
AC: How difficult was it to get back into shape for your role in “MIOBI”?
JOSIE: It wasn’t really hard for me. I just had to step it up, because I’m very active, so it wasn’t like I had to lose 10 pounds and gain muscle. I just had to change my workout a little bit in terms of not doing as much cardio and doing more strength training. So my workouts got more intense, that’s for sure.
I found that I like working out outside more than in a gym. Here at UCLA we have the Drake Stadium, so I’ll run the stairs there and the track. They also have sand pits that you can do a lot of great strength-training in. There are also ropes to climb—when I first started doing that, I couldn’t get up to the top if you’d paid me. Right now, I’m also really into kickboxing!
AC: Do you think that gymnasts and cheerleaders sometimes get a bad rep? What are the stereotypes of these athletes and what’s the real story?
JL: I think cheerleaders get more of a bad rep than gymnasts, because when people think of cheerleaders they think of a dumb blonde, yelling from the sidelines. What they don’t know is that competitive cheerleading is so intense! You have two and a half minutes to show them everything you have—your cheer, dance, tumbling, jumping and stunting skills. Those routines are no joke! Cheer takes strength, power, dedication, endurance and discipline. They’re athletes and they should definitely be recognized as such.
I think gymnasts are pretty respected—it’s hard to look at the Olympics and not respect them. What they do consumes their lives, and the sacrifices they make last a lifetime. They don’t have normal high school or college experiences because their lives were spent in the gym. But they love it and they don’t care how much of a toll it takes on their bodies. It’s amazing what they’ll sacrifice for that.
AC: You’re involved with several charities, including an organization called, School on Wheels, where you tutor homeless children at shelters once a week. What has this experience been like for you?
JOSIE: The kids are just so grateful for anything—even if it’s just an hour of your time. That’s all they want, just to have someone there with them. I tutored this one girl and I was able to help her with her homework, but at the end of our time together, we just talked. You could see she just wanted someone to talk to. It hurts your heart. It’s such a great organization and I’m really glad I got involved.
**For more on Josie, pick up our August issue out on newsstands now.