This month’s Woman on the Rise is not only an inspiration to me, but also, one of my beautiful (both inside and out) friends, [typography font=”Cantarell” size=”14″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff6666″]Josie Loren[/typography] .
You may know Josie from ABC Family’s “Make It Or Break It” where she played Kaylie Cruz, “17 Again“, “21 and over“, and/or “Hatching Pete“. I, however, know her as a hardworking, generous, kind and talented woman who is passionate about helping the world around her.
I first met Josie in 2009 at a Teen Choice Awards pre-party where I asked her about her hair and we ended up becoming fast friends. It’s her down-to-earth personality that makes Josie easy to talk to and feel as though you’ve known her for years. A few years later (thanks to her) I was invited onto the “Make It Or Break It” set to go behind-the-scenes for my show on Trojan Vision, “Propaganda!” Doing those on-set interviews was like seeing a dream come true for me, meanwhile I was witnesssing Josie living out her dreams. I’m not entirely sure if either of us ever thought we’d get these types of opportunities.
Josie’s love for acting began at age 5 doing monologue competitions and from there, she pretty much grew up in the theatre. During the summer going into her junior year in high school, her mom enrolled her into a TV and film summer camp, started by two acting managers looking for fresh new talent. Josie became their first client and was later introduced to Cindy Osbrink of The Osbrink Agency, who told her to finish high school and attend college out in Los Angeles — which is exactly what she decided to do.
After graduating high school, Josie moved out to LA, signed with Cindy Osbrink and began her first year at UCLA as a musical theatre major. After about two quarters, she quickly realized her grades were dropping because of lack of attendance (she was on auditions), and switched to being a Mass Media Communications major. This way, she was able to go to school and be a working actress at the same time.
“It was a huge sacrifice. I couldn’t rush a sorority my sophomore year because I ended up booking a guest starring role on ‘Cory in the House‘ and just couldn’t be there…I didn’t have the normal college life that everybody talks about — I enjoyed it but I also worked my butt off during it. It was rough, but it was all about sacrifices”, she tells me over lunch at Joan’s on Third.
For Josie, the sacrifices she made paid off. During her junior year at UCLA she booked “17 Again” starring Zack Efron, Leslie Mann and Matthew Perry, making this her first major big budget film. Two days after wrapping “17 Again“, she booked Disney’s “Hatching Pete“. From there she booked a few guest starring roles, but there was a time where she did not work for almost 7 months.
What I love about Josie is her ability to push forward no matter the circumstances– during those 7 months she didn’t quit and continued to focus on both her career and school. Almost a year later during the beginning of her senior year in college, she booked the role of Kaylie Cruz in ABC Family’s “Make It Or Break It“, a series about a group of young gymnasts training to make it to the Olympics.
I asked her about the process of landing Kaylie to which she told me she had originally auditioned for the role of Payson. She found it easy to relate to Payson, as she used to be a gymnast and really understood that world. Upon walking into the room to audition, the network immediately wrote her off because Payson needed to be white. Instead, they brought her back to audition for Kaylie, a role she ended up going in for 7 times! All during midterms at UCLA. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
Thinking she’d never land the role after a major disappointment in auditioning for the “Bratz” movie 7 times, she was finally offered the role of Kaylie, much to her surprise. The “Make It Or Break It” set became her home for 4 years, allowed her to get comfortable in a role and gave her the time to really form long lasting friendships. [typography font=”Cantarell” size=”14″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff6666″]Fun fact: [/typography] she’s still best friends with Cassie Scerbo, who played Lauren Tanner.
When asked about how it was to be part of such a cool show she says, “I loved the stunt work of all of it. We learned the basics of stuff and they put us through training but we had to learn all of the floor routines and all of the beam routines.”
After MIOBI ended, she graduated UCLA in June (2012) and was then thrown into a whirlwind. She went through a break-up and that August, her grandmother had a stroke at the same time that her father was diagnosed with cancer. When her father started to take a turn for the worse, she moved back home to Miami to take care of him during the day while her mom was at work.
[quote]I went from going to these events, and getting dressed by stylists, and taking pictures on red carpets and doing interviews and being on set, and all of this glamour, to literally living in sweatpants and picking up vomit off the floor and going to the ER once every two weeks…It was such a fall from grace kind of thing.”[/quote]
In January 2013, Josie’s father passed away. Once again, she picked herself up and came back to LA 1o days later to do pilot season. I am in awe of this girl’s strength and perseverance. She ended up testing for 3 pilots but didn’t book any.
“Last year was a struggle,” she explains, It was picking up the pieces, and healing and figuring it all out– and if I even wanted to act anymore.”
Four months after her dad passed away, an unexpected surprise came her way: NFL quarterback Matt Leinart. While she was in no way ready for a relationship, Matt was persistent and eventually won her over. [highlight]”Falling in love was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” [/highlight]she beams. They’ve been together for about a year now and you can see Josie glow when she talks about her man and how happy she is with him. I personally couldn’t be happier that she found love with a former Trojan! Kidding….except not really.
Through all of this, the past year has been a time to reflect, heal and grow. She says there is now a depth to her that she didn’t really have before and a new perspective on life. Josie credits her family and friends who helped her push forward, as well as her agents and managers, and faith in God.
She soon started getting more work, booking a film titled “Honor Student” and more recently, VH1’s hit TV show (and one of my personal favorite shows on TV right now), “Hit The Floor.” In the midst of all of this, she decided to go to law school! In the fall, Josie will be attending Loyola Law School [typography font=”Cantarell” size=”14″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff6666″]on scholarship[/typography], focusing on entertainment law.
Actress by day, law student by night! I’m inspired by Josie and her drive to succeed in all areas of life. Most working actors would never think to pursue more education, let alone law school, and she’s doing all of it and more. I couldn’t think of a better WOTR for June. On top of everything she has accomplished and is currently working on, Josie dedicates much of her time to philanthropy, serving as an ambassador for Padres and on the board for Muse Effect Dance Company that does dance pieces dealing with social issues.
I’ve come across many different types of people in this industry, and I have to say, Josie is one of the realest girls out there. She has so much heart, passion and determination that it’s hard not to get inspired after talking to her. She really is an amazing human being and I am so lucky to have her in my life. Josie has that [typography font=”Cantarell” size=”14″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff6666″]can-do attitude[/typography] we all should have and continues to stay positive even after everything she has been through.
[quote]It’s knowing what you want in life, setting your goals and just doing it. Life is going to suck sometimes and it’s going to be so amazing sometimes.”[/quote]
[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff6666″]Mora[/typography] Fun With Jos…
What music are you listening to right now? I’m a huge country music fan. Phillip Phillips new album is so good. Paramore. I’ve also been on a bit of an 80s kick. I’m a huge Teagan and Sara fan. Went to the Billy Joel concert in May. And oh my god, I am a huge Ariana Grande fan and I think Beyonce pretty much walks on water.
How do you keep Bougie-On-A-Budget? First off, Nordstrom Rack is heaven sent. I bought a pair of Tory Burch heels from there, I die. I also shop online like Gilt. If I want something specific, I go online. Macy’s and Nordstrom’s have great sales. Me and my roommate do a lot of online shopping.
Final words? Savor every moment. Try to live in the moment as much as possible.
xo [typography font=”Cantarell” size=”14″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff6666″]NM[/typography]