For three years Cierra Ramirez has been Mariana Adams Foster, one of the children lucky enough to have been fostered and then adopted by the magical duo of Stef Foster and Lena Adams. Her character has dealt with her fair share of challenges with a tumultuous (but evolving) relationship to her birth mother, the trials and tribulations of teenage love, and the typical ins-and-outs of daily life with many siblings. Last week, however, season 4 kicked off with a new and terrifying intensity.
After seeing Mariana kissing her ex, Mat (Jordan Rodrigues), current boyfriend Nick (Louis Hunter) spirals out of control. He heads straight to his father’s warehouse (where Romeo & Juliet had just been performed with Mat and Mariana in the starring roles) and burns it to the ground. He then finds his father’s gun and heads to school. As the season premiere gets underway the teachers and students of Anchor Beach are on lockdown, dealing with the reality of having a potential shooter in the building.
We caught up with Cierra to chat about this horrifying and unfortunately relevant turn of events. Read on to hear her thoughts on this story as well as some hints at what’s to come on this season of The Fosters.
The season premiere was really intense. Were you surprised when you got your script and saw where the story was headed?
Yes. Going into every season we’re completely blindsided, they don’t give us any clues. So I’m always so excited to get that first script. When I read it I was left in shock, I didn’t think that this was where they would take it at all. Obviously, it was very intense to film. And it was the first two-parter we’ve done, so to continue it in the second episode of the season is equally as intense, if not more. I think it’s really important to bring issues like this to light. It’s crazy the timing of it all, with the current events that are going on. It’s crazy and stuff like this needs to be discussed.
The timing is so noticeable. Has the audience responded to you specifically, have you gotten a lot of feedback?
I haven’t, not me specifically, but the situation and the episode in general. I know for Mariana, she’s really going to feel like this is her fault and feel really guilty. Thankfully no one has said that. They all see that he’s a really broken boy.
My next question was how is Mariana feeling at this moment? Does she feel responsible?
Most definitely. By now you know that he saw something that he shouldn’t have. And as innocent as it was for Mariana, that kiss was a goodbye kiss. Even though it shouldn’t have taken place, he saw it and it was a huge misunderstanding. For him to go to such extreme measures, she feels like it’s her fault and she feels guilty. While the fans don’t see it that way, she’s going to struggle with that in the upcoming episodes.
Without spoiling too much of what’s to come, is there anything you can tell us about the general aftermath of this whole experience?
Yes. I think it’s going to be something very hard for her to move on from. It’s definitely going to affect the rest of the season for her for sure. Like I said, she feels so guilty, and she’s going to be in a very dark place as the upcoming episodes come. But she does also try to keep herself busy, you see her kinda get into coding and everything like that. She’s going to be joining the robotics team this year and that was really fun to portray and get into as well. So, she does have some fun stuff in store but also some dark stuff as well.
The Fosters gets so much credit for being groundbreaking for how they depict gender and sexuality and all the big issues. One thing that doesn’t get talked about quite as much isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, but I find it inspiring that Mariana has this side to her that you may not have expected when you first meet her, that she’s so intelligent and so good at coding.
(laughs) Yeah, definitely. It’s been really fun to play.
Aside from all the drama that’s ensued with Nick, do you think deciding to be friends with Mat was true to what Mariana wanted? Do you think part of her still wants to be with him?
I know that Mariana has always really really cared for Mat. Their connection has always been undeniable. The thing about it, the situation was at this point that Mariana had been done, so was Mat. They were taking into consideration the people they were with and their feelings. Mariana really does like Nick. He’s been really great to her. It was a hard decision, but she chose Nick. After this, it’s going to be very hard for her. I mean, how do you move on from something like this? Especially when her heart was toward Mat always. I personally think she should take some time for herself, but we’ll see how that all kind of unravels.
Looking at the body of your work on The Fosters over the last few years, what’s been your favorite plotline for Mariana?
I love all the storylines leading up to now. It’s crazy to think that it’s only been a year [in the world of] the show. I think that Mariana, some of the decisions she makes at first seem really selfish but then as it progresses you see that her hearts in the right place and she has good intentions. I loved the beginning of it; selling pills behind her brother’s back so she could give her birth mother money. I fell in love with the character because I knew her heart was so big. She’s 16, she’s still making mistakes. She’s already had a lot of life, more life than I’ve had in one year. One thing I really admire about her is that she’s really embracing the idea of being both smart and sexy. She loves fashion and painting her nails but she’s also really smart. I love her coding stories.