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Exclusive Interview with Girl Meets World’s Cheryl Texiera

Photo Credit: Beau Evans
Photo Credit: Beau Evans

The wedding of the year is happening on Disney Channel and you’re invited.

Girl Meets World has kept the door wide open for any Boy Meets World character returns. We’ve seen guest appearances by Mr. Feeny, Eric Matthews, even Stuart Minkus. But one return, in particular, has set GMW on fire.

The arrival of Cory’s best friend Shawn Hunter back in Season 1 set a master plan into motion: make the Hart family whole once again. Now, it seems Riley has proven herself the new Queen of Schemes.

Boy Meets World fans have been shipping Corpanga since day one, but Shawn’s love life has always been a bit rocky. Originally a bit of a playboy, it seemed he’d finally found love with Angela, until she left too. When Angela returned in “Girl Meets Hurricane” fans actually rooted against her, having fallen in love with the blossoming romance between Shawn and Katy Hart. Now, Shawn has rediscovered his “reckless spontaneity” and is finally ready to take the biggest step after proposing to Katy in “Girl Meets Upstate.”

We got Cheryl Texiera, the effervescent actress who brings Katy to life, on the phone to discuss how her character’s latest development will change things.

What do you think makes Katy Hart so special?

I think Michael Jacobs has done a really good job of giving her a lot of layers. It’s crazy because the first episode, I think they were still trying to figure out who she was and what colors to play with her. And then we really kind of enhanced that, and really made her very grounded but not lose her silliness or her quirks or anything like that.

Now, of course, her and Shawn Hunter – they just got engaged! It’s an important relationship that we didn’t see a whole lot of on-screen; we kind of saw it start and little bits but it’s still very very important to fans. Why do you think it connected so well

You know, I don’t know! (laughs). I guess it’s just…Rider [Strong] is so fun to play off of, honestly, and I love the dynamic between Katy being this kind of quirky, but at the same time sensitive person. She’s had her emotional struggles, and we all know that Shawn Hunter‘s had his. It’s just kind of like these two lost souls finding each other and it’s a nice harmony between them. I’m really glad that fans can see that.

I somehow avoided spoilers, I had no idea he was going to propose.

(gasps). Oh, lucky! Yay! Oh, that’s great!

It was a very emotional scene, and I was genuinely surprised. What was your reaction when you got the script saying that they were going to get engaged?

Well, it was so crazy, it was so fast! I didn’t realize it was going to happen as fast as it did. You know, I came back for season three and I think I did one episode and then the next episode they were like “Hey, by the way, it’s the proposal” and I was like “WHAT?!” (laughs). I was just as surprised. But I will say this, you know we filmed it, we pre-taped it and then we showed it to the live audience. The energy that that live audience gave us while watching it was absolutely incredible. It’s one of those moments I will never forget, because they are so passionate about the storyline. It was really memorable, it was incredible.

Were you able to use your own surprise to portray the character? Because she was obviously surprised with the proposal.

(laughs). Yeah I mean I guess I did. I did come poking around with Michael Jacobs, about how the characters have been reacting to each other and how they’ve been in their relationships. So it just makes sense. It’s interesting because, although on-screen we may not have seen them a whole lot, because it is an adult relationship versus being in high school and going through all of the motions, I think you almost don’t need so much time together to know whether or not they’re the right one. And I think that‘s kind of where Katy and Shawn are coming from. They just knew right away.

How do you think that marriage is going to affect Katy and Maya’s relationship?

How funny. Well, I don’t know, I mean they’re going to have a father figure now. So I’m sure that‘s definitely going to change their dynamic quite a bit. I definitely think Katy is going to be able to…share…the responsibility of parenting I guess? But to be honest, I feel like Shawn has been such an incredible parent to Maya already, and such a wonderful father figure that, if anything, I think Katy’s been a lot more reserved about expressing her opinion to Maya. And that’s been the dichotomy of their relationship. Where I think Shawn is going to come in and be, almost kind of the bridge between the two of them. That, I could see.

This is probably my own personal fear, but both Katy and Shawn have a habit of getting scared. This wedding is going to happen right?

(laughs). We think! So far, it is on track to happen, yes. 

But are there going to be any kind of obstacles that we’re going to see?

I think we’re going to be some people who are hesitant and maybe not so much in belief that a good thing could happen. So, I think we’ll see that kind of hesitancy.

So there’s a little bit of friction. Maybe.

Yeah! Maybe, there might be. (laughs).

On your Instagram, you posted a photo of your parents coming to set for the first time. What was it like bringing them into this world?

Oh my gosh, that was so rad. I live in L.A. and I’m from New York, so my whole family is still in New York. They basically have never seen me on set before. So it was really special, getting them to not only be there, but to experience and of course to actually walk around and see how a television show works. Yeah, it was incredibly special.

Watching the show, it seems like there’s such a natural chemistry between you and Rider Strong, and you and Sabrina Carpenter, as a family unit. Was that immediate or was that something that you guys kind of built up as you got to know each other?

I would say probably a little both for sure. The more I got to know Sabrina, the more, I mean she’s just a cuddle bug. (laughs). She’s so wonderful. And with Rider…when two actors get together and you know that you’re building this relationship, there is the goal of we have to portray something that is believable, that these people would respond to. Definitely.

Another relationship that I really love, that I feel like people don’t talk about a whole lot, is between Katy Hart and Topanga. Topanga has obviously known Shawn forever, and has now known Katie for awhile. It seems like they’ve gotten even closer with Katy’s relationship with Shawn. Do you think that that’s going to continue?

Definitely. That’s what I think. Topanga is pretty much Katy’s best friend now. They’ve leaned on each other so much at this point. And their daughters have really brought them together, and now Shawn’s another aspect that’s really brought them to be closer. So I’m hoping that we see more of the dynamic between them. Whenever there’s a nice scene between the two of us, I get giddy because I love working off of her. She’s got a really nice heartfelt performance that she delivers.

Going back a bit in the show, talk a little bit about the process of getting the role. Did you know how big Katy was going to be to this during the audition process?

No. No. (laughs). If I knew she was going to have this kind of arc, I would have been really terrified. (laughs). The little bit that I knew was she was Maya’s mother. And the monologue, as far as I remember, wasn’t in the original script, so it wasn’t in the audition. It was more just her going in and talking to the class. I just remember going in and just kind of saying, alright I’m going to throw it all out on the table and see what happens. And the audition was like spitfire. I felt like it was a drill as to how many things I could do. I remember going in, everything moved really fast. I started speaking in a Southern accent, because that was what was requested in the script. They told me to stop, do it in a New York accent and then do something else, and then everything was played to the camera. My head was spinning and before I knew it I was like “Alright, I’ll see ya! Fingers crossed!”

With Katy Hart being a single mother with a teenage daughter, have you gotten any feedback from fans, adults or children, that are in the same situation?

Yeah! That was one of the things that was a bit unexpected. I have gotten a number of mothers reaching out to me saying thank you for portraying this role, thank you for, basically, having this be on T.V. because that’s exactly their situation. But yeah, a few fans have shared that with me. It’s always touching and surprising when I receive those messages and I typically do write back. Sometimes you don’t realize what you’re putting out there until someone reminds you “Oh yeah, by the way, this exists.” And you’re actually touching someone.

That’s got to be the best reminder.

It is. And that I really have to, obviously, give credit to Michael Jacobs and the writers and producers. Because they’re the ones who’ve created the role. I’m grateful and lucky enough to portray it, but they’re the ones who have really built Katy and her world.

And they’re fantastic writers. They did Boy Meets World now they’re doing Girl Meets World, both obviously have these great lessons. What shows shaped you growing up?

Well, of course, I watched Boy Meets World. (laughs). I was totally into the T.G.I.F. whole Friday night extravaganza. So Family Matters, Step by Step, yeah I would say that those shows really did kind of shape me in a way. Because that’s absolutely what I would turn to and watch. I would sit there with my family and my brothers…yeah!

Which character would you say that you relate to most outside of Katy Hart?

(laughs). Ah. I’ve been asked this before and I feel like…Cory? (laughs) Because personally, I think he’s quirky and silly but at the same time he’s got a really good heart and good intentions.

Deviating from Girl Meets World a bit – your YouTube series, the “Confessions Of…” series. In the series you dance, you sing, you act and you write. Plus you’ve taught a business course…is there something that you really cannot do that you wish you could?

Well, ballet. (laughs). And harmonize, at this point. (laughs). So, “Broadway Didn’t Want Me,” I wrote the lyrics and my husband wrote all of the music. He’s a composer and a songwriter, so we always joke about putting harmonies in. And I’ve literally written a song, for if I do “Confessions of a Bittersweet Actress” Season 2, that’s going to be called “I Can’t Harmonize.” (laughs).

You’ve described the “Confessions Of…” series saying it’s like taking a shot of sugar and then moving on with your day. And then you do Girl Meets World, which is silly, but it’s also got serious moments. It seems you’re really expanding your range with these projects.

Thank you! Thank you. Yeah well, with “Confessions,” I enjoy…being a producer on something and creating it and directing it. It’s a lot and then also ultimately being in the editing room. There’s just so much, but at the same time, the reward is so great. Because at the end of the day you literally have a product that, you built the team and put it together and you get to share the experience with everyone.

For anyone who hasn’t watched Girl Meets World yet, what would you say to get them to watch it?

Well if they’re fans of Boy Meets World, it’s a really nice homage and nod to the original series. So if you were a fan, you will absolutely enjoy Girl Meets World, so definitely tune in. And if you are unaware of Boy Meets World and Girl, it’s just a really great show. It’s not just a great kids show, it’s not just a great show on Disney, it’s a great show that I really think, basically reflects where we are in society right now and also really teaches you great lessons.

 

“Girl Meets I Do” will air on Friday, Aug. 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Girl Meets World airs on Disney Channel on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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