East Los High is action packed, high energy and enthralling; It will literally have you hooked the moment you press play. I kid you not, I am one of the many fans to recently fall victim to the captivating teen drama. We’re talking borderline obsessed (haha). But seriously, be forewarned, this isn’t your typical high school show. You’re not going to find teens singing merrily in the glee club or worried about mundane things like wearing the same outfit as your teacher on the first day. East Los High get’s down and dirty… in more than one way. The Hulu original follows a group of latino teens living in East Los Angeles. The show deals with real situations, with heavy emphasis on drama, dance, mystery and sex. There’s love triangles, rivalries, drugs, and BFF brawls.
Ashley Campuzano plays Tiffany Ramos, the often oblivious but super magnetic member of East Los High’s bomb squad (that’s the dance team, for all you noobies). Her character has definitely evolved since we first saw her in the second season, but the cheeky chica definitely has a little more growing up to do.
The former beauty queen, who stars in the first series with an all-Latino cast, hit the ground running in the well-liked Hulu show and there’s no sign of slowing. We talked at length about her background in pageants and dance, as well as her biggest influences in the industry right now… spoiler alert: she chose Eva Longoria.
Time to dish…
MCKENZIE MORRELL: For starters, thanks for joining me today. I’m happy to have you on to talk about the show. Can you tell us about East Los High and Tiffany Ramos, the character you play?
ASHLEY CAMPUZANO: East Los High is a teen drama that focuses on dance, relationships, romance and basically the struggles that this group of teenagers has to go through. The character I play is Tiffany Ramos- she is a seventeen year old Junior who is new to East Los Angeles in the second season and she is also part of the dance team, which is called The Bomb Squad. In the second season, she goes through a lot of bad decisions and in the third season she learns from her mistakes in the second season and is growing up and focuses more on her morals and values.
MM: Now, what do you think contributed to that change or growth from when we first saw her to now?
AC: In the second season she betrays a best friend and is in love with a guy who has a girlfriend, and in this season she learns from her mistakes. What makes her want to change is she gets an STD from the previous boyfriend that she had and it makes her reflect on her morals and values and she realizes she needs to better herself as a person and as a friend, as well.
MM: Do you think it was a necessity for Tiffany to join the dance team when she switched schools? Do you think if she hadn’t joined, she would be getting into even more trouble without that structure?
AC: It was definitely a necessity, because she was captain of the dance team at the school she came from and was very involved. If she wasn’t on the dance team I think….maybe, yeah, she probably would be getting into more trouble. (laughs)
MM: Has being a former beauty queen with a dance background helped you to prepare for this role, or the entertainment industry at large?
AC: I would definitely say yes. It was a perfect role to get because of my background. It has really helped me develop the character and bring her to life. It’s been a bit easier compared to other things.
MM: How do you get into character? Do you have any tips on how to be a mean girl?
AC: (laughs) Tips to be a mean girl… hmmm, let me see. I would definitely have to say just from experience seeing mean girls at school and watching movies, and everything you see while growing up. I get to bring it to life with this character, and it’s kind of fun to be a mean girl. I’m really not a mean girl in real life! (laughs)
MM: (laughs) We hope not! Who would you say is your biggest influence in entertainment right now? Who do you draw inspiration from?
AC: I would have to say one of my biggest influences right now is Eva Longoria. I really look up to her. Right now she’s producing her own things and doing her own projects and I really respect her a lot, and I kind of want to follow her footsteps and do that in the future.
MM: That would be great. Now East Los High deals with real issues like domestic violence, bullying and sex education. Do you think that is why the show took off and why it is so well-liked: because it’s engaging?
AC: We’ve attracted a lot of fans and viewers because it’s very real and it’s relatable- especially for the teenagers watching the show. I mean, people deal with things like this on a daily basis at school, whether it’s a friend getting pregnant or getting an STD, or dealing with a tough relationship, and I think that’s why it caught a lot of attention with the viewers and also in the industry. It’s very real and I think that’s what everyone loves about it.
MM: You mention that you’re not like your character since you’re not a mean girl. Are there any personality traits that you do share with her or what are some major differences?
AC: Like Tiffany, I would say we both like a lot of the same things; we love dancing, we love going for what we want, and that’s a strong characteristic to have- someone who is always doing what they want and will go for it. The differences that we have… She’s still growing up and learning and betraying her friends and fooling around with other girls’ boyfriends!
MM: The show features an all-Latino cast. Do you feel that East Los High adequately represents the culture and how necessary do you think a show like this was in the Hollywood scene?
AC: I’m very honored to be a part of this cast. It’s great to see an all-Latino cast for an English speaking show based in East Los Angeles, being perfectly accepted and getting three seasons, and making a difference in the industry. To be part of this movement. It’s really an honor to be a part of it.
MM: That’s amazing and the show was nominated for three Emmys, I believe, aside from individual nominations, so congratulations to everyone over there. That’s wonderful.
AC: Yeah! It’s definitely been a great year for East Los High and we’re hoping for another one next year, and the next couple of months, as well.
MM: Oh, definitely. You guys have some great new additions this season- Christina Milian and J.D. Pardo just to name a few- hopefully you got to work with them a little bit, but is there anyone you would love to see guest star on the show next season?
AC: I would love Eva Longoria, like I said, I look up to her and we’ve been bringing a lot of main stars onto the show, so her making a guest appearance on the show would be amazing. Also, if she would come on board and produce that would be amazing!
MM: That would be great! Have you read her cookbooks at all or tried any of her recipes? Her cookbook is amazing by the way.
AC: No, but I have to get on that! I need to learn how to cook. (laughs)
MM: (laughs) Yeah, I am not a good cook, and I made the chalupa recipe and it came out really awesome. So if I can do it, you can definitely do it!
AC: Yeah, I need to get that book and start cooking because I do not know how to cook either. (laughs)
MM: Now, it seems that everyone has gravitated towards streaming services, like Hulu and Netflix, which is great for you. With that said, are you someone who likes to binge watch shows?
AC: Yes, yes. I binge watch shows all the time, I’m not really someone who watches regular TV at all. If they have the series on Hulu or Netflix, you know, that’s what this generation has become. Nobody that I talk to nowadays has regular TV, we just watch all our shows on Hulu or Netflix. So, it’s great to have a show that’s streaming on Hulu!
MM: It’s great to be able to access it whenever you want and to have the ability to binge and re-watch. Now do you have a favorite show of all time if you just spanned back when you were younger or through now- do you have a favorite?
AC: Yeah, a recent show would have to be Modern Family on ABC- I’m so hooked on that. I also really like the Disney Channel. I was a Disney kid, so I watched all the Disney shows.
MM: Those were the best. They don’t make Disney movies like they used to, I don’t think, personally. (laughs)
AC: I know, right! Every month they had a new Disney movie, now It’s always like ready for the new movie on there.
MM: So now when you’re not working what can the fans find you doing? Do you have any hobbies?
AC: I grew up dancing, so I still take dance classes on the side. I also love to travel, so I like to travel to a new place if I can, every year. I just finished school last year, so I’m kind of just devoting my life to acting, so that’s my real job. (laughs)
MM: Oh congratulations, that’s fun. Now how are the fans on social media? Have you gotten any unexpected comments from people watching the series?
AC: I’ve gotten more comments about how real the show is and how it relates to fans lives and why they love the show. Any of the comments I’ve gotten about my character are just people saying, “Oh Tiffany would say that!” So it’s people laughing about what she says and what she does, because she does the mean things in a funny way, so everyone finds it a bit funny. Everyone is very supportive and loves the show and they are already hoping for a season four so that’s great that it’s been out for a short time and some people already watched the entire season… and hopefully we do get a season four.
MM: Is it weird to interact with fans, knowing that they might be in different parts of the series, since they can watch it at their own pace?
AC: No, I mean, it’s nice to interact with the fans and see what they have to say, or what they like. You can encourage them to keep watching and see what’s coming next, you know, “You’ll have to watch the next episode!” and that kind of thing.
MM: That’s amazing to get that instant feedback. Now for a random question. What are three things that you cannot leave home without?
AC: I’d have to say my cellphone, chapstick, and I guess my keys and my car. I drive so much I don’t think I could do anything without my car! (laughs)
MM: Hey, that’s a necessity for sure. Now what sets East Los High aside from other shows? Why should the fans jump on Hulu and tune in?
AC: It’s a great show. It shows the realness of what happens in day to day life and it’s funny. There’s a lot of action and drama, it’s entertaining, and it’s a well-rounded show that everyone should give a shot. Everyone I talk to is like I just watched an episode and now I want to watch the whole series because it’s so good.
MM: It is a wonderful show and I think everybody should hop on Hulu if they haven’t seen it yet and watch it. Finally, to conclude- do you have anything to say to the fans?
AC: I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported the show and watches it and encourages us to keep moving forward, because the reason we are all here and are able to make this is because of the fans and all the support they have given us. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. We appreciate everything you do for us, and we love you!