Yasmin and Sasha come to life on the big screen
This summer, producer Avi Arad and director Sean McNamara are fulfilling every young girl's dream by bringing Bratz: The Movie to the big screen. Based on the popular doll, the film follows the adventures of four teenage girls who dirft apart in high school. Able to overcome the cliques they get locked into, the four girls reunite to form "The Bratz!"
New comers Nathalia Ramos and Logan Browning are bringing life to these tiny pieces of plastic, which have become a true phenomenon over the last few years. Ramos is playing Yasmin, the shy Spanish-Jewish singer. And Browning is playing the African-American cheerleader. We recently met up with them to discuss the film. Here's what they had to say:
Yasmin (Nathalia Ramos) & Sasha (Logan Browning)
You girls are just as perky as you are on the big screen.
Logan Browning: We shot this in New York.
That must have been fun. Out of this entire cast, you two girls are the novices.
Logan Browning: Yeah, we were the youngest. I'd done two music videos and one TV show, but this was the first big thing I've ever done.
Nathalia Ramos: We've all done things. But this is our first big thing.
Logan Browning: What I loved about it was that I got to sing, and dance, and perform. I wasn't only acting, I was also doing all of the other things I love to do as well. It's kind of like the perfect role. Then, also, once I started to research the Bratz, I saw that we were going to be role models. That was really exciting for me.
Nathalia Ramos:I like the idea that we are going to be role models to so many young girls at such a young age. The movie has so many good messages.
Logan Browning: It is going to impact these girls when they watch the movie. Especially if they are entering school, be it elementary, middle or high school. Or if they are in the middle of switching schools. I actually went to four different high schools, so I was moving a lot. And when you move a lot, you come across these different groups that might accept you or reject you. This has a really good message for young girls, and I really like that a lot.
How much of your own school experiences did you bring into your characters?
Logan Browning: Well, my character is a cheerleader, and I am a cheerleader as well. I was never put in a cheerleader group. I always had my own group of friends. But I probably brought that same cheery peppiness to the film.
Nathalia Ramos:And Jasmin, she doesn't really belong to any clique in the film. And that was how I was. You see her in the movie, and she never made another group of friends. But I was friends with everyone. At school, you don't get assigned seats. But people just naturally go to the same seat every day. I would just walk around with my food and bounce from table to table. Also, with Jasmin, I brought in a lot of her family life. I got to add a lot of Spanish phrases. And a lot of Yiddish phrases. Because that's what I am. Jasmin and I come from a from a very similar background.
How was it working with the legendary Jon Voight and Lainie Kazan?
Logan Browning: That was amazing. Jon Voight would come to set in character. He would be Principle Zimly all day. It was so funny. He tries to be really focused, and he really appreciates your role in the film. He always lets you be your character.
Nathalia Ramos:And Lainie and I had a great time together. We became really close. We helped each other so much. I helped her with her Spanish. And I taught her La Cucaracha. She was a combination of my two grandmas. One of them makes Jewish food, and one of them makes Spanish food. Lainie makes a combination of the two. So, she was just a combination of both.
What were your favorite movies when you were growing up?
Logan Browning: Still, my favorite is Mean Girls. I love that movie.
Nathalia Ramos:My friends call it the bible.
Logan Browning: I also like A Beautiful Life. It's this Italian film. I like it because of the message.
Nathalia Ramos:There's always Grease. I loved that film. I dressed up in the clothes and the hair. And I made my little four-year-old brother do shows with me. We both knew all the songs.
What was it like to raid Forever 21 while making this film?
Logan Browning: It was so much fun to throw the clothes around. Every girl loves Forever 21, because it's the place to find "the" outfit. You can find everything that matches. And all the accessories that go with it.
Logan Browning: r We really wanted to go shopping in there, but we didn't have the time. We had to go. You just want to touch everything.
Logan Browning: It was fun to throw clothes on the floor and not get in trouble for it.
Did you get to choose your own clothing for this film?
Logan Browning: r They had it ready. They had everything on a big rack. We would choose from that rack.
Was there ever anything you didn't want to wear? There never was. If we ever had a problem with clothes, or if we didn't like something, we could always tell them about something better. We would always work together in putting our outfits together.
What is your favorite accessory?
Logan Browning: I like lots of bling. I like to be flashy. I like little bitty things that are glittery.
Logan Browning: r I am really simple. I have this bracelet that I never take off. It's my personal bracelet that someone gave to me. In the movie, I asked the wardrobe people if I could incorporate it into Jasmine's wardrobe. It became her signature piece.
What is the symbolism of it?
Logan Browning: r It's just an Eagles bracelet. I'm not even into the Eagles. I'm not even a fan. My friend gave it to me, and we both have them. We never take it off. It's just a special thing I have with one of my friends.
What kind of research did you do for the role, and did you know how big the Bratz phenomenon was before signing on?
Logan Browning: r Of course I'd heard of the Bratz, but I had no idea how big they were until we started doing publicity for the movie. We are meeting so many people who love the dolls. I didn't know there were so many. I never thought too much about them. We looked at them.
Logan Browning: And we met the creator of the dolls. She was telling us that she made the dolls all proportionate, with big heads and little bodies, to show that nobody is perfect. Girls are not going to strive to look like something they are not. I think it's a really great message.
Nathalia Ramos:And all of the dolls come from different parts of the world.
Logan Browning: We even see African-American dolls. Girls can relate to their own dolls, but they are not limited to their own race. They might relate to Cloe because she is a soccer player. Or they might relate to Jade because she likes science. There is something, whether its ethnicity, sports, or a hobby, every girl has a doll they can relate to.
Nathalia Ramos:It shows a great message about embracing different cultures.Bratz: The Movie is based on that.
Are your characters based on actual dolls.
Nathalia Ramos:The movie is inspired by the dolls, but the movie is not really about the dolls. We are real girls with real personalities. We branch off, but there were personalities set up for each doll. We actually did above and beyond what was called of the characters.
So there is a Sasha doll?
Logan Browning: Yeah, there is. We all have our dolls, but the characters are more us. We put our own personalities into them. And we brought them to life.
Did they at least give you your own dolls?
Nathalia Ramos:They did. The very first day, we each got our own doll. And they had us sign the back. My brother wanted me to give it to him so he could sell it on EBay. I wouldn't let him do that. This is what I got from the very first day of shooting. We also got the movie doll, which is from the live action movie. Yeah, my collection is growing.
How was it working with Sean McNamara?
Logan Browning: He is a teddy bear. He is so nice. He makes stars. Sean is amazing.
Nathalia Ramos:He is so good at what he does. He was fun, but he was also patient. He works well with kids, I don't know how he does it. We had over two hundred kids. On the set all day. And then in the food fight, he's yelling, "Cut! Cut!" And everyone is still throwing food. He is just so good. He would always take us aside and talk to each one of us.
Logan Browning: He always made us feel comfortable on the set. There was never a point were I felt uncomfortable. He always made you feel like you were at home. Going to the set, you always knew you were going to have fun.
Did you get a chance to bond with any of the other kids on set?
Nathalia Ramos:A little bit. Every day there would be some new kids. New people were always coming in.
Logan Browning: And we were always really busy. But we did make friends with the people that were there on a more perminate basis. There were some people that had really big roles besides us. We all became so close. Meredith is probably one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. She is so nice. So, we were all really close.
Nathalia Ramos:And everyone came to my birthday party.
Did you have one like in the movie?
Nathalia Ramos:No, that's next year. Sixteen is next year. This time, I was actually in Miami for my actual birthday. But I did something small while I was still in Los Angeles, and I had all of my friends come. We had a BBQ at my house. It was fun.
How old are the two of you?
Logan Browning: I just turned 18.
Nathalia Ramos:And I just turned fifteen. Its so weird saying I'm 15. I usually have to say that I'm 14. Its kind of like I'm entering the safety zone. When I had to say that I was 14, I still felt like I was 11 or 12. I still felt like this little girl. But I'm 15. I have my permit now. When you get to 16, it's like the safety zone.
Did you learn how to drive in Los Angeles or Miami?
Nathalia Ramos:I learned how to drive in Miami. And it's distracting, too. Los Angeles is such a big city, and the bus will come bay, and the Bratz poster is on the bus. I'm like, "Hey, Mom, the Bratz poster is on the bus!" And my mom is screaming, "All eyes on the road!" I drive in Miami. But not so much in Los Angeles. I drive, but it's a lot scarier.
How does being in a movie like this affect your education?
Logan Browning: I just graduated high school. And that was the forth high school I'd been to. I ended up staying there, and I had real friends there. People that became my best friends. They were so excited for me. They support me, I support them. But now I am heading off to college in the Fall. I'm going to college in Tennessee. I have a Facebook, and people are telling me that I am the talk of the town. I'm like, "Really?" I don't like having to go somewhere people all ready know me. Its strange, but I am exited. I love school.
Nathalia Ramos:For me, I shot this during my freshman year. Actually, it wasn't a big change for me. I went to the same school I'd been going to since elementary. I was friends with everyone, and I had the best time. I'm in and out of school, and when I'm not working I am in school.
You mentioned the possibility of becoming role models. Who are your own role models?
Nathalia Ramos:I look up to my family. My parents are both in the music business. They have supported me through everything. My grandparents flew out here from Australia to take me to auditions when my parents were working.
Logan Browning: The same. My family is my role model. My father and my brothers, they are such an inspiration. My dad went to Harvard, and he is a smart crazy genius. My younger brother is into music. They are all so accomplished. They make me strive to follow my dreams.
What project are you guys working on next?
Nathalia Ramos:Bratz 2. We are really excited about that. Looking at other things? I would love to keep doing music, and explore music hopefully. And I would love to stay in school. That is something I am emphasizing to all of the little fans. We have so many little girls come up, and they tell us they want to be an actor or a musician too. Something I tell them is, "Great. Follow your dreams, but stay in school. It is so important."
Do you find it hard to stay in school when all of this other stuff is happening?
Nathalia Ramos:Yeah, there was a time were I thought that I didn't need to go to college, because I was going to be an actress. But it is so important. My mind has changed so completely. Logan and I were the only two that had to go to school. Now, when we do the sequel, I'm going to be the only one in school. So, it is really hard. You want to have a break. You want to hang out with everyone and have fun. It is really hard to balance it. It is so important, and it pays off.
Logan Browning: A lot of people have come up to me and said, "Why are you going to college? You should stay in Hollywood. You are doing Bratz: The Movie." But, I want to be in school. I want to get my education. That is how important it is to me. I am going to take a break and go to school. Because it is so important to me.
Do you have any input to what is happening to your characters in the sequel?
Logan Browning: We don't know anything.
What would you like to see happen with you guys?
Logan Browning: All of the characters have a love interest in the movie except for Sasha. So, hopefully Sasha will meet someone foreign, dark, and handsome. He has an accent.
Are you guys going to dress like your characters at the premier?
Nathalia Ramos:Well, my style is very much like Jasmine's. But we are going as ourselves.
Bratz: The Movie opens August 3rd in a theater near you.
Bratz was released August 3rd, 2007 and stars Logan Browning, Janel Parrish, Nathalia Ramos, Skyler Shaye, Chelsea Staub, Anneliese van der Pol, Malese Jow, Ian Nelson. The film is directed by Sean McNamara.