Gabrielle interview with Image Magazine

 Image: Hi Gabrielle, first of all, thankyou so much for giving us the privilege of talking to you. You have a big fan base here in Australia.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! So excited to have fans all the way, "down below" in Australia!


Image: Youre in the middle of filming season two of, South of Nowhere. What can audiences expect of the next chapter in Spencers journey?

Well, I'm not allowed to give too much info! But I can say that since Season 1's cliff-hanger finale, the audience will be quite pleased with the progression of Spencer and Ashley's relationship. They have definitely come a very long way in our second season.

Image: What advice would you give someone in Spencers position, struggling with finding their identity?

Just stay strong and follow your heart, no matter what the consequences might be. Because even if you're straight, or if you're gay, I believe that ultimate happiness comes from the heart.

Image: Did you have any reservations when deciding to play Spencer?

Not at all. I was very excited to finally have found such fabulous material and such a challenging young character!

Image: SON raises a lot of issues, such as questioning sexuality, race, religion and family. Did these issues affect you when you were growing up?

I grew up in a fairly conservative and traditional Catholic family. I was baptised and confirmed a Catholic, and spent most of my life in Sunday school and going to mass each and every Sunday with my family. I also grew up in the Washington DC area, which is basically one of the most international cities in the entire world! So racial acceptance just came along with my surroundings, and from my personal experiences, my family was not affected by much racial prejudice at all , thankfully. However, I did have alot of multi-racial friends that had experienced a few touch situations, just by being different than the people around them. One of my best friends was actually very similar to the character Clay on South of Nowhere because he's black and raised by an all white family. But none of this really affected me personally. I have always been very open to people and their differences. This is something I have been very lucky to have received by being raised by such an accepting and understanding family.

Image: Has playing Spencer, made you more aware of the struggles of being a gay teenager?

Definitely, 100Ánd it's not only on-screen, but very much so in my personal life. I mean, just in the fanmail I receive, and the fans I have met through the show, I have been able to really hear what it's like to be young and gay. It truly amazes me to hear the stories that people have about their own experiences, and ironically, alot of them seem to relate very much to Ash and Spencer's stories!

Image: Some might consider it a pressure, to have their character looked up to as a role model. How do you feel about it?

Oh I find it to be such an honor! I mean most actors live for roles that can really speak to individuals on a personal level. And if I am able to do this for young people who are trying to find their own paths in life, then I don't think there is anything to feel pressure over. It's truly a blessing.

Image: The final episode of season one, was a real cliff-hanger, or as some viewers affectionately call it, a teaser. Why do you think they chose to end the season, in such a crucial place?

Gabrielle: Well that's obvious! We want y'all to come back for Season 2!

Image: If you were given the opportunity, to write the second season of SON, what would you like to see happen with Spencer?

I would love to see Spencer overcome her challenges and just be accepted for who she is. I think it's vital that her family and social world can accept her different path of life because this is just what makes her ultimately happy. She deserves this happiness just like everybody else!

Image: We gave Image, readers a chance to submit a question for you to answer, and we have a question here, from Brenda. She would like to know, so far, what has been your favourite episode of SON to film, and why?

Gabrielle: Hey there Brenda! To answer your question, the season 1 finale has so far been my favorite episode to film. I just love that Spencer is able to come to terms with herself in this episode and can finally put her emotions into action.

Image: Melinda also has a question for you. Whats it like being in a show that deals with issues that are seen as very controversial. She also says, Thank you for being in SON, because its been such a support. Its shown me that Im not the only one who goes through these issues..

Gabrielle: Thank you Melinda! I'm so glad to have been a help to you. And yes, South of Nowhere is fairly controversial, but isn't the world in general? What I love so much about South of Nowhere is that we are able to capture the reality of life and express it in this form of entertainment where it can really speak out to a large population of individuals. Television is often used just for entertainment purposes, but isn't it fabulous that we have this ability to teach the world something new?

Image: Spencer has a pretty diverse family, but you yourself grew up as one of five girls, what was that like?

Gabrielle: Awesome! And actually also fairly similar to Spencer's family, because even though we were all girls, we were all still so different. Different hobbies, pesonalities, lifestyles, etc. But this also makes for a very interesting upbringing! There was never a dull moment in my house! Especially for dad.

Image: Speaking of family, some of our readers may not know that there is one thing you and your family are very passionate about, and thats raising the awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Why is this especially important to you?

Gabrielle: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is especially important to me because I lost my one and only brother Christan to SIDS when I was just 7 years old. Christian's death had a very major impact on my family, and especially my mother. So ever since his death, my mom has contributed most of her life to SIDS and educating people to try and prevent it and to cope with their own personal loses.

Image: Your Mum Joani, wrote a book called, The SIDS Survival Guide, and also set up a non-profit organization called, SIDS Educational Services. Youve also mentioned that your stage name, is a tribute to Christian.

Yes, Christian remains a very important name in our family, and we all just want to remember him as best we can. He was a very special little boy.

Image: There is a charity walk held every September, to raise funds for SIDS. You attended the walk last year. Did you find that some of the walkers were fans of South of Nowhere?

South of Nowhere unforunately had not aired before last year's walk, so we didn't get to have our fans attend last year. This year, however, is going to be huge! Much thanks to the fans, we have already raised tons of money and awareness. And a bunch of these individuals have already informed me that they will be attending! Yay! I will also be attending with my family. It's on September 10th in Buddy Attick Park in Greenbelt Maryland. Please come!

Image: If you could pass on any advice to others who have lost a family member to SIDS, what would it be?

Gabrielle: As terrible as it is, just believe that there is a reason for everything. My mom, for instance, was completely devastated. But she ended up writing a book about her own experiences, as well as many other experiences, and turned out helping hundreds of thousands of other families and parents. Read my mom's book! And please stay strong and keep faith.

Credit: SON Official page on Myspace