Cricket Wampler is a 20-year-old actress starring in the new Disney Plus series, Big Shot. Her Big Shot costars include John Stamos and Jessalyn Gilsig. Cricket plays Samantha, a member of an elite all-girls private school basketball team. Stamos plays Coach Korn, a former NBA coach who is now Samantha’s basketball coach. The show encapsulates the different challenges young women may face. This includes social media, competitive sports, and financial hardship. In this interview, Cricket discusses her experience on the show, as well as her experience being an actress. She also shares advice and encouragement for young girls who are at crucial points in their lives.
What inspired you to become an actress, and what has motivated you to keep going?
I 100% have my siblings to thank for getting me into acting. They started taking classes locally in Ohio when we were young. I was too shy at first to want to act, but I slowly warmed up to the idea when I was about eight, and never really looked back. I believe my motivation is purely passion at this point. There was a stint where I didn’t book a role for about 5 years. If the love for acting wasn’t strong enough I would have quit in that time I’m sure, but I never once truly considered it. I worked just as hard in those years I didn’t work as I do when I am working.
How did working with stars like John Stamos, Jessalyn Gilsig, and Yvette Nicole Brown help inspire you to keep working hard in your career? What have you learned from them?
I have learned SO MUCH from our amazing adult actors. I can just LOOK at John, Jessalyn, Yvette or Richard and I am learning. Just from how they talk, carry themselves, hit their marks and angles, their comedic timing, the list goes on. I feel honored to work with and learn from them, and they love helping us learn more too. I also have to say, a lot of times in this business it truly feels as if the nice people finish last. I feel like Yvette has proven that that theory isn’t always true. She is one of the most sunny, wonderful, helpful, caring people, and seeing her working as much and as hard as she does gives me hope and even more motivation.
What are some challenges you have faced along your path of becoming an actress, and what advice would you give to young women who face similar obstacles?
There have been many challenges at times, but the biggest of all is no doubt REJECTION. All. The. Time. It is just the standard. I’ve been acting for about 13 years and couldn’t count all the no’s I’ve received if I tried. But, it only takes one yes after a thousand no’s to change your life. You have to have trust in your ability and the fact that inevitably, SOMEONE will want you, to make it through. On the other hand, some people book their first audition. HA. So it truly just depends. Keep pushing and never question your ability, it will all work out in due time.
With your character, Samantha, being such a fun and positive character on the show, how has that affected your relationship with positivity, especially during this difficult year?
Samantha is very fun and positive, and to a certain degree the writers have now told me that some of that was based on how I was/am for the most part. I thought that was funny to hear, because I had not realized they were watching us so closely, apparently. This year has been tough for what feels like every person I know, myself included, but I think just remembering what is truly important, and doing things I love, help keep me more positive.
The show often highlights the relationship between the female players and Coach Korn, played by John Stamos. How do you think this is an important dynamic to discuss, especially when it comes to different genders coming together for a common goal?
The girls & Coach all have things in common, loving basketball, wanting to work hard, wanting to win, etc. There are definitely obstacles, and at times it feels like Coach Korn and the girls are speaking different languages than each other, but that is when I think Coach Holly (played by Jessalyn Gilsig) really comes in to bridge that gap. Ultimately, having the same goals for the team is what gets them all through.
Teenage girls often experience a lot of pressure, whether it be through social media, school, or sports. How important do you think it is that this is covered in Big Shot, and how do you think it will help girls who watch it?
I think it is really great to show all of us under stress, struggling, making mistakes, learning, and ultimately growing. Although it is not fun when you are going through it, I feel like it is important to show how much time heals, and life will go on. Good friendships and teammates always help, too!
How do you hope the show will empower young women who play high school or college sports, and encourage them to continue to work hard to achieve their dreams?
I am glad we trained as much as we did in preparation for the show, because it gave us a small glimpse of how hard these amazing high school and college athletes train. At this point, they are inspiring me! I do hope they see that not only can girls do ANYTHING they set their mind to, but also how having your teammates’ and friends’ best interest at heart is so important and empowering. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Accepting each other and coming together is what it is all about!
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