On a beautiful summer afternoon in Los Angeles at John Paizis’ Performing Arts Studio West, the cast of TV’s Born This Way met up with David S. Zimmerman, an ABILITY contributor and founder of Meet The Biz, and actress Jamie Brewer of American Horror Story. Later in the conversation, the cast’s families joined them as they talked about life, love, and the up side of having Down syndrome. David Zimmerman: I have to say your show has become one of my favorites. In fact, I binge-watched the first season last week. Jamie Brewer: We both did.
David: I cried! I laughed!
The Cast: Awwww.
David: I identified with a lot of stuff that was going on.
Jamie: Same here.
David: You guys seem so honest and open. Elena: What was your favorite thing about it, David?
David: It’s hard to say because there were so many things I liked. It’s more than a show. It’s like a movement. John (A K A J.T.): I think it’s because between Cristina, Rachel, Megan, Elena, Sean, Steven and I, we’re like a big family. We love this show. We’re always there for each other, in good times and bad times… We would sit down and talk about what bothers us the most. I feel like I’m the one to give advice to everybody.
David: You said “family.” The show makes the audience feel like they’re part of the family, too, doesn’t it?
Jamie: It does. I really liked that about it. And I really liked when you guys were in the bowling alley.
David: Omigod the bowling alley!
Rachel: I broke 100 for the first time.
Sean: I broke 600! (laughter) [Bowling’s highest score is only 300.]
David: I thought we might play a word game, where we’ll say a word—
Jamie: —And you say the first thing that comes to mind. Okay, first word: independence.
Sean: Loving. Elena: Romantic.
David: Okay, let’s see: love.
Rachel: I know what love is.
David: What is love?
Rachel: It’s when you have this spark in your eyes. Sparkle, sparkle!
David: And that spark connects you with someone else?
Rachel: Yes. Elena: Like you could spread your wings and fly.
John: I would say family, because we’re always there for each other, including Cristina, who’s getting married.
Cristina: I would say that marriage means someone will always love you and care about you a lot. They will always stay with you, ask you out, and really love you the way you are.
David: Show us your ring. (Cristina shows her ring to cheers.)
Jamie: That’s gorgeous!
David: It is.
Jamie: And Elena has a poetry workshop! Elena: I do!
David: I would love to hear some of your poems. Elena: You should come to the open mic night!
Jamie: I want to go, too!
David: Let’s do it. But first, let’s finish our word game.
Jamie: Another fun word: fashion.
David: Megan, you have a clothing line, don’t you?
Megan: I do.
Jamie: What inspired you to get into fashion?
Megan: When I graduated high school, I started a family business, a tie-dye company, where I’m making my own clothing.
David: I saw the episode about it, and I seriously felt like I wanted to hand money through the TV screen and say, “Can I have that one?”
Jamie: Yeah, I wanted one of your scarves.
David: Okay, this question is for everybody: What do you want most at this moment?
Cristina: For me it’s hanging out with my mom.
David: I love that. Rachel, how about you?
Rachel: What I want the most in my life is my mom and my dad. I really love my parents a lot, and me and my mom are really good friends. I love her so much.
David: Watching your connection with her, I related it to me and my mom. I just got back from a little vacation with her, which really touched my heart.
Megan: To be honest with you, some day I want to get married and have a baby.
John: I want to be able to do more new music. I want another season of Born This Way. My TV family means a lot to me. And maybe I want to get a spinoff from the show.
David: It would be amazing if Born This Way was nominated for an Emmy.
Jamie: Yes. Here’s hoping it goes eight, 10 seasons.
John: More like, 20,000 seasons! (laughter)
David: Steven, what do you want the most at this moment?
Steven: I want to be able to express myself…
Jamie: And Sean?
Sean: Actually, at this moment I’m feeling love for my mom, and for my friends here, all of them Downs. And someday, I’m gonna marry my girlfriend.
Jamie: We see a lot of animals on the show. What are some of your favorite pets?
John: I like dogs.
David: How about you, Sean?
Sean: My favorite animals are the baby elephant and the baby chihuahua.
David: I’d love to see a combo of those two; that would be interesting! (laughter)
Steven: I kind of like the wolf.
Steven: Because my high school was the Northwood Timberwolves.
Jamie: Ah, that makes sense.
Cristina: My favorite animals are my two cats.
Rachel: Cat girl!
Rachel: My favorite pets were my two cute dogs, Chloe and Dolly, but Chloe passed away. When I put Dolly, my little Maltese, in my arms, she kisses me. I love her so much.
Megan: I have so many pets in my life. My dog just had puppies, after I told her, “Please don’t get pregnant.” (laughter) It’s really hard to give up all those puppies.
David: How many did she have?
Megan: Four. On Halloween night.
David: Wow! Let’s go in a different direction: What would be the one change you’d make if you were President?
Rachel: I would change how people get jobs. And stop so many people from breaking the law.
Steven: I would like to change the way we socialize with each other, and talk more about equality.
David: What does equality mean to you?
Steven: That we all get to have equal chances and equal opportunities.
John: For me, if I was President, I would like mothers and fathers in the Army to be reunited with their families, because a lot of their kids don’t see their father and mother for a very long time.
Cristina: At the school where I work, some people don’t have enough money; they don’t have clothes, or school supplies. If I was President, I would want to help people.
David: That’s beautiful.
Megan: If I was President, I would want the world to have more peace, and for innocent people to stop getting killed.
Sean: If I was President, I would stop the bullies.
David: I don’t get bullying. I’m all about love. You all show so much love on the show. Each episode, I seriously got a healing.
Jamie: Healing and dancing at the same time! Especially when there’s a certain song on there.
David: Oh yeah! Jamie and
David: (singing) “Shake Your Booty Booty!”
David: We were dancing to it in the dressing room before we came out here. (To John) And you have a second album coming out now.
John: Yes. I’m working on it.
Jamie: Are there types of music that energize you?
Steven: Hard rock, but also some movies I like because they can look at the stuff that’s going on in the world. Like the movie Spotlight. I never knew about that whole [sex scandal] with the church.
David: That’s an amazing film that really brings something to the forefront that we need to address. Hmmm. I’m curious, how do you all deal with your fears?
Cristina: When I was a child, my babysitter closed my door and I found out that I was scared of being in the dark. But I kept growing up, and now I don’t feel fear.
David: I have to say, I still leave my door open.
Rachel: I sleep with a nightlight because I have a fear of the dark myself. Another fear is crowds and loud noises. When I am in a crowd, I take baby steps and I get through it.
David: (To Sean) Is there a fear that you have?
Sean: I don’t have any.
David: You just go for it?
Sean: Yup. Go with the flow.
David: I love that.
Jamie: It seems that in a lot of episodes, we see you guys in the kitchen, cooking. What are some favorite foods that you like?
Sean: Bean burritos.
Steven: Yup, bean burritos.
David: Those can be powerful! (laughter)
David: There is this taco truck where I live that makes the best chicken burritos. We should go get some one of these days.
John: I love chicken. If my mom brought home some KFC, the whole box would be gone.
Cristina: I have one question for John. One time Rachel got a particular food that you didn’t like.
Rachel: Calamari. Yes. That’s my favorite.
Cristina: But John said, “I’ve lost my appetite.”
John: I take that back. The fried squid was good, but the squid with the ink was nasty. My favorite saying from That’s so Raven is “ya nasty.”
Rachel: My favorite word is “snap.” Like (snaps while moving hand across face).
David: How about you, Megan?
Steven: Megan says the word “cool” all the time.
Megan: There’s a family word we use that I like better than “cool”—”legit.”
David: Why “legit”?
Megan: It means good.
David: It’s all good.
Jamie: Who said that sometimes their favorite word is “diva”?
Megan: Me. I’m the diva on Born This Way, and John is the rapper.
Sean: My favorite word is “lovecakes.” (laughter) How about you, Jamie?
Jamie: All of you guys know that for me it’s “admiration.”
David: I like “love,” but also “plethora,” just because I like the way it sounds and feels when I say it. (laughter)
Jamie: Here’s a word we all love, “family.”
David: Yes! There you go!