Cricket Wampler can be seen in the new series Big Shot. The show was released on Disney+ and stars John Stamos. In the show John Stamos’ character is given a chance for redemption with a coaching position at an elite private high school for girls. Cricket plays the character of Samantha. In addition to acting, Cricket is a trained dancer and choreographer and volunteers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). YEM spoke with Cricket Wampler about her character Samantha, advice she has, and balancing acting and dancing.
Young Entertainment Mag: What was the moment like for you when you found out that you were going to be a part of Big Shot?
Cricket Wampler: I was with two of my aunts headed to a close friend’s wedding – so it was already an exciting day, but then I got the call I booked Big Shot and I just really could not believe it. I found out on a Sunday, which doesn’t normally happen, so I was just in complete shock. That day was special for so many reasons, but I just remember having a weird feeling this wasn’t just a random show to be a part of, it felt different from the start. (And I didn’t even know John was attached to it yet!) I remember calling Tisha Custodio (Who plays ‘Mouse’) almost right away to tell her, all the girls were waiting to see if I booked it because I was the last one to find out.
YEM: When did you realize that you wanted to start acting?
Cricket: My older brother and sister started taking acting classes locally (I’m from Ohio) when I was about 6 or 7, I was too shy and didn’t have interest at the time so I would just go and watch. Then they started coming out to L.A. for little spurts of time, and on one of the trips I came to visit and we had dinner with their managers, and when they asked “Are you sure you don’t want to try acting?” I shocked my family and myself when I said “No, I think I will try it!” I never looked back.
YEM: What is the best part of being on a show such as Big Shot?
Cricket: I think there are so many exciting parts of working on Big Shot, not only do I love the school aspect and the friendships/relationships, but the team aspect is just so much fun and different from so many other projects. The whole cast started feeling like a family so quickly, and I just love how many of us there are. If someone is tired that day and doesn’t want to go to craft services with you? On to the next trailer to ask them! It is so much fun to feel like you are just hanging out with friends all day while at work. That’s not even mentioning the on screen chemistry and amazingly written and executed storylines that the cast never fails to blow me away with. I love to see it all play out.
YEM: How would you describe your character Samantha?
Cricket: Samantha is optimistic, a cheerleader for her teammates, a good friend, at times a leader, and usually speaks her mind. She wears her heart on her sleeve. Samantha is faced with some challenges and is at time underestimated. She comes a long way and really starts to find herself in the course of the first season.
YEM: What are some of the biggest similarities between you and Samantha? Some of the biggest differences?
Cricket: I would say the optimism & being a cheerleader for her friends are things I feel I have in common with Samantha. I remember when we were doing our basketball audition before we got cast I thought ‘I don’t know how good these other girls will be at basketball, but no matter if I’m the best or the worst (I was definitely NOT the best hahah) I will just be myself and cheer everyone on.’ Being a team player is important to me and a big part of who I am. Looking back, and based on what some of those who were a part of the casting process have told me, they saw that I had that spirit and felt it was so ‘Samantha’. I am not always one to speak my mind – so Samantha and I are definitely very different in that way. I would say Samantha and I have pretty different style choices – but towards the end of season one we really figured out her vibe more, which has a little more of ‘Cricket’ to it.
YEM: Who are some of your biggest role models in acting?
Cricket: I would say I don’t think I have one specific role model in acting, I definitely look up to my siblings, but I have always loved J.Lo’s work and work ethic. I also think Raven-Symoné is just a comical genius. So much respect.
YEM: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into acting?
Cricket: Yes! I hope if it’s something someone really feels passionate about they will pursue it no matter what the challenges that come in the way are. If the love is really there, it will work out. You have to be your biggest fan and not doubt your ability. There have been literally countless roles I haven’t gotten (which you can’t let effect you) and there was a period I didn’t work for about 5 years (yes, you read that right), but I worked just as hard those years and still had the passion – quitting just wasn’t an option. So buckle up because it may take years (or not!) But if you have the confidence it can happen, it will all work out in due time.
YEM: What is something that you learned from the set of Big Shot that was very valuable?
Cricket: I have learned so much on set of Big Shot, I mean I can just LOOK at John Stamos, Jessalyn Gilsig, Yvette Nicole Brown or Richard Robichaux and learn. One thing that I definitely realized though is that there are absolutely no ‘small’ or unimportant moments – at least not with a writing team like Big Shot’s. Even scenes that may seem less significant in the moment either hit so much differently than they feel in the filming process – or lead to a much bigger storyline later. It’s incredible to see.
YEM: What was it like to work with so many other young women around your age?
Cricket: Ah! I talked about it a little bit earlier, but I just don’t think it could be any more fun! I really love all the girls and I think it is so much fun to do scenes with all of us together or just a few of us, which always changes the dynamic, but I love it. I have my similarities to all of them and always have a great time. We are almost all foodies too – so we always have a great time with crafty runs!
YEM: Is there a message within Big Shot that you hope others will take away from the show?
Cricket: It is tough to pick just one message, Big Shot has so many in my opinion. I think having empathy and understanding for each other is a big part if it. Big Shot also is about second chances – you will watch us all make mistakes and hopefully learn & grow from them.
YEM: Being a dancer as well, how do you balance the two crafts?
Cricket: EK! I love talking about two passions I have at once. It can definitely be hard to balance, but I just adjust to whatever is going on in my life. When I didn’t work in acting for 5 years, I danced as much as I could, then when I was busy with filming I would still occasionally take class – or just go into the studio and dance around since I tended to be available at weird hours. I also used to teach dance, and still do occasionally, and that is a whole other passion of mine, I just love it.
YEM: What are some of your favorite dance styles?
Cricket: What a hard question!! They have definitely changed many times over the years, but currently, I would say probably contemporary and jazz. Of course I love ballet/pointe, (and as my teacher Miss Natasha Middleton says “You need ballet! It is the base for every other style!”) I also really love hip hop, and do acrobatics, character & musical theater as well.