Actress, dancer and model Chelle Ramos is definitely someone to keep your eye on. The native Floridian has been guesting on shows like NCIS: New Orleans and Graceland for years and recently had a supporting role opposite Al Pacino and Karl Urban in the thriller Hangman. Most recently she had a pretty interesting arc on CW’s Valor as Sergeant Zoe Cho, one of the only women part of the elite Shadowraiders. She also happens to be playing an out lesbian. I was lucky enough to get to a few questions answered from this awesome lady.
Stacey Maynard: Tell me a little bit about Zoe Cho.
Chelle Ramos: Zoe was such a great character to play. She has this super tough shield that many people can’t get past but underneath, she has a side of wit, kindness and is very giving to the people she trusts.
SM: Back when I got the opportunity to interview Melissa Roxburgh, she had this to say about you: “It was also an introduction to Zoe Cho’s character, who is played by the awesome Chelle Ramos. She brings light to the issue of being an openly gay character in the army and the issues one might deal with in that position. By bringing it up I personally hope it’s a commentary on the fact that this really still is something people deal with sadly even in the world we live in today. It’s sad.” What’s it like to work to work with Melissa? (as well as the rest of the cast).
CR: I can honestly say I have never worked with a more hardworking, well-rounded group of people. Not just cast, but everyone from crew as well. It was the perfect combination for Valor. Everyone just wanted to be there. Oh Melissa. What a wonderful human she is. I loved working with her. First day on set, “Hi Chelle! I’m Melissa. Your character is such a bad ass.” Ha! And that’s how the whole cast was. So giving to the scenes and that’s what we want as actors. No egos, just serving the scene as a unit and knowing where you fit in it.
SM: Also as a person of the lgbt community myself, the demand for representation of positive characters is at an all time high, do you feel any sort of pressure in being given a character like Zoe to play?
CR: There was absolutely a certain kind of pressure I felt. But not just for the LGBT community, I also wanted to shed light to people that aren’t that involved or turn the other cheek to the LGBT community. I want people to be more aware of what being a gay woman in the force is truly like. I wanted to represent a human being with different views and choices. That simple. If we just let people be, and don’t try to control those views and choices, this world would be a much more lovely place to live.
SM: Even with Thea’s one night stand (now two night stand) with Gallo, is there a possibility of seeing more interaction with her and Zoe?
CR: Zoe doesn’t allow herself to get too attached to anyone. She’s very much about the job, but that doesn’t mean she can’t have fun from time to time. 😉 Although, I think deep down, she would love a deep connection. We’ll all have to wait and see!
SM: In a recent episode, Zoe was almost raped by a fellow soldier, how important (especially in light of recent events in Hollywood) is it to you to tell stories like this?
CR: Extremely important. I think everyone coming out and telling his or her personal story is incredibly brave. But even with those tragic stories, some victims can paint the picture of what happened in the event and can touch some of us. For many many others, words don’t teach…only life experience or in Zoe’s case, a visual assault. Which was a story I so honored to tell.
SM: Are we going to get to see a bit more with Zoe dealing with the aftermath of her attempted assault? Including the possible trial of her assailant?
CR: I’ve been getting asked this question a lot. The creators of Valor, Kyle Jarrow and Anna Fricke as well as the wonderful writers, such as April Fitzsimmons and Casey Fisher are so great. I think they have some things up their sleeves to let this part of the story unravel in a brilliant way!
SM: You were phenomenal in that episode; it gave some great insight to a character that I hope that we get to see more of. Did you (and Justice Leak who plays Jack ‘Smitty’ Smith) do anything specific to prepare for the assault scene?
CR: It was a great experience to have Justice as my scene partner. He was such a giving actor which I am super appreciative. As hard as it was, I felt incredibly comfortable with him. We both were able to have an open door and discuss different angles and ideas. We made sure to be there for each other to serve this scene how we both envisioned it. Also, the director of the episode Greg Prange, was really wonderful. He brought such brilliant direction but also allowed us to play and be free in the scenes. He fine-tuned some moments that made everything perfect.
SM: What would you like to see in regards to your character in the future?
CR: I think there’s a soft side to Zoe. That’s what’s beautiful about these tough characters and why I am so in love with playing them. There is a softness hidden beneath the armor that make us fall in love with them. It would be cool to show that side of her.
SM: Any possible spoilers I can get out of you?
CR: Hehe! And that’s where Zoe’s armor comes in!
**Side Note** Curse you Valor cast!! *shakes fist* Top notch secret keeping skills!
SM: How are you spending the hiatus? Working on anything in between?
CR: My manager Jane Berliner and agent Alex White keep me very busy with opportunities. I have an incredible team. Also continuously working on my craft with my coach Adam Stoner fills up much of my time!
SM: How is your time spent away from the camera?
CR: If I’m not working I always try to get some family time in, especially with my wonderful nieces! I’m a bit of a gym freak, so I’m there a lot. And I love going out dancing. Bachata, salsa….You can always find me at all of the Latin clubs! 😉
Special thanks to Chelle Ramos for answering my questions!