I have to extend another HUGE thank you to Challen Cates for taking the time to answer all my questions in such a lovely way it was just such an AWESOME experience and I am so thankful for the chance!!
I was recently given an awesome chance to interview the lovely Challen Cates, who you may know from the show BIG TIME RUSH. I was so happy to pick her brain a bit and learn so much about her! You can also catch Challen Cates on Passions the daytime drama! I hope that you enjoy this amazing look into the life of this divine and talented woman, I would LOVE your feedback as well!
1) I know you are involved with the charities/campaigns “Darkness to Light” and “Say it to my face” what compelled you to join and how can others help their causes to?
I was sexually abused as a child by someone my family knew and trusted—no one ever recognized the signs. Because of this and what others are going through on a daily basis, I am motivated to help protect my own children. Check out Darkness to Light at D2L.org. Say It 2 My Face is an anti-cyber bullying campaign that encourages people to think before they type. I know people who have been irreparably hurt by cyber bullying and it is so unnecessary, so cowardly, and so uncool. Our children are growing up in a viral world and cyber bullying needs to stop. www.sayit2myface.org
2) Out of all you roles, not including Big Time Rush, what was your favorite and why?
I loved my role as Samantha Lang on Desperate Housewives. I had a blast bringing out the claws … and throwing a little right hook! Also, you can’t beat working with John Slattery.
3) As a HUGE fan of Roseanne I know you actually played Cindy Kenner giving you the chance to interview about the Lunchbox diner, what was that like? I can imagine a lot of outtakes due to laughing.
I was thrilled to work on Roseanne! Cindy Kenner was a really fun character. I think the breakdown actually said, “think Kathie Lee Gifford.” It was a great experience to watch people like Roseanne, Laurie Metcalf, and John Goodman at work. They were deep into the show at that point and—even though I could tell that they were tiring of the show—when it came time to perform, they gave it everything they had! When Roseanne finally looked at me, smiled, and winked, I felt like it was a badge of honor!
4) When you got your big break with “In The Heat Of The Night”, playing Jennifer/ Winnie Furlong, what was going through your head and where did you think it would take your career?
I never really considered it a “big break,” just a great stepping stone in my career path. That said, it’s funny that my first job was such a big guest star role. I was scared, so I called my acting teacher for guidance. He laughed and said “You know what you’re doing. You don’t need me to help you—just go and have fun!” I treasure the experience and learned a lot from it. However, it did have a downside: my accent was so on point people actually thought I spoke with a Southern drawl! As an actor, it feels great to know I have that talent—but it did, unfortunately, prevent a lot of doors from opening early in my career.
5) What drove you to become part owner of Tantara Winery? What in particular do you enjoy about the wine produced? And what have you enjoyed most about the endeavor?
My father started Tantara in 1997. From the beginning, I was there to help in any way I could. The very first vinage (1997) was amazing! I believed in Tantara and my father’s ability as a winemaker, so I invested in the winery whenever I was able. It’s really amazing to be involved in creating something that comes from the earth and that people enjoy. I love handing someone a glass of Tantara Pinot Noir, watching them taste it, and witness their faces light up with enjoyment. It really is an exceptional winery.
6) As a mother of two do you find my concept of “Mumfection” relate-able to how you yourself looked at or approached motherhood??
Totally!!! I am a bit of a perfectionist and I constantly struggle with letting go and learning to live with a slightly messy house. As long as I have a few spaces that are toy free, I can cope. I also want to be able to do it all—you know: have a career, explore different opportunities and interests, be involved with every aspect of my children’s lives, be a loving and attentive wife, be a supportive friend… Whew! I’m tired just thinking about all of that!!! Seriously, Mumfection is a fantastic concept. You are right: we can’t be perfect all the time!
7) If you were to have a “dream role” what would that be? Can be anything!
Well, I am obsessed with Mad Men, so I would loooove to work on that show! Like I mentioned previously, you can’t beat working with John Slattery! My other dream is to work on one of David Simon’s shows [The Wire, Generation Kill, Treme]. His work is just fantastic and I would love to be a part of it.