When you leave a job behind, you always partake in an exit interview and with just days before Austin & Ally signs off, JJJ conducted our own. We’ve been speaking with the cast and creators about their best memories, the series finale and what’s next.
Raini Rodriguez stars as Trish de la Rosa, the loud and lazy, but super loyal best friend to Ally Dawson in the series.
Famous for getting fired from her many, many jobs, she’s always annoyed with Dez, they share a massive love for Zaliens, and appointed herself as Austin’s manager the minute he “stole” Ally’s song. Together with Austin, Ally and Dez, Trish currently runs the A&A Music Factory.
JJJ caught up with Raini before the series finale airs and teared up about Ross Lynch’s wrap gift to her, what she loved the most about Trish and more.
Click inside to read our exclusive interview with Raini Rodriguez…
Upon filming the last episodes of the season, did you start to reminisce a lot? What were the memories that came up?
I started to reminisce when we started season 4! I thought of our auditions and what is was like when we first met, how new we all were.
If the series had to end earlier, would you have been okay with that? How thankful to the fans are you for bringing you back for a 4th season?
Starting the show back in season 1, I always wanted to make it to four seasons, so I would’ve been sad that we ended in season 3. Not just because of that, but also because I really loved working on Austin & Ally and I didn’t want it to end so soon. I am SO incredibly thankful to the fans for bringing us back!!
From everyone we’ve spoken with, the series was filled with a “family” feeling on and off set. How much do you miss going to set every day and seeing everyone?
I miss it a lot. It’s a weird transition to go from seeing someone everyday for 8-9 months straight then all of a sudden seeing them once every two months [and that’s] if all of your schedules work out. It’s hard because not only does the cast work, but our crew are also separated on different shows. So it’s hard to see them too.
Is there an upside at all to not having to be on set for early call times?
I guess I get to sleep in more. I always had the earliest call time, so I was always the first cast member to set. But I never minded! I always got to greet everyone as they came in.
Working with the your co-stars, and Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert, had to feel more like fun, than work. Can you tell us more about your first impressions all the way to your last moment with them?
With Heath and Kevin, I remember going into the audition room to meet the producers and the second I saw Kevin, I recognized him from one of my favorite shows, “All That.” I was freaking out because I LOVE that show and I really wanted to make sure I made him laugh. Heath looked like a really cool guy, who I also wanted to impress, because he was still a producer. Now they’re like my uncles. I’m super close to them and I look up to them so much. There was not a day that went by, that I didn’t thank them for giving me this job.
Ross was just this adorable boy who was so excited to be there. He was just strumming his guitar all mellow. I remember when Laura and I went into the audition room with him, so they could see us next to each other on camera, and he made a joke about how short I was compared to him. Four years later and he still makes jokes about how little I am!! LOL. He’s such a hard worker who always brings his A game and he got so sentimental at the end. He gave me this purple journal as a wrap gift and wrote the sweetest message to me about how much working with me meant to him and it made me cry!
I’ve known Laura since I was 12 when we worked together on “Huff.” She was the cutest thing in the whole world! So positive and professional. When I saw her at the Austin & Ally audition, we immediately sat together and started going over our script and kept hoping we would book it so we could work together. I remember this moment when we went into the room together and there’s a line I say to the guard — “Did I say musicians? No I meant, magicians!!” I would do this pose at the end and every girl I read with [besides her] did nothing, but when I read with Laura she instinctively did a funny pose too. We just clicked and it was a magical moment. I knew she would get the role. Fast forward to the end of the series and we are as close as ever. She is one of my best friends. It’s so nice to have another girl on the show because we can chat about everything! She is such a positive light and is so adorable. Our last two weeks of shooting, we were a mess. We would end the day just crying in our rooms together. We would just talk about the past four seasons and how much we loved everyone.
Calum was hilarious from the moment I met him. He was the last to be cast so they brought Ross and me in to read with the Dez roles, and I remember going into the room with him to read. Since I was already booked, I didn’t have to be on camera so my back was to the audience and I’m glad no one could see me because I was laughing at every single thing he said. I knew he got the role the second he walked in the room. He just embodied Dez so perfectly, which shows his talent, because when they call cut, he goes back to being chill and go with the flow Calum. Every time I’m in a scene with him he makes me work harder to be funnier because he’s so funny! We find extra bits and more moments between our characters and we love improvising with each other.
The way we filmed our [finale] episode, Calum and I had the last scene of the show and I remember getting to the last take and we could feel it almost coming to an end and we just went off to the side and just stared at each other without saying anything because we were trying not to cry, so we just went out there and filmed the scene.
When you think about Kevin & Heath, what comes to mind? Are you hoping to work together again in some way?
Brilliant, hilarious, comedy duo, geniuses, love…lots of things come to mind when I think of Heath and Kevin! We’ve been talking already about the next step together with them. I would follow them anywhere, they’re the best!
Were there any quirks that you loved about your character? Was there anything that you would’ve loved to see your character try or do on the show during its’ run?
I loved how lazy she was, it’s the exact opposite of me so that was fun to play! I loved, loved, LOVED having different jobs too. Heath and Kevin would ask if there were any jobs I wanted to do, so I would suggest some and if they fit in the story line they would add it. I came up with the Trish dance and her signature “Guess who got a job” pose!
I was happy with everything Trish got to do, she was the manager and got to sing a couple of times too.
If there were a spin-off from Austin & Ally, which characters or what storyline would you like to see on the screen?
I would love to do a Trish & Dez spin off; to see how they run the music factory and try to help kids follow their dreams.
Were there any guest stars or recurring stars that you would’ve loved to bring back one more time?
I would love to bring back all of our guest stars! They all bring so much to the show, and they’re so much fun to play with.
Do you remember one moment on the show that really hit you hard in your personal life?
I definitely related to the bullying episode. I was bullied when I was younger, so to be able to portray that on TV and show kids it can happen to anyone, but with good friends and family behind you, you can rise above it. [The episode] was pretty powerful to me.
Where do you think your characters are in 10 years?
Well, if you watch our finale on Sunday, January 10th at 8/7c, you might find this out.
The fans are completely crazy for the show. When did you realize how huge the fan base had gotten?
Our fans are AMAZING!!! After the first two episodes premiered, we took a trip to Disneyland, the cast, Heath, Kevin and all of our families — kids were already coming up to us asking for pictures. I think that’s when it really hit us that this show could take off.
Were there any super crazy fan moments that really stuck out to you?
Not really crazy but more cute or funny. Every time I go to meet and greets in different towns the kids will come and say “Guess who’s meeting Trish?” They already knew her iconic line which was so cool to me. Once after a live taping this little girl came up to us and she told Laura that she was like her because she wanted to be a songwriter but she had stage fright too and Ally was inspiring her to overcome it. Then she turned to me and with the most sincerity said, “And Trish, I’m lazy just like you!!!”
During the four seasons, did you have a goal you wanted to achieve? What did you learn from that experience and how did it enhance your craft or experience on the show?
I’ve wanted to direct since season 3 so when I found out we got picked up for a season 4, I had a meeting with Heath and Kevin and asked for their support, which they were 100% behind. [I also] talked to the cast and Disney and everyone said go for it!
I learned so much from directing. I was surrounded by so many talented and supportive crew members who taught me a little bit more of their job and how it affects the show because as a director you have to be the leader but also a team player. It gave me another perspective on the show. I’ve always known how hard everyone on our show works, but I really got to see it first hand and it made me even more proud to work on Austin & Ally.
If you could, would you do it all again? What would you change? Would you keep it all the same? Or was there a particular episode that you’d love to do all over again?
I would not change anything and do it all again in a heartbeat.
What did you like most about your job?
The free food. Just kidding, although that was a plus. It’ll sound cheesy but getting to go to work every day and see all of my friends and getting to play Trish.
Was there anything you disliked at all?
You were on a Disney show for four years time. Did you feel any pressure to exude that “Disney celebrity” image?
I feel no pressure at all. I’m so thankful to Disney for the experience! I have an awesome fan base that I can’t wait to keep growing with.
If you could give your younger self (when you first started the show) any advice for what’s coming ahead, what would it be?
Try the green drinks sooner. I know you don’t like vegetables, but trust me they’re really good for you and they’re not that bad!
Would you ever return to Disney for a new project?
Sure! I’m such a big fan of all things Disney, I would love to collaborate more with them.
Looking ahead, what are the things you want to accomplish in your career?
I want to star in a horror movie where I play the villain. I want to work with everyone from Austin & Ally again. I want to put out an album, and direct a project I wrote with my brother [Rico].
What will be your first project after the series finale? What are you hoping your fans will think about it?
I did some guest spots on Mutt & Stuff and I hope my fans like it, because I had so much fun filming with all of the adorable dogs and the cast and crew were awesome too. I’m also working on creating/directing my own content with my brother. I love being behind the camera as well, and I’ve learned so much from A&A, I’m hoping to grow more with that.
The Austin & Ally series finale airs SUNDAY, January 10th @ 8PM ET/PT on Disney Channel.