FanFest Exclusive: Sherry Cola on ‘Good Trouble’

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Photography: Shanna Fisher Hair: Preston Wada Makeup: Tiffany Lee

I got the chance to catch up with Good Trouble‘s Sherry Cola, who plays Alice Kwan, the manager of the coterie. We talked about the back half of the season, Alice’s cultural impact and what else Cola is up to.

“I’m extremely excited, seriously ecstatic for people to see what we’ve been cooking up because we have so much fun filming and like the things that are happening in the next eight episodes, it’s like there’s some stirring up, there is some plot-twisting. In Alice world, you’ll see her kind of deal with that rollercoaster of being in a relationship with Joey, and at the same time, her comedy mentor, who Joey kind of wasn’t trusting in the very beginning, kisses her. So there’s a lot that is stressing Alice out. That’s a triangle that we will very much continue exploring in these next few episodes and there’s also going to be some old faces resurfacing and some new faces that are adding to the fun.”

Naturally, Cola couldn’t reveal too much but she did say that things were going to get messy.

“It really is gonna get messy, but it’ll be worth it in the end. You’re gonna be on the edge of your seat, and I feel like that’s something that The Fosters was so good at as well because obviously we have Joanna(Johnson) who’s our brilliant showrunner who’s so good at weaving stories and kind of keeping it exciting and somehow all connecting, it’s just so so so good.”

“A lot of what you’re rooting for will get explored. I will say you can definitely look forward to more episodes of us all together. That’s something I think people love… when we’re all having fun together, that you can absolutely look forward to seeing more of, and it gets wild, it truly gets wild. I got one word for you, lap dance. That’s it.”

Photography: Shanna Fisher
Hair: Preston Wada
Makeup: Tiffany Lee

Alice Kwan

Alice has become a fan favorite and her story actually imitates Cola’s. However, the more time she spends with Alice, the more she learns about how they are different.

“On day one, I felt like Alice and I were so parallel, I even thought to myself, ‘how do I play this character? Oh, well she’s practically me. This is like just being myself.’ But as we progressed, the deeper we got into it, the more I discovered things about this character. This is why TV is so dope, because you get so many chances, so many opportunities with a character so you learn more and more about them. I’m discovering more and more things about Alice and I realized ‘oh we’re actually really different.’ Alice is extremely apologetic whereas, I’m maybe a little more bold in what I say. Alice puts people first, she is such a good friend, she’s a people pleaser. That I can definitely relate to. I find myself just having anxiety and losing sleep over the fact that I might have upset someone because it matters to me what people think and that’s a blessing and a curse.”

Another similarity Cola shares with Alice involves coming out. She hopes Alice’s story can help people within the Asian and queer communities who feel that they can’t be who they really are.

“I didn’t really have like traditional parents that hardcore but when you’re in an Asian home or you grow up in an immigrant family, a lot of things aren’t necessarily talked about at the dinner table, dating being one of them. Dating wasn’t really something that I jumped up and down to talk about with my family, let alone sexuality. So it’s very interesting that actually being portrayed on the screen, that dance of kind of hiding this side of you from your parents and going through bizarre lengths and jumping through hoops just to not show them who you truly are. It’s very interesting and it’s very cool that we got to explore that before Alice came out of the closet. I think that is something that’s really similar because, with me, I ended up telling my mom that I am bisexual after I booked this role… I felt like because I was portraying this character because she was about to be a potential role model for Asian girls in the LGBTQ+ community, I have to at least have the conversation with my mom and live my truth in that sense.”

When Alice came out to her parents, they already knew and were completely ok with it.

“I mean, that is the biggest plot twist. We don’t expect her parents, who are so traditional, to be okay with it and I feel like that is already a big step. Because now, other Asian parents can see this and then be open to having their child be queer. We had such a lack of representation in the Asian community and Asians within the queer community. That’s why the stereotype has been perpetuated, that’s why it’s been so hush-hush because they never freaking showed it. So the more we do this, the more we have characters like Alice, I really hope that we can open up more and more minds.”

Because of this, it isn’t exactly a surprise that Alice would have a big impact on people.

“This was a character I had never seen on screen, so in 2018, I was surprised at the fact that a creator, a writer, wanted to see a first-generation Chinese American, came out to her parents, manager of the coterie, aspiring to be a stand-up… I was really touched that someone wants this on the screen. So naturally, I was like, ‘Oh, I need to land this role, I need to book this, I need to play Alice,’ because I knew that it was going to be culturally impactful…I feel lucky about, the fact that I’m acting on a show that has substance and not only is it mature, it’s funny, it’s upbeat and sexy, it talks about social issues, it has heart, it’s totally nothing like I’d ever seen. It’s literally so unique and I’m just so proud to be a part of this show and as a whole, every single character is making an impact so it’s really dope.”

One burning question I had was how did Alice come to be the manager of the coterie?

“This is really interesting, this is a question I’ve never been asked before. I thought about this many times and hopefully, if it gets picked up for season three, I’m definitely gonna pitch this to the showrunner, like a flashback episode, basically everyone’s year before up until this point, up until Mariana and Callie get the Coterie… We know from the Christmas episode that there’s a French lady Claudette, who actually manages the building. And somehow Alice now manages the center so I’m thinking Alice doesn’t live with her parents anymore because Alice felt the pressure of being secretly queer and couldn’t really be herself around her parents, I think she stumbles upon this place that gave her some freedom. But she must have volunteered accidentally to take on more responsibility and somehow became the manager of the coterie. I think that’s how it came to be because she just wanted an escape and somehow just found this community where she could feel free.”

Photography: Shanna Fisher
Hair: Preston Wada
Makeup: Tiffany Lee

Other projects

Outside of Good Trouble, Cola can be spotted practicing her stand-up comedy. She compares her comedy to going to the gym, “practice makes perfect, you have to work out” and that she’s practicing every chance she gets. She can also be seen in the films Endings, Beginnings and Sick Girl.

“I got some stuff up my sleeve, a lot of passion projects, a lot of things that I’m writing myself. Sometimes you just learn that if you want to see a specific movie that you’ve never seen before you have to create it yourself. I’m working on a lot of my own projects, of course, always crafting my stand-up, trying to get to that hour, you know, trying to get to that full 60 minutes of quality content… But, yes, I’m working on a lot of my own projects, and hopefully, those will see the light of day.”

The second half of Season 2 of Good Trouble premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on Freeform.

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