Freeridge is Netflix’s newest critical darling. The On My Block spinoff follows another Core Four as they deal with the ups and downs of being teenagers and possibly a deadly curse. Ciara Riley Wilson stars as the adorably quirky Demi, who finds herself confronting her feelings for her longtime BFF Cam.
By the season 1 finale, Demi and Cam have gotten together and already broken up. But is this the end for them? Ciara spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife and thinks Demi and Cam could be endgame. She also revealed if she thinks Mariluna’s really dead and her hopes of diving deeper into Demi’s family in season 2. Read our Q&A below:
I was a huge On My Block fan. I think the four of you did such an amazing job of starting this new chapter and giving us characters to really love just like On My Block did. Was Demi always the role you auditioned for, or did you go out for any other role on the show?
Ciara Riley Wilson: First of all, thank you. It’s so cool that you’re an On My Block fan and liked what we did with the whole thing. That means a lot. I auditioned for Freeridge in May of 2021, so quite a bit ago. It was actually a potential spinoff. They hadn’t written it yet and the characters had dummy sides. The characters weren’t even like fully fleshed out yet. There were just little descriptions. Demi was the only character I auditioned for, but she was kind of a different version of Demi. Demi really grew with me over the next couple of years before we really sat down and filmed it.
Like On My Block, Freeridge wasn’t afraid to pull a last-second gut punch. How did you react to Mariluna’s death? Is she really even dead? We never saw her dead body, so you know what that means.
Ciara Riley Wilson: Oh my gosh, yeah. On My Block mastered the cliffhanger for sure. I’m so glad we had a nice juicy one at the end of the whole series. I like to think that Mariluna is not dead. I don’t know. It’s kind of we’re all in the same boat of like what really happened, or just kind of crossing our fingers, but I think they did a really fun job of really ending with a bang. No pun intended.
What was it like getting to work alongside Peggy Blow?
Ciara Riley Wilson: That was huge. She is just an icon for sure. She was so kind to us. She definitely had a mentor mentality and guided us throughout this whole experience. She’s just so talented. I loved her in On My Block, and she plays such a wildly different character in this show. But she still does them so flawlessly. I thought that was really cool. She’s just insanely talented.
We have to talk about Demi and Cam. There was the build-up to them getting together, but by the end of the season, they had broken up. I don’t know if they’ve even come to terms with their feelings for each other yet. What do you think about their relationship and where it stands by the end of the season?
Ciara Riley Wilson: I think Demi and Cam have a really, really interesting and beautiful relationship. You can tell that they’ve known each other for a long time and have been friends basically their whole life. I think this whole romantic whirlwind was so fun and exciting for them. They just have a relationship that’s so deeply connected. They kind of make decisions on a whim. They got together on a whim. They got apart on the wind, but deep down I feel like Demi and Cam are soulmates, and they will find their way back to each other again.
Demi does think Cam is her “forever penis,” after all. It’s always a little strange when you’ve been friends with somebody your whole life and you know them on such an intimate level, but then you cross over into that territory where it’s now romantic. It’s kind of daunting because you don’t know how it’s going to flesh out. It’ll be interesting to see how they play with that moving forward.
Ciara Riley Wilson: I totally agree. Their teens, too. Teens, make decisions on a whim and don’t know what they want. When I think of Demi and Cam in the long term, they’re probably like a big on-and-off again.
The house party episode was my favorite episode of the season. Cam and Demi finally had a heart-to-heart about what Demi said that hurt Cam when she was 12. That was a moving scene to see them cross that threshold and finally get on the same page after Demi apologized. What was it like filming that pivotal scene?
Ciara Riley Wilson: First of all, my favorite episode is the house party. I just think it’s so fun and well done. I love doing those scenes with Tenzing [Trainor]. I think that is a really important moment in the story. It’s kind of like the one thing that’s holding them back from each other. Up until then, we see Demi really not holding herself accountable and believing that she was in the wrong. In this moment, she really faces it head-on and apologizes to him. I think from a character standpoint, Demi really is emotionally intelligent and feels like she has all of that figured out. The moment that she doesn’t where she’s being faced with, no, you’re in the wrong. You didn’t say the right thing. It really kind of rocked her world. But when she realizes how much that hurt Cam she is able to grow and hold herself accountable and mend that friendship and have it blossom into a relationship. I think that’s really beautiful and the filming was so fun. It was episode 5, so we were really in the groove of things and really comfortable with each other. Tenzing and I had those claw hands on.
I was going to ask about those claw hands.
Ciara Riley Wilson: We actually had those on for the whole day. We couldn’t do anything. We had people feed us. I had a booger in my nose and had Keyla [Monterroso Mejia] come pick it for me. That was kind of fun. Tenzing and I made up a whole handshake with the claw hands. We were delirious.
And then there’s the Andre situation. Do you think Andre can truly forgive them and be friends with them even if they do end up back together?
Ciara Riley Wilson: One hundred percent. I think, first of all, Zaire [Adams] is so talented and hilarious. He actually killed it in these really intense podcast scenes, which were some of the most fun and the hardest scenes to film because there are really pivotal moments that happen on the podcast. But I do think he is a good friend. Andre and Demi are similar in that they really understand people’s emotions, and I think that he can look past everything that’s happened and know that we’re good people and that he’ll be friends with us for a long time.
The Gloria, Ines, and Rusty triangle could really put Demi and Cam in an awkward position. Where do you think Demi would stand on the situation? Would she be firmly Team Gloria? Or play devil’s advocate?
Ciara Riley Wilson: Very good question. It’s interesting because in the beginning of the season, I would say obviously Demi is Team Gloria all the way. Even though they have a little scuffle in episode 3, I think they are very, very close friends. They have a lot of love despite everything. But I really enjoy how towards the end of the season you get to see Demi and Ines’ friendship flourish with the psychic and everything. I think they have a really, really beautiful friendship dynamic that was unexpected for me and Bryana [Salaz] to just read through because we’re really close in real life, and we’re like, our characters are never going to like each other. But seeing that through the end, I really like felt for our characters and I love that little friendship dynamic. I think it would be really hard for Demi to choose. I think she is a little bit of like she can see this side of everyone’s story, and it’s very compassionate toward everyone. So I feel like she’d be a little bit of a middleman role trying to figure this out for them.
Similar to On My Block, Freeridge plays with supernatural elements. There’s that whole bit with Demi and the Emilio bowl at the end of the season. Demi is very much into her spirituality. Do you think she really believes in karmic coincidence?
Ciara Riley Wilson: I think that’s her whole world. That’s how she makes every decision in her life. She’s like, what would the moon say about this? Like, right now check my horoscope to see if I should eat chips or eat fries for lunch. I feel like that’s kind of her whole vibe. But what’s really cute is that I worked with Lauren [Iungerich] a lot, and Demi says all these things and knows all these things, but 70% of them are probably made up or she’s trying to convince people that she knows what she’s doing. I think that’s a really cute little character element of her where she is really trying so hard to convince everyone that she has it all figured out and that she’s researched everything about the spiritual world. That was really endearing.
In the Thanksgiving scene, we really see Demi assuming a leadership role with her sister and Cam. Earlier in the season, Demi got mad at Gloria for not letting her take the lead on anything. I don’t know what the writers have told you about Demi’s family other than her sister, but I feel like that may be a reflection of home life a bit.
Ciara Riley Wilson: I have thought about that a little bit. Demi in the original character description, her parents aren’t really around. They’re immigrants. This isn’t really touched on in the series but just kind of the background that they gave me is that she’s kind of had to fend for herself. I think she wants that kind of responsibility, and she doesn’t get that from her friend group. In many different ways throughout the series you see her trying to prove her capability in terms of the curse and the box and even Thanksgiving. That’s kind of the first time I even realized where she’s like, this is my chance to take the lead and really prove to my friends that I can handle it and that I’m an important member of our friend group.
The season ends on a huge cliffhanger, and there’s so much left to explore with these characters. Is there anything that maybe you didn’t get to touch on with Demi in the first season that you would love to explore in a season 2?
Ciara Riley Wilson: I would say definitely her home life. I would love to see more about her parents and even her relationship with her sister, and how that kind of weaves into her personality. I really loved working with Bryana and seeing that friendship between Demi and Ines. There’s a lot more room for that to grow in future episodes hopefully.