Lena: On April 22 you will be hosting a concert at The Roxy to raise awareness about meningitis. What a lineup. Can you talk about the show and some of the other bands that will be performing with you?
Tiffany Thornton: We have Trevor Jackson who is in a movie that is coming out this summer on the Disney Channel. He’s adorable and we are proud to have him be a part of the show. We have some friends of mine, Savvy & Mandy, they are a sister group that does pop rock and they are the sweetest people that you will ever meet. I love them and they are so talented. We have a band called Pop! Fiction and they do pop music kind of like what you would see at Warped Tour. They are really awesome. I’m performing and then we also have Savannah Outen, whom I’m known for years and have seen at several events. The girl has a voice like no one else, and she’s amazing. We also have Booboo and Fivel Stewart. We have a big lineup and everybody is doing three songs. I’m doing an acoustic set because I’m pregnant and I can’t really get up there and go full out right now. I’m excited and I do country music so it lends itself well to the opportunity of doing acoustic music. It’s going to be exciting and I thought what a better way to bring everybody together for a fun day of great music and awesome fans but also benefit a good cause. We can talk about the availability of the meningitis vaccine. A lot of people don’t know much about meningitis and I found that out this past year when I worked with the meningitis campaign. Meningitis can take a life within 24 hours. It’s a very serious disease and it’s easy to catch. It’s nice to be able to bring light to the situation with a concert and also be able to talk about that at the same time.
Lena: Are you planning on taking the show on the road?
Tiffany Thornton: Not right now because I’m just getting more pregnant. I’m not supposed to fly after May. I love each and every one of the performers and I’m so happy they decided to do the show and I would love to perform with them again in the future. That might be something that we could put together where I would just host it and not perform on certain shows. I would love to work with them again. They have all been so great and their teams have been so accommodating. I could definitely see that in the future.
Lena: Congratulations on your pregnancy, by the way. I hope it is going well for you and that you and the baby are healthy.
Tiffany Thornton: Thank you so much. It’s been great. I feel so bad since I’m telling moms that had really bad pregnancies that I never got sick, and I’ve only gained 8 lbs. so far and I’m over half way through. I’ve been very fortunate.
Lena: Since you had meningitis are you at a higher risk for complications?
Tiffany Thornton: I haven’t had any lasting effects but people who have contracted meningitis can have lasting effects. They can go blind, deaf, and lose limbs because it is a bacteria that attacks your spinal fluid. It can literally attack any part of your body and may require amputation. There are a lot of lasting effects and I don’t know the whole list, but sure it could have that kind of effect on someone. I spent ten days in the hospital fighting for my life and I was fortunate enough to have been healed. There isn’t a cure for it but they pump your body full of antibiotics and hope and pray that your body reacts to the antibiotics. That’s why getting the vaccine is so important. It’s available and it’s not required in every school. They recommend getting vaccinated by age 11 and a booster dose by 18 when the kids go off to college. You can get it from kissing, sharing drinking glasses, and living in close quarters. It’s very easy to contract.
Lena: That is something that spreads around colleges really quickly.
Tiffany Thornton: I was 19 when I got it and I wasn’t in college but my best friend was. It was a really slow pilot season in L.A. and I was out at her dorm all the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was where I contracted it.
Lena: You are the spokesperson for Voices of Meningitis, if you think about it positively, your suffering and your experience with meningitis may help other people survive.
Tiffany Thornton: Yes, it’s funny how you go through things in life, weather it’s the loss of a relative or being sick yourself and you always question, Why is this happening to me? Why me? A lot of times it just takes time to see why you go through something and I was very fortunate to come out of it okay. I was honored that I was given the opportunity to work with them this past year, and hopefully to be able to save the lives of my fans and friends by getting a dialog going. Not a lot of people know about meningitis and it has been an honor to be a part of that.
Lena: It’s great that you are helping out and your horrible experience can have a positive side. I’m glad that you are healthy now. That must have been such an awful thing to go though.
Tiffany Thornton: It was and it was so quick. When they realized it was series, they spinal taped me and quarantined me in a hospital room. It can take a life in 24 hours.
Lena: That’s one of the things that makes it extremely scary. I remember when it was going around my area years ago. We had to get all the shots because no one had gotten the shots prior to that.
Tiffany Thornton: Yes, no one knew anything about it. I think the state of Texas requires it in college. I know one of their track stars passed away from it a few years back, so I think it opened their eyes to how important the vaccine is.
Lena: Moving on to a happier subject… Your show, So Random!
Tiffany Thornton: Yes, we finished filming in September but we just had our final episode premiere a few weeks back. We were very fortunate to be able to still do a show after Sonny with a Chance kind of fizzled out. We are all really proud of Demi and with everything that she has done with here career. She’s so talented. We missed her but it was great to be able to continue to work together as a family. It was a challenge for us because it was different from what we signed up for originally but we went with it and had a really good time. I miss seeing everybody.
Lena: Are you getting a second season?
Tiffany Thornton: No we are not. It’s time for us to move on but I will always cherish that show and the people that I got to work with.
Lena: Was So Random spinning off from Sonny with a Chance seamless? Was it a seamless transition?
Tiffany Thornton: I would have to say it was pretty seamless. It was weird at first because Demi is one of my best friends and she’s like a little sister to me, so it was weird to be in the same dressing room and not have her there because she is just so much fun to be around. We just dealt with it. We didn’t have a choice in the matter. I have to give the writers and producers credit because they did such a great job with the transition and with helping us feel comfortable. We did a lot of sketch comedy this past season in So Random but we had to audition for Sonny with a Chance with improv sketch characters that we made up ourselves, so we knew what we were doing we just hadn’t done it in a while (laughing). It worked really well.
Lena: Do you feel that So Random gave you more of a chance to show your range as a comedian?
Tiffany Thornton: I definitely think that. I think that a lot of comedians in general that inspire to be on Saturday Night Live or just to challenge ourselves in that kind of light and that’s what we did. That was interesting for us to go there every single week. It was a challenging to us but we grew together and supported each other and that really helped.
Lena: Can you talk about working with the cast and what your experience was like?
Tiffany Thornton: It’s great, you are in a concrete box with the same people every week, 14 hours a day, and you either learn to love them or you learn that you don’t like them. Fortunately for us we all loved each other. We are very different but it worked. We would sit together outside on our lunch breaks and talk about our weekend, day, etc. We were like a family and we always will be. I still see them. We help support each other and we still hang out.
Lena: What did you miss the most about Sonny with a Chance?
Tiffany Thornton: I miss those lunchtimes because it was just special to be able to spend time with everybody. When we were not on set we could talk about our own personal lives and have that time together. We could have gone in our dressing rooms or taken a nap but spending that time together was important to us.
Lena: You had a ton of guest stars and musical guest stars on the show. Who were some of your favorites and why?
Tiffany Thornton: I love Mitchel Musso. He’s are really good friend of mine and I’ve been friends with him for years and years. Selena Gomez came on and performed, “Who Says,” for the first time. I love that song. Her good friend Justin Bieber performed. That was one of the great things about So Random because not only did they get to be part of the show but they got to showcase what they do as well. Justin is the sweetest person. He’s so kind and made sure to say goodbye to each and every one of us before he left. He’s obviously really talented so that was very cool for us.
Lena: You had such a diverse group of guest like Tony Hawk, Greyson Chance, and Miss Piggy.
Tiffany Thornton: I don’t know of any other show that gets that many guest stars except for SNL.
Lena: That’s good though because it keeps things interesting and it brings in some of their fans that may not have watched the show prior to that.
Tiffany Thornton: Exactly, they would bring fans to us and we would bring fans to them.
Lena: One of your fans wants to know, who or what inspires you and do you have any role models?
Tiffany Thornton: I do have role models; I love Reba McEntire. She sings, tours, is on TV, she’s kind and generous. I like to take after people that I feel like I want to be like. Obviously my family is very important to me, no family is perfect but we are so close and I look up to them for different reasons, each one of them. There are so many people in my life that have influenced me so it’s hard to pick just a few. On Sundays it’s my pastor, on Mondays it’s my husband, on Tuesdays it’s my mom… I’m super fortunate to have that many people in my life that I can get advice from and look up to.
Lena: Did you know when you wrapped up So Random that you weren’t going to get a second season?
Tiffany Thornton: No we just found out at the end of March. I was a little bummed but it makes sense. I understand that the show had its run and everybody else is still auditioning and working on other projects.
Lena: It stinks that you didn’t know because you were not able to go on the set and take what you wanted as memorabilia.
Tiffany Thornton: I know! I would have had so many things stashed in a box but I didn’t know.
Lena: I think they did that purposely.
Tiffany Thornton: Exactly.
Lena: I know when a lot of shows end and the cast know beforehand they take what they want. It stinks that you didn’t get a chance to have an ending and maybe a party.
Tiffany Thornton: It’s a bummer that we didn’t get to. I know Tawni had a lot of makeup in her dressing room and I may have wanted to keep some of those but I didn’t think about it. If only I had known.
Lena: What else do you have coming up?
Tiffany Thornton: I have the concert on the 22nd and I have a jewelry line of my own with my sister in law, who is also one of my best friends, so that works out really well. I have a cookbook that will be coming out soon. I’m working on children’s books right now. I’m also going to have a baby over the summer, so there’s that. I’m just trying to keep as busy as possible working on my country album that I am trying to get out there as soon as possible. I know my fans are asking for it all the time so hopefully they will respond to it really well. I’m a worker. It’s so hard for me to sit still and do nothing.
Lena: You are going to be really pregnant in the summer, that isn’t going to feel that great.
Tiffany Thornton: I know it is going to be so hot. Thank goodness I’m in Southern California where it isn’t too humid because where I’m from, that would be miserable. My mom told me about when she was pregnant with my brother and the air conditioner broke in the trailer.
Lena: That doesn’t sound like fun.
Tiffany Thornton: No and it was near Houston, Texas.
Lena: I have friends from Texas and when they are here and anyone complains about the heat they go on rant about how there is nothing like Texas heat and they tell the person complaining that they need to shut up.
Tiffany Thornton: It’s so sticky and you can’t straighten your hair to save your life.
Lena: When you have the baby and are ready to tour are there any artists that you would like to tour with?
Tiffany Thornton: Any country artist that would want me to tour with them, Tim McGraw, etc. I would tour with any of them. I’ve been obsessed with Clay Walker. I would be open to touring with anyone in country music.
Lena: Well you would do fantastic with any of them.
Tiffany Thornton: Thank you.
Where people can go to find out more about meningitis:
Find out more about Tiffany and where you can buy bracelets and T-shirts to benefit children that are going hungry around the world.
Sonny with a Chance
The Disney Channel
See Tiffany Thornton, Pop! Fiction, Savvy & Mandy, Savannah Outen, Trevor Jackson, and Booboo and Fivel Stewart April 22, Live at The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, CA
By Lena Lamoray
April 18, 2012