Angelique Cabral has landed what she calls her “dream role,” but it wasn’t without hard work or disappointments. It will all pay off tonight (1/10), when her new series “Enlisted” premieres at 9:30pm on FOX.
The comedy series, created by Kevin Biegel, follows three brothers who end up stationed at the same Florida military base after the eldest is demoted for punching an officer in the face while serving in Afghanistan. Cabral plays the role of Sergeant Jill Perez, a tough-yet-caring soldier who is determined to climb the ranks of the male-dominated military.
We caught up with Angelique this week to learn what we can expect from season one, whether or not love is in the cards for Jill, and to find out how difficult it is to work with such good looking co-stars Geoff Stults, Parker Young, and Chris Lowell.
Sergeant Jill Perez is a strong Latina character, which we currently lack on TV. Was this what attracted you to the role?
"After I read the script for this part, it was all I wanted. So as you can imagine, I was really excited when I got it. The part of Jill is an amazing role for a female because she's more than just the pretty friend or the pregnant wife. She is strong and can hold her own when she goes head-to-head with the men. She takes her job really seriously and is a tough cookie."
"My dad is Mexican and my grandmother is Native American and they are proud to see me take on this role for many reasons. Mainly because it's not the typical stereotypical part for a Latina. I feel like a lot of women, not just Latina women, but women in general will relate to her."
What do you know about Jill's background? Do we learn more about her family life and what is was like for her growing up?
"You'll see how they incorporate some of Jill's heritage into the story. We've even discussed the possibility of showing some of her family members and more background on the character if we, fingers crossed, get a second season. I think it's important that the audience get to know more about her messed up family life and learn why she joined the Army. None of her family members went to college and her brothers were involved in gangs, so she had to struggle to make it out of that situation."
How does Jill’s past affect her when dealing with the three brothers?
"When Pete (Stults) arrives on the scene as part of a punishment and he starts working with his two brothers, she tells him he should step up his game and be more of a role model to them. Pete is always saying, "Oh poor me, I got demoted. This job sucks and I'm better than this." And this may be true because he is a good soldier, but Jill's take on this is that work is so important that you need to do as a good a job in his new position as he did in the old one. The more he begins to understand this and get on the right track, you'll see his brother start to whip into to shape."
Jill seems to be very influential on Pete. Is there a potential love connection there?
“Ultimately you’ll realize that she hangs out with the brothers because she is attracted to Pete, so you’ll see that play out a little bit. It will be very similar to the Sam and Diane dynamic from “Cheers” where we’ll be like, “do we like each other? Do we not like each other?”
Right now though, I don’t think Pete would be ready to have someone like Jill in his life right now. He’s dealing with PTSD and with being back from war feeling guilty he isn’t there, which you’ll learn more about in the season finale. I also don’t feel like Jill has a serious relationship on her radar either. She’s extremely focused on her job, she wants to go to Ranger training and ultimately be like Sergeant Major Cody (Keith David)— the boss. I think there’s still more fun to be had with the whole cat and mouse chase. Plus there’s going to be two episodes where Randy thinks he’s in love with her. So this whole thing is going to go down between Pete and Randy (Young) that’s very funny.”
You must be in and out of makeup and wardrobe in no time. Jill has a very casual and laid back style. Are you pleased about that?
"I like to get done up but Jill is very similar to who I am in real life. I like wearing jeans and tank tops or jackets and boots. So playing her really feels like home to me. My life is so easy every day, I'm in and out of hair and makeup in 25 minutes which is fantastic. They don't really have to do that much to me except a little blush and some fake eyelashes, because why not?! I really love that she is so low maintenance."
Check out the trailer for the series premiere of “Enlisted” below: