There are few mentions of females in the tech world. Sometimes television provides women with these roles. Carrie Schroeder plays Dr. Sigourney Gaines also called Dr. Mom on Nickelodeon’s I am Frankie. Schroeder shares how her character balances motherhood, a marriage, and working as a scientist.
ATM: How can you emphathize with your character on the show?
CS: She is very content with her family. Family is very important to me. I understand this aspect of her. My character is also driven and likes to find answers. I like to find the whys in things as well.
ATM: The whys in terms of what?
CS: I have always been fascinated with psychology. I think this is part of the reason I’ve become an actor. Why people do things? I loved psychology while in high school. I love what motivates people. I also loved science as a kid. I loved how things were created and how nature made these things. I am just curious. This makes a good actor because they should be curious all the time. This is a good way to learn humanity inside of different people.
ATM: Talk more about your character.
CS: Sigourney Gaines is the creator of Frankie and a brilliant scientist. I love how she is a strong female role model on a kid’s show. It is really important to show the visibility of women in tech. She is very curious and has a human daughter also. She is finding the balance of being a wife to Will and a mom to Jenny. She has to also be a mom and scientist to Frankie. Additionally, Frankie is going through her own journey. Sigourney supports this journey for Frankie being a teenager while a rogue government agency is after her technology.
ATM: Why do you feel it was right for a woman to play the creator of an Android that was integrated into humanity vs a man?
CS: Women and men come at things differently in terms of humanity. This is important visibly show women in tech. Also, to share with girls they belong there. It is important to share this conversation early. It is about the girls.
ATM: Express your favorite technology gadget.
CS: It is a platform where you can charge all devices. You usually have to plug everything in at the moment and run out of plugs. I can charge up everything.
ATM: What was your previous knowledge of technology?
CS: I am coming back as a quantum physicist in my next life. I was not able to do it this time. I was always onstage dancing and performing. It is interesting to me about how the world works. I listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson and how he talks. It is so fascinating. He talks about curiosity and the building blocks of nature.
ATM: What are you still curious about in this world?
CS: I am curious about people and what makes them tick. I love playing a character that might be strange. I go sit down and watch people at the café. It is fascinating seeing people on the phone and seeing their conversation. It is amazing seeing this and bringing it to a character. I would love to say I have a green thumb, but I tend to kill every plant that I have. I over love them. I would love to study natural sciences such as biology.
ATM: There was French novelist name Georges Perec who also would go to cafes to analyze and observe people. In 1974, he sat and wrote a book An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris based on his results. You all did the same thing. How do people’s nonverbal languages fascinate you?
CS: It is about the physicality of people as well. I think about the secret within my character. This might be something physical. You watch people and see they have different things about them. There are some things that are on the page when creating a character from scratch. However, there are things not on the page. My dance background helps me be aware of my body. Some people have an interesting tick or have a particular gate because they carried their handbag on one shoulder their whole life.
I did a play with a group called DeafWest theater. I love communicating with people. I discovered there was a whole community of people that I did not know how to communicate with. I got to learn American Sign Language with this community. I watched how fast they communicated through ASL.
ATM: Did this role help you get this new sense of curiosity about the world?
CS: Absolutely. My character throws out the technical language. There is a new discovery with every new character. I google to learn what new words means.