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EXCLUSIVE: Francia Raisa Talks 'Christmas Bounty' & BFF Selena Gomez!

You probably recognize Francia Raisa as Adrian Lee from ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her portrayal on Secret Life landed her an ALMA Award nomination, a Gracie Award and a 2012 Teen Choice Award.

Now, the 25-year-old California-born beauty of Honduran and Mexican descent, is back with ABC Family starring alongside Mike "The Miz" Mizanin in the network's latest "Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas" film, Christmas Bounty.

Christmas Bounty is about a former bounty hunter turned elementary school teacher named Tory Bell who was ready for a new life when she left the family business behind and moved to Manhattan. But when an old enemy is released from jail and vows retribution on Tory and her loved ones, she returns to New Jersey to take care of him once and for all.

We spoke to Francia about her role as Tory Bell, her favorite Latino holiday traditions, Selena Gomez and what's up next for her! Read our exclusive interview below:

Tell us about your Christmas Bounty character Tory Bell.
Tory grew up in Jersey and went straight into the family business at 14. She never really had a choice on who she was and what her identity was. She always felt something was missing and there was more to her, so she leaves her hometown in search of that.
 
What is the one thing you love most about Tory?
Her independence and what a badass she is!

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Were you able to relate to this character at all? In what ways?
Oh, yeah. I'm just as independent as Tory and at one point went through an identity crisis with my career choice. My dad put me in training from the time I was 5 for this business and I quit all of it my freshman year of high school because I felt it was a choice that was made for me.

But after a year of not dancing or anything, I realized how much I loved it and focused on my career and doing what I'm doing now. It’s the same with Tory - she had to take a break (from being a bounty hunter) to realize that she did have a passion for it.
 
Tory has to work with her ex-boyfriend Mike. Have you ever had to work with an ex or deal with one very closely for any other reason?
Not yet! I wouldn't doubt it will happen at some point. Depending on who it is it could be an interesting, awkward situation or something fun! [Laughs]
 
Have you ever found yourself torn between two guys, like Tory?
Not like Tory, no. But I can be a hopeless romantic sometimes and I think everyone is “the one” [Laughs]! My friends make fun of me for it because I'll date someone for a bit and think he is the one, then we’ll break-up and I’ll meet someone new and think they are the one. But then I run into the old “one” and realize I still have feelings for him but I still have the other one and then I meet someone entirely new.

Bottom line, I live my life like it’s a Lifetime movie; I just get really excited and dramatic. My friends don't take me seriously anymore [Laughs]! But I never have the “boyfriend/girlfriend” title - that's too serious for me. I just date.

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What do you feel is the central message behind the movie Christmas Bounty? What should fans get from it?
I honestly think it’s one of those fun, feel-good movies that takes you out of reality for a bit. You can get a lot from it if you’re looking for it, but for me the relationship aspect is very relatable. It’s a cute movie.
 
Speaking of Christmas, the holidays are coming up, what are some of your favorite Latino traditions during this time of year?
Tamales and lots of sleep. The end.
 
What is the one gift you're hoping to receive this year?
I saw a purse on Instagram that has a wine dispenser. That would be nice [Laughs]! Other than that I don't really have my eye on anything. I never expect gifts.
 
You're very close with Selena Gomez, do you spend any time around each other’s families during the holidays? How did the two of you become such good friends?
Yes, we do. Six years ago Disney and ABC Family had the stars of their shows go to the Children's Hospital. Selena and I were in the same group and we just clicked.
 
What are some of your fall/winter beauty must-haves?
Beanies, scarves, and lipstick. Love wearing dark red lipstick in the winter!
 
What's up next for you?
I am in Atlanta shooting a pilot for Lifetime called Un-real. I’m really excited about this project. I'm also releasing my first song, which is a Christmas song.

Christmas Bounty premieres on ABC Family on November 26 (tonight) at 7/6c! Catch the trailer below: