By: Lisa SteinbergQ) What are the recent projects that you have been working on?
A) I just did a couple TV things for Awesomeness TV, which are really fun. I got to do Love Daily that was a romantic-comedy film, which has always been on my list of things to do as an actor. That comes out, hopefully, in the near year. Then, I just wrapped the whole series of “The Thundermans.” Season Four will be airing in January and then throughout the whole year.
Q) What was it about this production of “Aladdin and the Winter Wish” that made you want to be a part of it?
A) Honestly, the best part of this production is the people behind it and the people involved in it. The Lythgoe family has just been so warm and welcoming and wonderful. I really wanted to work with them more than anything and the cast is so incredible. It’s just a fun, silly show that we’re doing for the kids and everyone in it is so committed to making a good product for the kids who are going to come. It was also fun for me to return to theater since I hadn’t done that in a while. It’s very different from the television series that I’ve been working on for the past five years. It’s nice to get back to my roots a little.
Q) Were you familiar with any of your costars before joining the cast?
A) Yeah! It’s an incredible cast. It’s funny because I’m really kind of surrounded by theater legends and Jason Earles are the two TV people. We’re just soaking up all this incredible theater knowledge and everyone has been so great. It’s so cool.
Q) What is it about your Jasmine that sets her apart from her Disney character?
A) So, it’s really the whole production. It’s the old story with modern comedy. So, there are a lot of pop culture references and jokes and pop music. In this version, I sing “Call Me Maybe” in a dance number with my friends. And it’s fun because it has that modern twist on it. It’s cool too because I actually get interactive with the audience. I turn to the audience and ask them to help me move the storyline along a couple of times, which was fun.
Q) What have you found challenging about this role?
A) For me, the hardest part of this process has been performing – dancing and singing simultaneously. I haven’t done that for a few years. I’m a dancer and a singer, but it’s been a while since I’ve been on stage dancing full out and singing at the top of my lungs. So, most of my prep for this has been running on the treadmill while singing and trying to get my cardio up and trying to get back into performing shape, which has been a really fun project for me.
Q) What are some stand out songs or moments that you think will be fan favorites?
A) I think, for me, the big moment in the show is the flying carpet. I can’t reveal how it works, but it’s really magical. It looks like we are really flying in the air. Then, there are mini cityscapes that go along the stage that are under the carpet. It looks really cute and it’s really well done. It’s my favorite number in the production and Jason and I sing this really cool duet together. So, I’m very excited about that. I also have “Walking on Sunshine” duet with him, which is like a full-on Danny/Sandy moment and full on Grease That has been the biggest challenge, but also the most fun part of the show for me.
Q) You are a part of social media. Are you excited or nervous about the fan reaction you’ll receive to the production?
A) I’m not really nervous about it. It’s a fun show for kids so I just hope that they like it. I think we are putting out a fun production. I’m not too nervous.
Q) Do you have any rituals that you will do for luck before each performance?
A) I don’t on this production. For me, just in general, no matter what I’m working on music is always a big part of my preparation for any kind of performance. So, while I’m doing my hair and makeup I have a speaker with me no matter where I go. That kind of hour and a half of getting ready listening to music kind of gets me in that zone to perform. I listen to different things depending on the performance I’m about to do. So, that’s always a big part of my preparation. I’m sure we’ll figure out something as a cast to do before the show for good luck. When I was on “The Thundermans” we had a little chant we did before every live show. I’m going to see if I can come up with something fun to do with my cast here before the show.
Q) What traditions do you have to help get you in the holiday spirit?
A) You know what, my family doesn’t really do holidays. It sounds really insane to all of my friends, but it just wasn’t really a part of my upbringing. So, for me, I really love that because the holidays are kind of a low stress time in my household it gives me a chance to visit all of my friends and see their holiday traditions. Generally, on Christmas day what my family and I do is that we’ll pick four or five of our closest friends and drop off presents. We’ll stop by and say hello and put an ornament on the tree. Then, we move on to the next one. We get to kind of jump from place to place, which I always think is really fun.
Q) You seamlessly tend to jump from comedy and drama and now live performances! How do you select the projects you take on?
A) It’s an interesting decision every time. I consider myself a comedic actress first. I love doing sitcom. I loved being on Nickelodeon. I thought it was such a fun, cool job, but I’m also trying to put myself in situations that make me a little uncomfortable and force me to grow as an actor and really work on the craft of acting. So, I’ve been picking more and more dramatic things lately. Like I said, with the romantic-comedy that was a little bit more emotional. I’ve kind of gotten the chance to put myself in situations that were a little bit scary in a really good way. So, it’s always a matter of what do I feel like I can actually attainably reach and also what is just enough outside of my comfort zone that it is going to help me grow as an actor.
Q) With “The Thundermans” coming to an end, what have you taken away from working on this series?
A) Too much to tell you in an interview answer! I grew up on that show and I learned what it meant to be a professional and what it meant to have responsibility of having a fulltime job as a fourteen year old. I learned how your cast can be your family. I got to travel the world, which was incredible. It was really an amazing five years and I feel like it was the perfect time to end because we’re now adults. I’m twenty-one years old now and kind of ready to take on the world and take on this new year with a bunch of new opportunities, which is a little overwhelming but very exciting.
Q) Is there anything else about “Aladdin and the Winter Wish” that you’d like to be sure we share with your fans?
A) This is a very traditional fairytale so it has all the elements of a traditional fairytale where the prince saves the princess. So, I would just say enjoy the show, but remember that you can be your own hero and save yourself and save the princess.
Q) You often share on social media such lovely inspirational and positive messages. Why is that so important for you to offer your fans?
A) The social media age rewards aspirational people. So, there is this thing that goes along with the social media age where everyone feels the need to be perfect. And I’m very much not perfect. I feel along with the exciting opportunity of having a lot of followers comes the responsibly of sharing a message that actually matters a little bit. I just try to approach my Instagram especially with the mindset of I want to show you guys that I am a person who has seemingly this very cool job and very cool life, but I also have the same problems as every twenty-year old has and the same insecurities that everybody else has just in the hopes that kids will find my page and instead of saying, “God, I wish I were her,” they’ll say “Oh, she’s just like me and I’m not the only person going through this.” I don’t know if I always succeed at that, but that is always my goal.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I say thank you and I say the same thing that I kind of always story to say which is remember that all of the things that you might not like about yourself right now because society makes you think they are weird or abnormal or different are the things that are going to make you succeed very soon in your life. Everything that I was made fun of for in middle school are the things that allowed me to have this incredible career as a young adult. And I always say to be supportive. Just don’t be mean! It’s so easy to be a nice person and help and support the people around you than being mean to people. And it’s such a cliché message, but I feel it is still a message that needs to be said and especially since I have the opportunity of kind of having young kids listening to and seeing what I put out in the world. I feel like that’s a really important message, especially when kids are in such a hard environment like middle school and high school and growing up.