Laura Marano has quickly become one of the biggest stars of the Disney Channel as the lead of the channel’s biggest shows Austin and Ally.
At the tender age of 16, she’s also acted in films alongside James Bond and been courted for fashion shoots. While she was over here in the U.K, we got some time with the teenager and had a quick chat about the show, how it’s been going back to school and the importance of knowing all our Presidents.
So, for those who haven’t seen Austin and Ally, what can you tell us about it?
Austin and Ally is about the partnership between Austin, this outgoing performer, and Ally, an insecure songwriter. You then throw in Ally's best friend Trish, who's Austin's manager and Dez, who's the music video director and Austin's best friend and you have the best musical team ever.
You also write songs outside of the show don’t you?
Yes I do. I have been writing ever since I've been little. However, when I was little, the songs were about 20 minutes long and about candy. So, hopefully I feel like I've gotten a little better.
You’ve been acting since the age of five right?
Yes, that's right, I've been acting for eleven years and I think it's really positive that I've been acting for so long, I feel like I have a more realistic view of the business. I see both the positive and negatives to it and I feel that it grounds me a bit because I've been acting for so long.
So what was it like when you got the call for Austin and Ally?
I was so excited. I may have been acting for so long, but I've never been the star of a show. I remember reading the breakdown for Ally and Ally and I are so alike it's crazy. It 's really funny, both me and my mom were saying "This is my life! What's going on here?" So, I really wanted to book the part. I mean, obviously at most auditions you want to get it, that's kind of the goal.
I remember going though, and I felt I did pretty well, got a call back, felt like I did well again but then I didn't hear for three days and those were the longest, most dreadful and horrible three days of my life. Then when I finally found out I was just so excited.
The show’s been so successful in the States, what’s that been like for you?
It's crazy! It's funny and hard to get used to at first. You never really think of the 'celebrity' aspect of it, you just think about what you're doing and that you're having a lot of fun with it. I have the best time ever on set, we have such a blast. We're filming the second season right now, I think that comes out in the Spring here in the UK and it's been so much fun.
What's great though is that I still get to go to a regular high school when I'm not working on the show and even though it's odd that some of friends are saying "Oh my goodness, you're on a Disney show", they're really supportive and they do everything they can to make me as comfortable as possible which is really sweet. I feel like we're all pretty grounded on set, so that's pretty nice.
The Disney Channel has made some really big names over the last few years, do you ever think about that at all?
I feel like you never know what's going to happen so you just have to roll with the punches and live in the present. I know my parents are really, really supportive and they've always said to me "If you have a huge career, that's awesome, if you don't, that's equally as amazing."
I really enjoy acting and singing and would just love to continue doing that. I also love going to school and I definitely see college in my future too.
You’ve also acted in films with some real household names. Has working on those other projects helped you as an actor?
Oh yeah! I've worked with some just spectacular people. Working on The Jacket with Adrian Brody, Keira Knightly and Daniel Craig as well a whole bunch of other really good people on that set, you really learn a lot.
Then I did my first sitcom when I was in sixth grade and in acting there are so many different styles and that was a completely different style of acting for me. I'd done movies, evenb comedies before, but not sitcom exactly, so I had to learn that style. I feel that five years later, I'm a real pro at sitcoms. Which I'm happy about because I think it makes my job a bit easier.
You were also on Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? What was that like?
That was so much fun. That obviously wasn't an acting role, it's just about being yourself. It's funny, but people never think you make mistakes on that show, but I definitely made mistakes. I did some great answers as well, but I remember this one time in particular.
Thank goodness I wasn't helping the contestant; I was just one of the kids sitting in the 'classroom'. They asked who the President was before Franklin D. Roosevelt. I now know it's Herbert Hooper, I'm very well aware of that, but at the time I didn't know at all.
So, I made up my own President, President Delaney, and when Jeff Foxworthy (the host) showed the names of what we said, everybody else had gotten it right except me!
So it was just this line of Herbert Hooper's and then President Delaney. It was so embarrassing, but super funny too.
So, what’s next for you then?
I did a really awesome fashion shoot in London. The first one was with the fashion landmarks of London and the other was just in a studio and it was a really amazing shoot. They had incredible clothes, and incredible team and it was so exciting because I'm really into fashion too.
I'm excited about that coming out in March and I'm just continuing my acting and keep going to school, because I really love school. I'm busy, but I'm having such a fantastic time, so it's awesome.
Laura Marano stars in Austin & Ally every week on Disney Channel. The Austin & Ally soundtrack album is out 29th October.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith