Christy Carlson Romano
Sure Kim Possible is an amazing teen, but the voice behind Kim is just as multi-talented! Christy Carlson Romano first starred as Ren Stevens in the hit Disney Channel series Even Stevens and became the youngest performer to play the role of Belle in Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. Now Christy’s realized another one of her dreams -- writing -- with a new novel, and moving on to some “grown up” projects. IML chatted with Christy about what it’s like to be a young actor and a role model.
IML: On your way in to the interview, you ran into Madison Pettis from Cory In
The House and she was so excited to meet
you. Did that feel strange?
Christy: It did! It's so weird. It's like you see the “old school” and the “new school” of Disney Channel people. With the old school, we know exactly what to say in interviews and all that. But the cool thing about it is that we've all changed and grown so much that when we look back and see these new kids, to us they're fresh-eyed and they don't have any idea how it changes your world, but they will...It’s not easy being a child actor, but they're going to grow up and they're going to find their way. Like when I spoke to Madison, she said right now she doesn't have any friends, and it's obviously affecting her. But she's going to find lots of friends and it's going to be great.
IML: So what kind of advice do you have for tweens and teens who dream of acting and singing?
Christy: I actually wrote a book called Grace's Turn, which just got named by the New York Public Library as their Teenage Book of 2007. I was so excited when I heard about that! It’s about a teenager who gets her big break as an actress and has to balance that life with her friends and family. That book kind of explains what kind of superhuman effort it takes to be in a showbiz career. I think that when we’re kids, it's amazing how interesting and creative and open we are. Then we sort of get these barriers and get closed off more and more, and it's okay, you know, because we learn (hopefully) to open back up to the things that we need.
IML: So you have no regrets?
Christy: Absolutely not! You have to live your life that way, you have to take it a day at a time, and not be regretful. Because what happened, happened...it's in the past. And today's a new day.
IML: Have you always been interested in writing?
Christy: Yes! The reason why I wanted to create something with Grace's Turn was because I wanted to have a character who represented the good in me. I wanted to learn through that character. And writing the book was a learning experience about myself. Since I studied political science and human rights in college, I’ve been interested in trying to find how to change things, how to make everything better. I guess that's why I'm an actor -- I'm always trying to please people! All of my need to teach and inform and make the world a better place inspired me to do this book. I want girls who read it to learn from my experience, and then I can be a living testament to that experience. I've always been regarded as the older sister type, which I completely love, because it helps me to know I can help girls, that they'll listen to me. That a lot of responsibility but I'm willing to take it.
IML: So who are your own role models?
Christy: I love actresses who represent strong characters. I love Angelina Jolie, I absolutely adore her. I like Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice. Mother Teresa is an amazing inspiration. Everyone represents something I want in my life.
IML: And then there's Kim Possible!
Christy: Yes! Believe it or not, Kim Possible has really had a huge influence on me! Along with a lot of other people, it seems.
IML: What does that feel like for you?
Christy: I had no idea when we started. Everyone said it would be huge, that I should prepare myself, but I didn't believe them. When it came out, sure enough, the animation was great and the writing was amazing. It’s done so that kids and adults can enjoy it; families can share an amazing experience together. It has a very universal message: “I can do anything! You can do anything! And we can do good for the world if we put our minds to it.” Kim puts her money where her mouth is. She doesn't say, "I'm all for female empowerment" and then goes and takes off her clothes! She's an open book, that's the cool thing about her. What you see is what you get. I have so much respect for that character. It's been a great experience all the way around.
IML: What’s ahead for you in the next few years?
Christy: If Kim could keep going on, I would love that. I will have a house this year. I finally learned about my finances and can do my own budgeting. I'm budgeting my life and starting to make investments. Basically, I’m starting to be an adult! I'm turning 23 so it's just time to really get it together. Artistically, what I want to do is ever-changing. I want to do edgier roles. I have a new movie coming out called Taking 5 with The Click Five where I play a kind of crazy girl who just came back from Italy. She ends up being a really good character and really fun to play. The band had me redo one of their songs, “Friday Night,” which will be in the closing credits! I have a couple other independent movies coming out, I'm really interested in doing independents. Hilary Duff and Shia LeBeouf were my peers when I was starting out and they've gone on to do great things. With me, I decided to go to college and get a little more life experience. I feel so lucky and grateful that I did that, because now I can take so much more for my acting. I can learn so much from all of what I've been through.
IML: Thanks, Christy, and good luck with everything!
Christy: Thank you so much!
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