Sofia Carson: Fast track to fame

Disney Channel

Did you know Disney’s top villains had kids? We didn’t either. But that’s the topic explored in The Descendants, a Disney Channel Original Movie airing 8 p.m. Friday. We talked to one of the costars, Sofia Carson, who was born in Fort Lauderdale, attended St. Hugh Catholic School and graduated from Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart.

Can you talk about your character?

I play the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White. Evie was raised to believe that the only thing that mattered in life was her reflection in the mirror and that beauty was everything. She needed a Prince Charming to sweep her off her feet to have her happy ending. So in the beginning, Evie was a little vain, but toward the end she starts to realize her mother wasn’t all that right. What matters is who she is on the inside.

What was it like working on set?

The cast is like family. We shot in Vancouver, an amazing city. We all became like brothers and sisters. And we just laughed so much. It was hard to keep a straight face.

When did you decide to go into showbiz?

I’ve known since I was 3, twirling around the living room in my Belle gown from Beauty and the Beast. I sang all the Disney songs, and that’s all we watched growing up. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. But music was my first love. I wanted to be a singer, release an album and tour the world.

So how did you set off to do it? Was your family supportive?

When I was 18, I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. I started going on castings, sometimes twice a day. About a year and a half later, I booked The Descendants. My family is everything. They love me unconditionally. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them.

What’s next for you?

I just finished another Disney Channel movie, a remake of Adventures in Babysitting with Sabrina Carpenter. It should be out by next year. I watched the original with Elisabeth Shue I don’t know how many times to prepare. It just gets funnier and funnier. I’m also working on my first album, so acting has really opened doors.

Did you study music in Miami?

I took vocal lessons all through my childhood and still do. I was classically trained. I was very lucky to have Rachel Riggs as a teacher. She’s great, and her father, Seth Riggs, worked with greats like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.

Whose career in Hollywood do you admire?

I always loved Jennifer Lopez and still do. She’s accomplished so much — a pop star who also has an acting career. And she is such a performer — I mean, she puts on a show and dances like crazy. I met her in May at the Radio Disney Music Awards. It was the most embarrassing moment of my life. I couldn’t speak, and I’m usually pretty talkative and good with people. I walked into her dressing room, looked at her and was silent. I think I said something super cheesy. She was cool, but probably thinking, ‘poor thing.’ In person, she looks just as good, maybe better. Flawless. She and Madonna and Cher. They have to share their secrets.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?

I would say if you really, really love it, then give it your all, with your whole heart and soul. Work harder than anyone because there is so much talent out there. Anything is possible. You have to dream yourself living it. That’s what I did back when I was a little girl in Miami. I dreamed of being famous every single night before I went to bed. And now I’m living it. It’s surreal.