Born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 10, 1985, Raven-Symone'
Christina Pearman got an early start in showbiz when she was signed
by the Ford Modeling Agency while she was still in diapers. After appearing
in TV ads for everything from Cool Whip to Jello, she was invited to join
the cast of "The Cosby Show." She's best known for the Emmy-nominated comedy
series "That's So Raven" on the Disney Channel where she played the title
character Raven Baxter, a teenager who periodically has psychic visions of
Kam Williams: Hi, Raven. Thanks for the time. The last time we spoke, you were making a movie with Martin Lawrence.
Raven-Symone': College Road
KW: Right! How'd you enjoy playing Iridessa again in Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue?
RS: I love playing Iridessa. I've been playing her since I was 18 years-old, and it just gets better each time.
KW: Harriet Pakula Teweles asks, how much of Iridessa is so Raven?
RS: [Laughs] How much of Iridessa is so Raven? Well, Iridessa is the kind of girl who makes sure that all the t's are crossed and all the i's are dotted but, at the same time, she would help a friend in need. She has a couple of traits like mine, but while I'm very adventurous, I'm mostly the type of girl who doesn't want to get into trouble. So, what normally happens is I'm the instigator. I'll tell a friend, "Go see what's around that corner," while I stay behind and watch out. I'm more like that, but I think there's a little bit of me in every character I portray. I think of myself as very nice and very loyal when it comes to my friends, so those are qualities Iridessa and I have in common.
KW: How challenging is it doing an animated character? I assume you were all alone in a sound studio with no one to act opposite.
RS: That's the interesting thing about voiceovers. Usually, there's no one in the room with you but the writer, the director and an engineer. And then, it's up to the animators and the editors later to make it all seem very natural, as if the cast members were friends forever and had all been recorded simultaneously.
KW: How hard is not having other actors to play against?
RS: The director will usually read the other actors' lines to you. But the cool thing is that you can make any kind of wild gestures and exaggerated facial expressions you want, which is good, because the more you contort your body, the more emotion you generally get out of your voice. I'm also able to repeat each line of dialogue up to a half-dozen times, trying different inflections, if necessary.
KW: I see that the next installment of Tinker Bell is already slated to be
released in September of 2011. How long do you think the franchise can
RS: For a really, really long time, I hope, because I think it's a wonderful DVD series to collect. I've always wanted to be a part of the Disney vault, and the longer it's extended, the more I may be able to be a part of that history.
KW: What would you say is the message of this installment of Tinker Bell?
RS: It's loyalty, friendship, caring and understanding on both sides, the fairies and friends' side, and the family's side. In the story, Tinker Bell meets a human for the first time, and the little girl's father doesn't believe his daughter when she tells him that fairies exist. In real life, we tend to doubt a child who says something like that, and part of the message here is that imagination is something we shouldn't kill in kids at such a young age.
KW: Larry Greenberg says, "I'm a fan. I'm 40 and I love watching "That's So Raven". He wants to know whether you think fairies will invade the entertainment world the way that vampires and werewolves have?
RS: You know what, Larry. You're 40. I don't need you to tell anybody that you're watching "That's So Raven." [LOL] No, I really appreciate you're support, sir. The cool thing about fairies is that it's not really a fad, because Tinker Bell was one of the first characters created by Disney. The fairy and princess worlds have never gone out of style. They'll always be there, given that there will always be kids in kindergarten, and little girls who want to be princesses. So, I don't see fairies as a fad, but as a staple of our entertainment world.
KW: Children's book author Irene Smalls says, with so many career options, singing, acting, producing, etcetera, which part of the business do you enjoy most?
RS: I enjoy the outcome of each project. After each one is done, I love learning from kids, teenagers and adults, how it might have connected with their lives. Whether it's helping them deal with a relationship with their father (College Road Trip), getting through those difficult years in high school (That's So Raven), or overcoming weight or beauty issues, I love when my work resonates with someone in a meaningful way, because that's what I do it for.
KW: Irene says she's observes that you have never been typecast as the "black girl" in any of the roles you've played She wants to know, how you avoided being narrowly typecast?
RS: Well, I try not to pick roles that separate my color from the story itself. Does that make sense?
RS: So, when I do pick a role, I'm just a human being. I don't think it's necessary to over-exaggerate the fact that I'm an African-American. I'm a human first. Just thank God that in the roles for which I've been picked, it's not about the color. It's about the story. And hopefully, that story is so universal that it will connect with everyone, including an alien. I don't really want it to be that serious of a situation. Underlining it, I know I'm African-American, and I'm proud of that. And I think it's very important that more of us be cast to tell normal stories. But I try to not stress over it.
KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman says that she loves you and loves watching Raven re-runs. She goes on to say "I love that she shows good home training."
RS: [Giggles] Bernadette must be from the South.
KW: No, she's from New York. Her question is, how many times a week do people still recognize you as the little kid from The Cosby Show?
RS: Every day. And if it ever stopped, I'd be really scared.
KW: Bernadette also wants to know, if you were to mentor a 13-year old girl trying to follow in your footsteps, what would be your most important piece of advice for her?
RS: To understand that this is the entertainment business. It's a business, not real life. Performers are trying to make money. When they go home, they probably behave totally differently from how they do on TV and from what you read about them in magazines. I would mentor her to be smart and business-minded, if she wanted to be in the industry. But I probably would be happier if she didn't want to enter show business at all, because there are so many other fields where smart females are urgently needed where they can make a critical, socially-significant impact than by doing anything entertainment has to offer.
KW: She goes on to say, "You played a clairvoyant in your Raven role. Have you ever sensed that ability in yourself in real life?"
RS: Yes, I have. I don't really like to talk about it too much, because it's a little personal for me. But I'm a very spiritual person, and I believe that there are amazing special gifts that people are blessed with. It just depends on whether you want to listen or not.
KW: Bernadette observes that you've done everything but produce a film. Is that in the cards?
RS: I have produced a film, College Road Trip with Martin Lawrence, and there are many more to come.
KW: Finally, she notes that you've had such incredible professional success at such a young age, and so she wonders whether potential romantic partners are intimidated by that.
RS: [LOL] I don't know… I don't know.
KW: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier asks, what is your advice for aspiring actresses who want to enjoy longevity like you in show business?
RS: Make it about the business, and not about your personal life. Understand that it can end at any moment, take it one day at a time, and have fun.
KW: Patricia also says "A lot of child stars find it difficult to live and grow up in a fish bowl. How did you avoid all the craziness and stay so grounded?
RS: I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. I went to public school. I failed algebra and had to go to summer school. My parents, for a reason I won't divulge, put me on punishment for a year. So, I had a normal life my entire childhood. I only moved to Los Angeles at 15. My Mom evaluated me psychologically at 21, declared me semi-sane, and let me start handling my own business.
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
RS: I'm sure there is, but I can't think of one off the top of my head.
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
RS: Last night.
The Power of Intention
Click to order via Amazon
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Hay House; 1 edition
Pub date: December 15, 2005
Intention is generally viewed as a pit-bull kind of determination propelling one to succeed at all costs by never giving up on an inner picture. In this view, an attitude that combines hard work with an indefatigable drive toward excellence is the way to succeed. However, intention is viewed very differently in this book. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has researched intention as a force in the universe that allows the act of creation to take place. This book explores intention—not as something you do—but as an energy you're a part of
Raven-Symone - The "College Roadtrip" Interview