Dove Cameron went to high school for only two years. “I skipped ninth grade,” she says. “I went from eighth to tenth, and then I graduated a year early to start working, and it was a big blessing for me because I was not a school person, although I really do miss having that kind of environment. I was a huge show-choir girl!”
In 2012, she left her Glee-like days behind to lead a double life, starring as identical twins Liv and Maddie Rooney on the Disney Channel series Liv and Maddie. Cameron considers herself a musical theatre buff at heart, but television took the reins during her teenage years, so she’s thrilled to be starring as Amber Von Tussle in NBC’s December 7 broadcast of Hairspray Live!
“I actually saw Hairspray in theatres when it came out [in 2007],” she says. Cameron and two of her closest friends “snuck mashed potatoes and gravy in from the nearby supermarket, and we watched it. We loved it so much that we went again the next day, but I had the poster up in my room for like three or four years. I was obsessed with the movie.”
Just as she was a huge fan of Hairspray, Cameron began to experience the fandom that comes with life as a Disney Channel star. She’s also been in the Disney Channel film Descendants, about the children of Disney villains, in which Kristin Chenoweth played her mother Maleficent; the two will play a mother-daughter duo again in Hairspray Live!
Cameron first felt the impact of her work when fans recognized her at The Grove in L.A. “I had a full-blown panic attack,” she admits. “I had to duck into the Nordstrom, and get water, and take a minute… I can’t make eye contact when people sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. I don’t take compliments well, so I freaked out. But I slowly got used to it over time.”
The 20-year-old actor spent her teenage years leading Liv and Maddie, which lasted for four seasons, and it wasn’t always easy being the go-to girl. “Right when Liv and Maddie had started, there was no roadmap for how to do a show where one girl played two,” she explains. “It’s just not something that is often done, so we had nothing to refer to. Before we really figured out a rhythm and a way to get through it—and have me be alive at the end of the day—it was a long period of time where I was really struggling with the energy, and the workload, and shooting everything twice, then recording on the weekends, and still sleeping, and having a social life. There was definitely a time when I [told] my mom, ‘I literally think I’m not capable of doing this. I do not think I will survive this. I think I am going to let all of Disney Channel down. They trusted me with this, and I seriously think I am going to cost them millions of dollars and pull out of this show.’”
Despite the struggle, Cameron credits Liv and Maddie with her toughness. “I honestly think what skyrocketed me into professionalism was learning how to play two people and still live through the day. I know that sounds dramatic, but shooting everything twice and going through the emotions of two different humans was crazy for me at 16. In terms of my career, that was something that really, really formed me.”
Though she’s a bit nervous about Jerry Mitchell’s fast-paced “Nicest Kids in Town” choreography in Hairspray Live!, she says, “Nothing can scare me now.”
The final season of Disney Channel’s hit series Liv and Maddie, which stars Dove Cameron as identical twin tweens, is changing its appearance for its last hurrah.
EW has learned the fourth season (premiering on Sept. 23 on Disney Channel) comes with a twist: You’ll find it on your DVR under the new title, Liv and Maddie: Cali Style.
Liv and Maddie Rooney have shifted gears and moved out to California to live with their aunt and cousin (Lauren Lindsey Donzis) in a beach house. In their new digs, Liv keeps at her pursuit of a performing career, while Maddie looks ahead to college and a basketball scholarship. (Don’t worry, the whole Rooney family also has its reasons for following the girls out west, too.)
“We love our new title because it lets our dedicated fans know this is still the show they love, while tipping everyone off that a new and exciting chapter is starting,” co-creator Ron Hart tells EW. “Our cast grew so much in our first three seasons, we love that in our fourth we got to bring them to a whole new world for our final adventures together.”
Co-creator John D. Beck adds, “It was a blast to write for the Rooney family in their Stevens Point home. But taking them out of their world and bringing them to the bright lights of Los Angeles lets us take a quantum leap in their stories in really fun, exciting ways. I can’t wait for everyone to meet the fun band of quirky characters the family befriends in L.A. But don’t worry, we made sure to find ways for all your favorites from Wisconsin [to show up] on the West Coast, too.”
Cast members Joey Bragg, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Kali Rocha will also return for the final season.
Dove Cameron, who plays both title characters on Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie, and Teen Beach Movie‘s Garrett Clayton have joined the cast of Hairspray Live!, NBC’s live musical produced by Universal Television that will air December 7 from Los Angeles. She will play Amber Von Tussle and he is Link Larkin.
Cameron and Clayton join Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Derek Hough and newcomer Maddie Baillio. Based on the Tony-winning Broadway musical, Hairspray Live! takes place in 1962 Baltimore, where teenager Tracy Turnblad (Baillio) dream of dancing on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV program. When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters.
Along with Liv and Maddie, which wrapped its third season in June, Cameron plays Mal in Disney Channel’s Descendants franchise. Her credits also include Barely Lethal and TV’s The Mentalist and Shameless. Clayton co-starred in Disney Channel’s Teen Beach Movie and its sequel. He also appeared on The Fosters and The Real O’Neals and has the features Don’t Hang Up and Welcome to Willets up next.
BYOU Magazine: Can you tell us about your music and upcoming projects for The Girl and The Dreamcatcher?
Dove: Yeah! Mine and Ryan’s band, The Girl and The Dreamcatcher, is a huge passion of mine. I am so excited. I am really, really grateful to Disney Channel for showing our stuff, helping me promote and cultivate this music career. It’s amazing! I could not feel happier. It is very rare that an artist in my position, or in almost anyone’s position really, has full power and autonomy over what they put out, but Ryan and I really do. Everything that you hear form our band has been written by us. We get the music back and we say, “we want more drums here,” or “want more guitar here,” or “we definitely want this part to be longer.” We shoot, pay for, and edit all of our own music videos. So everything that you’re getting from us is 100 percent authentic; you’re getting it directly from us and that’s something that we’re really proud about. We have a lot coming out this year. 2016 is going to be a huge year for us, and we’re really excited about all this support we’re being shown by the fans — we love our “dreamcatchers”! And there’s so much more coming your way and I can’t even wait to show you guys! Lots of live performances, lots of music videos, singles, possibly an EP! (see update below)
BYOU Magazine: If you had the possibility of signing with a record company, what would you do?
Dove: That’s a conversation we’re in right now because we’re both people that understand that the only way to break a plan is to make a plan. So we’re never going to say, “We will never sign with a record label.” Right now, we’re not really interested but if we were to sign with a record label, the first thing we would say to them is, “We’ve done this all by ourselves and we don’t want to lose our control. And we don’t want to lose our relationship with our fans if we sign with you. Can you offer us that?” If they say “yes,” we’ll look into it further and if they say “no,” then we will remain independent forever.
To read Dove’s entire exclusive interview with BYOU Magazine, order your copy of the “Be Yourself” issue featuring the Liv & Maddie star, along with lots more of your fave celebs! Click here to order your copy!
UPDATE: The duo is set to release their new EP titled “Negatives” this summer! The duo recently announced on their Instagram and Twitter pages, that we can look forward to the new EP sometime this summer, along with some exciting song titles such as “Shoulda Made You Mine,” “Gladiator,” “I Really Hate Parties,” and “The Heat.” No release date announced just yet, but you can count on this dynamic duo to deliver some amazing tunes!