Few teens know the entertainment business as well as Raven.
Formerly known as Raven-Symone, the Atlanta native has been an actor since she was only three years old, when she played the role of Olivia from 1989 until 1992 on the long-running sitcom, “The Cosby Show.” While the life of the Huxtables is being relived as repeats that air each night on Nickelodeon, some may still look at Raven as a three-year-old. But she’s now a seasoned actor at a savvy 17.
While most child stars seem to fade away as they get older, Raven’s popularity has grown. She had a role as Nicole Lee on the sitcom, “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” which ran from 1992 until 1997, and starred with Eddie Murphy in the “Dr. Dolittle” and “Dr. Dolittle 2” films.
But it’s her present leading role as Raven Baxter on the Disney Channel sitcom, “That’s So Raven,” that has really caught the attention of her tween and teen audience. Raven’s character is a confident, charismatic teen whose ability to see flashes of the future compel her to embark on a series of comical misadventures. The show’s strong ratings have led it to be renewed for another season, and she will continue to play the voice of Monique on the station’s animated action-comedy series, “Kim Possible.”
Next up, she will star in the Disney Channel original movie, “The Cheetah Girls,” which premieres Aug. 15. In the film, she stars with the girls from 3LW, a group of young singers signed to Sony’s Epic Records. Raven plays Galleria Garibaldi, a supermotivated high school fashionista who hopes to lead a group of childhood friends to musical stardom with her own brand of confidence, determination and business sense.
WWD caught up with Raven to talk about who she admires and what the future holds, including the possibility of her own clothing line:
WWD: You have experience in TV and movies. Which do you like better?
Raven: I really do love both — just in different ways. TV has been my passion, but in movies, they can be so action packed, so that’s really fun.WWD: Do you remember working on “The Cosby Show?”
Raven: I remember some things, but not that much. I do watch the reruns that are on and I really think it was such a great show. But it’s funny, when I watch the show I don’t think of Olivia as being me. I sort of think of her as someone else, since I was too young to remember so much of it.
WWD: Being in the spotlight for so long, you must get recognized everywhere you go.
Raven: Yeah, pretty much. When I was three, people would recognize me. It’s funny because my mom used to always tell me not to talk to strangers, so when people would come up to me I wouldn’t talk to them. Now that I’m older, I understand more why these people are noticing me. Sometimes they stare or say hi, but mostly they are very nice and tell me how much they like the show.
WWD: Do you get starstruck?
Raven: I get so starstruck. I was once at a party and I saw someone from “Will & Grace” and I almost died. I was freaking out. But I really look up to Janet Jackson, Robert DeNiro, Denzel Washington and I had such a great time when I worked with Eddie Murphy. It was so much fun to play that character in “Dr. Dolittle” because I am really not like her at all. I’m really so laid back and easygoing. She wasn’t like that.
WWD: It seems like you play a lot of characters who are into fashion. Are you like that in real life?
Raven: I love fashion. I love Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. I also love Fornarina, a store in Los Angeles. My friends always ask me how I can afford this stuff. I just tell them if you work and save up you can buy things here and there. It’s not that hard. It’s not like I have a whole wardrobe full of these labels.WWD: What about jeans? Do you have any favorites?
Raven: I’m sort of over jeans. I had like 30 pairs and I gave them all away. I still have about seven pairs, but I’m just sick of jeans. I’m more into sweats. I love Juicy Couture’s sets. They are the best. After I did the Vanity Fair shoot a couple of months ago, they asked us how many Juicy sets we have. When the issue came out, I saw what the other girls said and they all have so many! So after that I went out and bought more. I have to keep up.
WWD: Do your parents have a say in what you wear?
Raven: My mom buys a lot of my clothes and I really don’t mind at all. She knows what I like and what I would wear. She should be a fashion designer, she’s so good at it.
WWD: With so many celebrities launching clothing lines, would you ever consider doing that?
Raven: Since I love makeup so much, I would love to do my own line of makeup. But I have thought about clothes, too. If I was to do my own clothing line, I would do it for girls who are built like me. When I shop for myself it’s very hard to find clothes. I’m curvy and there should be more clothes out there for curvy girls.
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