Growing up on TV: The real side of fame with Jennifer Stone

Jennifer Stone, Harper Finkle from Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place, will be appearing on the Tween Stars Live Tour July 27 (Detroit) and July 28 (Chicago).

Jennifer Stone, Harper Finkle from Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, will be appearing on the Tween Stars Live Tour July 27 (Detroit) and July 28 (Chicago).

Next weekend, fans get to meet Jennifer Stone (and seven other Disney and Nickelodeon performers) on the Tween Stars Live Tour.

LSY’s Rebecca Brandel, Francesca Harvey and Tim O’Shei had a sneak preview chat with the 20-year-old actress who gained fame on Wizards of Waverly Place. Here’s an edited version of their conversation:

As you think about your life and career today, what I something that you never would have expected?

Jennifer: Most of it, quite frankly. I never would have expected to have ended up doing kids television. I guess I didn’t really think about it. It was such a blessing that I never knew I wanted. It was a really nice surprise.

What is something you’ve learned about handling the spotlight that comes with the job?

Jennifer: I don’t have to worry about that too much. People come up to me and they say they enjoy my work, and that’s such a wonderful thing, but it’s not like I can’t live my life. I think the bottom line is you just have to be grateful to people, even if its not like your best moment to say hi or take a picture, to get over yourself and be gracious to people who are supportive of your work.

What were your motivations for getting into the business, and how did you know you truly wanted to commit to it?

Jennifer: That’s a good question! Well I got into it, quite frankly, because my brother was doing it. I have an older brother and my mom wanted him to do something over the summer other than play video games, and so he saw an ad for a theater camp and go really involved in community theater. I started doing that and I just really fell in love with it. I’ve always been really imaginative and so I think it was the only place where I felt like all of those traits fit. I never had a doubt in my mind that this was what I wanted to be doing.

One of the main skills a performer needs is the ability to hear “no” a lot and keep going. Did you develop that ability right away?

Jennifer: I didn’t get it quickly. Thankfully, I was a really confident kid. I thought I was the bees knees, so even when people told me no, when I was younger, I was like “Oh, their loss! No big deal.” It wasn’t until I went through puberty – you know how that kind of knocks everybody down a little, but it’s okay because you come back up, and all that jazz. I really learned how to take no for an answer when I was around like 11. And it was one of those things where I constantly say, “Everything happens for a reason,” and you work on the projects that you’re supposed to do. You have to look at it like that, otherwise you’re going to be driven crazy by “Why didn’t they pick me?” and “What’s wrong with me?’” and “Why didn’t they see all the work that I…” You know, it becomes this endless amount of questions that are never going to be answered. You just have to accept that it wasn’t what meant to be and the part for you is out there.

What was it like to grow up on television?

Jennifer: I don’t have anything to compare it to, so for me it was just like high school but I got to do what I loved at the same time. It was definitely bizarre. It’s like high school times 10, because when you’re going through your awkward years, everybody can see it. Since you’re not supposed to be awkward ever – you’re supposed to be presentable at all times – there were a few years where I definitely wasn’t! It’s just like high school under more of a magnifying glass.

You know Selena Gomez as a co-worker and friend, and obviously she’s become a huge star. What’s it like for you to see her projected as a larger-than-life figure?

Jennifer: It’s very bizarre to me, because it just doesn’t seem like her. The Selena that I know and love is very much sweatpants and ponytail and baseball cap and that kind of thing. So whenever I see that version of her, obviously she looks beautiful, and I love seeing her all dolled up like that, but it’s not the Selena that I know. It’s like a different person; it’s very weird to me.

By any definition of the word “celebrity,” you are one. But have you ever thought about what it would be like if you reached the level of notoriety of someone like Selena or Taylor Swift?

Jennifer: Godspeed to both of them. They’re great girls, but oh man, that’s rough! I can’t imagine that. It freaks me out. I don’t know how they do it.

Most of your work is done on a soundstage, out of the public view. Are you excited to be face-to-face with fans on the Tween Stars Live tour?

Jennifer: Totally! To meet fans is such a privilege. I always love doing that because when I was a kid, when I first started out in this, I never even imagined that I would have people that watching what I did. It always felt like something I did for me. So it’s crazy to see. Even after all these years, it blows my mind.

Read all of our Tween Stars Live stories:
• A.N.T. Farm’s Allie DeBerry on life as a Disney teen

• Raven Goodwin: Acting is a competition, so aim for first place!
• Growing up on TV: The real side of fame with Jennifer Stone
• Class clowning on the set of Wizards of Waverly Place
• Daniella Monet: Trainer, businesswoman, babysitter … and Nickelodeon star too!
• Meet your favorites at Tween Stars Live!

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