Standing in front of an elevator at W Atlanta – Downtown, petite blonde starlet Ashley Tisdale sports gray sweats, a chambray jacket, white tee and Louis Vuitton backpack with her Maltese-poodle mix, Maui, in tow. Refreshingly unassuming, there’s no big entourage, no oversized shades and not a speck of makeup in sight. The girl loves her job and isn’t messing around (unless it’s to text “Sel Gomez” in the elevator, proving that the down-to-earth darling in the down-low getup travels in far more bona fide circles). After joining the Disney dream team—bringing the drama as driven queen bee Sharpay Evans, alongside Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, for the High School Musical franchise back in 2006—and showing comedic chops in cult fare like Hellcats, Tisdale has come of age. Now, at 27, with two albums, a 5-year-old production company (Blondie Girl Productions; Tisdale produces Bravo’s Miss Advised), and a lead role in the Atlanta-filmed Scary Movie 5 in her repertoire, her transition from teen starlet to multitalented entrepreneur is official. Here, JEZ sits down with The Tiz (as bloggers have nicknamed her) to dish on her new leading role, love in the limelight and that “Call Me Maybe” viral video with pals “Sel” and The Biebs.
We all know you as the popular teen queen Sharpay. How have you changed since your High School Musical days?
I grew up. Those years were like a second high school. We spent three or four years doing those movies, and it was so much fun. The cast is like family to me. We always talk about doing a reunion where we watch all the films together. But you just grow up and challenge yourself with other characters and do other things. I’m very grateful that I’m able to choose the characters that I want to play. I’ve always felt like I’m not going to do something unless I really want to do it. I’ve also had my production company, Blondie Girl Productions, for five years. It’s been great, because when I’m not doing something in front of the camera, I still get to be creative.
Was there a moment you knew this was your dream?
I’ve been in this business since I was 3, so I kind of just landed in it. But I went to regular school my whole life, and I knew [acting] was always something I wanted to do. I always looked ahead. My sister did cheerleading, and I could have done that, but I was like, I’ll do the cheerleading on a TV show. [Laughs]
Now that you’ve left La-La Land for the South and Scary Movie 5, tell us about your character Jody.
Jody is the type of character who’s very naive and trying to be the perfect mom. She and her husband [Simon Rex] are not fit to be parents at all. She’s always doing something crazy, and it’s fun. We’re spoofing Black Swan and Paranormal Activity, so I play parts of Natalie Portman’s character and parts of the girl from Paranormal.
What attracted you to the part?
I love comedy, and I’ve been a big fan of the movies—they just know how to spoof things. As an actress, it’s taking me out of my comfort zone, and it’s my transition, because a lot of people haven’t seen me do half of the stuff I do in this movie.
Can you spill any more deets?
I’ve been doing ballet for the last two months with a choreographer. Even though I grew up dancing in movies, this is a whole new thing. Ballet is so hard, and it’s very structured. When I was younger, I tried doing it, but I wasn’t very good. I think I had too much energy for it. [Laughs]
How has it been hanging out with your co-stars?
The cast is so down-to-earth, and we all hang out and go out to dinner. It’s nice to be with people who want to make a good movie and have a bond.
And how about your hottie on-screen hubby, Simon Rex?
Simon is so much fun. He’s a really cool dude. He’s such a foodie, and he loves the Atlanta Fish Market, so we’ve been there a couple of times, and it’s really good. Chops Lobster Bar has amazing steak, and Rathbun’s is really good, too.
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