10 Things with Anneliese van der Pol
TV shows that are geared for a young audience have a profound way of sticking around in our culture. That’s So Raven was surely one to remember. What were some of your fondest memories from that show?
I agree about that, and thank you as well for the compliment! When I think back on those old TSR days, I am left with only feelings of absolute pure joy. We were so young, hopeful and happy—without real worries yet. A great deal of my childhood was spent on that set and I grew to have a second family. Plus a best friend for life. I remember my beautiful dressing room and all the kind women in the makeup and hair department. I have fond memories of shooting special effects scenes till really late in the evening and then going to McDonalds after with Rae and the gang. It was the behind the scenes that I am most fond. Oh… also… the bacon.
It’s one thing to be cemented in kid culture, but to be able to to have the opportunity to affect a second generation is a pretty cool factor. When did you first get wind that a revival of the show was in the works and what was your initial reaction when you heard that it was going through?
I always have the same answer to this one cause it is true and the honest one, but basically, I found out almost a year ago to the date by the one and only Raven Symone. She was NOT supposed to tell me! Like at all. To sum it up, I spent 6 months telling her she was full of it and avoiding her, for fear that I would be too disappointed if it all was not really true. After 6 months, Disney called with the official offer. I cried. THEN, I had to keep my mouth shut for 6 months. It did not matter, Raven was with me the whole way. She always is.
What would you say are the components that stand out as different with this new series, Raven’s Home?
You mean different compared to That’s So Raven? Well, of course, the obvious things. I mean a different cast of characters almost completely as well as a decade time gap, are different now then they were in the early 2000’s! Our country changes with new presidents and even further advanced technology. So, that effects programming. We now live in Chicago, not San Francisco. Raven and I have to adjust our characters of course, we are no longer in high school, we are mothers raising children together.
You’re back as Chelsea Daniels. Where is Chelsea now at this point in her life?
Chelsea is a mother of a 9 year old boy. She is figuring her way through that and learning how to be a solid parent. She is looking for a job and new passion, and in a way, is trying to find her identity again after a both emotionally and financially difficult divorce. She is and was always positive and is definitely looking forward to a fresh start at this pivotal point in her life.
Both Chelsea and Raven are divorced mothers. Back when you did That’s So Raven, divorce wasn’t really a theme that was displayed. How is the show helping this young generation to cope with these real life issues?
Well, by just the fact that that scenario, (these two single mothers raising their children) is on TV is helping the younger generations cope with difficulties. Because they are shown a representation of a new normal, of people struggling at times. It will be up to us as the writers to continue that theme. It is what TSR did best, it taught lessons. Life lessons.
Now that your character has a son on the show, how much more funny drama can we expect from this season?
I think the audience has been appreciating our role reversal. A unique take on a mother-son relationship. Jason Maybaum is also impossible not to adore. The power shift changes constantly between the Levi character and Chelsea and I think that keeps people on their toes. It especially is, on our own toes.
Besides acting on the small screen, you’re also an accomplished professional singer and musical theater performer. Do you have any plans on doing more work along those lines?
Of course! My ideal plan is to go from living in Chicago on Raven’s Home, to living in NYC and actually doing Chicago. The musical I mean. 😉
If you weren’t working in the entertainment industry as an actor or performer, what type of career would you get into?
Politics. Hands down. And I will. What goes on in our country and around the world is greatly and gravely important to me. Working specifically on women’s rights…focusing on how women can finally become an equal part in Congress, The Tea Party, and the world and actually even out who specifically has the power. To find opportunities in which women gain equal power as men and have the power to actually change things with that power. I would like OUR country, (AT LEAST) to represent its people by putting representatives in power who make up our very population. I would like to see a sea of diversity, all colors and creeds and sexes when watching the next State of The Union. Women think differently, good and bad, why not really let that be seen? We may have different and new ideas, solely because we ARE women. How cool is that? A different opinion!!! I truly believe so much good would and could come from this. I am saddened by the position we (especially women) seem to have taken in this country to not address this more deeply and really feel it’s severity. It seems we have just let it go as opposed to singing out about it, to those who will listen. I’m not even asking for a female president people!!!!
When it comes to fashion, which designers and styles would we find in your closet?
Thrift store items mostly. As well as some Zara, Forever 21, Plato’s Closet, BEBE, Steve Madden. Mall brands basically! Yup… that is me. But my personal favorite (and no nepotism involved) is my sister Rachel van der Pol’s brand, “Raychill.” My sister is brilliant in many ways, one of which is her sewing. Her clothes lend to comfortable yet fashion forward dresses mostly. Wrap and pull over tailored dresses that can be worn to the store with flip flops or an evening date with pumps. She is especially gifted in picking creative fun fabrics that are itch proof!
We look forward to seeing you on Raven’s Home. What other projects do you have coming up in the near future?
Well jeez give me a sec would ya??!!!!! JK. 😉 Mostly, just trying to enjoy the moment. I did not do that last time around, I am locked into a time demanding contract of course, but I always have my music. More specifically, I am working on an album as well as my live show. If I was Raven Baxter and had psychic visions, I would give ya more. But alas, I do not!
Facebook Page: Anneliese van der Pol
Photo Credit: Bobby Quillard