Keep the crazy under control
With most Disney Channel stars, there’s a fan-base that comes with the job. Whether they choose to be a role model for that fan-base or not is decided once their faces are advertised beyond the Disney network. Some movies and hit shows like High School Musical and Wizards of Waverly Place produced icons that appeared on lunch boxes, notebooks, and toys targeting kids as young as five. Being a former fan of High School Musical and previously sporting the Troy and Gabriella t-shirt and still toting multiple cheesy Disney towels, I can understand the influence Disney stars can have on children.
When Hannah Montana premiered and Miley Cyrus kicked off her career, almost every preteen girl put on a blonde wig and pretended to be the superstar that Cyrus portrayed on television. Children look up to these characters, and many end up watching every project proceeding the star’s Disney days just because they feel like they’ve grown up with them. After these actors and actresses appear in totally inappropriate movies like Spring Breakers, they shouldn’t be welcomed back with open arms to Disney Channel.
People seem to take these movies as Disney Channel stars finally emerging into the real movie world; however, when they appear on Disney and on the movie screen in scandalous roles, they’re giving a bad impression of the network itself. I’m not trying to suggest there be a limited range of roles, but a child icon shouldn’t appear in movies where their character demonstrates drugs, sex, and violence openly, only to appear in a children’s show the next day.
Many Disney stars that didn’t move on to bigger and more mature roles spiraled out of control like Demi Lovato and her serious rehab adventure. After Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus was caught in raunchy videos and photos that, had there been parental guidance involved, would not have happened. It’s not just about the actor and his or her career, but keeping Disney’s image of good, clean television network full of positive attitude. True, there comes a point when Disney Channel stars have to grow up and work on a non-Disney project, but kids still look up to them as role models and don’t deserve another Lindsay Lohan disaster.
Let them go wild
Everyone has been so quick to judge former Disney stars Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez for starring in the new risqué film Spring Breakers, but what no one seems to recognize is that they are just that: former Disney stars. They’re allowed to act in wholesome, family friendly movies and shows then move on with their lives.
Eighteen-year-old Hudgens signed on with the Disney Channel in 2006 as the sweet and innocent Gabriella. She stayed on with the network until 2008. Hudgens was 20 years old, a legal adult, when she began branching out her career. Gomez also began her Disney career in 2006 when she was 14. Spring Breakers is her first “adult” film. Gomez is currently 21, and Hudgens is 25.
These actresses are simply maturing their careers, and the roles that they choose to accept are completely up to them. It doesn’t reflect badly on the Disney Channel because they have long severed their connection with the network. It’s not like they sign their lives away when they agree to work with the network. While Gomez will be in the new Wizards of Waverly Place movie, the movie has already been produced and is her last Wizards production.
Disney is a good stepping stone for aspiring actors, but these girls are ready for the film industry to take them seriously. No one expected Gomez to stay on Barney and Friends forever, so why should they expect her to stay with Disney?
Another argument I’ve heard is that many little girls look up to them and want to see everything they’re in. While I agree that young girls all over the world want to be just like Selena Gomez, most of them don’t even know that Spring Breakers is coming out. Commercials are placed in time slots that would work best for their target audience. This means that the Spring Breakers trailer is aired during adult programming. You’ll never see the trailer on the Disney Channel.
The magazine titled Selena is all about, you guessed it, Selena Gomez. Young girls flip through it all the time in check-out lines and talk about how much they love her, so out of curiosity for my article, I thumbed through it to see if they advertised her new films. They don’t.
These actresses have earned their rights to branch out in the industry and are handling their transitions as mature adults.