1. First, if anyone could play you in a movie, who would you pick?
Lili Reinhart. I do think we look similar, and I love her. I’m a big fan of hers.
2. What’s the last TV show you binge-watched?
The Morning Show.
3. Who’s the last person that texted you?
Elizabeth Ho from Merry Happy Whatever.
4. What’s your biggest fear?
Hmm… I don’t know. I don’t tend to have huge fears. I’m a little fearless, I guess.
5. What is your most-used emoji, and why?
Most-used is the crying/laughing face 😂, because I’m always laughing.
6. Who’s your celebrity doppelgänger?
I probably have to say Lili [Reinhart], right? I never noticed it, except fans always tweet about it. Her and Brittany Murphy.
7. Go-to comfort food and why?
My go-to comfort food would probably be Thai food. I don’t really eat a lot of carbs, so when I do, I want pad thai. It’s just so comforting.
8. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Coffee, because I love it too much.
9. What’s the last thing you searched on Google?
Actually a thunder jacket for [my dog Ziggy].
10. Who was your celeb crush growing up?
Probably Leonardo DiCaprio. I remember a People Magazine photoshoot of him — he was just in a black t-shirt and it was this blue background. I had it up on my wall and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
11. What’s the first album you bought?
The Britney Spears single “…Baby One More Time.”
12. What’s the most starstruck you’ve ever been?
Probably when I met Jennifer Aniston.
13. What’s the wildest rumor you’ve ever heard about yourself?
I remember Zac [Efron] came to my birthday party — and me and Zac are like brother and sister. He was being all lovey-dovey and we were hanging out, but the paparazzi just got pictures of us. It looked like it was just us, but it was so many people and my boyfriend was at the birthday party. I think the rumor was we were dating and I was like, “This is so dumb.”
14. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
To not take anything personally. It could be not getting the job, to someone saying the wrong thing to you — it’s just so much better to kind of separate yourself from it, and you won’t get hurt by it.
15. What’s the last book you read?
I’ve actually read it twice. It’s called Your Power to Heal. I got it when I was in Big Sur after my dog had passed. I didn’t know, but it’s actually a book about taking back your power over any type of disease or anxiety, and that we are not victims to disease, we actually could heal ourselves. And so I really liked that idea. It teaches you how to heal yourself when you’re going through something. I think it’s really amazing. It really has helped with just little symptoms of back aches and neck [pain], like all of that stuff. You just talk to your body and your body kind of responds too it’s pretty cool.
16. Do you have a favorite memory from shooting Merry Happy Whatever?
When we would rehearse, we actually would rehearse with Dennis [Quaid]’s dog, Peaches. It’s so funny because I’ve never had that experience where we were working around a dog. Literally Peaches follows Dennis everywhere. So, you would just be tripping over the dog as you’re trying to rehearse the scene, and I think it really got us on top of things. When we went to a shoot and Peaches wasn’t there, we were like, “Whoa, I’m so used to trying to figure out all these different things.” It kind of prepared us in some funny way. I just think Peaches is so cute and we had the best time.
17. What was it like working with Dennis? Were you a Parent Trap fan?
I was a huge fan. I was very excited to work with him. I didn’t tell him ’til the wrap party that I was a fan of it. Because I was just like, “That’s gonna be weird. I don’t know how he’s gonna react to that.” But I was so excited to meet him. I was at first intimidated by him at the table reading. So I was like, “Oh, my God, it’s Dennis Quaid.” But then you get to know him and he’s like, the nicest guy. He quickly became a father figure.
18. On the show, Bridgit Mendler’s character cuts your character’s hair. I just have to ask, did Bridgit actually cut your real hair?
No. It sticks out to me so much, but I have a wig on the entire episode. She cut off a piece of the wig. The wig was cut short to the actual haircut, and then they put on clip-ins and tape-ins and she cut the tape-in on the wig. After that show we went straight into Carol’s Second Act, so we could not cut my hair, thank god.
19. Which of your characters do you identify with more? Kayla from Merry Happy Whatever or Jenny from Carol’s Second Act?
Probably Jenny, because Kayla goes through a journey that I’ve never really had to go through. It’s hard because I put myself in both characters, so there are pieces of Kayla that are very me, and Jenny can be very different from me as well. But Jenny feels very work-centered, she feels like a boss. She doesn’t take a lot of shit from people. I think she’s got a strength about her that I really relate to.
20. A scene everyone is talking about on Twitter, is when your character, Kayla, comes out to her family. What was it like portraying Kayla’s journey?
Obviously, I was a little nervous. But I feel like because I really respected and cared about the character, I wanted to make it authentic. I think I did.
21. What’s the best Christmas gift (or any gift) you’ve ever received?
The best gifts come from my husband [Christopher French], of course. He really scores on Christmas, but my parents do too. They always know what I like.
22. So, you’re an actor, singer, and producer. If you could only do one for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Acting, of course. Acting has always been my number one. I love music, but acting is kind of what I’ve done most of my life and what I’ve always been most passionate about.
23. Everyone on the internet is still obsessed with Sharpay from High School Musical, and a theory that she was actually the hero of the movie goes viral every once in a while. Did you always believe she was the hero?
I don’t think she thought she was the hero. She thought she was the most popular character, and I thought that she was right. And I guess that’s what translated — I actually thought she was the popular girl. I remember Lucas [Grabeel] being like, “You know, we’re not popular.” And [director] Kenny Ortega almost killed him. He was like, “You never tell an actor who she is because that’s why it plays so well. She literally thinks she’s the most popular girl in school.” I was like, kind of shocked when I watched the movie and I was like, “Oh, wait, I’m not the most popular girl.” I don’t think she was the hero, but I think that [Troy and Gabriella] were taking something over that she was really passionate about. Like, how dare a basketball player and some chick that comes to school take her role! I think you have to be in line with what your character is feeling. But now, looking back at it, I remember they did some testing with kids on their favorite characters. Disney was shocked that a lot of people said Sharpay. And one of the kids — I think she was like eight or nine when they asked, “Why do you like Sharpay so much?” she was like, “Because she knows what she wants.” I think people are now starting to see that. Sharpay always knew what she wanted in life. Troy and Gabriella really only cared about each other. How long does that last?
24. What do you think Sharpay would be doing now?
I think she’d probably be teaching. I don’t know if she ever really got out of the area that she lived in. I mean, I think she’s born a star and I’d hope that she went off to do Broadway, but if we’re being realistic…I think she‘d be teaching. I would love if she was a stage mom.
25. Who was the last HSM cast mate of yours that you texted and what was it about?
Obviously, Vanessa. She was watching Merry Happy Whatever. I was like, “Oh my god you’re watching it?” And she was like, “Yes! I love it!”
26. What’s your favorite Christmas movie of all time?
Home Alone. I just love it so much. Nothing without Macaulay Culkin though.
27. Finally, do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions because I realized early on that I don’t follow through with them. I like to put out intentions. I like to put out a couple things and not make it feel like a resolution because I feel like there’s so much pressure. I don’t like to put pressure on myself.