SYDNEY For Raven-Symone, the transformation from being a Disney child star to a 20-something actress has taught her one major lesson -- how to say no.
Raven, whose full name is Raven-Symone Christina Pearman, started out as a child model but got her break into show business at the age of 3 with an acting role on "The Cosby Show."
Now 24, her list of credits including the lead role in TV sitcom "That's So Raven" which ran on Disney Channel for 2003 until 2007, "The Cheetah Girls" movies, and the 2008 movie "College Road Trip."
But she has also branched out from on-screen acting, releasing four albums with a fifth coming and lending her voice to various animated series including "Kim Possible" and the fairy Iridessa on Disney's direct-to-DVD film series "Tinker Bell."
Raven talked with Reuters in an interview in Australia where she was promoting the movie "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue," which will be released this week:
Q: You've managed to make a successful transition from a child star to 20s-something actress. What's the tip?
A: "If you stay true to who you are you will find roles that will reflect what you are trying to portray. I am growing up, I am 24, and so I find roles that fit that. In my latest movie, "Revenge of the Bridesmaids," I played a 27-year-old author and I had a bottle of wine in it."
Q: So you do pick and choose your roles?
A: "Yes and I have been chugging along slowly which is how I want my career to go. There have been projects I have said no to as I am selective. I think it is hard now in the industry as there are not a lot of jobs going but if you stay true to who you are and you pick the right things your career will last longer than if people get sick of seeing your face."
Q: Your parents have been very involved with your career, moving to New York help you advance. Are they still?
A: "Yes, my mom is my business manager but they no longer have to make all the calls. They trust my opinion now and know it is my life. Everyone gives this opinion on what I should do but I am the last say."
Q: How do you keep out of the gossip magazines?
A: "I just don't go to places where people take crazy shots of me...I have fun and hit the parties and I know all the business and gossip but it is so easy to avoid the paparazzi. You just don't go to the hot spots. I would rather have the publicity and the media when I have something to promote."
Q: You act, sing, dance. Which do you enjoy most?
A: "I think it is a combination. With acting I get to act crazy most of the time, particularly with the roles I choose, and with dancing I can get my sneakers on and get down and dirty. With my music I like to promote self confidence and respectability."
Q: Any advice for aspiring stars?
Q: "Do you want to be a celebrity or have a career? You have to understand that it is hard work. What you see and read is about 20 percent of what happens behind the big Hollywood curtain. You get rejected more than you are accepted but it makes you stronger and fight harder for what you want."
Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?
A: "It is OK to say no -- in real life and in Hollywood. People are scared and think they won't be liked if they say no but in reality you are respected."
(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Jill Serjeant)