Ash adds another feather to her cap


Actress and singer Ashley Tisdale has found fame with the High School Musical franchise, but in the movie Cloud 9, she wears the hat of executive producer, writes Debashine Thangevelo.

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WEARING A NEW HAT: Ashley Tisdale, right, is learning to master many trades in Hollywood. This time, as an executive producer, she adds Cloud 9, a Disney Channel movie, to her achievements.

WHILE some actors spend aeons honing their craft, Ashley Tisdale is trying to acquire as many skills as she can to survive the cut-throat industry, where relevance is as important to survival as talent.

Viewers were first introduced to her as Maddie Fitzpatrick in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody before she found overnight stardom thanks to the High School Musical franchise. Talk about a lucky break – the show launched her musical career.

Since then, her popularity has soared with more TV credits with Phineas and Ferb and Hellcats, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, Scary Movie 5, Raising Hope, Sons of Anarchy and Super Fun Night, among others. And that’s not forgetting her Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure either.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every movie or TV offering was a magnum opus, but it certainly cemented her brand and inflated her bank balance.

Shedding light on Cloud 9, which stars Luke Benward and Dove Cameron, Tisdale says: “It is a romantic comedy with lots of snowboarding action. It’s about believing in yourself and never giving up. It’s a feel-good movie. I’m really, really proud of it.

“A girl called Kayla (Cameron) gets kicked off her snowboarding team. She ends up working with a guy called Will (Benward), who is a former snowboarder. He had a bad wipe-out that went viral and that’s what stopped him competing. The movie is about Will mentoring Kayla for a snowboarding move called Cloud 9, and Kayla tries to prove to her dad and the other team that she can do it.”

Of course, the two fall in love along the way. Such is the staple diet of these teen offerings.

Given her long-standing relationship and acting exploits with Disney Channel, Tisdale notes: “There have been tons of Disney movies, so it’s hard to find something that’s really different. That’s exactly what Cloud 9 is. I thought it was a sweet, charming story.”

Providing some insight into her role in the making of this film, she says: “From a producer’s point of view, we worked on the project all the way from pre- to post-production. I didn’t go on set because I was reshooting a movie at the time. But my producing partner was there.

“I was involved with everything, though. We prepped everything before they left to shoot the project. So I was there for the wardrobe and fittings. It was great because we used the guy who did all the High School Musical movies.

“I was also involved in the casting and had my say in everything.”

Tisdale says Kayla in some ways reminds her of Sharpay.

“Dove is amazing. I heard about Dove through Disney. I had seen a little bit of her in Liv and Maddie and I think she is going to be a big star. She’s so talented and beautiful – and she is great in this movie.

“I think Dove and Luke were perfectly cast. They are adorable together. The chemistry was there.”

Interestingly, Tisdale is an impressive snowboarder – for a beginner – and says: “I love to experience new things – it’s so much fun. Youngsters should try it.”

• Cloud 9 airs on Disney Channel (DStv channel 303) at 5pm on Friday.

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