Cameron, who grew up on Bainbridge Island, is starring in the new TV film, “Descendants 2.”
When Disney Channel’s “Descendants 2” premieres on Friday, July 21, it could be the end of an era for its star, Dove Cameron.
Cameron, who grew up on Bainbridge Island, gained fame when her Disney Channel sitcom, “Liv and Maddie,” debuted in 2013. Now, four years later, the series has reached its end and the future of the “Descendants” franchise is unclear. But Cameron isn’t concerned.
“This is going to sound silly because I know everyone on my career path has like a five-year plan, a 10-year plan. But I just don’t want to think about it. Everything that has come in my path has been completely accidental and totally miraculous,” Cameron says in a recent phone conversation.
8 p.m., Friday, July 21, Disney Channel, Disney XD, ABC, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies Network and Freeform
If it sounds like Cameron is selling herself short, she is. The 21-year-old has quite the resume. She’s appeared on television, in movies, onstage (this summer she’ll star as Sophie in the Hollywood Bowl’s “Mamma Mia!”), and she’s produced her own music.
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“I love television, I love film, I love recording, I love singing, I love all of it,” she says.
After attending Sakai Intermediate School on Bainbridge Island, which Cameron describes as “idyllic … kind of good for the soul,” Cameron moved to Los Angeles when she was 14. She says she still returns to Washington, though, and talks of missing Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Dick’s Drive-In, The Triple Door and the ferries.
“It’s so romantic to me,” she says of Seattle’s robust ferry system.
Cameron is currently focused on promoting the sequel to 2015’s “Descendants,” a Disney Channel movie about the children of Disney heroes and villains, featuring Cameron as Mal, daughter of Maleficent (recently brought to the big screen by Angelina Jolie). “Descendants 2,” which is receiving a simultaneous rollout on ABC, Lifetime, Lifetime Movies Network, Freeform, Disney Channel and Disney XD, finds Mal fully assimilated, but struggling to stay afloat.
“In the first couple minutes of the movie, we establish that being the prince’s girlfriend also inevitably means being the prince’s fiancé and then being the queen. And she [Mal] panics and swings hard in the other direction because she can’t cope,” Cameron says.
And so Mal returns to the “Isle of the Lost,” home of foiled villains and their offspring, where she finds her turf reclaimed by China Anne McClain’s revenge-seeking Uma, daughter of Ursula.
Though Cameron insists she had a dark streak as a child (she used to draw tattoos on her arms, she says), the charming and unflaggingly positive actress seems to have little in common with her fictional counterpart. Cameron is the type of person who says things like “we should practice gratitude in everything” in casual conversation. She practically radiates optimism.
Asked about pressure to “break bad,” or reject the Disney brand, as many do (see: Miley Cyrus), Cameron says, “I don’t really believe in ‘breaking anything’ because there’s nothing that I’ve done along the way that’s been inauthentic.”
This is Cameron’s word of choice: “authentic.” Cameron uses this word so many times during our telephone conversation that she actually catches herself and comments on it (“That’s the word of the day, I guess,” she says).
What comes next may be uncertain, but Cameron’s commitment to being authentic is not. “I want to stay as authentic to my own needs as I can. And just work really hard, move in the right direction,” Cameron says.