It’s a well-known phenomenon that Disney, and Disney Channel in particular, has a certain way of taking female kid stars and making them into megastars within years. Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus, Zendaya, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato – I could go on for the entirety of this article. But, the next one to look out for is Meg Donnelly, who plays Addison in Disney’s new movie ZOMBIES, premiering on February 16.
The weird thing is that Meg is actually a good friend of mine! She trained with me in musical theater at Annie’s Playhouse in Far Hills, NJ, and has clearly taken off. Appearances in commercials and Team Toon defined the beginning of Meg’s career as a professional actress. Then, over the past couple of years, she has truly blossomed, appearing in ABC’s American Housewife and, of course, Disney’s ZOMBIES.
Much like Demi Lovato, Meg can SING. Truly. Having heard her perform since she was five, I really mean that. For that reason, I think Meg would thrive if she were to grow into her own recording artist career. And, it’s clearly not outside the realm of possibility given artists who have been on Meg’s path before her. I’ve broken down Disney’s kid star to megastar track into a couple of categories here:
- The Primary Singer: Demi, Vanessa, Miley
Stars like these typically get a super successful TV series or movie, starring as the ingenue in whatever they appeared in. Sometimes they would get whichever they did not originally star in (either a TV show or movie) after their original project picked up enough speed. Stars like these tended to become full-on recording artists after their time at Disney.
- The Primary Actress: Selena
Primary actresses tend not to end up as megastars as often, at least not as pop stars. Obviously, Selena Gomez is an exception with the popularity her single “Wolves” has gained. But primary actresses get attention for their likability. They are funny, cute, and stereotypically feminine (just saying). At least in Selena’s case, they seem to have the least dramatic transitions out of Disney.
- The Primary Dancer: Zendaya
Primary dancers may not be the most technically gifted dancers, but they make their mark by having rhythm and personality in their movement. They are probably the least common post-Disney megastars, in part because the general public tend to be more interested in singers and actresses. Sure, we love movies like the Step Up series – but, at the end of the day, we feel closer to singers and actors for whatever reason.
No matter the avenue, having a successful Disney run can set you up for superstardom as a young adult. Keep an eye on individuals passing through this pipeline, and definitely keep an eye on Meg as she starts her own journey through it!