The ‘Disney Effect’ is phenomenal. It is a force which enables young, attractive teens the chance to become multi-million dollar celebrities. And if they play their cards right, it can push them into super stardom far beyond the popular children’s show they started on at age 12.
Raven, Hilary Duff, Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus…the list goes on and on. Many of them, now in their twenties, have forged their own stellar careers in music, acting or both. The fact is, even though the ‘Disney’ tag may be hard to drop, it is a tag well worth savouring. And if you have enough talent to go along with it, well, you may even last in the industry.
But what about those ‘unsung’ heroes? The faces of Disney who have worked in front of the cameras for years but are relative unknowns? For every Demi and Selena there is another actor or actress just as talented who misses the spotlight because their show wasn’t quite as popular.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
The Unsung Heroes of the Disney world
Have you ever heard of this girl? I didn’t think so. This 20 year-old first appeared on the Disney Channel as Justin Russo’s vampire girlfriend in ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’ and was soon starring in her own series ‘Good Luck Charlie’. She starred in the DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) ‘Lemonade Mouth’ in 2011 alongside Adam Hicks proved that she had the pipes to challenge Miley and leave Selena in the dust. Two years later and her show has gone onto its fourth season and she has just released an album. Yes, she sounds successful, and Bridgit has been, relatively. But compared to her counterparts who were starring on their own shows about wizards, rock bands, and comedians when ‘Good Luck Charlie’ was launched, she ain’t got nothing.
This kid was around in the days of Tisdale and Efron and has established himself as Disney alumni. Jason Dolley starred across from Mitchell Musso (Hannah Montana, Phines and Ferb, Pair of Kings) in DCOM ‘Hatching Pete’ , starred opposite Chelsea Kane (JONAS, Starstruck) in M’inute Men’, and played love interest to Kay Panabaker (Fame) in ‘ Read It And Weep’. He had a two season run playing the air-headed ‘Newt’ in ‘Cory in the House’, a spin-off of Raven Symone’s famous ‘That’s So Raven’ and was finally given another lead roll in current series ‘Good Luck Charlie’ playing PJ, older brother to Bridgit Mendler’s character. Dolley has literally grown up with Disney’s viewers, yet most tween girls wouldn’t even know his name. His talent matches that of Musso, and given the chance perhaps even Efron. Yet he is always sidelined for the bigger faces of Disney.
Ok, so maybe this guy is a little too well known to be listed as an ‘Unsung Hero’ after appearing on the US series of ‘Dancing With the Stars’, but the fact remains that Fegan has to act opposite two popular young teenage girls who he can dance just as well as, if not better than. He calls the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato friends after appearing in ‘Camp Rock’ and its sequel and was given a roll on current series’ Shake it Up’ starring Bella Thorne and Zendaya. Yet he’s still, ‘That guy, who plays Zendaya’s brother’ or, ‘That dude from Camp Rock.’ Roshon deserves a lot more credit for his work, his dancing challenges that of any of his counterparts.
Best known as ‘Cody Martin’s girlfriend’ aka Bailey Pickett, Ryan first appeared on Disney in ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ the spin off to the popular series ‘The Suite Life of Zac and Cody’ opposite Cole and Dylan Sprouse in 2008. The series ran for three seasons and had Ryan appear in the coinciding DCOM ‘The Suite Life Movie”. Predictably, the series allowed her to sing albeit briefly, as has her current series ‘Jessie’. Her DCOM ‘Radio Rebel’ screened in 2012 and it seems now with Cyrus, Gomez and Lovato all leaving the Disney Channel, Ryan finally has her chance to shine.
Disney’s token ‘ranga’, Hicks starred as ‘Luther Waffles’ opposite Hutch Dano in the Disney XP series ‘Zeke and Luther’ and later appeared opposite Bridgit Mendler in ‘Lemonade Mouth’ proving he has quite a talent for rapping. After Mitchel Musso left ‘Pair of Kings’, Hicks joined the cast and starred opposite Doc Shaw for its third season. He’s loveable, funny, and he’s got amazing hair. We just need to see this guy more!
A cool guy with a cool name, superstardom was made for him. Well, at least if you base superstardom on a name eg. Madonna, Lady Gaga, Zendaya. He played the best friend to Zac and Cody with Debby Ryan in ‘The Suite Life on Deck’ and was rewarded with his own series ‘Pair of Kings’ opposite Mitchel Musso once it finished. And that’s it. No DCOM’s, no movies, nothing. Come on Disney, at least give this guy a chance to shine!