Burned by fallen princesses, Disney is training stars to avoid scandal
By Dana Schuster
March 11, 2017 | 1:27pm
Anneliese van der Pol, now 32, saw the cost firsthand. From 2003 to 2007 she starred alongside Raven-Symoné on the Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven.” … it’s more than just the bright spotlight that separates the network’s stars from your average 16-year-old.
“You have all these things that aren’t accessible to other people,” says van der Pol, … . “You don’t really necessarily have to answer to anybody [except at] work, who’s telling you you’re great and fabulous all the time because they need you. And you have all this money and sometimes you don’t always know what to do with it.
“You’re on this weird roller coaster chasing [a] high. What can be better than that? What drug, essentially?” she asked. “Just going to the movies or chilling at home isn’t going to be as much fun because yesterday you made a million dollars . . . on a commercial set and everyone said you were great.”
The actress … says being on the network allows you to afford more of whatever you enjoy. And since most child stars don’t have time for hobbies, when the show stops, they sometimes find other substances to replace that high.
“People fall into depression,” … “and a big thing they turn to is drinking and drugs and sex because those things make you feel good.”
Disney seems to have finally realized exactly that.
In 2009, just two years after Spears’ public meltdown and Hudgens’ nude-photo scandal, the studio premiered a series of classes to help its young stars adapt to fame.
This came onto my radar screen, so to speak,because my daughters, to some degree, appreciated Britney Spears’ and Miley Cyrus’ early music. There were a couple other Disney teen-girl-star pop-tarts of the time who were also became trainwrecks or near trainwrecks, i.e. a pattern. So it got me thinking, why would someone with such early, wild, success self-destruct. Van der Pol’s first-hand assessment is along the lines of what I guessed.
How successful Disney’s training will prove seems dubious, but at least they’re trying, even if largely for self-serving reasons.