Photo Credit: Mike Rozman
BSCkids recently got to talk with talented young actress Ysa Penarejo about her film McKenna Shoots for the Stars as well as her other projects. She spoke with us about being an actress as well as a singer, a dancer and her favorite television shows.
Ysa Penarejo recently co-starred in the next installment of the wildly successful American Girl franchise, AN AMERICAN GIRL: MCKENNA SHOOTS FOR THE STARS, alongside Oscar nominated actress, Nia Vardalos and real-life Olympic legend Cathy Rigby, as “Toulane Thomas.” The talented, playful and beautiful tween plays the best friend of her fellow gymnast, “McKenna Brooks”. The inspiring feature-length movie follows determined and confident young gymnasts, “Toulane Thomas” and “McKenna Brooks,” as they persevere to make the regional competitive gymnastic team, fight to overcome obstacles at school, at home and in the gym. Penarejo is also on the fast track to becoming the next tween phenomenon with her ultra-catchy pop anthem,“LIKE Not LOVE” dropping on Monday, July 2nd (will be available on iTunes).
BSCkids: Ysa Penarejo
When did you first know that you wanted to be a performer?
I have always wanted to be a performer my whole life. I’ve always loved singing and dancing in front of an audience, and then I added acting.
Were your parents always supportive about your career choice?
Yes, my parents and my brother have always supported me.
Tell us about your American Girl film.
McKenna Shoots for the Stars is mainly about not being afraid to ask for help when needed and maintaining balance in life.
Do you and your character in the film share any similarities?
Toulane and I are alike in that we are hard workers and we want to be there for our friends.
On the American Girl film, you worked with actress Nia Vardalos and real-life Olympic legend Cathy Rigby, did you learn anything from them during the filming?
Yes I did. Watching Nia Vardalos and Cathy Rigby perform was amazing. In between takes, Cathy would give some pointers on our form and stretching which was awesome to receive tips from an Olympic gold medalist!
Did you have to do any special training for the gymnastics scenes?
When I was younger I took gymnastics and I have danced for most of my life. I also received training a week before we started filming. I felt my previous experience helped me with my performance in the movie.
You are also a singer, where did you get inspiration to write your single, “Like not love?”
I co-wrote the song with Amber Ojeda from “Platinum Hit”. Most of my inspiration came from what I wrote in my journal.
Do you have plans to release an album anytime soon?
I’m currently in the studio working on my next project.
If you could perform with any musician or singer, who would it be?
I have a pretty long list. If I could I would love to perform with Katy Perry, Beyonce, Gwen Stefani, Willow Smith, and Justin Bieber.
Which parts of your career do you like more, acting or singing?
I don’t have a favorite. I love both equally.
You also compete in dance competitions around the world, is this something you plan to stick with along side your acting/music career?
I love dancing and will continue to dance and train while pursuing acting and singing.
Are there any celebrities that you are just dying to meet?
This is another long list. I would love to meet Dakota Fanning, Chloe Grace Moretz, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, and the list keeps on going.
Do you have a favorite TV series that you never miss?
I cannot miss Shake It Up, Good Luck Charlie, Phineas and Ferb, Victorious, and ICarly.
Is it hard being so young and working so often already?
I’ve learned to balance between school with acting, singing and dancing. I have to make sure my homework is done before I work on anything else.
Do you go to a normal school or do you have to be homeschooled/tutored?
I’ve recently started independent study/tutoring.
Do your friends treat you differently now that you are an actress?
No, I have great friends.
Photo Credits: Mike Rozman