By the end of this weekend, Demi Lovato is likely to be a household name – at the very least in homes with kids.
She’s already familiar to Disney Channel viewers as star of the short series As the Bell Rings, but with Camp Rock, launching on Disney, ABC, and ABC Family, the 15-year-old Texas native is being propelled into “next big thing” status.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling pretty relaxed,” Lovato told the Daily News yesterday. “Actually, I think the normal person would be a lot more frantic.”
The film stars Lovato as Mitchie, a talented teen who dreams of going to a summer music camp, but her family is strapped for cash. However, after her mother lands a gig cooking for the camp, Mitchie is in. That kicks off a “Cinderella”-like tale involving a rock star (Joe Jonas) and mean fellow campers.
“What’s so interesting about her is this was absolutely her journey,” Gary Marsh, president for entertainment at Disney Channels Worldwide, said of Lovato. “She was going through this same evolution as a human being at the same time as the character. When she sings ‘This Is Me’ in the end, this is just not Mitchie, this is Demi telling the world ‘This is me.’ This was literally her journey coming forward.”
Lovato, like her best friend and Wizards of Waverly Place star Selena Gomez, got her start on Barney. Yet, after a quick run, she quit acting, having had enough of the rejection that comes with auditioning.
“After hundreds of auditions and nothing, you’re sitting home and wondering, ‘What am I doing?'” she said.
Like Mitchie at camp, Lovato struggled with bullies at school.
Eventually, she got back in and a Disney casting led to “As the Bell Rings.” From there, Lovato, who has a Hispanic, Italian and Irish family tree, auditioned for the upcoming Jonas Brothers series and didn’t get the job. She was quickly called back to audition for a pilot (which will be her own series) and “Camp Rock.”
Lovato said she has leaned on Selena and the Jonas Brothers for guidance in dealing with the attention.
Also, because of her rough road earlier, she’s happy these days just to be working.
And work she will.
After “Camp Rock” launches, she’ll head out on tour with the Jonas Brothers, then work on her show, “Mollywood,” for Disney.
That’s a lot to deal with for a teen in a world where friends sell private pictures to tabloids and a portion of the media is just looking for mistakes.
“Of course, it’s going to add some pressure – the pressure to not make mistakes, and try and keep a good head on your shoulders,” she said. “Just don’t believe the hype because if something happens and you’re not the next big thing. I love what I’m doing and if the rest comes, great.”