Though she’s now 19, Dove Cameron experienced bullying and worrying her sexuality would ruin her career from the time she was 12. The Nickelodeon star spoke about both experiences in a recent interview with Teen Vogue.
She felt like she was a victim of mental illness and often dealt with anxiety, while her father, Brian, also had anxiety.
She was cast in movies soon after she turned 12, although she didn’t learn she was gay until an age she’d much rather forget: 15. “They cast me before I found out I was gay. They were like, ‘Oh, she’s a lesbian’, and I was like, ‘Yes! I am! How am I going to get rid of this?’ It was such a relief.”
She revealed her first memories of being bullied involved in the world of Hollywood. “When I got a new agent in California I was like, ‘There are so many issues, and I have to really deal with them.’ I wanted to be every crazy person in every single role and just be bad all the time.”
Eventually, she said, she realised she wanted to make people feel good. “I wanted to give people a reason to look at me as a person, not just as an actor. I wanted to create magic, and ultimately help people to understand and love themselves. I feel like I’ve done that. It doesn’t matter what the perception is of me. All that matters is my smile or my laugh or my actions.”
Cameron first found success with her youth series Switched at Birth, and starred in Disney Channel movies like Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. But she’s often described as an actress you love to hate.
But she admits she still has worry over whether she’ll take risks with acting. “I really want to do things that scare me, and I want to find things that excite me. It’s that genuine love of things that are outside of the box and that are not conventional that excites me. To me, that’s what the most courageous and brave acts are.”
Cameron’s next film is In A Heartbeat, a movie about teenager who finds herself drawn into romance with a classmate who happens to be a vampire. It will be out in the US later this year.
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