Anna Maria Perez de Tagle has “Fame” on her mind

Anna Maria Perez de Tagle has “Fame” on her mind

by / No Comments / 144 View / September 26, 2009

 Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (Joy, actress) was born in Northern California. She developed her love for theater and began training in singing, dancing and acting by starring in regional productions of “Cinderella,” “Bugsy Malone,” and “The King and I.”

She kept busy by modeling for several catalogues, including Macy’s and Mervyns. After begging her parents to let her try out, Anna Maria booked her 1st audition, winning her role on Disney’s hit Hannah Montana as “Ashley Dewitt,” a ditsy fashionista who has no idea that her nemesis, Miley, is really her favorite performer, Hannah Montana.

Since hitting Los Angeles, Anna Maria has graced the small screen numerous times with roles in Bee Season, the morning show Cake, and Just Jordan, and provides the voice of the Martha, the Safety Patrol Kid, in Higglytown Heroes. She stars in the independent film A Forgotten Innocence, and was seen in Disney’s hit Camp Rock as “Ella.”

Anna Maria lives in Los Angeles with her two brothers. She enjoys working with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and likes to design and make her own clothes as well as snow skiing, dancing, singing, playing the piano and reading.

A reinvention of the classic film, FAME follows a talented group of dancers, musicians and actors at the New York City High School of Performing Arts. The film focuses on raw talent trying to find success with struggle, sweat and dedication and stresses the importance of real talent, hard work and determination as the only way to achieve real and lasting fame.

Debbie Allen returns as Principal Sims to students Anna Maria Perez De Tagle (“Camp Rock”), Naturi Naughton, (“Notorious”), Collins Pennie (“Half Nelson”, “Prom Night”), Kay Panabaker (“Summerland”), Kherington Payne (“So You Think You Can Dance”) and more. Fellow teachers include Charles S. Dutton, Megan Mullally, Kelsey Grammer, and Bebe Neuwirth.

FAME opens in theatres September 25, 2009.


ASIANCE: Can you talk about when you first found out about being in the new Fame and your excitement over the project?

Anna: When I found out I got the role I was so excited. I auditioned like every other girl, actually against some of my friends. Afterward, I didn’t hear back for at least five or six months and I thought I didn’t get it, so I started moving on to the next project, next audition and everything.
Out of the blue, I got a call from my agent and he said my screen test would be tomorrow but I was out of town. I had to take a red eye from Chicago and learn new lines and work with my acting coach. He said that the call was up to me now and to knock them dead and literally when I walked through the door I felt that I had the part. I thought it went so well and I was so overwhelmed and I really felt like I nailed it and I did which was awesome! A few days later, I got a call back from my agent and manager at the same time and my agents starts singing ‘Fame, I’m Gonna Live Forever’ and that’s when I knew. I was so happy and just jumping up and down. It’s coming out in a month and I’ve been a part of it for over a year. We’re all nervous, excited, and just waiting for the day when it comes out.

ASIANCE: Has being in a show business family been similar or inspiring for your role in Fame?

Anna: Definitely. First of all, I play Joy and she is the great and inspiring actress. She is very outspoken. She befriends everyone and is very friendly. What I like about her is you see the character development in Joy, like all the characters. She goes from what I call the ‘spastic puppy’ to a mature young lady in the span of four years at the high school. She goes to a performing arts high school, The New York Academy of the Performing Arts and I also went to LACHSA, Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts. But I had to leave after ninth grade because my schedule started getting hectic. But there is some kind of connection between me leaving my school and Joy at school but I don’t want to give away too much. It’s for you all to find out.

ASIANCE: Will fans of the original Fame enjoy the remake. What should we expect?

Anna: Yeah, it’s more of a re-imagination rather than a re-make. It’s like the 1980’s classic but with more of a contemporary direction. It centers around 10 students and their professional lives at the New York Academy of Performing Arts and you really see each and every one of their stories and their struggles. There is nothing cookie cutter about it. It is very gritty and about having a dream, sticking with that and achieving success and finding yourself when everyone is telling you who you are and who you should be. Trying to stay true to yourself, basically.

ASIANCE: Is this role a turning point in your career?

Anna: I guess you could say this is my breakout role. Not only will everyone see the comedic side of my acting that you see on The Disney Channel but you see a lot of drama and you see those fun scenes. Hopefully my fans enjoy it as much as I had fun filming. I think you’ll be able to see that once it comes out, I’m playing the girl next door and the loud Asian girl, so it was fun. So hopefully everyone relates to her and it was a memorable character and very fun.

ASIANCE: How did you get into acting?

Anna: When I realized I wanted to perform, I was two years old. I even have it on cassette tape of the school productions and concerts. I went into Musical Theatre. I was the Asian Cinderella in the Bay Area at the Montgomery Theater for The Children and was in The King and I at the San Jose Theater. It got me thinking that I wanted to do more and please the audiences; show my abilities as a singer and a dancer.

Of course I was very inspired by watching my grandmother Sylvia La Torre who inspired me and sometimes would even pick me from the audience at her concerts. It also originated from my performances. When I was twelve, I was on Star Search. From there, I got an agent and it all went from there. I did print modeling and I got an audition for Hannah Montana. I got a call that I was going to be Ashley the mean girl. Disney highly recommended that I move to LA because I was living in the Bay Area at the time. After my eighth grade graduation we moved and didn’t know anyone. We were taking a big chance. So I’m very lucky. It’s been four years and I’m part of some amazing projects. I feel very lucky to be where I am today.

ASIANCE: As a Filipino-American, how has it been getting these roles and celebrating your heritage?

Anna: Definitely it is difficult trying to get in show business but as I started booking jobs and going to auditions, it wasn’t because I was Asian American. It was as if I had the character and capability for the actual role. Disney has taken very good care of me and given me roles such as Camp Rock, Hannah Montana and now, Fame. I’m very proud to be Filipino because there aren’t very many Filipino actors and actresses out there and so I’m thanking God for that and my Filipino fans who are always checking my twitter page or my Myspace page. It just makes me feel humbled that I inspire people.

ASIANCE: So what do you think of the Twitter phenomenon as a social network, especially as a young up and coming celebrity?

Anna: Twitter is awesome. I was kind of apprehensive using Twitter because I was told it was kind of this crazy thing so when I started my account, I immediately got like a thousand followers. I thought it was ridiculous but it was awesome and a lot of my fans are Asian or Filipino. I always update it and they like that I write normal things and they think ‘Oh she’s eating a burger too’ and I think fans like that. They can relate to me like a normal person. That’s one thing I like about it. And I think Twitter is the new Facebook.

ASIANCE: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

Anna: I’m actually working on Camp Rock 2, the sequel for Camp Rock, which will probably come out next summer. I’m going to be in Canada for two months working on that and I’m going to be working on more of my music. The Disneymania 7 album is coming out and I did the remix of Part of Your World and I got to work with an amazing producer and writer Matthew Wilder who wrote songs for many popular artists like Christina Aguilera, and Miley Cyrus.

He wrote the song ‘Reflection’ from Mulan and I’m collaborating with some songwriters and producers and trying to shop around for a record label. I’ve been co-writing as well and wrote my first song and the performance is on YouTube. I’m just working on my music a lot so hopefully an album comes out soon.

ASIANCE: Thank you so much, it has been a pleasure. Good luck with your newfound Fame!

I think you wouldn’t have had to see the original because it is very much a stand alone movie but if you saw the original Fame you will notice some of the returning motives and understand some of the ideas more. There hasn’t been a real movie about inspiring actors, dancers, singers or filmmakers. So I think this movie does the original justice. I hope everyone likes it.

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