Close & Personal with Alyson Stoner

by Eric Chase

 

How did you start as an entertainer?

I think we're all entertainers and story-tellers at heart; it's evident in the imagination of a child, whether they express it through full-out living room performances, or silently pondering a wonderland with dragons and fairies. I happened to be in the first category. My mom enrolled me in dance lessons at three. We, like the next family, followed the natural progression of recitals, competitions, and balancing regular school and other hobbies as we could afford. Modeling and acting were thrown into the mix unexpectedly, and based on the signs and signals, it grew evident that pursuing it more seriously might be an authentic and wise next step. 

You worked with talented artist, who would you say impacted your career?

Bonnie Hunt. Immediately she comes to mind. She demonstrated dedication to quality performance on set while also offering a kind heart and caring soul to the entire cast and crew. Nick Jonas inspired me to push for my goals despite my young age. And, the thousands of artists in my community who may never be known by name, but motivate me to face fears and be my best. Do not skip them. 

What is a dream role you'd love to play or artist you'd like to work with in the future?

To be on stage with Janet Jackson... Wow. I'd probably just gawk. Her musical journey inspires me and much of my musicality stems from years of jamming to her albums. I also recognize Janet is only who she is because of a million dedicated team members and fans helping bring the vision to life. 

Did you always want to be an actress? What did you want to be when you grew up aside from an acting?

No. I even stopped acting for 8 months to ask myself if I did it only because I started young. The odd irony is, I didn't grow up having any particular dream. What I wanted, and continue to want, is my life to evoke hope in others, to pave a way of love and leave a trail for those to walk the same path and ultimately pioneer new ground. My passion is understanding the depths of what it means to be human, and showing people the same love and grace that's been shown me despite my imperfections, weaknesses, or performance. That's why portraying characters on film or writing music for strangers becomes an exciting opportunity. But, if tomorrow I cannot act or sing or dance anymore, I can easily apply this heart mission, attitude, and lifestyle to any path. In the end, it's not going to be about my achievements. It'll be about how I treated people and shaped the world in quiet moments and loud. 

What do you love most about your profession?

My job is to learn about people, to see that we all experience highs and lows, that at the darkest point, there is light, AND at the highest peak, we're not immune to falling. Hope and humility. But we're connected in this. 

What challenges or struggles have you face along the way and what helped you overcome them?

We'd be here for a year if we went into any kind of details. My challenges and struggles are the same doubts, poor habits, fears, unfortunate circumstances, and trials we all feel. What has helped me work through them is an active connection to a support system (mentor, therapist, leader in community, family, trusted friends), keeping my long-term dream in view and working backwards (seeing that I cannot stay in the same negative place if I eventually want something better and brighter), and choosing every day to participate in my own transformation and dream. Desmond Tutu, former slave, said he became a free man when he prayed with his feet. We aren't meant to be passive onlookers of our own journey. 

Do you work with any charitable organizations? What is your involvement in them?

I work hands-on with iPourLife Organization, whose global and national mission is to end poverty through teaching sustainable living and restoring dignity to communities, one individual at a time. We travel to Ethiopia, El Salvador and around the US speaking to schools, providing medical care, and guiding people through an accountability program to overcome poverty, care for themselves and their families, and dream again. 

Of all the work you have done over the years, what is the one thing you are most proud of?

Being honest with my family and friends about the industry's influence and pressures, and asking for help. That's the work I care about. 

What are some personal ambitions you would like to fulfill?

I would like to travel the world and immerse myself in different cultures. I'd like to read historical classics and study ancient philosophy. Maybe learn to fly.

What do you like to do for fun in your downtime?

I admittedly don't really take days off. But, I do create space throughout the day to ground myself, meditate, write. I'm an introvert, so anything introspective is rejuvenating for me. 

What is one thing about yourself that the world may not know?

I don't actually break dance. I can do moves and routines, but I feel it's dishonest to claim something my friends actually do for a living, around-the-clock. I hope to train and learn, though.

If you would walk away from all this, what would you take away from it?

What we stressed over- status, opinion, comparison, busy schedules- didn't matter, and things many skipped over- people, relationships, time together, love- were what counted. I try to let this point of view inform how I live now. 

Where are you originally from?

Toledo, Ohio. I moved to Los Angeles in 2000 to pursue acting, dancing and singing. 


What are the recent projects you've worked on?

I'm putting the final touches on my music and releasing it finally! To date, I haven't had a song that truly represents my sound. That's about to change. Then, I have four films this year: Sugar Babies, the A List, Hoovey, and the new musical Summer Forever. I just performed at Madison Square Garden along with Bruno Mars and Fun, which was an honor. I'm also developing online content for my YouTube channel (TheRealAlysonStoner).

What would you say is your best asset?

I've learned to appreciate the unknown and abstract without needing a rigid answer to feel safe. 

What do others compliment you on the most?

Mm...I guess people comment on my vocabulary. Did you know erinaceous means of, pertaining to or resembling a hedgehog? 

No I didn't know that but good to know lol. How did you decide on redoing Missy's music video?

I was flying home from a gig and received thousands of messages asking why I wasn't at the super bowl. I wanted to find a way to pay tribute to Missy in gratitude without coming across as bitter for not being involved in her performance. I gathered my friends quickly and shot the video in 5 hours. The result was totally unexpected. 

Tell us about Summer Forever?

Summer Forever follows three best friends on their final weekend before the summer after high school graduation ends and the rest of their lives begin. They make a list of something that challenges who they are and what they want to become, and they have to accomplish it before the weekend's over. I play Liv, the confident, boy-crazy, out-spoken friend who's secretly scared that her best days are behind her and her dream of getting out of her town and spreading her wings will never happen. 

What is the funniest thing to happen to you on a shoot?

During Summer Forever, the cast and crew discovered that I am very ticklish and totally tickle-attacked me for two days. 

What are the top three things you like to shoot?

Recording music, voice acting, and documentaries. 

Do you enjoy the constant attention and adoration that comes with being an actress?

I appreciate the fans, definitely. But I live a very normal life otherwise.  

What are some of your hidden talents other than acting?

I have an insane body clock. Regardless of how long it's been since I've checked my watch or phone, I can usually guess what time it is (within 5 minutes of the actual number). I'll wake up one minute before my alarm goes off. 

Where do you want your career to be in two years?

I want to be an entrepreneur, a creator of my own digital content, an Influencer. I want to be sharing and performing my music, traveling and documenting experiences. Maybe writing, directing, producing. 


What is the best info you can give a new talent?

Go for it. 

Short but to the point, we love it. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

I'd tell my younger self I love her. I think she needed to know that. The rest works itself out. 

 

Catch Alyson on her Twitter and Instagram at

Twitter: @AlysonStoner

 Instagram: @AlysonRae

Feature: Alyson Stoner

Photographer: Isaac Alvarez

Stylist: Ali Levine

Makeup: Evelyn Sanabria

Hair: Michelle Verdugo