Nearly ten years ago, Disney Channel wrapped one of their biggest original series, That's So Raven. The show made an impact on the younger generation in a way that shed a light on what was important. As the show grew, you grew. Learning new lessons, covering hard, but necessary topics and relating to a group of kids who are going through the same things as you. As impactful as the show was, Disney Channel decided that the story is far from over. Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol return as Raven and Chelsea in a new Disney Channel original series, Raven's Home.
Anneliese admits that after ten years off the air, coming back to Disney Channel is nostalgic. The happy and warm star shares, “We are literally filming on the same lot we used to film TSR on, which is pretty freaking special! I feel incredibly lucky to be back and even luckier to have a friend like Raven who made it all possible. Literally. SHE MADE IT HAPPEN.” Disney is home for Anneliese and she reveals that following this ten year gap, she is returning to family. While ten years is a long time in any scenario, van der Pol shares that it's a bit tricky to describe her growth over the years. “I will say that I have probably grown most because and through my theatre opportunities and background. Working with directors, producers, and choreographers from all walks of life and all over the world. Meaty roles that are challenging and demanding and can absolutely turn your world upside down. In both good and difficult ways."
One of the best qualities Disney Channel has in their original series is the genuine experiences and stories they tell. They have never been shy to sharing out of the ordinary situations and van der Pol's character is living proof. In the upcoming season of Raven's Home, Chelsea is a divorced, single mother. Anneliese admits that it was crucial for her to happily accept this role and contrite to what Disney Channel is trying to do. “THIS IS REAL LIFE!!! People are struggling. The "norm" is not the norm anymore. It was never the norm. Especially in impoverished counties and countries all over the world. Children who watch the Disney Channel need to see that. To act as if families come in one big happy bow is inaccurate. There are people struggling financially. Mothers raising their children alone. We need to discuss that as well." Anneliese shares that she is so fortunate to do this with Raven. “I do not have to cater to a man getting all the jokes and laughs while I "do laundry." I cannot tell you how many auditions I go on where I am essentially just setting up jokes for my opposite. I am SO proud of Disney for shining a light where there has been so much darknesses for so long. I hope more cable and 1-13 channel networks follow suit. If ya feel me."
There is no doubt that Anneliese and Raven have a great relationship on and off camera. Anneliese shares that the bond her and Symoné share stems from an absolute mutual respect and admiration for each other's abilities. "If people cannot see how great we are, oh well because we do! THAT IS SO IMPORTANT! To believe in each other. If you do, then everything else will fall into place. She is a genius and deserves for more credit than I think sometimes she gets. Her and I want this show to be great, but that only comes with time and hard work. And Raven is FULL of hard work. It is not about your Instagram followers at how skinny you are. It is about the WORK!!!!! Her and I came before all this social media obsession. Before the selfies. We were not thinking about our (selfies) we were thinking about the big picture. THAT... on its own, creates a bond. van der Pol admits she she could go on about her relationship with Raven. I think we all can testify to that!
Filming Raven's Home on the same lot from ten years ago is special on many levels. Anneliese shares, “The vibe is old and new. New in the sense that I am an adult now. I am the example and must, and do treat it as such. I need to teach and inspire while still learning myself at the same time. But yes, all the smells and sounds and faces are the same. Like I said... I have come home and the bacon is calling!!!!" After being in the industry for quite some time, van der Pol admits that the most valuable lesson she has learned is to put your trust into one person. “No one cares about you more than yourself, so it is up to you to do something (even if it's little) that pertains to your goals or craft on a daily basis.”.
For Anneliese, the most rewarding part about brining Raven and Chelsea back to Disney Channel is her co-star, Raven. "Raven-Symoné. Period. Making people laugh with her gives me a high that is unexplainable. I have never had the amount of joy working with another actor than I've had with Raven.” Anneliese shares that following the premiere of Raven's Home, she is most looking forward to, "a second shot." Don't forget catch Anneliese van der Pol as Chelsea on Raven's Home, Friday nights on Disney Channel.