Disney continues to deliver some world-class content and the show everyone is talking about right now is ‘Gabby Duran and the Unsittables’. The series follows Kylie Cantrall as Gabby Duran – a courageous and resourceful girl who constantly feels like she’s living in the shadows of her uber-polished, successful mother, Dina, and whip-smart younger sister, Olivia. She finally finds her moment to shine when she inadvertently lands an out of-this-world job to babysit an unruly group of very important extra-terrestrial children who are hiding out on earth with their families, disguised as everyday kids. Gabby steps up to the challenge to protect these youngsters and their secret identities, and prove she’s the best babysitter in the galaxy.
We get up close and personal with Kylie as she opens up about the new series, landing the dream job, her fashion influences on the show and what’s next in her career trajectory.
Gabby Duran and the Unsittables looks so fun and is so funny. What do you enjoy the most with regards to shooting?
It’s been such a great experience and so much fun because every day I don’t really know what I’m gonna be doing but it’s always interesting. I’ll show up to set and they’ll be like, OK today you’re going to be slimed and other times I’ll be in a harness and I’ll be doing like a flying stand. I just love how each episode the stunts get more fun and just the themes in general. The cast are all so sweet and just professional as well. And aside from them being great people, I’m also earning from them too because they’re just great actors as well.
The show uses a fair amount of special effects, so when we see you talking to a blob of an alien, you’re speaking to green screen. What has that been like for you?
My co-star Maxwell (who plays Wesley) and I have an inside joke with regards to that. We use a piece of green tape when we’re shooting a special effects scene. So at the end of a scene, he will ask, ‘so how was tape today? Did you he give you a hard time?’ And I will say, ‘oh tape was so great today, he gave me a lot of energy back’. So, we are always joking about it, but it’s hard to have a personal connection in a scene when it’s with a piece of tape, but after a while you get used to it.
You’ve had some acting experience before the show, but this is a lead role, so what was the process like before landing the job?
Yeah, well it was a crazy process. It’s a long one too. I remember when I did the first audition for Gabby I was 12 years old and I was able to go back and re-watch that audition and I was like, what the heck are you doing? How did you even land this job? (Laughs). I was critiquing myself so much, but they obviously saw something in me. The audition was just the first round and then you get a call back and re-do scenes and then a producer session and then a testing and hopefully you get the call. Within that process I got to figure out what I brought to this character. In the beginning, it was just like, OK, I have to learn these lines and deliver as best as I can and after a while with the character I realised I needed to make this my own. It was a difficult process and a crazy journey to get here but when I got that call it was just the most exciting thing!
Before Gabby Duran, you worked with Disney previously, but with this lead role it cements your career with Disney. With so many kids having the same dream, what does it mean to you to be associated with the brand?
I’m just so grateful and I always try to remind myself every single day of the position that I’m in and it’s not only cool that I’m on Disney because it’s my favorite network – I’ve been watching it since I was a kid – it’s such a special thing for me and my family. But it’s also a great position that I find myself in to be a role model to other kids.
You’ve been creating content from a very young age – on YouTube – and sing and dance – does this sum up who you are the path your life has taken – to be an entertainer?
Oh definitely! I always knew because I grew up in a household of entertainers– my dad is in the music industry my mum is a dance choreographer. So, I have been dancing and singing since I was like 3 years old – the acting came on a little later in my career when one of my managers sent me on an acting audition. In the beginning I guess I was just kind of relying on my outgoing personality and natural charisma. But now I know it’s work and needs skill and you have to give it your all, you can’t just be relying on your natural abilities, so I realized that really early on and got an acting coach and I just got better with every audition and then I started to hear some more positive responses.
You have developed such a great sense of style – wearing some very trendy outfits personally and vlogging about them. Does any of it translate on the show or are the choices up to the wardrobe department?
I actually do! That was the one really fun things I got to bring to the character that holds very true to myself. I remember from the very first Gabby audition I wore a bucket hat every time – they were like my favourite accessory at the time – that and baggy pants. I remember telling the creator and showrunners that the 90s is like my favorite era. And I started seeing this change over time, in the script they were adding different things that felt like Kylie, like the bucket hat, and they were telling me that they were influenced by my style and they want to incorporate it with the character. To me that is something interesting and unique for Disney to do, so it’s really cool that I can be true to myself.
What direction do you hope to see your career take from here on out?
I’m so appreciative of where my career has gone so far. I’m just beyond grateful and really hope that I get that sort of “Selena Gomez moment” – she was on Disney for such a long time and then gone on to have a great transition into enjoying a great music career – that’s basically the dream.
Is there anything else you’re currently working on that you can share with us?
I’m working on some music and writing some stuff that I think is really cool and hope to drop something really soon. I’m also working on an animated film where I lend my voice to a character. I’ve been doing it from home because we’ve been quarantining, but it’s still been fun and I hope everyone will get to see it soon.
Catch Gabby Duran And The Unsittables on Disney Channel, Dstv Channel 303 every day at 16h35.