Ready or not, Mendler’s on her way Don’t ask Bridgit Mendler about a certain former Disney starlet. You know, the one that “twerked” up a social media storm at a recent music video awards show.
“I’d rather not have any comparisons to earlier Disney artists in the article,” Mendler said in a phone interview days before Miley Cyrus sent tongues wagging along with her own on the VMAs. If Mendler knows anything, it’s how to distance herself from a train wreck about to happen.
Mendler will perform her dance-influenced pop music Saturday at the Washington State Fair. Teen sensation Austin Mahone opens for her.
Mendler, 20, is relentlessly upbeat about her career.
“The fans should expect an awesome night. We’re going to have so much fun together,” she said.
Mendler played a vampire on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” and currently is the big sister in the Disney sitcom “Good Luck Charlie.” She also starred in the Disney musical “Lemonade Mouth.”
Her debut album “Hello My Name Is” came out last year and reached No. 30 on the Billboard 200.
Mendler said the gender breakdown of her fans can change dramatically from show to show.
“I’ve had shows where there are a lot of male fans. And I’ve had shows where it’s predominantly girls and there’s maybe just a few guys in the audience. My music maybe does attract more girls, and I think that’s just naturally how it works with a female performer.”
Mendler knows her fan base has a lot of young and impressionable girls in it and she has a responsibility to them, she said.
“I really love being a role model and I think that’s something to take very seriously,” Mendler said. “I think the best thing I can offer young girls is being myself and doing that by respecting who I am and respecting who they are.”
Don’t mistake Mendler for a teeny-bopper with a five-minute memory of pop culture. The singer cites Bob Dylan as one of her musical influences.
“His music spoke for a generation and he had subject material that was really important and influential. But he did that through playful lyricism and in a way that was relatable through large audiences. That’s really inspiring,” she said.
Mendler practically grew up in a TV studio. Now, she’s performing live in front of thousands of enthusiastic fans. Her little secret: She’s getting over stage fright.
“It’s the pressure of getting through a full hour performance and not messing up. On TV you get multiple takes if you want to and there’s not as much pressure on keeping things together for a long span of time,” Mendler said.
She’s learned to relax and have a good time performing.
“I’m not going to be perfect at every show, and that’s OK. The audience is responding to the music and me as a person because I’m real.”
“Good Luck Charlie” will end its four-year run next year. Time will tell whether her career will veer more to music or acting.
“I don’t think about the stigmas of actor-turned-musician. I’m going to say what I want to say and if people respond to that, that’s wonderful.”
The News Tribune solicited questions from four of Mendler’s fans and posed them to her.
Q: Emma, 8, asks: What is it like to work with the little kids who play Charlie and Toby on “Good Luck Charlie”?
A: It’s wonderful being with Mia (Talerico) and Logan (Moreau) who play Charlie and Toby. They are wonderfully professional but also spontaneous and fun.
Q: Nora, 11, asks: I really liked “Lemonade Mouth,” including Bridgit’s singing. I want to know if she’s going to do any more movies with music like that.
A: I don’t have anything firmly in process but I’m not ruling it out.
Q: Heidi, 10, asks: What do you like more: singing or acting?
A: I’ve always been passionate about music. Part of me feels that’s more natural to who I am. But acting came first as a career. Between the two of them, they’re both on the same plane as far as passion.
Q: Heather, 12, asks: With acting, do you like family roles or supernatural roles?
A: Supernatural roles have the potential to be more fun because they are so different from day-to-day life, but with family roles you have the opportunity to do something with a little more reality to it.
With: Austin Mahone
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Washington State Fair