Actress, singer and writer Isabella Blake-Thomas stops by on Close-up Culture to chat about her exciting upcoming role in a Disney+ film. The British-born rising star also talks about her music path, creating content that matters, ambitions for 2020, and much more.
Q: There is a huge amount of excitement surrounding Disney+. How does it feel to be part of this massive new era for Disney?
A: I’ve always been a huge fan of Disney from such a young age and now to know that I’m a Disney princess is incredible. I’m really fortunate to be involved with Disney+ and honored that they chose me to portray January.
Q: You will be playing Princess January in ‘Secret Society Of Second Born Royals’. Can you reveal anything yet about your character and role in the film?
A: I can’t reveal much but what I can say is that January is the best friend everyone wants. She’s bubbly, happy, positive… essentially, she’s me if I were a princess.
Q: I imagine it’s an exciting and daunting prospect to be involved in any Disney project. Did you have to go to any extra lengths to prepare for the role?
A: Since January is so similar to how I am, it was actually really good fun, being myself everyday. I had to train for some stunts in the film which was a new experience for me. I would like to do my own stunts in everything I do. I enjoyed it immensely.
Q: The film also gave you a chance to be part of an ultra-talented young cast. What was the mood like on set and the connection between you all?
A: Fantastic. When you’re on set with people for two months straight, you really bond as a family. I’m in touch with all of the cast since we got so close during the project. It’s fun hanging out on and off the set.
Q: You released an acoustic EP, titled ‘Painless’, in September. How did you find the experience of producing a more stripped back sound?
A: Music is very personal for me, like releasing my journal. I love the acoustic EP because it replicates exactly how I wrote the music, just me and my guitar. I wanted people to really be able to hear the lyrics and not be taken out by the excessive use of instruments. The words are raw and so is the music.
Q: It’s always wonderful to see a young artist mixing it up and trying different styles. Is that something you thrive on in your music?
A: All my music has the potential to be very different. I enjoy writing simple tracks so that there are many paths to take while recording. It’s the best feeling to be working on a song and then suddenly, a new, better idea pops into your head and you change direction.
My dance mix is being released at Christmas time and this is a totally new vibe for me as well.
Q: Your music was featured in the short film ‘Unseen’. The film tackles the pressing issue of human trafficking and the ways young people can be targeted on social media. What led you and director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas – who you run production company Mother & Daughter Entertainment with – to this subject?
A: Unseen is inspired by a true story which made it even more important for us to share. This project is all about starting a conversation. In teens, adults and even young children. We chose to tell the story from a non-graphic point of view so that we can share this story with any age and get the message out there as much as we can. It’s important for people to understand the consequences of using social media in a world where predators exist.
Q: It’s fantastic to see a British mother-daughter combination being such a success in the US. Why do you feel you are a good combination creatively?
A: My mum and I have such an incredible relationship that starting a production company wasn’t difficult for us. We made films together prior to starting the company so we thought, why not put a name to them and continue to make more together! We are also best friends and come up with ideas all the time when we’re together.
Q: What direction do you want to take Mother & Daughter Entertainment in? Is ‘Unseen’ a good marker of the type of content you want to create?
A: Mother & Daughter Entertainment is all about “Making Content That Matters.” Whether it is a story about human trafficking like Unseen or about a beautiful friendship, which is the main premise of our next project, it’s all about creating things that resonate with the audience. I love writing and this allows me the opportunity to be involved in projects on all levels.
Q: You are an Ambassador for Suicide Awareness for Awareness Ties. Can you tell us about your work with them and why this issue resonated with you?
A: Awareness Ties is a wonderful organization that raises awareness for many different things such as suicide, human trafficking etc. I’m honored that they chose me to be the ambassador for suicide awareness, especially since it’s such a big struggle with most teens.
I have also had experience in this area because I have lost three people in my life through suicide. I was also in a film called Sand Angels about teen suicide which will be released next year. I wanted to show everyone that they can get help by talking to someone and that they are not alone.
Q: I have no doubt 2020 is going to be a huge year for you. What are your hopes and ambitions heading into the next decade?
A: I’m really looking forward to 2020 for a couple of reasons. Secret Society is due to be released, my new music will also be out, Mother & Daughter Entertainment already has things in the pipeline and I’m excited for what the next decade brings. All I can say is, keep your eyes and ears open.
Q: Lastly, do you have any other upcoming projects or music to tell us about?
A: The project about a beautiful friendship is called Millie and we are filming that in December of 2019. As for 2020, I’m working on a short form series, a couple of features and a short film. I am also part of a huge franchise that I’m producing and starring in. This year will be epic.