A Lexington native is bringing the Kentucky to the Disney Channel.
DeVore Ledridge, 15, stars in the new Disney Channel series “Bizaardvark.” The show — which premiered June 24 — is about teenagers who make videos and post them online to Vuuugle, a website similar to Youtube. The teenagers, or Vuuuglers, also hang out and create videos in Vuuugle’s studio, Ledridge explained.
“They are all different, but because they all make videos, they become really close,” Ledridge said. “It’s kind of cool because I don’t think it’s anything that anybody else has done in the show before.”
Ledridge’s character is Amelia Duckworth, a creative southerner who hosts a popular Do-It-Yourself beauty channel on Vuuugle called “Perfect Perfection with Amelia.” In the episode called “First!” a lesson in one of Amelia’s videos is about turning sweat pants into a prom dress. Ledridge said both she and her character enjoy making DIYs and using make-up, but they have different fashion styles.
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When Ledridge attended the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, she and her friends began making internet videos for fun on their iPads, she said. When she was younger, she made videos about fashion, hair tutorials and make-up like Duckworth does in “Bizaardvark.”
“It was really fun for me and something I liked to do. Like every time my friends came over … the first thing I wanted to do was make videos. And then I decided I wanted to make it a professional career,” Ledridge said. She originally majored in dance at SCAPA, but later decided to pursue acting. The school prepared her for a career, she said, by showing her it was OK to be herself and by helping her express her creativity.
Ledridge was a model for Images Model & Talent Agency and got the opportunity to participate in the International Modeling and Talent Showcase in Los Angles. After that, she booked her first national commercial and she traveled about every few weeks for jobs for a while.
Owner of Images Model & Talent Agency Jane Olmstead remembered Ledridge helping another girl who had no money on the trip. Ledridge made and sold jewelry at the time and had some dollars to spare.
“She was one of the most creative young girls I’ve ever met,” Olmstead said. Ledridge makes strong connections with the audience while acting and that has led Ledridge to her success today, Olmstead said.
When she was 13, Ledridge moved to Los Angles to pursue a professional career. She said she misses her family in Lexington, but she feels happier in California.
“I didn’t really have that many friends growing up … I was bullied for being different and acting showed me that it was OK to be different,” Ledridge said.
When auditioning for “Bizaardvark,” Ledridge thought she had horribly messed up and wouldn’t make the cut. She studied the wrong lines and had to do a “cold read,” when an actor reads without rehearsing. Ledridge continued getting call backs, and eventually got the part.
She found a way to impress the casting directors and producers when she began talking about her grandmother and did an impression of her southern accent. They told her it was “cute” and when Ledridge got the part, the character’s voice was tailored around the accent.
“When I got the part, my manager was like, ‘ I think that’s what sold it,’ ” Ledridge said.
Ledridge said she enjoys hanging out with cast-mates from Disney Channel shows.
“I think that Disney is like a family,” Ledridge said. “I didn’t realize that was like that. I thought that everybody kind of had their own show and they spend time with their own cast, but basically, as I have come on Disney, I’ve met a lot of other people from other shows, and we all hang out and it’s like a huge family and supportive network.”
“Bizaardvark” premiered in June. Ledridge is focusing on “Bizaardvark,” but she does hope to make videos on Youtube like her character. She got beauty tips from real-life beauty Youtuber Meredith Foster when Foster guest-starred on the show. Other viral internet stars that will be featured on show include Alisha Marie, Lilly Singh, a dog called Jiffpom, Grumpy Cat and Logan Paul, who’s younger brother Jake Paul stars in “Bizaardvark.”
‘Bizaardvark’ airs Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on Disney Channel.