You may know Kelsey Chow from Disney XD’s Pair of Kings. In this interview you’ll find out how she got her start as an actress, the dirt on her co-stars, Mitchel Musso and Doc Shaw, and the world issue she is passionate about.
Q: Tell me about your character, Mikayla, on Pair of Kings.
Kelsey: Mikayla is the assistant to the kings as well as a guard in training. So what’s really, really awesome about her character is she does kind of have this girly side and her wardrobe is very girly, but she’s also really, really tough. Being able to act out the martial arts side of her is really fun. She’s very loyal; she’s very smart; she’s very witty. She’s definitely someone that I would look up to. She can definitely take care of herself. I would say that we do have some characteristics that are similar. We’re very family oriented and we’re very loyal. Mikayla is really. . . what’s important to her is that the people of the island are safe and that they’re happy, and I think that’s what I always want to make sure about the people that I love. You know, I still wish I was as tough as her, though.
Q: How would you describe Mitchel Musso, your co-star on Pair of Kings?
Kelsey: Mitchel’s actually become a really good friend of mine through doing Pair of Kings now for two years. He’s also really dedicated to his music, so he’s definitely a hard-working guy. And he’s very, very sweet. And he and Doc goof off all the time on set. I guess off camera he’s like a family guy. He absolutely adores his brothers and his mom and his dad and his friends. They come to all the tapings and you can really tell he looks up to his older brother and really supports his younger brother, which I definitely admire.
Q: What about Doc? How would you describe him?
Kelsey: Doc is. . . well he gets mad because I call him my little brother because technically I’m like a couple of months older. But Doc’s amazing. We’re actually really close too. We did a Friends for Change spot on the Disney Channel this past fall and it was close to my hometown in South Carolina. So Doc and his mom came to hang out with my family at the beach which was a lot of fun. He is just hilarious in everything that he does. He’s extremely intelligent. You know, his opinions on anything, you want to hear.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a performer?
Kelsey: Definitely community theatre. It was my very first show. I was in Ragtime, and actually I was taking a class at the theatre and the director stopped me and was like, “Hey you, audition for this show. The auditions are tonight.” And I ran to my mom and I was like, “Ok, we’ve got to prepare a song.” And in the audition I barely even knew the words. It was terrible, but I ended up getting the role. I was in seventh grade at the time and I fell in love with it – I made really, really great friends and I loved being on the stage. I really, really loved it and I knew I wanted to pursue it.
Q: Did you have any problems when you were in school back then?
Kelsey: It was really hard because of the hours. We were working from July to mid-October, and so I would have to go right after school for rehearsal. Doors open at 7 and then, you know, Ragtime is such a long show that we wouldn’t get out until like 11. So I would be up at 2 in the morning trying to get all my work done and then, you know, be up at 8 for school the next day, and that was a little challenging. My friends were so supportive. They all came out to see the show. That totally meant so much to me. And you know, I missed out on a couple of social things, but of course it was worth it.
Q: Describe yourself as a student in middle school.
Kelsey: I was a total like nerd perfectionist. I wanted to make sure that all my homework was done, that I checked it three times, and everything else. But at the same time I loved hanging out with my friends, so I really tried hard to kind of balance both. Then you know in eighth grade, I went out for like the track team, so I really tried to maintain a good balance, but I was definitely a brainiac for sure.
Q: Any first day of school memories?
Kelsey: I’m always late, which is bad. [Laughter.] I think it’s because I kind of overthink it. The first day of school was always really, really exciting to me. Gosh, I was such a dork. I was so excited about buying school supplies and I had to make sure that they were all ready in my book bag. We had uniforms at my school so I had to make sure even that was perfect. So I guess in doing that, in the preparation, I was always kind of late. I was always the one in class they’d call, and I’d be running in to class.
Q: Now you’re studying Global Studies at Columbia University. Why did you choose that?
Kelsey: My grandmother and my grandfather were doctors in the World Health Organization, and so my dad actually grew up in Libya. Then he became a physician and has always worked with a lot of humanitarian efforts. I even remember at Christmas time we would prepare care packages and my dad would take them to Guatemala or Honduras. So it’s just something that I definitely feel passionate about. I think that every person deserves basic health care. So in terms of Global Health, I’m more interested in the policy of that and, you know, doing anything that I can to push that movement.
She’s a beautiful, successful actress, AND she’s making the world a better place. I love her!
Interview by Marie Morreale
Photo courtesy of Disney Channel