Dove Cameron is the 17-year-old actress who plays the parts of Liv and Maddie on the show called . . . Liv & Maddie! It’s totally crazy to me how Liv and Maddie can be in the same room talking to each other but it’s really only one girl. How does she do that? We got to talk to Dove about her experiences on the show.
Q: What’s it like to play identical twins?
Dove: It’s a tremendous experience. The whole novelty of playing two people was sort of terrifying at first, but it is probably the best training and experience I’ll ever have. It’s a completely different feat, and especially doing it on television, because, it’s a much faster pace than film. The last time one girl played twins on television, I think it was 60 years ago on The Patty Duke Show. It is a little bit daunting at times, but it’s just been the most incredible experience for me as an actor, and as a person getting to explore two different characters at the same time.
Q:Does it ever get confusing? Do you ever start doing Liv, and come out with Maddie kind of stuff?
Dove: You know, I don’t, because originally, our show used to be called Bits and Pieces. I only played one girl, and then Disney decided it needed more of a solid plot, and so I became twins. Since I never actually auditioned for either of the twins, I got to completely create them from the ground up. I’ve known these characters really, really well for the better part of six months now. There’s no confusion around that, just because they’re so concrete in my mind. They’re like real human beings to me.
Q: You’re 5’2″, and you can dunk now. What is your basketball training like?
Dove: We didn’t have basketball training in the beginning, but I used to work a couple of times a week with this tremendous basketball coach in Hollywood. I actually really love it. Among the long list of things that this show has given me, it’s also given me back my love of sports, and honestly exercise. I love basketball. I wish I had more time to play it, and I think it’s a great workout. I’m really, really happy it’s been brought back into my life through this show.
Q: Is it true that the writers sometimes put a personal detail of your life into the script?
Dove: I’m obsessed with Doctor Who and Doctor Who references show up in a couple of episodes. There was an episode where we do show choir and I used to do show choir back when I was in high school. There have been some references to something that I’m also very passionate about: I make a lot of my own clothes. I have a teddy bear that I bring to set a lot, that my sister gave me, named Stanley, and so there was a little creature named Stanley on the show, and just things like that. They have a fun time messing with me.
Q: How did you get the name Dove?
Dove: I was actually born with a different name, and my father gave me the nickname Dove when I was an infant. I got it before I even turned a year old, and then it was Dove, and Dovey, and Dove-Love, and that was literally just my name. My family called me that; all my friends called me that. My birth name is actually on year books and my birth certificate, but other than that, I have nothing to do with it.
Q:What is your all-time favorite book?
Dove: Oh, wow. To be honest, my all-time favorite book is actually a collection of Edgar Allan Poe poetry that I was given by my grandfather when I was very, very young. I still have it. The spine is crooked and frayed, and all my favorite pages are basically worn through, but I’m a huge Poe fan.
Q: Do you have a pet?
Dove: I do. I am a huge animal lover and I have a 13-year-old cat. Her name is Fern. She’s very fluffy, and she’s got vibrant green eyes, and she’s been with me since I was 4. I think she is a Maine Coon.
Q: Do you have a first day of school memory?
Dove: I make a lot of my own clothes, and I have been doing so since I was very young. So, I think most of my back-to-school memories are always staying up until all hours of the night before to finish my outfit, and debuting it. First day back at school was always such an exciting day for me. I love the first day back in school because that’s where you meet everyone, and you look in the eyes of all the people who you’re going to be spending the most of a year with. You know your teachers, and you get integrated, and there’s that exciting buzz. I love first day back at school.
Q: What is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you?
Dove: I decided, when I was 12, to cut my own hair, and then dye my own hair. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, “You know what? I want bangs,” and so I grabbed the scissors from the kitchen, and I gave myself bangs. Except I cut, like, halfway back on my head, and so I gave myself half a bowl cut. [LAUGHTER] And then I dyed it black. I think I was going for, like a Zoey Deschanel. [LAUGHTER] It was like a German school boy’s look, 70s sort of look. It was really bad.
Q: Is there any food that you could not live without?
Dove: Oh, grapes. I could not live without grapes.
Q: What would your definition of a perfect day be?
Dove: I would have gotten 10 hours of sleep. I would have woken up and had a gigantic breakfast. It would be 75, breezy, sunny, and I would spend most of the day either reading or writing, getting in a little bit of studio time recording a song, and cooking a huge dinner, and baking some lavish dessert.
Q: Are you working on a CD?
Dove: Yes I am. Music is actually an equal if not greater passion of mine, than acting. I have always been a singer, ever since I was very small, and I actually have a strange voice. It’s a voice that was meant for opera, but since I’m a pop singer, I have to be constantly working on it, or else I can burn it out. It’s very delicate. Keeping your voice in shape is like training for a marathon; you have to constantly be feeding it and keeping it in shape, and taking care of it and worrying about it, catering to it. But yes, I have been working on music since I was very young, and I just recently started working on an album.
Q: Do you have a personal motto, or a favorite quote?
Dove: Yes I do. It’s actually a Mother Theresa quote. “If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.” That one’s affected me for quite some time because it rings so true for me. I am the kind of person that cannot hold a grudge. It is very easy for me to forgive someone, and I have a very hard time not giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I love people so immensely that I just don’t have room to walk around with judgment hanging around my ankles and dragging that with me wherever I go. I would much rather be free of all of that and be able to express my love to people than to feel the burden of my heavy thoughts.
Interview by Marie Morreale