Disney's Shake It Up stars add personal touch

26/04/11

Zendaya Coleman and Bella Thorne

Shake It Up stars Bella Thorne and Zendaya Coleman say their on-screen characters reflect some of their own personal experiences.

Bella, 13, and Zendaya, 14, play best friends CeCe Jones and Rocky Blue who land their dream job as backing dancers on a TV show.

Bella told Newsbeat she was able to use some of her real-life experiences, which include opting for homeschooling when she was teased for being dyslexic.

She said: "I'm dyslexic. I've always had it since I was very little and I used to have a really tough time in school.

'Look up to her'

"I used to get made fun of every day and we put it in the show that CeCe was dyslexic because we wanted people to look up to CeCe and think, 'Well, if she can do it then so can I'.

"Actually now I get a lot of fans who say, 'Hey, Bella I know you're not dyslexic but CeCe is and I look up up her'. And I'm like, 'What do you mean? I am dyslexic!'"

Zendaya also admits it's fun putting "a bit of her own self" into Rocky's character, who is vegetarian, like the actress.

It was my dream and to hear your dream said out loud - what more can you say to that?"
Zendaya Coleman on landing a role in Shake It Up

The girls don't seem at all phased by their busy schedules and say that it's actually fun being at work.

Zendaya said: "Our show, since it's a dance show and since it's a comedy we're having fun all the time.

"Our work is kind of like our play. Why go to the movies when you can go to your own movie!"

'Buddy comedy'

Bella added: "Plus Z is not even my best friend she's my sister and I couldn't do anything without her. Shake It Up is such a close-knit friends and family that we have fun every day.

Zendaya describes the show as "a buddy comedy built around dance", which sees the best friends try and work through relationship and family problems while living their dreams as professional dancers.

She admits she was more than a little excited by the prospect of appearing on the Disney show when she'd heard she'd won the role.

"I actually could not speak. I couldn't talk. My dad looked at me like I was crazy but I literally had nothing to say," she said.

"That was one of those little speechless moments. I heard it and my mind went blank. It was my dream and to hear your dream said out loud - what more can you say to that?"

Shake It Up is on from Tuesdays to Thursdays at 4pm on the Disney Channel.