‘You Have To Keep Going’
Janel Parrish wowed us as Young Cosette in Le Miserables and now she’s starring in the movie Bratz
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That’s what Kaneohe native Janel Parrish says of the ups and downs of show biz. She’s on a definite up now with a starring role in Bratz
The 6-year-old tyke from Kaneohe who wowed the world as Young Cosette in the musical Les Miserables is all grown up and starring in her first big screen film, Bratz: The Movie, opening next week.
“It started when I was 4; my dad was listening to Phantom of the Opera in the car and that’s my absolute favorite musical, and I was like daddy I want to be a singer,” says Janel Parrish.
“He thought I was kidding, but when the open casting call came for Les Miserables I begged my parents to try out. I went all over the country touring and did it on Broadway, and that’s what started everything. I came back to Hawaii and I did a lot of musicals.”
Parrish’s newfound love for theater, singing and acting captured her, and it wasn’t long before her days were split between school and stage.
“I went to school and then went straight to the theater,” says Parrish.
“So it started off with musical theater and singing and then after that I got an agent in L.A. and I started getting some small roles - and that’s where my love for acting grew as well.”
One of the youngest faces from Hawaii to make it in Hollywood, Parrish has since been seen on the following television shows: The O.C., Zoey 101, The Bernie Mac Show, Baywatch Hawaii, Gepetto, Too
Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke and Star Search.
Her stage roles include To Kill a Mockingbird, Miracle on 34th Street, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Here’s Love as Susan and On Dragonfly Wings.
“I always wanted to pursue acting and singing, so I moved to California after my ninth grade year at Moanalua High School,” says 18-year-old Parrish. “It was mainly because I started getting a little more work, and my parents just thought it was worth it because we were spending a lot of money traveling back and forth.”
At 14 years old, Parrish was not only faced with the challenges of adjusting to her new home, but she also quickly learned that she had a lot of catching up to do.
“It’s hard because coming from Hawaii I had come to Hollywood kind of late, so others have already started getting known and auditioning,” says Parrish, who describes herself as outgoing, fun, sensitive and passionate.
“So it was kind of hard establishing myself, but I just went for it and did a lot of acting classes and really studied my craft. I studied piano, singing and dancing and just kept going for it.”
She credits the tremendous support of her dad and mom, Mark and Joanne, who have done all they can to accommodate their daughters dreams, which ultimately meant moving to California with her.
And to keep up with the auditions, rehearsals and performances, her parents also home-schooled her.
“Moving to L.A. from Hawaii was a natural progression for us because of Janel’s opportunities in music, theater, TV, etc.,” say Mark and Joanne. “We miss Hawaii, but the move was very easy for us.”
The support of her parents not only helped make the transition from small town Kaneohe to big city L.A., but also played a significant role in teaching Janel the importance of persistence.
“My dad has been really supportive, and he’s always pushing me,” says Parrish. “Every time I got really close to getting some-
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