Interview: Anneliese van der Pol Talks Raven’s Home – Exclusive
Anneliese van der Pol returns to the Disney Channel to star alongside Raven-Symone in the new series Raven’s Home. A reboot of the beloved series That’s So Raven, the show will follow the duo as they raise their children together in Chicago.
We got to chat with Anneliese about getting reacquainted with her character Chelsea after almost a decade, reuniting with her co-stars, and what viewers and fans can look forward to when the series premieres.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Anneliese van der Pol below:
What was it like revisiting Chelsea’s character after so many years and reuniting with the cast?
Anneliese van der Pol: It was just like old times. Just as comfortable as we expected. I was like “Oh, gosh, I haven’t done this in forever,” but it fit like a glove. And of course, being with Raven has been the most exciting aspect of it all. Somebody asked me a question, sort of similar: “When are you having the most fun on set?” It’s every time I’m with Raven, even if we’re just in the makeup room chit-chatting and gossiping or on set making each other laugh or having something to eat together and talking about our love life… It’s like coming home. Back to my family. It’s amazing. We’re back on the same lot that we used to film on, so it’s really like old times.
How did you react when you heard the news that a revival was in the works?
If I’m being totally honest, the first time I heard was a year ago when Raven told me and I just didn’t believe her. She’s always really positive and a hard worker and a forward-thinker and always has good ideas. It was a lot of trepidation, and when I finally heard that it was going and she announced it on The View and Disney called me, I cried. I laughed and I cried, but mostly cried. It was a second chance. Who gets to relive their childhood?
What can you tell us about where Chelsea’s story picks up when the first episode premieres?
It basically picks up with her and I living life together. Because of financial necessity, we’re living in an apartment together in Chicago with our children. I just moved in and it kind of sets off on that and throughout the season and throughout the episodes, where we’re coming from kind of pieces together slowly. It’s been about a decade but it’s also very focused on the children.
Can you talk a little about why it was important to you to showcase a story line about single mothers in a real but heartfelt way?
My mother was a single mother for most of my childhood. It’s also important to showcase and recognize and spotlight what’s really happening in our country and in the world, and to replicate that. Our show has always been a show that’s very forward-thinking in terms of having a very diverse and dynamic set and actors – interesting, deeper ideas, at least for the Disney Channel. It’s important for the Disney Channel to kind of move along with history and get in the game as far as social issues are concerned. All of that is very important to me. I’m so excited to be playing opposite another woman raising our children as opposed to every other sitcom where it’s a cute, hot girl and a fat husband. *laughs* It’s pretty special. I don’t really know any other show that’s doing this right now. It’s kind of cool.
We need more girl power.
Of course. We need single mothers to watch a show with their children and see a show that reflects them.
Anneliese van der Pol stars alongside Raven-Symone in Raven’s Home on Disney Channel
After watching the trailer, it seems like Chelsea’s heart and silly nature are still there, and she and Raven are still getting into mischief. Is it safe to say there are some shenanigans ahead for the moms?
Yes, it is safe to say that. Last week’s episode we did, Raven and I go to a club. That’s really all you have to say to kind of guess what kind of shenanigans we get into. It’s also about the shenanigans with our children, not so much Raven and I together because we’re not the children anymore. We have to be adults. I don’t think they’re ever going to let go and not take advantage of Raven’s physical, comedy genius. That will always be in there. I think we’re older, so of course our heads are in different places, but our characters, like you said, still have the same heart. I’m still very not in the know about certain things. *laughs*
You are also a very talented musical and Broadway performer. Will we be seeing more of that from you in the future?
Gosh, I hope. I’m looking around right now for cover songs, some originals, and some I’ve already done. As far as theater, I don’t know yet. I’m doing this in Los Angeles. But I’m always interested in doing something at the Annenberg or the Geffen. It has to be the right thing. I hope that after this, I go on to play Velma in Chicago.
Do you and Raven get to dust off your musical chops in addition to your comedic ones in any upcoming episodes?
I hope! I wish you were directing and producing this thing. *laughs* That would have been cool. I hope they do those things too. I appreciate you remembering that we have those talents.
What does it mean to you to be a part of something that is so beloved after all this time by your fans who have grown up with you? Are you excited to share this story with a new generation?
Oh yeah! I think it’s so special. I’m reliving my childhood, but I’m reliving it with the people who watched me. That’s pretty special. With Fuller House coming back and Will & Grace and Roseanne, I think this is kind of a fad right now that’s, of course, beloved. Who doesn’t want to reminisce and live in that old-time fuzziness? I think that’s pretty special for me. It’s cool, too, because the younger generation is our future. I feel like I’m part of that. Older people remember me who are in their 30s and 40s, and now a new generation is going to know of me. That’s kind of cool. I feel like I’ll always be hip. *laughs*
It’s a reminder that we don’t have to grow up fully. We can still enjoy the things we loved as kids.
Absolutely. Nothing makes me feel better sometimes than putting on Frasier. It gives me a certain feeling you can’t get anywhere else. I love television. I’ve always loved it. I’m so glad to be a part of it and actively working on television again.
What are you most excited for fans to see when Raven’s Home premieres?
I’m most excited for the fans to see how good I look. *laughs* I’m just kidding. I’m most excited for them to really – this sounds so cheesy – to see Raven again. She’s amazing. She’s so funny. I’m excited for them to see how funny she is. Me too, but she’s funny! I think that needs to be appreciated. She was in the kitchen doing a scene and she had a dance, and I don’t know how she was thinking of the moves she was doing. It was really so funny. I can’t wait until everyone sees this.
Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I grew up watching you, so I really appreciate it. Thanks again and I wish you great success with the new show.
Of course! Thank you for your cute accent and your good questions!
Thanks so much to Anneliese van der Pol for chatting with us about Raven’s Home!