Demi Lovato knows a thing or two about being a child star. Before becoming a star on the Disney Channel alongside the Jonas Brothers on Camp Rock, she was in the PBS children’s show Barney. The singer, who goes by both she/her and they/them pronouns, has been in front of a camera for her entire life. Because of that, she has some advice for would-be Disney Channel stars: “Don’t do it!”
“It’s more important to have a personal life than it is a career at that age,” Lovato said in a recent interview, “I think that’s what got lost in the era of Disney when I was in it. We were all working so hard, running ourselves into the ground.”
After her success on Camp Rock, she launched immediately into a music tour with the Jonas Brothers and then landed a Disney show of her very own: Sonny With a Chance. The show, which ran for two seasons from 2009-2011, was about an American teenager who landed a dream role on a major Hollywood comedy and followed Sonny (Lovato) as she struggled to deal with her fame and create genuine friendship. Turns out, this mirrored Lovato’s own life.
She was so busy she said that she didn’t get to appreciate anything. “I didn’t have a lot of fun in my downtime,” Lovato said.
She went on to explain that young stars don’t get to experience adolence the way they should. “I was often thinking about what I needed to do next. There was also the constant pressure to ‘look a certain way,’ ‘be a certain way’ and ‘act a certain way.'” before adding that she was constantly “under a microscope”.
Her advice for aspiring young stars? “If you want to be a teenager, be a teenager. If you want to do this for a living, maybe wait a little bit until you’re older so you can have life experience under your belt. But above all: take it easy.”