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SOFIA CARSON

Shirt A.W.A.K.E. Mode / Skirt A.W.A.K.E. Mode / Earrings Fay Andrada

For Sofia Carson’s recent 26th birthday, the actor, singer, style icon, and modern day philanthropist asked for one thing—a donation from family, friends, and fans to UNICEF USA, an organization she’s partnered with over the past year in order to “(help) create the next generation of superwomen and the mothers who raise them.”

As a superwoman herself at the center of two larger than life universes—Disney’s The Descendants and Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists—a less graceful starling may have very well have spun herself into an all consuming quasar long ago—but not Sofia Carson. She croons through the limelight with grace and exuberance like a comet igniting a summer night’s sky while millions of sky gazers, 12.5m on Instagram alone, watch her slingshot into superstardom as she curls their smiles with little glimmers of stardust.

Sweater Valentino / Earrings Carmen March

We spoke with Carson on a sunny southern California day about her meteoric rise, her secret forthcoming music releases, and the time she lost her words in front of one of the biggest stars in our ever expanding multiverse.

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists was a huge hit this spring. What did you want to take from the novel and bring with your character, Ava, into the series?

It was most definitely the tone. Sara Shepard, who is the creator of P.L.L. and The Perfectionists, wrote with a dark, mysterious, and edgy tone, but there was still a warmth to it. I think what also wins true is the relationships and friendships the characters form—I think that is truly the star of the series. I really loved that aspect of the book.

Hat Gladys Tamez

Did you do any research into coding or hacking to better understand Ava’s talents?

I definitely did. One of the cool things about stepping into a new character you really have to become them in a way and think how they think and work how they work. You usually see male characters play the coders and hackers, so I loved that Ava’s a coder and a hacker and a fashionista—very much a girl of the 21rst century.

Do you think you could hack into any secret databases now?

[Laughs] I did some research on coding, but I’m by no means an expert. I wanted to familiarize myself with the vocabulary and kind of what coding even looks like. I ended up working very closely with the props department who walked me through exactly what was happening and what each code meant—so I always had an idea of what was going on in each scene.

Descendants 3 comes out on August 2nd. How have you evolved with your character Evie since the franchise began in 2014?

The Evie from the first movie is the daughter of the Evil Queen in Snow White, one of the most vain women in film history! Evie was very much her mother’s daughter. She thought she was defined by her reflection in the mirror and that her value was determined by a prince. It was a really beautiful journey to go on and tell the story of a twisted fairy tale to girls all around the world and say “hey, we have to break so many glass slippers, mirrors, and ceilings because we are so much more than any reflection in the mirror.”

Turtleneck A.W.A.K.E. Mode / Trousers RtA / Shoes Tamara Mellon / Earrings Misho

Besides the magic, stardust, and catchy musical numbers, why do you think Descendants has become such a phenomenon?

My personal favorite part about this entire franchise is that our characters represent the outcasts who were born on the wrong side of the tracks. Our story is about acceptance. That putting barriers up is not the answer. The message of Descendants 3 is really such a strong political and necessary message. I’m so proud that we got to tell that story the way we did.

Fans of Descendants are a dedicated bunch—without spilling too much—what do you think will excite them from the third film?

Wow, oh my gosh. What can I say? Obviously the music of the whole franchise has transcended cultures and languages because it has just been so universal and beautiful. This movie will really deliver on that yet again. We just released the opening number last week “Good To Be Bad” and the reaction has been so overwhelming and wonderful.

Cardigan Marc Jacobs / Coat Adriana Iglesias / Hat Gladys Tamez / Earrings Nancy Newberg

Aside from the chart-topping success of the Descendants albums, you’ve carved your own career in the music industry over the past few years, most recently diving into EDM tracks as a featured vocalist with Galantis, Alan Walker, and REHAB. What’s that transition been like from your earlier singles like “Love is the Name”?

It was exciting to collaborate with so many other musicians on records that still felt like me, but also felt like a departure from the music that I released in the past. It was great because I would go into the studio and cut these awesome tracks with these DJs and producers and then go back and shoot Descendents or episodes of P.L.L., so it was a great way to release music while continuing to work on acting.

The later of those songs, “Rumors” with REHAB was a massive hit and spun out numerous official remixes—do you have a favorite of those remixes?

Oh I definitely have a favorite. I remember that I was in Amsterdam when “Rumors” came out and it was the second most added song in the world at the time. Of all of the remixes, I like the “Rumors (V-Bool Remix)”.

Blouse Marc Jacobs / Jacket Balmain / Pants Nour Hammour / Hat Gladys Tamez / Earrings Fay Andrada

We’ve heard you’re working on some new music, what kind of project are you putting together? An album, an EP—a mixtape?

I’ve been writing a lot since we wrapped P.L.L. and I’ve found a voice to a story that I’m really, really excited to tell the world, but— I don’t want to say what it is just yet! All I’ll say is that it will be here soon and that it is a few different things.

 

Oh, drat! Can you at least tell us what genre the new project is?

It’s definitely pop music. But, I feel like we are in a time where pop is no longer pure pop. There’s pop with dance, pop with soul, pop with R&B,  pop with funk, and pop world influences. My new stuff definitely has some world and R&B influences.

 

We saw you attended Paris Fashion Week this year. What were some of the highlights of the week for you?

Oh my gosh. Fashion has been such a major part of my life since I was a little girl, so that was one of the most magical weeks of my life. The Giambattista Valli show was special because he’s dressed me for so many important moments in my career from the Golden Globes to the Oscars. But, the Stella McCartney show was also pretty unforgettable, because as I sat down and looked in front of me across the runway I saw Oprah Winfrey!

 

You got to meet her, right? Do you remember what you said to her?

You know what, that moment is actually kind of a blur to me. It was almost too surreal to deal with! She hugged me and I think I said something like “it is such an honor to meet you.” What I do remember is the warmth of her presence. When she looks at you, she really gives you importance—it was very moving. I was there with my mom, and it was my mom who first introduced me to Oprah’s work, so it was a really special moment to share with her.

 

Of all the collections, was there one that had a particular impact on you?

It’s hard to pick just one, but I think I have to say Valentino. I felt something at that show that I’ve never felt at a fashion show before. As I looked around the room people were in tears, I have never had experienced that before.

 

Did you cry, too?

[Laughs] I did. I remember when it started, I sat down and the second I heard the  beautiful string arrangement that was playing alongside spoken word as the models began walking down the runway, I remember I was holding back tears and thinking, wow, this was one of those moments that you’ll never forget.