Exclusive Interview with Jessica Darling’s It List’s Chloe East
Actress, dancer, cinematographer, model, businesswoman – these are just some of the words that describe Chloe East. The young starlet has a busy year ahead, starring in the movie adaptation of Jessica Darling’s It List, Liv and Maddie and appearing at VidCon, all while maintaining a popular YouTube channel. But when you talk to Chloe, all you hear is her passion for her work shining through. Taking a quick break from her schoolwork, Chloe chatted with me on the phone about everything she’s doing lately and revealed a few little-known facts about herself.
Jessica Darling’s It List is coming out next month, what are you most excited for?
Yes, it is! I’m so excited. I’m really excited to see the Mighty the eagle scene. If you read the books, you can definitely find the storyline where Jessica becomes the school mascot and that was really fun filming, inside the helmet of the mascot! (laughs). So I’m super excited to see that scene, and of course, we’re having a screening and a premiere so I get to see all my best friends. We’ve become SO close on this set. I’m just so excited to see everyone. It’s going to be a giant reunion.
What kind of inspiration for your character did you draw from the book?
Well, the book and the movie, I think they hit it spot on. Megan McCafferty is such a great writer, and her writing as the younger Jessica is so youthful! Even when she writes a laughing sentence, it’s “BWAHAHA” with all these capitals, it’s just how I would text in a conversation with my best friend. So, you can definitely pull her vulnerability and her innocence and really her true self and her authentic personality from the book. It was so amazing to play her in the movie.
It sounds like you might be pretty similar to Jessica Darling.
Yeah, I’m pretty similar in a lot of ways! She’s definitely the kind of girl who would put on a T-shirt, jeans, and converse and she’s good to go. I’m definitely like that. Sometimes I’ll go to the movies in sweatpants. (laughs). I’m not the kind of person that dresses up to go to a movie theater because I’m like, “I’m just sitting watching a movie, why would I dress up in fancy makeup and hair?”
Plus you’re in the dark!
Right! Like who’s even going to see your outfit in the movie theater?
I definitely subscribe to that way of life. So, you have two brothers, but this movie is more about a girl and her sister. How was that different to portray for you?
Blair Fowler, who plays my sister in the movie, is a very put together type of person and my brothers are the complete opposite. I think my brothers couldn’t be more different from Bethany in Jessica Darling’s It List. They’re just complete polar opposites. I’ve never had a sister, which is amazing to have a sister in this film because I’ve always said since I was little, “I want a sister, I want a sister, I want a sister!” So it’s really cool to actually play having a sister you know? That was really cool, but they definitely don’t share any similarities.
Did you and Blair get close outside of filming as well?
Yes, for sure. I am so close with the whole cast. We go get lunch together and we talk all the time. Especially Ashley Liao and Jane Widdop, all of them who played my best friends in the movie are my best friends in real life! We go to birthday parties and we see each other everywhere, we go out for Thai food, it’s just amazing. Just to meet so many friends from projects, it’s just amazing.
Do you have a favorite memory from filming?
Just our amazing, stupid lunch sessions where Jane would teach us some yoga or something crazy like that. (laughs.) Us just being weirdos and just having fun during lunchtime. Lunchtime is literally the most fun thing ever. We would find some place to keep us entertained and stuff.
You love to dance, you’ve been dancing since you were little. Are we going to see any dancing in the movie, maybe since you’re playing a mascot?
Well, let me just put it this way; Jessica has no dancing experience whatsoever. So, I had to play a very horrid dancer. (laughs). It was so funny.
Was that hard for you?
Yeah, it was pretty hard. We actually filmed the dance part of the scene in a gym. It was really funny because we were running late on time, since of course I can only work nine and a half hours, we were kind of at the end. They had 3o minutes to shoot this last scene, and they had all the cameras set up and they’re like “Chloe! Dance!” and I started dancing, like my regular dancing. And they were like “No! Dance BAD!” So I had a bucket on my head, I couldn’t see anything for the scene, I was on a time crunch to film the scene, I’m falling all over the place and I guess it worked out perfectly for the scene. I mean it’s pretty hard dancing with a bucket over your head and trying to dance badly so…
I’ve never tried but I’ll take your word for it.
What do you hope audiences take away from the film?
Always be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone persuade you to become another person, or envy someone else. You’re special in your own way and you should embrace your weirdness. Embrace your nerdiness! Whatever you have, embrace it and be your true self. Don’t try to become someone you’re not.
Straying away from the film, you’re an avid YouTuber. What inspired you to start making YouTube videos?
Well, I was really into rainbow looming about…maybe two years ago? It’s those rubber band bracelets and me, and my friend would have sleepovers, and we would make all these rainbow looms. We were like “Hey, why don’t we make YouTube videos on rainbow loom tutorials?” So we got out our phones and we started making YouTube videos about our rainbow looms! My first video that wasn’t a dance video – because my channel started out as my dance videos – but my first video that wasn’t dance related, it was a rainbow loom rubber band collection. (laughs). I kind of showed my viewers all of my rubber bands, which, now thinking of it, sounds pretty absurd because I was just showing colorful rubber bands in a video. But that was how I got started. And then I was like “Hey, I should make YouTube videos on my interests I have right now. So I made cooking videos and baking videos and it just led to whatever my brain wanted to create, which is now fun stylized videos, like Expectation vs. Reality, Now vs. Then, videos like those.
I remember rainbow looms, it was big there for a while.
Oh yeah. All of my money went to it. (laughs). I would literally go to the mall just to go to Claire’s to buy rubber bands. The mall was like 30 minutes away from where I lived. I was so into it, and now looking back I’m thinking they’re rubber bands! What was I thinking? But I guess I had a good time. I still have all my rainbow loom creations. It took hours! I was going to make a rainbow loom Christmas tree. I tried to [rainbow loom] a couple of months ago and I couldn’t do it! I was like “How was I so obsessed!”
You do the filming and the editing on your YouTube videos yourself, would you ever attempt to be a filmmaker long-term?
For sure, I am so into cinematography. I love reeled films, like 35 millimeters. I saw “The Hateful Eight” in 70 millimeters and it was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! The pictures were so big and beautiful, and I’m so into reel film. Obviously, right now I film on a digital, DSLR camera. But in the future, I would love to film on a 35 millimeter. Maybe just a short film or a little snippet of my life or something, but I would love to film on a reel film camera. It’s just amazing. I appreciate films that are made on film so much, like New Beverly Cinema who only plays film movies, it’s my favorite cinema. It’s the coolest thing I’ver ever seen, seeing the old commercials, and the dollar popcorn at this theater, it’s amazing. And it’s owned by Quentin Tarantino, who is my favorite movie director.
You have such an enthusiasm for this, where did the cinematography interest come from?
I was always pretty fond of cinematography and photography, but when I saw “The Hateful Eight” and I really got to explore the 70-millimeter ultra Panavision, it was the coolest thing. I did so much research, and a research paper, and…I get attached to things. (laughs). Like when I go to Universal Studios and I go to Harry Potter World, I will buy the wand, the cape, watch the movies, read the books – I get so attached to fan clubs, I would say, and I have my own, I would say, fan club for film. When I go to New Beverly Cinema, it’s kind of like I’ve joined all the people who are loving film. There’re people who have shirts that say “Save the Film” because they’re so passionate about it and it’s so cool! I just think film is the coolest thing ever!
Fans are going to meet you at VidCon in June, what can they expect when they meet you this year? Any surprises you can tease?
Well, at VidCon I have a couple of things planned. I haven’t announced it yet, but I will very soon, keep up on my Instagram and things like that, and I will post about some fun things I’m doing at VidCon. So I’m really excited.
After watching your videos, it seems like you’re really silly and not afraid to make fun of yourself, have you always been that way?
Oh yeah. My dad always said there’s no such thing as embarrassing, and sometimes that’s hard to believe because my dad LOVES embarrassing me in public. (laughs). But I’ve gotten so used to it and I’ve really come to think there is no such thing as embarrassing. Your whole life is just embarrassing and it’s funny, just the most random things like looking back on your old tweets, you can just laugh about it!
What piece of advice would you give to someone who’s struggling to embrace their weirdness?
I would say just shake it off, like Taylor Swift said. (laughs). But, I would say just laugh about it. If you don’t take it too seriously, just having a good laugh about it is all you need. Laughing is medicine.
You’re going to be on the summer premiere of Liv and Maddie, what can you tell us about your character?
Well, I am not completely sure what I am allowed to say. But, I will just put it this way, that it has been an AMAZING experience. Liv and Maddie is such a great set, all the people there are so amazing and it’s just been…what an amazing time it has been on this set filming. About my character…I would say a little smart side comes out of me, wink wink. I’m not exactly sure what else I’m allowed to say but I guess I’ll leave you with that.
Can you tell us your character’s name?
I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to say my name. (laughs). My name in Liv and Maddie season four is Val. I got to name her last name too, which was really cool.
What’d you pick?
I actually named the last name after one of my friends from San Clemente, I used to live in San Clemente before I moved to Los Angeles about seven months ago. Some of my good friends there were Brenden and Connor, they’re twins, and their last name is Wishart, and I’ve always loved that last name. So I named my character Val Wishart, after the Wishart twins. (laughs). Which by the way, fun fact for you right now, Brenden kissed me in kindergarten, I think on the cheek or something. I don’t remember, but my friends keep on reminding me about my first kiss in kindergarten from Brenden Wishart. (laughs).
Now you took his last name, so it’s almost like you guys got married. Kindergarten love!
Yes! (laughs). Exactly, exactly.
What else is coming up for you this year?
I am just so excited. I am working on a little clothing line, wink wink. There’s another wink wink. (laughs). I’m collabing with a charity and we’re putting together a really awesome line and that will be coming out in the future. And more modeling for Miss Behave Girls is coming up too!
One last question, what is an obscure fact that very few people or maybe no one knows about you?
I’m pretty sure not a lot of people know about this, but I had a VERY intense obsession with KISS and Gene Simmons. I wanted to be Gene Simmons, I wanted to go to KISS concerts and I dressed up as Gene Simmons tons of times. Full makeup, oh yeah. Full face paint and eyeliner and the whole outfit and I rhinestoned some costumes. I went all out – downloaded the songs, memorized the songs, oh yeah I was hardcore KISS fan.
“Jessica Darling’s It List” premieres on June 21st. Fans can also meet Chloe at VidCon in Anaheim, California, June 23-25.
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