Dove Cameron Gets Real About Her Hairspray Live! Character

Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC
Photo Credit: Brian Bowen Smith/NBC

Before there was Regina George and the burn book, there was Amber Von Tussle singing Cooties.

Fresh off filming the sequel to Disney’s Descendants – reprising her role as Maleficent’s rebellious daughter Mal – Dove Cameron will play the resident mean girl in NBC’s production of Hairspray Live! this December. Stepping out of Auradon and into the 60s, she’ll still have some mommy issues, going from Mistress of all evil to Miss Baltimore Crabs (coincidentally, both played by Kristin Chenoweth.)

Amber is leading the perfect high school life: she’s the lead dancer on The Corny Collins show, dating THE teen heartthrob Link Larkin (Garrett Clayton) and on track to become Miss Teenage Hairspray yet again. But when Tracy Turnblad joins the show, it’ll take way more than hairspray to keep Amber’s life intact.

In real life, it’s easy to consider Dove one of the nicest kids in town. Scrolling through her Twitter feed, you tend to leave feeling like you’ve just been given a big hug.

Despite her latest roles being baddies, Cameron admits that those “evil” qualities aren’t in her range of daily motions. When it comes to figuring people out and bringing her characters to life, the actress has a key starting place.

“I believe that everybody has that kind of sweet spot of their true essence. Everybody has that concentrated version of themselves, that I always imagine to be this sort of golden pool of light or energy or liquid,” Cameron said. “That’s them; that’s their essence. I sort of picture it in their tummy or their chest cavity.”

With Hairspray Live, getting into Amber’s mindset requires a bit of a different approach for the actress.

“I had to tap into my golden pool of energy that is authentic to me, but then just play that light through the lens of someone who was brought up by a mother who stunted her growth emotionally, and told her the only way she was gonna win was by stepping on other people,” Cameron said.

Similar to Mal, Amber Von Tussle isn’t quite rotten to the core. Though Cameron says that Amber “definitely has a screw loose,” she notes that her Hairspray character is more a product of poor nurture, rather than nature.

“I don’t know if I actually would even call her a villain,” Cameron says. “I think that she’s just messed up, you know?”

Thankfully, the 20-year-old is different from her Hairspray character “in practically every way.” Dove notes that, like Amber, she is definitely a product of those surrounding her, but takes pride in choosing much better company.


Hairspray Live! airs on NBC on Wednesday, December 7th at 8 p.m. ET.

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