Raven-Symone: Major Player

I can’t think of one 22-year-old as diverse in her business as Ms. Raven-Symone. Whether releasing a film DVD, dropping a music CD or creating cute crafts Martha Stewart-style on her newly launched website, this young lady is all about keeping it moving.

Having a starring role on The Cosby Show at the age of four must have been pretty hard to follow up, but Raven has been able to seamlessly cross media platforms, expand her portfolio of characters and generate millions of hungry and loyal fans in the process. And she’s done this all while keeping her family-friendly persona and bubbly personality. That’s why we love her.

Her latest movie, College Road Trip, co-starring Martin Lawrence and Kym Whitley just came out on DVD, and just in case you can’t get enough of Raven, she’s premiering her own interactive website. The site features the versatile virtuoso doing all the girlie things that she loves.

After several attempts to connect, we finally nabbed 10 minutes with the budding business woman to ask about a few of her favorite things. 

AllHipHop.com: The character that you play in College Road Trip [Melanie Porter] is very close to your age; heading off to college, starting a new life away from home. Were you able to tap into your own personal experiences as a young adult to play this role?

Raven-Symone: I am having that moment in my life where I can no longer say that I’m a kid. I’m grown now. Although I wasn’t able to go to college because I love to work too much, I understand and related to this character, because I understood her need to be set free and do her own thing.

AllHipHop.com: In the movie, Martin Lawrence plays your supportive and sometimes overwhelming father. What were some of the lessons that the characters learned in the movie?

Raven-Symone: Most importantly, fathers and daughters have to grow together and can experience some new things together. It doesn’t always have to be the father teaching the daughter, they were able to learn things together once they both were open to that new experience.

AllHipHop.com: What was the best and worst thing about being on the set with Martin?

Raven-Symone: The best thing was that I got to really pick his brain as a veteran actor. He gave me a lot of insight on being a proactive actor instead of just taking direction, but really getting involved in the creation of the character. I felt that it was a blessing to not just be funny, but also be smart in my portrayal of Melanie Porter.

Let’s see… the worst thing is that we’re not on the set anymore. I loved working with Martin.

AllHipHop.com: One thing about you that is so different from other child actors is that you have continued to keep it moving. Your experience is so diverse, from acting to singing, from film to television. What’s next for you?

Raven-Symone: I just launched a new website called RavenSymonePresents.com where I do all of the things that I love to do at home like cook, sew and create crafts. Even though I’ve been on TV since I was a kid, I started cooking and handling myself in the kitchen at a very young age. My mom use to cook, but then she thought that we took advantage of her so at one point she just stopped. I had to learn how to cook and sew very early.

I’ve always loved to do these things, and I think it’s important that my generation learn to do these things too. I have a lot of fun talking to the camera about what I love to do, and hope that the audience can get a lot out of it. Even with a really hectic schedule, I try to focus on one project at a time, and now I really appreciate my Mom for making me learn.

AllHipHop.com: So you cook, sew, do crafts and make family-friendly film and TV shows. Has there ever been a time when you wanted to shed the good girl persona and be like Janet and tap into that Nasty Girl side?

Raven-Symone: Well I’m not a full-fledged adult quite yet. I’m getting there, but I always want to do things that the whole family can enjoy. I’m happy where I am right now and want to experience the full journey.

AllHipHop.com: You turned 22-years-old this year and will be able to vote. Are you politically involved? And if so, why do you think your generation is so hyped on getting in the political process?

Raven-Symone: You’re the first person to ever ask me that question, and it’s funny, because I just talked to my friend Jurnee Smollett (Eve’s Bayou, The Great Debaters, Roll Bounce) who asked me to get involved in the Obama campaign. I think it’s so important to get involved, especially to those people that constantly have something to say about the government, what they’re doing and what they’re not doing.

Right now, I’m a part of history, and the fact that I get to campaign for a Black candidate is world-changing. You have to speak up, you have to be active about making the change, and he can’t do it by himself. It’s simple, if you want things to change; you have to be a part of that change.