Kylie Cantrall has a LOT going on at the moment.
The 17-year-old singer, dancer, and actress is currently gearing up to film the latest addition to the Descendants series while her character Dani on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series works to find her place in the Wildcats family all while working on her next era of original music. With so many projects in the works, we had to sit down with Kylie to get an inside look at how she makes it all happen.
After Camp Shallow Lake, the Wildcats are headed back to school, and you know there is going to be drama. At the heart of some of that drama is Dani, a mean-girl character who Kylie says initially comes off as “super intimidating” and “Sharpay-esque.” It seems like Dani is determined to take over the school, but it’s more than that. “She’s fierce, and sometimes she can push people’s buttons,” Kylie said of Dani, “but I think as the story goes on, we realize that she actually has depth and reason behind her whole persona, and she wants to be the best and really is a hard worker. I think it’s really cool getting to explore the different sides of my character, and the audience really gets to see her kind of come around at the end.”
Kylie studied classic mean girls like Regina George and High School Musical icon Sharpay Evans to bring Dani to life. She had fun creating Dani, but she reminds people that she’s not playing this role in real life. Dani has definitely lead to some jokes about the differences between Kylie and the latest addition to HSMTMTS. Sophia Wylie even joked that Kylie should go as Dani for Halloween since she’s a “villain” and the rest of the cast dressed as Disney villains this year. (Kylie ended up dressing up as Shego from Kim Possible.)
There is so much to be excited for in Season 4. Kylie said she thinks this is “probably going to be the biggest season yet.” She’s excited for fans to see the singing moment in the first episode that introduces Dani’s character as well as a Halloween episode and “a ton” of musical numbers.
Dani is only one of Kylie’s new characters. She is also joining Disney’s extensive Descendants universe as the Queen of Hearts’ teenage daughter Red. (Kylie joked that she manifested her role since she dressed as the Queen of Hearts for Halloween when she was a kid.) A true triple threat, Kylie is excited to be part of another musical project. “It’s actually so funny that I’m doing two musical shows or movies back to back,” she told us, sharing that she thinks HSMTMTS helped her prepare for her Descendants role. “There’s something just so fun about a huge ensemble cast.”
Filming hasn’t started yet, but Kylie is already training for her role which she says will require “a mix of everything.” Big stories full of complicated scenes, dancing, and all the magic that the characters’ parents have tend to make their way into Descendants films. Kylie is prepared for an exciting production and plenty of hard work. “I think there definitely will be stunts that I’m going to be doing, especially because my character is very active…and also already all the dancing. That alone is so intense. I’ve seen the behind-the-scenes rehearsals of some of the other Descendants movies, and their rehearsal days were crazy. They were doing seven-hour rehearsal days because there were so many dance numbers, and it’s going to be pretty much the same with this film.”
This star’s packed schedule also includes her own musical projects. Brought up by producer and choreographer parents, music and singing are some of Kylie’s first loves. Even before her career started, rehearsals and studios were familiar places. “I grew up around it and knew that I loved it,” she shared.
TikTok challenges from fans, studio days with her journal full of lyrics and concepts, and her life experiences are the inspiration behind Kylie’s current music. She told Showstopper Magazine Online she’s working on a new sound. Most people know her for her work with Disney, but Kylie’s next era of music is “more mature,” a new chapter centered around the older version of Kylie.
Kylie is exploring. Her fans get to see this process, too. One way that she gives her fans access to her music in progress is with TikTok videos and even collaborative challenges where they give her words to include in her lyrics. Kylie never knows what her comment section will include. “It’ll be like ‘popcorn’, ‘TV’, ‘marshmallow’,” she said. Some of the hardest words she’s gotten include “pillow” and “horoscope” (which works because Kylie is totally the astrology-obsessed BFF we all want. She’s a Cancer BTW.)
“I think sonically it’s fun, and I’m a dancer, so I want my music to be danceable,” Kylie said of the direction her music is going in. “I want my music to be what you listen to when you’re getting ready to go out or whatever. I just want my music to be fun and empowering.”
We get a lot of singing from Kylie across her projects, but dance is a big part of Kylie’s world, too. “I am just so so grateful that my parents forced me to go to dance class since I was 2 years old…just having those fundamentals.” Kylie reflected. “It just helps for everything…dance helps with everything. It helps with confidence, work ethic, discipline, just overall how to pose—things you just use in the entertainment world. I think it’s just so important and it plays a huge role in my life.”
Right now, you can catch Kylie posing as the face of Hot Topic’s holiday collections alongside Curran Walters. We can get in the Christmas spirit with Kylie while we get excited about all of these projects. Keep your notifications on! 2023 is shaping up to be the year of Kylie.