13-year-old star talks about balancing school and work
By Lie Shia Ong
She’s the 13-year-old behind the voice of one of Disney Junior’s most popular shows, “Doc McStuffins,” and when she’s not getting animated, Kiara Muhammad balances going to school while working in entertainment.
MSN TV spoke with Muhammad about the new winter-themed episode of the show premiering Friday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. ET/PT on Disney Junior, and she also gives her advice to youngsters who want to try to get on a Disney show themselves.
MSN TV: What can you tell us about the new episode Friday?
Kiara Muhammad: This is the episode where Chilly actually needs to get a checkup. It’s not a new toy, it’s just Chilly the Snowman. He gets cold outside because he thinks since he’s a snowman, and he’s always thinking he’s a real snowman, [and] that he can stay outside with all of the other snowmen we made. He ends up getting cold!
Was it pretty fun doing a winter-themed episode with Christmas just around the corner, or did you actually record this episode during the summer?
I think we did the episode towards the winter. Maybe it was like the end of November, so it was pretty close. So yes, it was cool to do it around the same time as Christmas.
What is your favorite part about being an animated character?
You see a different face, but you hear your voice. That kind of makes me look at it a different way because I hear my voice, but I don’t see my face, so it’s a little weird, but it’s cool at the same time.
Is your character, Doc McStuffins, anything like you in real life?
I think yeah, because when I was 6, I wanted to be so many things: An actress, a singer, a dancer. And Doc wants to be a doctor, and she knows it. She’s already helping her toys, so I think we both have that striving quality. We wanna do what we wanna do.
I read you’re an honor student. What do your classmates think of you lending your voice to an animated character on TV?
A lot of them—only my friends know—my classmates, I’ll tell them, and they’ll be “what?” But my friends they’re always, “I watched your show this morning before coming to school. It was the one where…” And I’ll be ‘OK, thanks,’ so it’s just funny.
Is it hard balancing going to school and also working in entertainment?
Yeah, sometimes it’s hard. I’ll have a test or a quiz or something, and I miss a couple days of school, so then I have to make up that work that I’m already doing that day. Sometimes it can be a handful, but I make it work.
How do you find time to sleep?
Well, my mom always makes sure I got to bed by 10 [laughs]. So, if I have a job after school, I make sure I do my homework right when I get home, and then I eat dinner and go to sleep. So we just have a schedule that we try to make sure I get enough sleep for the next day.
The show is in its second season and there’s been so many great guest stars already. Do you have one or two celebrities you’d just love to see on the show?
Well, I love Jaden Smith, so I’d like him to come on, and maybe he could play my guy cousin instead of a girl cousin. I always want—who’s the guy from “The Office”?—but he was in “Something Borrowed” (John Krasinski). Maybe I go to an amusement park and he’s just one of the guys there who helps, or I find a toy. I feel like since he’s a funny guy—he could make the character really funny.
One of your fans, Ariel, wanted me to ask what your advice is for kids who want to get on a Disney show.
Make sure you stay in acting classes. For Disney, it’s a different type of acting, where you have to have a lot of energy. A lot of people have trouble keeping up the energy up the whole way through a scene. So, I would say, keep with the acting classes and make sure you keep your energy up when you do the scene. And just don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t go on a Disney show, because you can if you just practice and work hard at it.
Any message you have for the parents whose kids watch the show?
Keep telling your kids to watch the show. It’s a really fun show! I love doing it. They love it, too, so I’ll do it as long as they love it.
“Doc McStuffins” airs weekdays at 10 a.m. ET/PT and weekends at 7:30 a.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel and also on Disney Junior.