COURTESY DISNEY CHANNEL
Raven-Symone: Showing who she is
MOST keiki think her last name is Baxter, after seeing her in 100 episodes of "That's So Raven" on the Disney Channel. Older siblings, parents and even some grandparents might remember her as precocious Olivia Kendall from "The Cosby Show."
» Place: E.K. Fernandez 50th State Fair, Aloha Stadium
» On stage: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (fair hours are 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday)
» Cost: $5
When Raven-Symone Pearman performs this weekend at the 50th State Fair, she'll attempt to bridge the gap between her faithful Disney fans and those who only recognize her face from a passing glance at a television screen. The Atlanta-born entertainer will perform tracks off her third full-length album, "This is My Time," released in 2004, as well as promote her starring role in "The Cheetah Girls 2," another Disney production set for release later this year.
Pearman spoke with the Star-Bulletin last week by phone from Los Angeles, where she was trying to simultaneously take care of a new puppy while convincing her family in the next room that she needed some peace and quiet to take care of business.
Question: "That's So Raven" is done with filming, right? What have you been up to since then?
Answer: Yes, we finished taping in January. In February, I did a couple of concerts, and then ... left to go to Spain. I'm back, finally, and starting my real tour. I have about 30 to 35 dates until the end of the year. And I'm just taking meetings, trying to get my new life situated and in order.
Q: Most people are familiar with your story, from "The Cosby Show" and "Hanging with Mr. Cooper" afterward ...
A: Oh, wow, you remember "Hanging with Mr. Cooper," and not a lot of people do. I appreciate that.
Q: Can you remember a time when you weren't in front of a camera?
A: Sadly, I don't remember much ... since I learned so many scripts and (then) had to forget them. "Hanging with Mr. Cooper" is probably the last time when I kind of remember certain things that happened every day, my routine.
Q: So the whole "Cosby Show" experience, you don't remember it? Do you ever watch reruns?
A: No, I really don't. I was only 3 years old. I watch the reruns and try my best to remember. And then I'm like, "Oh, this is a really good show," and that's it. Sorry!
Q: While you must have fans who are really young, you've got to have some who are older than you are.
A: I think that's one of the reasons "That's So Raven" did so well. The kids who were watching "Cosby Show" ... they might now be parents. Those generations have grown up with me, and I'm very fortunate for that.
Q: Your appearances in Hawaii are related to your singing career, not your acting. Is that your new focus?
A: I'm doing that because it's one of the easiest transitions. Music is definitely a universal thing. When you're trying to show people who you are, and not necessarily the character that you've portrayed for so many years, one way to do that is to put your life on a CD.
COURTESY DISNEY CHANNEL
Raven-Symone Pearman, third from left, starred in 100 episodes of "That's So Raven" before the Disney Channel decided to retire the program.
Some people might forget, however, that you've been a recording artist for a good 13 years.
A: You know, everyone forgets that. You're the first interviewer that ever brought it up.
Q: How can we not remember "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of?"
A: And that's why I love you, Jason. I have to school people over and over again: "If y'all didn't know, this is my third (album)." My second album, "Undeniable," Stevie Wonder wrote on that one. And I went on tour with N'Sync. I've been here for a minute. I know the game.
Q: And you're not even 21 years old. Does it ever feel like people mistake you for being older than you actually are?
A: They mistake me for not being in the business for as long as I have been. If something is not put in their face repeatedly, and it's not a No. 1 hit, then you're nothing. They remember "The Cosby Show" and they remember "That's So Raven."
Q: You've also got a new movie coming out: "Cheetah Girls 2."
A: That's a Disney Channel television movie. We captured the essence, the music of Spain. We captured the age group of the Cheetah Girls and how they act and converse with one another. There's never been a movie with as eclectic cast as this one. We sound like a group ... of girls who could go on tour right now and throw down.
Q: How much longer do you see yourself staying involved with Disney?
A: Well, I'm 20, about to be 21, and I'm still loving the mouse. The mouse has been very good to me. And if the world doesn't know by now, Disney is one of the biggest companies in the world. I'm sure with anything that I do, I'm always going to go to my family first. I always give them a first look, because they've given me so much.
Q: Ever thought of working on a project out here?
A: I haven't filmed in Hawaii, but I've vacationed there. I went to Hawaii when I was 16 and 17. Before then, it was my dream to get a Jeep and go to Hawaii. And for Christmas, my family and I went to Oahu, and the next Christmas we went to Maui. Oh, and I'm addicted to sugar cane. Just don't shred the sugar cane on your thigh, because you'll have a permanent mark. It will cut you!