Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Neal
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: RidiculouslyExtraordinary. Posted by Ryan Neal
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, High School Musical, Phineas & Ferb
Currently Known For:
Actress, Voice Actress, Singer and Model
2000s - Present
July 2, 1985
The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, High School Musical, Phineas & Ferb
“I’ve had a normal life, but I have struggled to get here. It hasn’t been handed to me and it hasn’t been easy.” Ashley Tisdale launched her career as a child actress and model in 1988 when she landed the first of over 100 commercial and advertising gigs. Before long, she ventured into television and found mainstream success on the Disney Channel as Maddie Fitzpatrick in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. The Disney series skyrocketed Tisdale to fame and, after spending three seasons on the show from 2005 to 2008, she landed another leading role as Sharpay Evans in High School Musical in 2006.
Reprising her role in High School Musical 2 (2007) and High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008), Tisdale cashed in on the films’ success and launched her music career when she signed on with Warner Bros. Records. She released her debut album, Headstrong, in 2007 and followed up with her second album, Guilty Pleasure, in 2009. In the decade since then, the 33-year-old Tisdale returned to television and film with Miss Advised (2012), which she also produced, Scary Movie 5 (2013), Clipped (2015), and Young & Hungry (2014-2018), which she executive produced. Now working on her third studio album, Symptoms, as well as launching her production company and several clothing and beauty lines, let’s take a closer look at Tisdale’s journey to fortune and fame as well as her passion for giving back!Early Life and Career
“I’ve always wanted to be sure my parents approve of what I do.” Ashley Michelle Tisdale came into this world on July 2, 1985, in Monmouth County, New Jersey. When she was three years old, she was discovered by talent manager Bill Perlman at a local mall. Perlman signed the youngster and sent her on the first of many auditions. Before long, Tisdale had over 100 commercials and advertisements to list on her resume. While she was certainly thrilled with the work, Tisdale dreamed of taking the stage. “When I was little, I saw the play Les Misérables on Broadway,” Tisdale recalled. “ I thought it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen, so I went to my manager and told him I wanted to be in it.”
After appearing in productions of Gypsy: A Musical Fable and The Sound of Music at Monmouth County’s Jewish Community Center, the eight-year-old Tisdale got her wish when she was cast as Cosette in Les Misérables. She spent the next two years with the production before she landed a role in the touring production of Annie in Korea. Following her time abroad, she returned to the United States where she sang for President Bill Clinton during an event at the White House. By then, her parents were certain that Hollywood could offer even more for their young actress, which is what led them to move the entire family to the West Coast.
Once in Los Angeles, Tisdale’s career flourished as she landed minor roles in episodes of 7th Heaven (1997) and Smart Guy (1997). She signed on as a model with Ford Models and lent her voice to animated films like A Bug’s Life (1998) and An All Dogs Christmas Carol (1998). Two years later, she joined the cast of Boston Public and earned a Young Artist Award nomination for her performance on the popular Fox series. Adding in a handful of appearances in Donnie Darko (2001) and The Mayor of Oyster Bay (2002), Tisdale balanced her career with her schoolwork and life at home. “I was always in regular school and I worked in clothing stores growing up,” Tisdale said. “I didn’t ‘make it’ until I was 18, so I had already graduated public school. I definitely feel like I had the best of both worlds.”Catching Her Big Break: Film and Music
“I’m living out my dreams and I love what I do.” Tisdale caught her first big break in 2005 when she was cast as Maddie Fitzpatrick on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. She spent three seasons on the show and earned a Nickelodeon UK Kids’ Choice Award for her performance before the series was canceled in 2008. Fortunately, Tisdale landed on her feet and made her breakthrough in film as Sharpay Evans in High School Musical (2006). With the film becoming Disney’s biggest hit of the year, Tisdale was soon a household name as she lent her voice to the film’s soundtrack, which sold over three million copies throughout the United States.
Thanks to hits like “What I’ve Been Looking For,” a duet with costar Lucas Grabeel, Tisdale found her footing as a singer with the single marking her first hit on the Billboard Hot 100. She went on tour with High School Musical: The Concert from 2006 to 2007 and signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. Shortly after, she released her debut album, Headstrong, in early 2007 to critical acclaim. Hits like “He Said She Said” boosted the album’s sales and earned it a number five debut on the Billboard 200. By then, Tisdale’s confidence was sky-high as she launched Blonde Girl Productions in 2008 and made her debut as a producer in the 2008 television film, Picture This.
Amid launching her production company and trying her hand as a producer, Tisdale wrapped up her role in High School Musical 3: Senior Year in 2008 and earned an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female Performance. Praised as Hollywood’s newest young star to watch, she made her way back to television in 2010 on The CW drama Hellcats, which was canceled after the first season. From there, Tisdale lent her voice to characters on Family Guy and The Cleveland Show and made the rounds with special appearances in Raising Hope (2011), Sons of Anarchy (2012), The Crazy Ones (2013), and Super Fun Night (2013-2014).
Returning to the producer’s chair in Cloud 9 (2014), Tisdale saw her producing career take a new turn in 2014 when she starred in and produced Young & Hungry. “I’ve had the company Blondie Girl for around eight years. When I first started, I just knew I wanted to produce because I have a lot of ideas,” Tisdale said. “So, I teamed up with a producing partner and through the years I learned as a producer. Young & Hungry is one of the first scripted shows out of the company and it’s been really successful. We’re going into season four right now. I really found my voice there because we were producing a lot of unscripted stuff. I just really grabbed onto it because I grew up in that world. Being a producer is just being hands-on from the very beginning to the end. It’s not just creating a character.”
Tisdale returned to the silver screen in Scary Movie 5 (2013), Playing It Cool (2014), and in Amateur Night (2016), the latter of which cast her as a prostitute opposite Jason Biggs. Of course, the risqué role shocked many of Tisdale’s fans. “I always love challenging myself as an actress and in this part of my life right now, I just like to do things that people don’t expect from me,” Tisdale said of the role. “So, when I heard about the character, Fallon, that she is a real person who is a prostitute and who was saying that the women weren’t victims… it was their business and that it was very much the card that they were dealt and they decided to be businesswomen about it. Fallon is grungy and a rocker. So, I drew on the music of singer and rapper Kesha. I listened to her music before I got to set and it brought me into that moment.”Life Today
“I’m so grateful for what Disney gave me and the experiences that I got, but at the end of the day, I can do so much more than what I did on that channel and in those movies.” Proving she’s more than a former Disney Channel princess with films like Amateur Night, Tisdale continues to extend her reach and has dabbled in everything from film production and music to serving as Creative Director of Signorelli. Accepting the role in 2015, she launched a clothing line with the company in 2016 and oversaw the spring 2017 sportswear line. “Signorelli has been allowing me to be free and to be the creative director,” Tisdale said. “Just the fact that I was like, ‘I think we need to change up the logo,’ and it was me on a computer just playing with different fonts. I found this brush stroke font and I loved it, and so they were just like, ‘Okay.’”
Tisdale says there’s a lot of work behind everything she’s done as an actress, model, singer, and spokesperson. “There’s a lot of hard work that comes with everything that I do. Anything that I’ve endorsed in the past, it’s always something that I use, or needs to make sense,” she says. “I’m not just going to put my name on something, but specifically with the clothing and with the makeup and obviously production, it’s a piece of me.” That hard work certainly came to the forefront of her beauty line, Illuminate, which she launched in 2016 in collaboration with BH Cosmetics. “If I’m going to put my name on something, it has to be something that comes from me,” Tisdale said. “I’m a very creative person. I have a production company—Blondie Girl. I have The Haute Mess, which is like an editorial site, and I am now a creative director of Signorelli… I like to do a lot of things and that’s just because, as an actress, we really are kind of at the whim of other people. I love coming up with ideas, whether that’s shows or whether that’s makeup…”
Apart from her numerous projects and her impact on the fashion industry, Tisdale resumed work on her third studio album, Symptoms, in 2016 and promises fans a 2019 release. She is also incredibly active in philanthropy and spends a lot of her time and energy working with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital alongside her husband, singer Christopher French, whom she married in 2014. “My aunt passed away from cancer, my grandma survived breast cancer, and I know a lot of people who have had their parents go through it, but to see children go through that is really hard,” Tisdale said. “My husband and I went there two years ago and we made cookies with the kids. I love to visit with them and bring their spirits up. Just a couple of months ago we went back and one of the little boys who was going through chemo two years ago was walking out cancer-free. I didn’t recognize him at first and he was just like, ‘Hey, I made the cookies with you…’ He was so healthy and beautiful, just so sweet and happy and positive.”
When she’s not busy working with St. Jude’s Hospital or with other organizations like the Make a Wish Foundation or Habitat for Humanity, Tisdale spends her time with her husband making music videos for YouTube that have turned her into a social media icon. Don’t believe us? The former Disney princess took home the 2014 Social Media Superstar Award at the Young Hollywood Awards!
As for what’s next in her career, the sky is certainly the limit for the 33-year-old. Most recently, she’s opened up about her ongoing battle with depression and anxiety as well as its influence on her music and her upcoming album. “I wanted to make someone at home feel less alone in their journey. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s scary but I think that it’s important to share what I’ve been through and say that I’m human and I go through those things too,” she says. “Sometimes, this world can be really dark and the whole point of this album is that you need to be your own light and you need to get yourself through it. It really is a journey.” For now, fans are anxiously waiting for Tisdale to wrap up her most recent journey in the studio with Symptoms!