Actress became known for having become the first Brazilian protagonist in an international Disney production, she will play her first villain in the series “Uma Garota Comum”, also from the company
The first Brazilian to star in an international Disney series, actress, singer and songwriter Isabela Souza is definitely not on the artistic walk and is now preparing for a more adult phase in her career. Responsible for interpreting the Latin versions of the song “Speechless” (Callar/Ninguém Me Cala), the most successful original track of the live-action Aladdin (composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Oscar winners for La La Land), Isabela sings the song that marks the moment of empowerment of Princess Jasmine, Naomi Scott’s character. The two clips, in Spanish and Portuguese, account for almost 20 million views on Youtube.
Fluent in English and Spanish, Isa plays piano and guitar, and is the star of the phenomenon “Bia”, an Argentine Disney Channel series shown in over 40 countries, including all of Latin America and Europe. As a result of the success of the work, the Minas Gerais native, born in 1998, became a name of great notoriety among young audiences and won individual awards such as ‘Best TV Actress’, at the Kids Choice Awards Mexico, and ‘Actress of the Year’, at the Lo Más Awards, both for her role in the series in which she plays the character who gives the plot its name. The singer also has more than 325,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and has more than 24 million plays on the songs she sings.
Her professional debut took place in the series ‘Juacas’, in 2017, an Emmy-nominated production in which she played the character Brida. Already in 2018, thanks also to her musical talent, she gave voice to the first Latin American princess of the Mickey Mouse company, playing Elena in the song “Minha Vez”, from the series Elena de Avalor. At the moment, she is preparing to debut in the series “Uma Garota Comum”, playing her first villain. Check out the interview!
Since the release of “Bia”, you have become the first Brazilian to star in a series of international Disney productions. What was it like to take that responsibility and deal with the transformations that this opportunity brought to your life?
It was a dream come true. I was always aware of the size of the responsibility I would carry but deep down I knew I would be prepared, you know? Of course, sometimes I felt nervous, anxious… but it was a process of intense growth and a lot of happiness! I really miss Argentina and everything I experienced there, the lessons I learned made me grow in every way, as a person and an artist.
As an international reference in entertainment, The Walt Disney Company is present all over the world. What is it like to be a Brazilian participating in this casting and what meaning can this investment in production generate in terms of benefits not only for dramaturgy, but also for Brazilian culture itself?
It is an honor to be part of the Disney cast. When I made Juacas in 2016 I gained a new family, and since then we have never been apart! For example, Ju Vonlanten, who directed me in Juacas, also directed me in Uma Garota Comum, both Disney projects. Eike Duarte, who has also been my friend since Juacas, is in the cast of UGC (Uma Garota Comum) and ended up becoming a brother to me. We always remember all the stories lived since our beginnings at Disney and it’s super exciting.
I think it’s beautiful to see Brazil playing such wonderful productions at Disney. Not only An Ordinary Girl, but also several others that are already on the air and some that premiere this year. “O Coro”, for example, is a beautiful series starring two friends who played Bia with me, Gabi and Rhener. And I love seeing such talented Brazilians shining on Disney screens!
In addition to acting, another very significant project where she worked in the Brazilian and Latin versions was the dubbing of the song “Ninguém Me Cala” or “Callar” in the Latin version. This song, in addition to showing the strength that Jasmine carried in Aladdin (2019), was also full of empowerment. What was it like to voice such a strong song?
I was very emotional from the moment they told me that I would interpret these songs! It has always been a dream to be on the soundtrack of a production of this magnitude and voicing the Brazilian and Latin versions of Speechless was a milestone for me. I remember being on Bia’s set, before the song was released, and some castmates came to tell me that they had already heard it in the studio and were very moved. It was something unforgettable!
At the moment, in addition to Portuguese, you speak fluent English and Spanish, and in addition to acting, you sing and play the piano and guitar. How was the birth of art in you and how do you see yourself today?
Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a model, I loved to photograph, pose, walk the runway… at age 11 I started my first modeling course and continued studying until I delved deeper into acting techniques. That’s where I fell in love with the profession! I really want to continue immersing myself in the studies of dramaturgy and music. But I confess that there is no better teacher than the movie set! With each character I was able to learn a lot, and my greatest desire is to continue bringing new stories to life and collecting more and more luggage from each one of them.
In addition to interpreting the characters, even more in the generation of social networks and globalization, we know that the repercussion they generate is gigantic, in addition to the incredible speed that popularity reaches. Such roles (and her talent, obviously) have already earned her awards such as “Best TV Actress” at the KCA Mexico and Los Más Awards. At first, did you imagine that art could give you everything you have today? When did you find out what was going on?
I always dreamed big, yes, but I confess that the moment I won the first prizes it was unbelievable. I’ve been following the KCA since I was a little girl and being there, competing and winning, was really exciting! But the strongest moments for me, when I really realized what was happening, was when I left the studios in Argentina and found dozens of fans of the series waiting for us, many times with letters and gifts made by themselves for us. Having this contact and affection from those who accompany us was everything!
Its success also expands into music, where its reproductions already reach a total of 24 million. In your life, has music always gone hand in hand with dramaturgy? What came first and what is the importance of developing such a wide range of talents?
The acting came first! I started working with music already in the Bia series, when I had my first vocal coach, Ezequiel Fernanz, who helped me evolve super fast to start recording songs in Spanish. Since the beginning of the recordings I fell in love with being in a music studio. I want to continue developing my musical side and maybe release my own music one day!
It is extremely important to develop various areas of the arts. Singing, dancing, playing, acting, dubbing… nowadays the opportunities are many and the productions are more and more complete, full of music and other forms of expression! An inspiration and motivation for us artists.
Before making your television debut, you spent a few years in the theater. Do you miss being more present on stage?
I took a few years of theater course but only one play. It was a great experience but I confess that my place is on the film set, haha! I am fascinated by everything that can be created with cameras, cuts, special effects, in short… when I enter the set I feel that I am in my place. But of course, if a nice opportunity arises and a role that interests me, I would love to return to the stage.
In 2022 I was able to make a lot of friends who work with musical theater and the ability of body expression that theater gives us is impressive. I really want to study more about it, but my biggest passion is still television and cinema.
The Disney Channel is one of the channels most watched by children and young people. How do you consider your relationship with this audience to be and what else did you learn from this relationship? Does dealing with the adult crowd make a big difference in performance and public image?
I LOVE this audience! I always loved children and I remember when Bia debuted… Many children loved the series and always came to talk to us when they met us. It’s the best part of the job! Seeing the little ones being inspired by the characters, learning what the characters did (for example: my character Bia loved to draw and I always got beautiful drawings as gifts from the children) is wonderful! Dealing with the adult crowd is also a great experience. These days scripts are more and more openly addressing current issues, and that’s great!
In addition to “Bia”, you were in the series “Juacas” in 2017, which ended up being nominated for an Emmy. When you played Brida, what was the atmosphere like backstage and had you ever come into contact with anything in the world of surfing?
Was a dream! We had all just left school, I even turned 18 the day we moved to Florianopolis to start preparations! We moved into Teco Padaratz’s house and spent a few months immersed in the world of surfing. I really miss that time, it was unforgettable and to this day I take with me the friendships I built.
Before Juacas, I had taken some surf lessons, but I went deeper in Florianópolis with our teacher Guga Arruda, who prepared us perfectly for the scenes at sea.
Regarding representation, in 2018, you voiced Disney’s first Latin American princess, Elena of Avalor. How do you see the importance of this diversity, especially when it comes to princesses who have so many ties in children’s childhood?
It’s beautiful to see how children are inspired by the characters they love. And it’s an honor to be able to be part of projects that will always be part of the memory of those who watch, you know? This excites me and motivates me a lot to do an even better job and with all my love, bringing inclusion and respect to everything I do. As I said earlier, being part of the lives of children and young people who watch us is the best part!
Although many details are still under wraps, we already know that your new project will feature you as an antagonist. How are the expectations for living the experience of the new type of character and should Isabela herself be seen with an unprecedented profile by the public?
I’m super excited for the release of An Ordinary Girl. My trainer for Victoria was Marina Medeiros, who also prepared me for Juacas, so we can do a super deep and special job. It was beautiful to play my first antagonist and Vic is a character unlike anything I’ve played before! Super popular, focused, strong-willed and ready to stand up for her dreams. Despite making many mistakes during the story, Vic matures a lot over the course of the plot and this is one of my favorite parts of her trajectory. I hope to be able to share more details soon, lol!
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