Fluent in English and Spanish, Isa plays piano and guitar and is the star of the Argentine Disney Channel series, “Bia”, shown in over 40 countries, including all of Latin America and Europe
Actress, singer and songwriter Isabela Souza, the first Brazilian to star in an international Disney series, is not on the artistic path just for a walk.
Born on January 13, 1998, Isabela began her career at age 14, when she took her first theater course, completing it and graduating at age 16. After four years dedicated to the stage, she debuted on the Disney Channel, one of the biggest youth entertainment channels in the world, known for launching big stars in the market, such as Ryan Gosling, Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake, Zendaya, Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato.
In 2017, she made her professional debut in the series “Juacas”, an Emmy-nominated production, playing the character Brida. In 2018, thanks also to her musical talent, Isabela 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.
Isabela is responsible for interpreting the Latin versions of the song “Speechless” (Callar/Ninguém Me Cala), the most successful original track from the live-action Aladdin, composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Oscar winners for La La Land. She sings the song that marks the moment of empowerment for Princess Jasmine, Naomi Scott’s character. The two clips, in Spanish and Portuguese, have millions of views on YouTube.
Fluent in English and Spanish, Isa plays piano and guitar and is the star of the Argentine Disney Channel series, “Bia”, shown in over 40 countries, including all of Latin America and Europe. For her role in the series in which she plays the character who gives the plot its name, she won individual awards such as ‘Best TV Actress’ at the Kids Choice Awards Mexico, and ‘Actress of the Year’ at the Lo Más Awards. The singer also has more than 325,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and more than 24 million plays on the songs sung by her.
“Disney Bia” also received collective nominations for its production: ‘Favorite Show’ at the Meu Prêmios Nick, and ‘Best Film/Television Soundtrack Album’ at the Gardel Awards, the highest award in the Argentine music industry.
Passionate about fashion and sports, Isabela, who has also worked as a model, is now preparing to take a new step, playing her first antagonist in “Uma Garota Comum”, a new Disney+ series. Isabella points out that her new work features very humanized characters and escapes the Manichaeism of good or bad. Unlike his previous work at the company, the plot addresses thorny issues that need to be talked about with a young audience.
Isabela sees the audiovisual as a powerful information tool, including for future generations, and has been one more Brazilian to spread the art of our countrymen around the world. Check out the interview!
Considered the first Brazilian to star in a Disney International series, you managed to experience both Brazilian and international dramaturgy in your career. What were the main cultural differences you felt when working in another country?
In fact, I felt little difference. Both are fun people, passionate about football and very warm. The food, yes, is very different (apart from the barbecue!). In Argentina, “media lunas” are very common, snacks that are always on Argentinean tables, just as cheese bread is on ours. It was also super rare to find beans and tropical fruits in markets and restaurants, for example, things that are common here too. But what caught my attention the most was the climatic contrast! In Buenos Aires the seasons are very marked, in autumn I literally saw the orange leaves in the streets and in winter I felt a cold that I was not used to! LOL. In Brazil, especially in Rio (where I live), it’s almost always summer. That was the main difference I noticed and I really enjoyed living this experience.
Born in the city of Belo Horizonte, in Minas Gerais, naturally, after starting at Disney, you had to leave the country and went to work in Argentina. What was it like to go through this change and what did you miss most about Brazil?
It was a mixture of anxiety to learn Spanish as quickly as possible (when I passed the test I couldn’t speak almost anything) and the emotion of realizing one of my biggest dreams. The truth is that I adapted very well to the new country, I was surrounded by a wonderful team and so happy that I couldn’t even explain! After a few months of daily Spanish classes and a lot of study, the language was no longer an issue. I really missed Brazilian food and the beaches of Rio! As I moved from Minas Gerais when I was 10, I got used to always being close to the sea, drinking coconut water and watermelon juice, haha.
In addition to being a huge power in youth entertainment, Disney was also responsible for the global launch of several artists, such as Selena Gomez, Zendaya, Bella Thorne, among others, and with you, apparently, it has not been different. How was it to be able to adapt to recognition after going through “Bia” and “Juacas”?
It was a dream come true and I always say it’s the best part of an artist’s entire job. Whenever a fan of the series came to talk to me I made my day! It is very special to receive so much affection from those who accompany us, especially when it comes to such a special project for Disney. Since Juacas I fell in love with the company and built friendships that I want to take with me forever!
To face the characters he created inside the studio, his musical talent became a great ally, whether he was interpreting the opening song of the telenovela “Así Yo Soy”, the version of the song “Ninguém Me Cala” from the live action of Aladdin and Disney’s first Latin American princess, Elena. So, how do you evaluate the participation of singing in her life?
My relationship with singing began professionally in 2018, when I started preparing myself to record Bia’s first album. Since then, I fell in love with the moments in the studio and started dreaming of my own albums. I’ve always loved writing and I really want to turn it into music, but I’m still looking for the ideal team to make this dream come true!
Disney, precisely because it is a company that conveys so much representation among young people, ends up following several examples, such as its characters having different origins or female empowerment, as was the case with the “Disney Princesses” franchise and the “I am Princess, I’m Royal”. For having conquered this position of being the first Brazilian to star in an international production of theirs, do you feel that you can also be an example for others who have this dream?
This is my desire! I feel very honored to have been the first Brazilian actress to star in a Disney International series and I really want to be able to inspire other people to chase their dreams and not give up. Disney is a company that increasingly values representativeness and diversity, and I believe that these values are very important for the new generations, I hope that we see more and more all ethnicities and nationalities portrayed in different works. I hope that my work can contribute to the construction of a more inclusive and representative narrative for young people, and that, who knows, I can be a reference for other actors and actresses who want to pursue an international career. Conquering this leading position was the result of hard work and dedication, but persistence is very important.
This is not the first time that the channel has invested in Latin American productions, and in addition to the huge success of “Bia”, the channel has already made other soap operas such as “Sou Luna” and “Violetta”. In your opinion, what explains the success that these productions have had and especially the movement they promote with children and young people?
I believe that these productions have been so successful with children and young people because they address topics that are very relevant for this age group, such as first love, the search for identity and facing challenges at school and in social life. In addition, the series have a musical bias, with characters who are talented singers and dancers, which makes the experience even more immersive and exciting for viewers. But what I think is most beautiful is that productions like this can be a source of reference and inspiration for young people, who can identify with characters who face the same challenges and dilemmas as them, and learn from the lessons that are transmitted through the stories. . Soap operas can also influence the formation of young people’s musical and artistic taste, encouraging them to explore new forms of expression and broaden their cultural horizons. It’s inspiring for me to be a part of it!
As a result of the great talent you’ve shown on screen, you’ve already won two awards for best actress at the Kids Choice Awards Mexico and at the Lo Más Awards, both for “Bia”. How was it to receive this recognition from the public and what do you think Bia represents in your life today?
Winning Favorite Actress was extremely exciting for me. I grew up watching KCA, and seeing myself in that place was inexplicable. I can only feel gratitude and love for each fan of the series! For me, “Bia” represents a very special moment in my life and career. It was a very challenging and meaningful job, in which I learned a lot about myself and my craft. It was a real privilege!
I hope that this project represents a milestone in my professional career in the future, and that I can continue to challenge myself and explore new possibilities in my career. The series and the affection from viewers motivate me more and more to seek new challenges and to always evolve as an actress and person.
More recently, you ended up winning the role of playing your first antagonist on the Disney Plus series “An Ordinary Girl”. What was it like to make this transition from a young protagonist to a villain?
It was super rewarding to be able to experience a new layer of acting and move into a completely different role than I had done before. I had the wonderful Marina Medeiros as my coach, who helped me find the personality and depth of my character as a realistic and often persuasive antagonist. It was really cool to explore a different side of myself as an actress, embracing every challenge that came with building Vic.
Also, during my Victoria studies, I found it very interesting to observe how different people have different reasons for acting the way they do. This helped me to understand the human being a little better as a complex and multifaceted being, and especially to reflect on our deepest motivations.
Really different from the soap opera, this series brings something more humanized, addressing more serious subjects, but which still fit with the young audience. What are the main messages that you believe that “An Ordinary Girl” can transmit to the public?
The series brings many messages that move me a lot, but the main thing is love for family and our very essence. I can’t spoil it, but it’s a story that inspires us not to be afraid to go back to our roots whenever necessary and find ourselves again with our purpose.
Also, it’s a story that talks a lot about forgiveness and second chances: not only within relationships, but also with ourselves. I love following my character’s growth process during the plot and I’m super excited to share everything with the audience!
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