Upside-Down Magic premiere
What: Disney Channel movie starring Flowery Branch native, Izabela Rose
When: 8 p.m. Friday, July 31
Where: Disney Channel
Izabela Rose, a 13-year-old Flowery Branch native, reached for the stars and grasped one.
Nearly two years after moving with her family from Georgia to California to pursue her passion of acting, Izabela landed her dream role as the lead of Disney Channel’s upcoming movie, “Upside-Down Magic.”
“I was teary-eyed, I couldn’t believe it,” Izabela said. “It’s just a dream come true. I’m so grateful that I get to show people that if you put in a lot of hard work, it does pay off.”
Before packing up and embarking on her journey to Los Angeles, the young starlet spent the first nine years of her life performing in pageants across the Southeast. Izabela said her interest in acting sparked around four years ago when she watched the 1939 movie, “The Little Princess,” which stars Shirley Temple.
“I realized at that moment that I got so inspired by how these actors would turn into characters and express emotions of these characters that were way different from their day to day life,” she said.
Soon afterward, Izabela was driving with her parents to Atlanta, when an open call for young actors sounded on the radio. She immediately told them that she wanted to check it out.
There, Izabela said she experienced her first taste of acting.
“We did learn that I not only fell in love with acting, but I fell in love with memorizing scripts, turning into characters and expressing emotions as these characters,” Izabela said. “After a lot of convincing, we moved to LA, and the rest is history.”
While searching for acting opportunities in California, she eventually landed an audition for Disney Channel’s upcoming movie, “Upside-Down Magic.” When she saw the description of the lead character, Nory, Izabela said she immediately fell in love with the protagonist’s enthusiastic and positive outlook on life — a personality not far from her own.
She dove into a series of auditions before making it to a chemistry reading with her co-star Siena Agudong, who plays the role of Nory’s best friend Reina. At 12 years old, Izabela booked the role of Nory.
“We instantly had an amazing connection with each other, which I love because it wasn’t like we were faking being friends, we were friends in real life,” Izabela said.
“Upside Down-Magic” follows two friends, Nory and Reina, who begin their first semester at Sage Academy, a school for magically gifted kids. Upon arrival, the students are asked to perform different tasks which will determine their class placements.
The school is divided into five magic types: Fluxers, who can shapeshift into animals; Flyers, who can fly; Flickers, who can draw objects to themselves; Flares, who can manifest and control fire; and Fuzzies, who can speak to animals.
Going into school, Nory expects to be placed in the Fluxer class. However, after failing to transform into a kitten —and instead turning into a kitten with dragon wings — Nory finds herself in a class for those with upside-down magic, also known as UDM.
UDM is composed of a group of magic-users who are looked upon as outcasts by most of Sage Academy’s staff and students. Wanting to prove they are just as valuable as their peers, Nory and her band of misfits look for ways to hone their talents.
“I’m so excited for people to see the messages in the movie of celebrating differences, self-acceptance, accepting others and true friendship,” Izabela said.
Although her character is more in line with Fluxers, Izabela said if she had to choose an ability for herself, she would lean toward the animal-communicators, Fuzzies.
“I could finally understand what my aunt’s cat is saying because she’s always meowing at me,” Izabela said, laughing.
No matter the dream she wants to accomplish, Izabela’s family has always stood firmly beside her. The young actor said her parents and siblings left their home to help her pursue acting, not knowing if she would succeed. Without their support, Izabela said she wouldn’t be where she is today.
“I wanted to become an actress, and they helped me follow that journey,” she said. “It shows how much they believe in me.”
If she could give one piece of advice to other kids who have a dream, Izabela said she would encourage them to strive for a “yes.”
“Take a million ‘no’s,’ and turn it into one ‘yes,’ and run with that that ‘yes,’” Izabela said. “No matter what you do, you are going to get rejection. You have to keep on going, and you will eventually get that ‘yes.’”
“Upside-Down Magic” will premiere at 8 p.m. Friday, July 31, on Disney Channel.