Laura Marano is moving on from her Disney persona.
The 23-year-old actress, who stars in Netflix’s new teenage romcom The Perfect Date available to stream on April 12, is opening up about her career as she takes off her makeup for ET’s Unfilteredseries.
Although Marano started acting at age five, following the footsteps of her sister and fellow actress Vanessa, we were first introduced to the Los Angeles native via her breakout role at age 16 in Disney Channel’s hit show Austin & Ally as the titular character.
Marano loves music and the show gave her the opportunity to explore it, which she’s very thankful for. But it did come with challenges of tackling the stereotype that comes with being a Disney star.
“I kind of look at that stage with so much gratitude,” Marano told ET. “Of course there are complications and challenges that come with that, and of course there are perceptions that follow you because people have certain kind of ideas of what they think you are, of what they think you can do. And that’s hard to break away from that, but I’m so beyond grateful for that chapter of my life. I look at it with such love and such happiness because it was so, so awesome.”
She released her first debut single “Boombox” in 2016. This helped her gain confidence as a music artist outside of the show. Her newest EP, “ME,” dropped in March.
“That was a moment for me that I will always kind of take with me of, ‘Oh I can do this’ like I can be an artist and I can put myself out there, and be it if people enjoy it or not, I definitely found my confidence with that experience so that was great.”
Marano stars opposite To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before heartthrob Noah Centineo in The Perfect Date. The two reunited after five years when they worked on Austin & Ally together. The actress shared they’ve both grew up, but Centineo was still the same sweet co-star she knew from before.
“I think there’s a lot that comes with maturity and we were able to have much like deeper conversations about our lives, about relationships, about the world,” Marano said. “But at the end of the day like he was still the lovely, wonderful boy that I worked with five years prior and it was really nice to me that he hadn’t changed that much in a way of like you know he still had that warmth and that loveliness with him but of course he had matured.”
Growing up in the spotlight, Marano had her fair share of dealing with insecurity but she’s come to embrace a more positive, empowering outlook on the definition of beauty that goes beyond the surface.
“Beauty is so subjective and at the end of the day there can be something about someone that makes them beautiful that is not easy to describe,” she explained. “It’s just their essence. It’s just something in the way they hold themselves or the way they make people feel and I feel like that’s the kind of beauty we should all strive for you know at the end of the day because that’s the kind of beauty that will be more substantial and more long-lasting.”