You’ve seen her on the Disney Channel. You’ve seen her in music videos. You may have even heard her inspiring single “Be You…” is there anything this triple threat Cassidey Fralin can’t do?
Fralin began her acting career at age 8, and attributes her love for the industry to her passions for storytelling and reading. Her credits include roles hit sitcoms such as black-ish, and The Big Bang Theory, with her most recognizable role as “Alisha” Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max. The dynamic performer can also be seen in Maroon 5‘s music video for “What Lovers Do” as well as BET‘s movie We Belong Together and Always and Forever now streaming on Amazon.
When she isn’t in front of the camera, Fralin can be found writing music with her ukulele, experimenting with 90’s fashion, or working on “[her] Korean video projects that [she] forces [her cast mates] to participate in.” Her team even shared with us that she is interested in social justice, medicine, and working with charities involved in helping children and the elderly.
Back in April, Sydney to the Max aired their episode titled “The Hair Switch Project” which Fralin’s character Alisha was featured in. The budding actress took to Instagram at the time to share the importance of the episode, and it’s addressing of microagressisions.
The episode is crucial in Disney’s redemption of inclusivity, and Fralin expresses her excitement to be apart of it. She highlighted that this episode did “a fantastic job of acknowledging the complicated relationship that many Black women have with their natural hair, the value of both white allyship and spaces made by and for Black women, and finally, the importance of accepting and celebrating our hair in all its natural beauty.”
Celeb Secrets chats with the young actress (virtually) to discuss her role on Sydney to the Max and what it’s like behind-the-scenes with cast members Ruth Righi, Ava Kolker, Jackson Dollinger, and Christian J. Simon, inclusivity on television, and her artistic interests. Check out the full Q&A below and let us know if you love seeing Cassidey on Sydney to the Max by either leaving a reaction at the bottom of the post or by sending us a tweet at @celebsecrets.
You can also connect with Cassidey by giving her a follow at @iamcassidey.
Celeb Secrets: What inspired you to get into acting at such a young age?
Cassidey Fralin: “My answer to this question is really simple: I have always loved stories and storytelling so much, and acting is a way for me to share stories with others in a way that feels as true to life as possible. Thanks to my early love of reading, I’m well aware of the responsibilities that actors have to embody the characters that readers and authors have so lovingly imagined and I am always super excited when I get a chance to communicate my interpretation of a character to an audience.”
CS: What was going through your head when you landed your recurring role on Disney Channel’s hit show Sydney to the Max?
CF: “I was beyond thrilled to receive a role on Sydney to the Max! Since the show is split between parallel narratives taking place in the 1990s and the present day, I was a little bit nervous to play the past incarnation of a character that had known all the present-day characters. I knew my portrayal of Alisha would have a ripple effect on how the audience conceived of not just Alisha, but her daughter Sydney, especially since Alisha passes away before the show’s timeline begins. However, I was extremely excited for the challenge and honored to be chosen for the role.”
CS: You play Young Alisha in Sydney to the Max, what is one thing about your character that us fans might find surprising?
CF: “One thing about Alisha is that she is extremely clever. She is able to map out exactly how she wants situations to play out and their end result. It isn’t until she moves into town with her cousin Leo, who isn’t her #1 fan at the start, that she realizes not everything will go as planned. It has been really exciting to see how young Alisha works to navigate through various situations with the addition of having Leo and young Max constantly in her presence!”
CS: Could you walk us through the episode called “The Hair Switch Project?” Why is this specific episode important to you and what message do you want the fans to learn from it?
CF: “‘The Hair Switch Project’ is so important to me because it traces the hair journey of three generations of Black women — my character’s mother, who has always relaxed her hair and my character’s for the sake of appearing ‘professional;’ my character, who struggles with the idea that she must deny her Blackness to, as she puts it, “fit in with white people”; and Sydney, who is biracial and has had her hair straightened by her white father and grandmother ever since my character’s death. All three women visit the same hair salon throughout the episode, which I think really speaks to the way that Black women build a community around caring for our hair and ourselves. I love this episode as I think it does a fantastic job of acknowledging the complicated relationship that many Black women have with their natural hair, the value of both white allyship and spaces made by and for Black women, and finally, the importance of accepting and celebrating our hair in all its natural beauty – all in twenty minutes and all on a Disney show broadcast to thousands and thousands of households. The nice thing about the episode is that, if you watch it, you’ll know what to take away: listen to Sydney, listen to Alisha, pay attention to the nuances of their experiences, feel validated and uplifted if those experiences are yours, and feel educated (and inspired to listen to more Black women) if you are not.
CS: Do you believe “The Hair Switch Project” is a transformative moment for Disney Channel? How does it feel to be a part of a community that is a leading force in the media landscape?
CF: “I really do believe that “The Hair Switch Project” is a transformative moment for Disney Channel, because Disney is taking an unequivocal stance about a topic that could potentially chase away some customers that just aren’t ready to see Black joy and beauty celebrated on screen! I am so humbled that I got to be a part of this paradigm shift, and grateful that Disney gave us the opportunity to share the truest version of this story. Also, thank you to our fans — you were the ones who communicated to Disney that you were ready for more diversity on screen, and I hope “The Hair Switch Project” shows you that the media is ready to listen.”
CS: We love your costars Jackson Dollinger, Ava Kolker, and Ruth Righi — what has been your favorite memory on set with them?
CF: “Ava, Ruth, Jackson, Christian, and I all have one thing in common, and that is our shared love for the arts. At lunch every day, we blast SZA, Giveon, and of course, Justin Bieber and sing our hearts out. I love them all so much and our daily jamming sessions.”
CS: Have you learned anything from your co-stars while filming the Disney Channel show?
CF: “I have learned from my co-stars that it is 100% possible to have a blast while at work. Whether it’s my Korean video projects that I force them all to participate in, our lunchtime SZA fan girl sessions, or Grey’s Anatomy watch parties, they always have my back and are there to make me laugh!”
CS: You were a part of Maroon 5’s music video for “What Lovers Do,” what was it like to work with the band – especially Adam Levine?
CF: “I really enjoyed appearing in the “What Lovers Do” music video. It was one of my first experiences being in front of a camera on such a big project and having to run freely around – appearing uninhibited while internally I was awed at the scale and at getting to work with stars like Mr. Levine and SZA (a true goddess).”
CS: We know you are a triple threat, but out of dancing, singing, and acting, which one are you most passionate about and why?
CF: “That’s a tricky question! I’d have to say that I am most passionate about acting, because as an actor I can stay as true to life as possible. My goal is to portray any specific situation so convincingly that the viewer can feel the universal emotion undergirding the scene: you may not have pleaded with your mother not to relax your hair for Picture Day, but you may well have felt that adults were preventing you from being your truest self.
However, music and dance and school can also tap into and allow us to fully express our deepest emotions, so I am reluctant to rank any of those passions before I simply say that acting, music, and dance are different ways of getting to the same place and I love doing them all.”
CS: Your hit single “Be You” is such an inspiring track – could we expect any new music from you anytime soon?
CF: “I’m always writing music with my ukulele. As a matter of fact, I’ve got hundreds of song ideas recorded in my phone’s Voice Memos app. I’m just deciding on a time to finalize them all and release them to the world to see.”
CS: What else can we expect from you in 2021?
CF: “Well, with a rigorous course load lined up for next year, I’m going to have to refine my time management skills! But I am currently auditioning for all sorts of projects, exercising my passion for dance at any opportunity, going live on my Instagram, and recording ukulele songs for what will maybe, possibly, hopefully, eventually be a full-length album not in my Voice Memos app. Stay tuned, because I love to stay as busy as possible!”
CS: Since we are Celeb Secrets – Do you have any secrets from filming Sydney to the Max that we wouldn’t know?
CF: “I am a huge fan of ’90s fashion, so if you see me wearing some absolutely amazing green foam sneakers that wouldn’t be out of place on young Alisha, know that our fantastic wardrobe department was kind enough to scoop them straight from Alisha’s feet onto mine.”