Before she starred in her own Netflix show Alexa & Katie which premiered last Friday, 19-year-old Paris Berelc channeled alien superhero Skylar Storm, in the Disney XD series Mighty Med and Lab Rats: Elite Force. For most teen starlets, a leap from Disney to Netflix often means playing overly mature, sometimes risqué roles. For Paris, the transition necessitated no such strategy—the Wisconsin-born model slash actress plays a freshman named Alexa, who is undergoing cancer treatment while trying to adjust to high school, an experience she never lived in the flesh. The progression of Paris’ acting career along with her charming LA-hasn’t-changed-me demeanor—and not to mention her billowy, sun-kissed brown locks (which, by the way, she chopped all off for her new role)—made her the obvious choice for our next Mane Muse. Calling on celebrity hairstylist Alexander Armand, who curled Paris’ lob, and from there fashioned it into three inspiring looks for a short-haired girl, our muse slipped into the guise of an 80’s supermodel. Ahead, Paris, aka Chrissy Teigen’s lookalike, talks to us about the perks of her new show, how she stays confident amid social media trolls, and what her dream job was before becoming an actress.
You’re originally from Wisconsin. How old were you when you moved to LA?
At 14 when I booked my first show on Disney. We moved out here so I could start working.
Alexa & Katie is debuting soon—how does it feel to go from being a Disney starlet to starring in your own Netflix sitcom?
It’s definitely interesting because I was really young, I’m still really young. I’m a little older, and Alexa & Katie is also a comedy so it’s fun to still be able to be fun. The show is about two best friends who are going to start high school, and it might not be what they expected. It’s really about their friendship, liking boys, fitting in, and family. I didn’t go to a real high school so it’s kind of nice to have a little high school because we do have a school dance episode. It’s fun to be 14 again and be at a fake high school.
You posted a picture on Instagram with the caption: “I think I’ve worn more wigs in the past week than I’ve cut my hair in the past 18 years.” Why all the wigs?
I was shooting an episode of [Alexa & Katie] after I cut my hair short to go in a bald cap. I wear wigs on the show because I don’t want everyone in my school to know that I have cancer, so I’d wear wigs or extensions. I never really cut my hair as a kid. I had really long hair. At first it was hard letting go of my hair because it’s helped me with insecurities that I had for myself so it was kind of like my blanket. When I cut it all off, I was like alright I really need to grow up. Once [the hairstylist] put it in a braid and cut it, I was like I like the short hair, it felt refreshing.
What’s your signature look?
I dry my hair then spray Not Your Mother’s Dry Texture Spray to give it texture. I like to use dry shampoo for volume. If I really want to do something with my hair I’ll add cute waves.
Is there any hairstyle you wish you knew how to do?
Fishtail. I can do it but poorly. They can do it where it looks really beautiful. I tried to do it for Coachella once but it ended up looking like a normal braid. I looked it up on YouTube.
What does a typical Saturday night in look like for you?
It can be so many different things. It can me just me and my friends at North Hollywood or we could actually go out. I would get dressed up for that. I honestly don’t know how to do my makeup. I had to look it up on YouTube a while ago because I didn’t know how. Or, we like having beach bonfires, maybe in a place where we’re not supposed to do it. Or we go up to Mammoth to go snowboarding. We’re actually going this weekend.
How many times do you get that you look like Chrissy Teigen?
Every time I meet someone new, they’re like you remind me of someone. [Chrissy] is beautiful, I don’t mind that compliment at all. I seriously love her. I have her cookbook.
What can we expect next from Paris?
I ask myself the same question because I really don’t know. With acting, unless you’re Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson you don’t really get to choose what you’re going to do next. Especially me, I haven’t been acting that long. I really want to get into films, doing action and stunt work because that’s what I did at my old show and I still train to do that so I’m hoping I can be a villain in a film. That would be my dream job, to be a villain. I loved Maleficent and I thought Angelina Jolie was amazing.
What advice would you give to girls trying to stay confident in the age of social media?
My thing is I don’t look at my comments. You’re going to get people who don’t like something. You can’t please everybody. My mom and grandma are actually the ones who get upset about the comments and they try to block people, and I’m like guys, it doesn’t affect me, because I don’t let it affect me. Do you, post what you want to post, be yourself, because you might as well do what makes you happy.
We may be jumping the gun when we ask this but—where do you see yourself in ten years?
I would be 29. That would be my golden birthday—do you know what that is? It’s a midwest thing. A lot of people out here don’t know what it is. I see myself living in a house with a dog and having done some films, and maybe written and produced a few of my projects and starred in them.