Oh snap! It’s been nearly two decades since That’s So Raven premiered on Disney Channel. The show featured three best friends, played by Raven-Symoné, Anneliese van der Pol, and Orlando Brown, as they navigate teenage life. However, was nearly very different, because van der Pol had another Disney role in the works. But the actors’ chemistry made it happen.
Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol starred in ‘That’s So Raven’
(L-R): Anneliese van der Pol as Belle and Raven-Symone during Raven-Symone’s visit to the set of Beauty and the Beast on Broadway at the Lunt Fontanne Theater July 6, 2007 in New York City, New York. | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic
Raven-Symoné and van der Pol met when they were just 15. According to ET Online, the duo met on set when they both auditioned for the show, then called Absolutely Psychic. (The show would go through a series of name changes before becoming That’s So Raven.)
Of their first meeting, van der Pol said she and Raven-Symoné “instantly connected.” “Right in the moment, we asked each other honest questions while waiting in that green room in this audition,” she shared. “That’s continued, an honest relationship, a business relationship, but also a friendship relationship which comes first.”
Raven-Symoné and van der Pol seemingly became both on-screen and off-screen friends overnight. Fans will remember that Raven-Symoné starred as Raven Baxter, the main character of the series with unique psychic abilities. The character’s ditsy best friend was Chelsea Daniels, played by van der Pol. Interestingly enough, this dynamic almost never came to fruition as Raven-Symoné originally auditioned for Chelsea. And van der Pol had a different Disney Channel show in the works.
van der Pol chose ‘That’s So Raven’ over ‘Kim Possible’
Disney’s popular animated action series Kim Possible was another early 2000s hit. As it turns out, van der Pol had actually been given the opportunity to voice the titular lead. According to Ms Mojo, That’s So Raven show producers had already decided to cast a different young actress in the role of Chelsea Daniels. However, after casting Raven-Symoné as the lead character and seeing her chemistry with van der Pol, they decided to offer the role of Chelsea to van der Pol instead.
In order to play Chelsea, van der Pol turned down Kim Possible. Of course, this led to Disney Channel star Christy Carlson Romano taking over. This decision also created the iconic Disney duo of Raven and Chelsea that fans came to love and adore. It seems everything worked out for the best, as Raven-Symoné and van der Pol are still besties over two decades later.
Raven-Symoné and van der Pol reunited for ‘Raven’s Home’
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Disney Channel fans know that That’s So Raven isn’t the only show that van der Pol and Raven-Symoné have worked on together over the years. The dynamic duo actually reunited on Disney in 2017 for the spinoff of That’s So Raven called Raven’s Home. The pair played alongside each other for the first four seasons of the show. But despite van der Pol’s absence from Raven’s Home Season 5, the actors still share a special bond.
“I think we’ve done such a splendid job of staying friends, remaining friends, remaining respectful and loving each other while also teaching each a lot, and helping each other grow, and bringing out the best of each other,” van der Pol explained with regard to Raven-Symoné. “That doesn’t mean everything goes perfectly all the time, but it always ends up perfectly. I just think it’s going to be a lifelong friendship. I think we’re going to be 60 years old doing this.”
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