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Former Disney Child Star Recalls Feeling “Uncomfortable” During Kiss Scenes on Show

alyson stoner dear hollywood kiss
Credit: Disney; Alyson Stoner, Instagram

Former Disney star Alyson Stoner shared uncomfortable experiences they had while filming the Disney Channel show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

The former child star, who, like many others who have worked with the Walt Disney Company, like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and Miley Cyrus, has reported how difficult it can be to work with Hollywood studios at such a young age. In a new podcast entitled Dear Hollywood, Stoner explains the ways in which Hollywood exploits and destroys the future of young child stars.

suite life of zack and cody cast

The cast of ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ / Credit: Disney

Read More: Former Disney Child Star Promises To “Expose Hollywood”

In a recent Dear Hollywood podcast episode, Stoner—who uses they/them pronouns—explained the pressure of having their first kiss onscreen as a child actor.

“Writers and executives might decide to make your character do anything on the next episode, and it’s assumed that you’re going to agree to whatever scripted,” Alyson Stoner said. “My first kiss and several of the times I experienced kissing all happened on camera.”

Stoner shared the story of how they were told they were going to kiss Cole and Dylan Sprouse, the stars of the Disney Channel show, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

“I felt young and uncomfortable but I was already under contract and I didn’t want to be difficult especially because I’m only a recurring role, like closer to a guest star than a lead with less clout.”

Stoner also explained they felt uncomfortable saying no to the role because they had already signed the contract as Max and filmed one episode as the character. They said they justified it themself as being part of the job of an actor.

“I felt like, ‘This is part of my job. I chose to act and audition for this project. It’s only a character.’ So in that way, I justified like, ‘OK, I can have my kiss here and then I’ll have my own separate first kiss at some point.'”

Stoner’s podcast explores the ways in which Hollywood can be exploitative of child actors in the industry, and the episode where they went into their first kiss was one in which they explored how bodily autonomy is often taken away from children.

The star detailed one horrifying experience, “When I was ten, someone walked in on me using the restroom and demanded I take a photo while I was peeing,” they recalled. “And I froze in embarrassment and fear. I said something like ‘Please let me finish first, and then we can do this outside.’ I don’t think they felt great about their own reaction and behavior, but something came over them. And not wanting to be troublesome or leave a bad impression, I walked out with a smile and took the photo.”

It’s certainly a shocking reality for young children who often begin working to try and support their families—think like Selena Gomez.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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