'Lab Rats' Star Kelli Berglund Breaks into Film
Get the scoop on the Disney actress' latest project and fashion-forward footsteps thus far.
With a lead role in teen show Lab Rats already under her belt, Kelli Berglund breaks into film tonight with her debut movie How to Build a Better Boy premiering on the Disney channel. While she maintains her casual-cool style while off-duty, the 18-year-old has already made some fashion-forward moves on the red carpet, thanks to her mature, glamorous aesthetic. In between all of her stylish gigs, the up-and-coming starlet stopped by our New York City office to chat about her rise to fame, former Disney role models and her evolving style.
What can you tell us about your latest project? "I play a girl named Meg Hartley. She’s a sophomore in high school and kind of geeky. I like to call her geek-chic. She has a cool sense of style to her; it’s a little vintage. Her and her best friend Gabby, played by China Anne Mcclain, are kind of the outcasts at school because of our intelligence, but it doesn’t matter to us. In the movie, I’m the kind of girl who is just very dreamy; she’s a romantic, and she just dreams about having a perfect life and boyfriend. My best friend helps me create this virtual boy online, since I'm too scared to go find an actual boyfriend, and we pretend like it's a real boy."
How would you compare your style to your character's? "My character is very unique in the way that she dresses. Since she's that dreamer and romantic kind of girl, she wears a lot of pinks, corals and floral prints. In the movie, you'll see that she likes to mix and match a lot of different kinds of patterns and frilly kinds of clothes. I'm not so girly; I of course love wearing cute dresses and sandals and things like that, but lately I've been really into keeping it simple. I will wear jeans that are cuffed at the bottom with a cute shirt and just stack a bunch of jewelry on or put a cute hat on or something. I'm just a little bit more laid-back and more about simple with statement [accents] as opposed to the whole outfit being a complete statement."
How has your style evolved since your rise to fame? "Honestly, I feel like I'm just the same girl I was before—I still lounge around in my sweats at home. [However,] I'm open to the whole fashion world, doing red carpet events, having stylists and things like that. It's definitely expanded my horizons like crazy. I love fashion; I love being a girly-girl sometimes and [wearing] makeup, and I've gained so much knowledge about all of it—just being in the industry and learning about designers that I never knew about before. It's cool because sometimes I find myself wearing things that two years ago I never would have worn, maybe because I didn't know how to or just because I was too afraid. But now, working with people and getting their opinions and seeing it on the red carpet or [runway] inspires me to decide how I want to wear it, and then it kind of works out."
Who are your style icons? “I think for street style, I would say Vanessa Hudgens and Demi Lovato each know their style and totally rock it. I love how Hudgens is so boho-vintage, wearing all these bracelets and really cool prints—I totally admire that. And Demi, even what she does with her hair, putting in different colors, and I love the hats that she wears; it's what made me [start buying similar] hats. She's really edgy, and I think the way she wears leather is really cool. For red carpet style, I'd probably have to say Blake Lively. She's just looked amazing at the past couple of things she's been at; it's like, ‘Why can't I be Blake Lively?’”
How do you feel about following in the footsteps of other former Disney stars? "I mean it depends on who we're talking about here [laughs]. If we’re talking about Miley Cyrus, I don't know if I see myself going there. But I think Hilary Duff did a really good job of being an actress and staying out of trouble. She maintained a pretty normal life and now has a kid. I really admire her for being so popular at the time and now being so secure in her life. In terms of a career, so far what Selena Gomez has been doing is really cool because she’s still doing music and acting, which is something I'd want to do one day. And especially with Demi and her music, it's like she went from camp rock to judging on X-Factor and now headlining her own tour around the world. It's crazy."
What is the most difficult part of your job? "The most difficult is dealing with haters on Twitter and social media. It's bound to happen; you can't please everyone. People are going to try to get attention just by being mean because they want to be. You see everything. You see the awesome comments from people and then you see, 'I hate you. You suck at acting.' It's so mean, and I don't understand why people do it. It's hard, but now I deal with it a little bit better and don't let it get to me as much."
What is the most rewarding part of your job? "The most rewarding is the opposite: It's the fans and just seeing their reactions. I'm really excited to see their reactions to the movie because all they've really seen me in is Lab Rats. Just getting comments or photos on Twitter or Instagram, they're so dedicated. The fact that they love what I do just as much as I love it? It's just really cool. And that's another rewarding thing: just doing what I love. I love to act, and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else. The fact that I get to do it for a living is really cool."
Tune in to How to Build a Better Boy tonight at 8pm CST on the Disney channel, and catch a sneak peek at the film below: