Bella Thorne is making a splash on the Disney Channel’s new “Shake It Up!” – in fact, the network is banking on the fetching 13-year-old becoming a breakout star as Miley Cyrus moves on into adulthood. Thorne tells us that, along with the high jinks of the comedy, in which she plays a teen backup dancer on a fictional TV program called and “Shake It Up Chicago,” there’ll be a few serious moments ahead on the show. “We deal with teen issues like having friends, and dealing with learning disabilities.” Her character, CeCe Jones, she says, “is dyslexic, like me.
“She just, like, tries her best to stay in school, to stay on the show. Sometimes it’s really challenging. Sometimes she handles it kind of rough.”
How does Bella handle it? Does she have someone read lines with her?
“I do that with my brother sometimes. I do it with my mother. She will say a line, read a word, and say ‘That’s how it’s supposed to be pronounced.’”
Bella is glad that her series alter ego is dealing successfully – albeit not always easily — with her learning challenge. She says, “I would love to reach out to kids with dyslexia, or actually any learning disability. When I found out that CeCe has it, I thought, ‘That’s a great way to show that it’s normal.’ Kids can see how she works through it. Her mom is encouraging her, helping her out with it. She has to balance her school with work and friends and do good in school in order to stay on ‘Shake It Up Chicago.’” She adds, “These characters on the show, they’re not perfect, they’re real-life kids. They get in trouble. They get grounded.”
The actress tells us that the character’s condition was never specifically spelled out up front. The casting breakdown said, “’CeCe struggles for C’s in school.’ It is a big part of her life like it is mine. I have to deal with it every day. School work is not really my thing. It’s hard, but you just get through it.”