Secret Society of Second-Born Royals is about to arrive on Disney+. The new sci-fi fantasy premieres September 25th on Disney +. The movie stars Isabella Blake-Thomas who plays Princess January. The uber-friendly Princess January is from the Kingdom of Illyria and is part of a new class of second-born royals tasked with saving the world. Isabella stars alongside Niles Fitch, Skyler Astin, and Peyton Elizabeth Lee. This isn’t the first time Isabella has played royalty. Fans may recognize her as Young Zelena in Once Upon A Time. YEM spoke with Isabella about her life as an actress and Secret Society of Second-Born Royals.
Young Entertainment Mag: You’ve been acting since you were five. What made you want to pursue the craft at such a young age?
Isabella Blake-Thomas: My mum used to run a Theatre company in the UK so I was surrounded by the acting industry since before I could walk. I remember the moment that I decided to be an actress and it was when my mum told me that if I was an actress then I could be anything I wanted all under one job title. I loved the idea of getting to play and try new things for the rest of my life.
YEM: How have you been keeping your craft alive during these hard times?
Isabella: I’ve been working on my writing lots. I’m in the process of writing a TV show and quarantine has given me the time and space to do that. I’ve been fortunate to still get auditions to tape which means I’m learning lines and creating characters weekly. I’ve also used this time to watch some good TV shows and movies and study the actors in detail. I’m also producing and presenting a new show called Captain Gemma and the Space Pirates.
YEM: You play Princess January in your upcoming film Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. Who is January and what powers do you have?
Isabella: January is the Disney version of me. She’s bright, bubbly, happy and out going. She loves making friends and always has a positive thing to say. Her power is borrowing other people’s powers. For example, if you had the power of invisibility, I could borrow it from you.
YEM: In an age of superheroes, what was it like to portray a power-endowed princess?
Isabella: I loved getting to act with powers. The filming process for each power was super interesting so having the power to borrow powers meant I got to try everything on set. January reminded me that even though I don’t have “super powers” I have my own abilities that make me stand out and make me stronger. It’s all about believing in yourself, we all have our own superpowers.
YEM: Your character Princess January works with her fellow second-born royals to defeat their foe. Is teamwork also a big part of working in an ensemble cast like in Secret Society of Second-Born Royals?
Isabella: Definitely. We were together for two months, 7 days a week which meant we learnt everything about each other very quickly. We had to work together to make a project we were proud of and that would help teach people the value of friendship. Watching the movie back now, it makes me smile because I remember the memories we all made together while we were filming.
YEM: What was your favorite scene to shoot from Secret Society of Second-Born Royals. Can you go through the process?
Isabella: My favorite scene would be the obstacle course scene. As you’ll see in the movie, we get to run through this fantastic course filled with things to go over, under and through all whilst trying to dodge lasers and anything else that might be thrown our way! We trained a lot to get to the point of being able to run the course safely and also look like we were “newbies”. I loved being able to vault off things and slide over them. It made me feel very powerful. I am an aerialist so was excited about using those skills as January.
YEM: Any fun costumes you get to wear in Secret Society of Second-Born Royals?
Isabella: My favorite outfit of January’s is her training uniform. Every time I put it on, I felt like I become a superhero. It felt like I had the ability to do flips or run faster than sound or fly into the air. A lot of our filming days were in our training outfits so it sort of became a part of me. I loved my training boots…they made me feel super duper cool.
YEM: Were you able to take any props home from Secret Society of Second-Born Royals? What was your favorite prop to work with and why?
Isabella: I didn’t take any props off the set because they needed to keep them in case we did reshoots. I did however get to keep the back of my cast chair that says “January” on one side and “Secret Society of Second Born Royals” on the other. I loved one my dresses so much that the wardrobe department gave me the pattern for it so I can remake it. My favorite prop would be the piano I got to play. I can’t give anything away but January loves the piano as much as I do so getting to play on set was so much fun.
YEM: You started a production company with your mother, focusing on content that matters like diversity and female representation in film. How important is diversity and female representation to you as an actress and producer?
Isabella: It’s incredibly important to me. If I don’t use this opportunity to make a difference in the world then what would be the point of being in this position. I need to support my other female colleagues and I can do this by writing good roles for them and employing them in our company. I’m incredibly aware of supporting other women and “sending the elevator back.” We mentor a lot at Mother & Daughter Entertainment as well. So while making content that matters, we provide opportunities for as many people as possible.
YEM: You add singing and songwriting to your list of talents. What is the message behind your debut EP that you released in 2019? Do you wish to continue pursuing music in the future?
Isabella: My message would be that we all experience the same feelings at one time or another in our lives and it’s okay to feel them. These can be positive and negative feelings. Too often people are made to feel like their emotions are invalid but I wanted my EP to be relatable enough that anyone could connect to it, regardless of their situation. I think it’s also important that people can connect to me and my stories. Music is my way of getting my feelings out and I want other people to not be afraid to feel. My saying is “It’s okay to be not okay.”
January is the Disney version of me. She’s bright, bubbly, happy and out going.
YEM: You have credits producing, writing, and acting in films and TV. Is directing next for you?
Isabella: 100%. I love working in any job in the film industry purely because it’s my passion. I’m really looking forward to directing my first project early 2021. I think as an actress, it’s important to see all the moving parts in a movie set. During pre-production, production and post-production. My mum is a storyteller and I love seeing her passion when she works behind a camera. I can’t wait to be able to put my vision into something like she does.
YEM: If you could have your choice of superpower, what would it be?
Isabella: My super power would be teleportation because I absolutely love traveling and want to do it more. There’s something thrilling about the idea of just being able to snap your fingers and be in a different place. There are so many parts of the world that I want to see and with teleportation, I’d be able to do that instantly.