Navia Robinson is a breakout star from Disney Channel. She stars as Nia, Raven’s daughter, in the hit show “Raven’s Home.” The show is currently in its second season, and just aired a musical episode on Friday. But that’s not all that’s in store for Navia. YEM spoke with the young starlet about her new Netflix project and being a part of the Disney Channel family.
Young Entertainment Mag: Were you a familiar with That’s So Raven before you auditioned for Raven’s Home?
Navia Robinson: I have two older brothers, one being thirty and the other being twenty-six, and they watched That’s So Raven, of course, when they were around my age and we’d always watch reruns of the show together, me and my four older brothers. So, I was previously a fan of That’s So Raven before I knew of the second one.
YEM: What’s it like to work with Raven Symoné after seeing her on TV for so many years?
Navia: Its great, you know, it’s interesting because after an amount of time working together as long as we have, it doesn’t feel like she is this character who I’ve seen on TV, it just feels natural and that it’s a cast mate. It’s somebody who you consider family, so I don’t think of her as Raven Symoné, the iconic actress you see on the throwback Disney Channel show, I think of her as my family.
YEM: It seems like you guys as a cast have such a great relationship together, so since your character is a twin, how did you develop that twin relationship or that twin connection with Isaac Brown, who plays your brother?
Navia: It just takes time because you can’t learn everything about someone within the first day of knowing them or within the first couple of weeks. You start to peel off their layers and who they are as a person over time and before you know it, its like you have known each other for way longer than you have. We just realized about a month ago that we have all known each other for about a year and it doesn’t feel like that, it feels like longer because we do see each other almost every day when filming, so its like that connection is there.
YEM: When you were auditioning for the show, did you know that it was going to be a spin-off to That’s So Raven or was it kind of under wraps?
Navia: It did say an ‘Untitled Raven Project,’ so I did know because it came from Disney Channel so it just kind of made sense. It’s not like they would’ve made another show using the title Raven in it after That’s So Raven, so it definitely registered and the character was a very strong character who I really loved. I loved the description of Nia. I thought it was a great opportunity.
YEM: How did you prepare for playing such a strong character? She’s so loved by everyone who watches the show. So, how did you prepare for playing her? Was it difficult or do you have a lot in common with her that made it a little easier?
Navia: As far as preparation goes, there’s a lot of opinions that are pitched in on what they want a character to be so it’s not entirely your decision. There are certain things that producers want and the network wants because they want contrasts between all of the characters. So, ultimately, it’s just everyone has to come together on this precise character, but what I love about Nia is that she’s just so relatable. She is a preteen/teenage girl, so its kind of obvious at sometimes about how a teenage girl or somebody at this age would handle a certain situation, At times, you have a different view on things than other people that you work with. Its just a collaborative effort and trying to all come together to make one solid character.
YEM: Since Raven’s Home is in its second season, can you give us any hints on what’s to come for Nia in Season 2?
Navia: Let me think, let me think! Well, of course the musical episode, which I’m so excited about and obviously expect me to sing, as well as the other characters. As far as Nia goes, other than what you’ve seen from episodes that have already aired, she’s just growing and that’s a common theme for all of the characters, but especially Nia. She’s growing and learning and making bad decisions, you can say, but for good reasons, which is very similar to what Raven used to do in That’s So Raven. She’s doing these crazy, outlandish things, but with a good heart and that’s what ends up happening with Nia throughout these episodes.
YEM: Speaking of that relationship between Nia and Raven, Raven obviously has psychic powers, but would you like to see Nia get psychic powers like her mom and her brother, and how do you think she would react to that?
Navia: I think she would be excited because there’s a thing that differentiates her from her mom and her brother that could make her feel a bit left out at certain times, but overall, things happen for a reason and I think Nia would probably assume that’s the case and not having visions. From my point of view, I enjoy watching the process of Isaac and Raven having visions, but it’s never a thing that I crave to have. If I did it would be some sort of different psychic energy that I think would be cool, but I enjoy watching it and I don’t know how much I’d enjoy having it, if that makes any sense. Unless it’s a different psychic energy because I think that it would be really original.
YEM: Since Raven’s Home is a spin-off of That’s So Raven, would you ever be up for a spin-off of Raven’s Home where Nia and Tess live together like Raven and Chelsea?
Navia: Yeah, that would be super, super cool. It would be even cooler if it was on another network. Like if another Walt Disney owned channel like ABC or Freeform I feel like that would be super cool since we’ll be older after our show ends, eventually because we will be around eighteen and it’s not just us who are growing, it’s the audience that’s growing with us. So, we’ll already have that fanbase of people that are around our same age wanting to watch shows on different older networks.
YEM: Is there any character from That’s So Raven that hasn’t been on Raven’s Home that you’d like to see?
Navia: That is a very good question. I think it would be very cool for some of Raven’s old school firends to appear on the show. That would be really fun. Like, one of her old frenemies or enemies came into town and wanted to stay with us and I fell like that would be really funny episode about holding grudges and have a good life lesson in it about forgiving and forgetting. I loved the relationship always between Raven and Anneliese and then the guest stars that appeared in the school. I thought it was very cool to see that demonstrated on TV.
YEM: How do you think Nia would react to seeing one of her mom’s frenemies coming back and living in their house for a little bit?
Navia: I think she would just try to keep everything sane, you know what I mean? I feel like she’d just try to keep everyone grounded and leveled and try not to ignite any arguments because that could of course happen with someone you’ve had a past with, so I think that her and Tess, or even Booker would work to keep the household calm and collected.
YEM: Do you have a lot in common with Nia?
Navia: I do, I have quite a few things. I feel like our independence is very similar and other things, but there are some differences that you would probably see if you knew me very well and if you’d seen a lot of the episodes of the show. Overall, Nia is nervous in certain circumstances and often lacks confidence, which is again what makes her so relatable because girls and boys our age are going through the same thing of trying to gain confidence. I would say I have a little more confidence and am a little less nervous than Nia does, so there are a few differences like that.
YEM: Other than being on Raven’s Home, you’re also on a Netflix show called Free Rein, so can you tell us about that show and what your character is like?
Navia: Yeah, my character is very different to me in real life and very different than Nia, which is what makes it interesting. She’s very girly and often doesn’t want to be involved with horses or anything outside. She likes to keep her stuff clean, she likes to keep herself clean, she likes to be pristine all the time and she’s very sassy, which I think is something that’s carried through me, Nia and Rosie. All of us, I feel like, are sassy people at times, but Rosie is definitely the queen of sass out of the three.
YEM: Was that a fun character to play, such a sassy character?
Navia: It was fun because you got to express that side of you through your character and when you are feeling a bit more snappier than usual, I can express that through my character. Since she’s very stereotypical ‘Hollywood’ like someone from Hollywood would be like to someone that doesn’t know much about Hollywood, she would fit that description.
YEM: Since there were a lot of horses on that show, was it difficult to work with them? Was it fun?
Navia: I loved it. I found it really enjoyable and I really enjoy the relationship you develop between a horse and a human and I think that they are such smart animals. I got to train with a really beautiful horse named Harry in real life and Prince on the show. It was a beautiful white horse and we definitely developed that riding relationship that made it easier to work with it.
YEM: Everyone, of course, is looking forward to watching Free Rein and season two of Raven’s Home. What else is ahead for you?
Navia: I’m continuing to audition, but I do have a couple things in the works that will be announced soon. It’s just continuing to work and maintain your craft that get new jobs. I think it’s important that you continue to audition because it is like practice, its like training getting to experiment with other characters so you don’t get stuck in the one you’re playing. In the future I’m sure you’ll hear more from me as I continue to work on other parts of my career.