She’s Arrived

Disney actress Laura Marano on her hit role, favorite Valley haunts and game-changing big birthday.

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    Pauline Adamek

With 175,000 followers on Instagram and close to a half-million Twitter followers, Laura Marano seems destined for stardom. The perky teenager has turned heads with her lead role in the Disney channel’s “Austin & Ally.” Now in its third season, the upbeat sitcom is one of the network’s biggest hits.
“I love playing Ally!” Laura shares. “There are so many reasons: her quirky habits, her musical abilities, her conscientious tendencies. I do have to say, however, that my favorite part of playing Ally is going on her journey with her. She’s gone through a great character arc.”

The storyline goes something like this: Ally meets Austin (played by hottie Ross Lynch) while she’s working at a mall record store, tinkering with one of her original songs. He’s forthright enough to tell her it needs some amping up. Before she knows it, he’s stolen her reworked tune, launching it on a TV talk show. Rocketing to stardom, Austin suddenly needs a songwriter to churn out more hits, and collaboration is born.

Laura, who first hit TV screens in a J.C. Penney commercial when she was a pint-sized 5 years old, claims, “I can’t imagine my life without acting.” Around that time she started treading the boards at Agoura Children’s Theatre, playing everything from Thumbelina to “Student #3.”

She’s also a talented singer/songwriter. “I have always been interested in telling stories, so lyrics are important to me–and fun to write! I love making melodies, and I’m honestly such a geek when it comes to the process of composing the instrumental parts.”

The 17-year-old shares that she loves living in the Valley, because it “feels like family. I can go with my family and friends to the movies, shopping, bowling and grab a bite to eat.”

Like most teens, she loves spending time with her buddies at popular spots around town. “I hang out at The Commons all the time! I love Barnes & Noble—like, I literally hang out with my friends at the bookstore.”

With an Italian dad, her family has a penchant for Italian food. “We love Ancora Cucina Italiana in Tarzana—it’s amazing! We also are really big fans of Tonino’s Place Pizzeria in Woodland Hills … I love their Margherita pizza,” she enthuses.

Currently in her senior year of private high school, Marano will turn 18 in November. The petite star admits she’s not sure how she will be celebrating. She is, however, crafting a plan for college. The top-notch student is eyeing several schools, including the UCs and several “Ivy Leagues” back East.