Accepting the challenge that is life, 19-year-old High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (HSMTMTS) star Dara Reneé has overcome every L, celebrated every win, and met every new adventure with the boldness only a #boss could.
Check her out in our fifth-annual Natural Hair Love issue, shipping June through the end of July. A fest of fierceness, this edition is one we hope will bring a respite from the world out there. Subscribe today to get down heavy with all this magic.
Read an excerpt of Dara’s cover story below:
Posted up in her bathroom (the only room in her L.A. apartment that’s quiet at the moment, she explains), rockin’ a tie-dyed Bob Marley tee, her ‘fro free as ever, Dara Reneé is like all of us — trying to make it do what it do in the midst of a global pandemic. “It’s been really crazy. Every time I go outside to get groceries, it’s literally a ghost town; like, nobody’s there,” she says. “And it just really makes you appreciate all the essential workers because literally everything is shut down except for the things we need to survive.”
It’s mid-April when we’re on this Zoom call, weeks before any reopening phases begin, so the shutdowns and consequential adjustments to them are still pretty fresh. And that, of course, includes the disruption of filming for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. “We were filming a scene, and then, we got that call, and we just had to stop. It was like a movie. I was like, ‘What genre is this ‘cause I’m scared,” she laughs.
Still haven’t binged the Disney Plus series yet? Peep this: Filmed mocumentary style, it’s a show within a show. The current students of the real East High (where the original movies took place), played by an entirely new cast, are tasked with putting on a production of High School Musical. Dara plays Kourtney, a part of the junior class and BFF to Nini. Kourt helps in the costume department for this new performance, and later, has a chance to showcase her powerful vocals. Come season two, we’re sure to see a whole lot more of ya’ girl.
On 100, though, that almost didn’t happen.
Cover photo by David Higgs
Styled by Enrique Melendez
Makeup by Elie Maalouf
Hair by Rochelle Jones