Dove Cameron slayed it on NBC’s Hairspray Live as mean girl Amber Von Tussle masquerading as one of the “Nicest Kids in Town.” She showed the world that she’s the ultimate triple threat — an actor, dancer, and singer — from the moment she stepped on stage in her big bouffant, delivering those zingy one liners to rival, Tracy Turnblad. If you looked close, you could see the 20-year-old’s starpower literally rise to another stratosphere. So, since we have a sneaking suspicion that you’ll be hearing a lot more about Dove in 2017, here’s everything you need to know about Hairspray’s biggest scene stealer.
1. She Stars on a Popular Disney Channel Show
Since 2013, Dove has starred in the Disney Channel’s mega hit series, Liv and Maddie. The title characters are identical twins with completely opposite personalities and interests — and Dove plays them both like it’s no big thing. But that’s not all — Dove also played the daughter of the evil Maleficent in the Disney Channel original movie The Descendants. Maybe she channeled some of that “born to be bad” charm into Amber?
2. Hairspray Wasn’t Her First Singing Gig
If you thought that Dove’s singing chops rivaled those of co-star Ariana Grande, you’re not alone. She’s been getting rave reviews for the way she belted out her solos in songs like “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now.” But, singing isn’t a new part of Dove’s career. She covered Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” for The Descendants and had two songs reach the top of the Billboard Kids Digital Songs chart, including “Better in Stereo.” She also hit the road in 2015 as part of the duo The Girl and the Dreamcatcher. Who’s her better half in the group? Her now ex-fiancé Ryan McCartan. Which leads us to…
3. She Has an Ex-Fiancé
If Ryan looks oh so familiar, it’s because he recently starred on FOX’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. But Dove and Ryan met on the set of Liv and Maddie and started dating in 2013. Despite being so young, they announced their engagement in April of 2016 (Ryan dedicated his 1000th Instagram post to the news), but they broke things off just six months later, which Ryan confirmed on Twitter. Dove then took to Twitter to thank the fans for their support during a difficult time.
4. Dove Is Not a Stage Name
While Dove is a beautiful name, it’s also quite unusual. And truth is, it’s not on her birth certificate — there, she’s known as Chloe Celeste Hosterman. So why Dove? As she explained on Instagram, “My birth name is Chloe. But my daddy called me Dove/Dovey as a nickname since I was very small; just over a year old. As some of you know, my father passed away a few years ago, right around the time I started acting. So, I decided to change it legally in honor of him, which gives me great joy every day that I was able to do something so lasting and permanent to pay homage to his memory. But I still go by Chloe to some family members and Ryan. And some Starbucks employees. So Dove is not a stage name, it's actually a name that means a lot to me for many reasons.”
5. She’s a Gleek at Heart
A starring role in a major musical like Hairspray was pretty much always in the cards. When Dove was 14, her family moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, where she went on to sing in Burbank High School's National Championship Show Choir, according to the star's website.
6. She’s French (Although She Was Born in Seattle)
There’s a lot of debate over Dove’s background. She was born in Seattle—but is of French descent, spent a lot of her childhood in France, and speaks fluent French. There was such controversy over her lineage that Dove even took to Twitter to put the rumors to rest once and for all.
7. Her Next Career Could Be in Fashion
Dove has been making her own clothes since she was a kid, a passion that’s even been written into episodes of Liv and Maddie. She told Scholastic that some of her fondest back-to-school memories revolve around making clothes for the new year. “Most of my back-to-school memories are always staying up until all hours of the night before to finish my outfit, and debuting it,” she said.
8. Her Mom Is a Published Author
Dove’s mom, Bonnie Wallace, was so supportive of Dove’s desire to make it in Hollywood that she took the ultimate leap of faith and moved the whole family to Los Angeles. It was such a big, life-changing decision that Bonnie even wrote a book about the experience to help other parents of aspiring actors called, The Hollywood Parents Guide: Your Roadmap to Pursuing Your Child's Dream. Bonnie told Yahoo Parenting that she decided to go for it with Dove because, “[she’s] so grounded. She’s very intelligent and also emotionally intelligent, and she’s always been especially mature. Hollywood can be very dangerous for kids because of what it can do to your head, but I felt confident in Dove’s ability to keep her feet on the ground.”
9. She’s NOTHING Like Amber Von Tussle in Real Life
Dove may have seamlessly played a very mean girl in Hairspray—but she was actually on the receiving end of bullying in middle school. “Once a group of girls locked me in the janitor’s closet. Another time a girl spilled chocolate milk down a dress I made. Girls would try to trip me in the hallway. Once in high school, on a field trip away from school, some girls brought razors to shave their legs and threw them at me and told me to kill myself. But they were all insecure. They were angry, snapping at everybody. It was so obvious,” Dove revealed to Yahoo Parenting. Today, Dove has an incredibly wise and mature perspective from going through that rough time. “If you think about the people trying to hurt you rather than just trying to hurt them back, you can understand it has nothing to do with you. Maybe they are insecure or their animal just died or they have a bad relationship with their parents. Rather than demonizing them, recognize they are in pain and rise above it," she said, "and understand that usually it’s because you are special. You have something they want, and that shouldn’t make you scared, because they can’t take it from you. Sure, they can take your binder, but they can’t take whatever special thing you have inside you.”
10. Her Pop Culture Tastes Are Eclectic
Her favorite TV show? Doctor Who. It’s something she loves so much that the Liv and Maddie writers have even incorporated references into the scripts. And her all-time favorite book? A collection of Edgar Allen Poe poems. “I was given it by my grandfather when I was very, very young,” she told Scholastic. “I still have it. The spine is crooked and frayed, and all my favorite pages are basically worn through.”