Mirabelle Lee, 16, is no stranger to the entertainment industry. After spending most of her childhood and teenaged life modeling, acting and starting her own business with her sister, Anais, the talented creative recently landed a role on the Disney+ series, ‘Saturdays.’
The show is a single-camera comedy about the empowerment of a young girl and her roller-skating squad, and Lee plays the ever-confident Sonia, who makes her mark on and off the rink. To talk more about her role on the new Disney+ show and to dive a little deeper into what her career has been like, Mirabelle Lee sat down to discuss what fuels her both on camera and off.
How did you get started in the industry?
I originally started off as a model, and entering the industry kind of came as an accident. I was three years old and a photographer spotted me and my sister Anais in a park and asked if we could do a photoshoot with him. After checking out if it was real or not, and it was real, we did it. I got into modeling from there. Then my modeling agency sent me out on a movie audition one day and I’d never done anything even remotely similar to that. So, I kind of blew it [with] my first audition. But the casting director saw something in me and my sister, and we got another chance and we actually ended up booking the role. From there we fell in love with acting and we’ve been doing it ever since, it’s been so much fun.
So, when the role for ‘Saturdays’ came along, what appealed to you?
Well, I always love a challenge, and when I saw that I had to roller skate in the show, [I knew] this was my opportunity to learn how to do it. Also, I just fell in love with Sonia. I actually did multiple auditions for multiple different roles in the show, but when they sent Sonia along, there was just something about her that spoke to me. I can’t even describe what, but she came very naturally to me. I’ve loved being a part of ‘Saturdays’ and it’s just been an amazing journey.
How would you describe Sonia and what do you like about her?
I would describe Sonia as having a great and very big attitude…she’s super sassy and she has a lot of confidence. I aspire to be semi-like Sonia one day because she walks into any room with her head held high and she just doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks of her and she just does her. I admire her for that.
Have you learned anything by playing her?
I think being Sonia has actually helped me gain a lot more confidence because when I was preparing to be [her], I’d listened to a lot of powerful, strong, confident music and I’d only be listening to that when I was filming. And Sonia has a type of walk where she just walks with her head held high. In being that for so long, I started to do that in my normal life. So I think I have more confidence now that I’m Sonia, you know?
Does anything stand out to you from filming, whether it be on screen or off?
I think all of our training sessions [have] a special place in my heart because of all of my cast members and the skate coaches. We all formed a very close relationship while filming because we would have six hours of training every single day. We were always with each other, and even though we were training really hard, they did it in such a fun way. To warm up, we would put Beyoncé on and start dancing, and even when we were learning super technical things with skating—even just tiny things like how to turn—it was always so much fun. We’d have music blasting, we’d be cracking jokes even though we’d be falling, and just learning how to skate.
You’ve talked before about the representation you feel on this show. What does it mean to you to be part of ‘Saturdays’?
It means so much to me to be a part of a show like this because even down to the little things on ‘Saturdays’—like the cool hairstyles that all the characters have, like Simone (Daria Johns), she has really cool edges…Simone’s my edge inspiration. It’s just little things like that. Then just even in mannerisms, we’re all just super natural. It’s an all-Black cast and we don’t see that much on Disney Channel. So I’m so excited that I’m a part of a project like this, where we can be the representation for little girls and little boys watching us.
What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
Just to be exactly who they are, because I feel like that’s a really special thing with all of the characters in the show—they are unapologetically themselves. Like Ari (Peyton Basnight), she wears her butterfly wings, and Sonia no matter what anyone else says about her, she’s always going to have the most amount of attitude. And same with Paris (Danielle Jalade), she always does too much but that’s just her being herself and having her extra personality. I hope all of the fans when they’re watching the show, they learn that they can be exactly who they are as well.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, Anais and I are launching a skincare line called Reflect soon, so that’s in the works right now. We are working on the formulas and the packaging and all of that, and I’m so excited for everyone to see it. I’ve always been so interested in the science behind my skin, so I’m really excited to share this information that I learned with everyone and also just to get these products on the shelves.
What advice do you have for other young actors trying to make it into the industry?
My advice is to love yourself. I think confidence is such a big thing and if you don’t love yourself, then that’s the quickest way to fall behind. You need to have confidence, especially in this industry, because you’re going to get more no [answers] than yes. Also, to just continue to learn— going to acting classes, going to acting schools, and even just watching movies and taking notes on what the actors are doing. I think that has helped me a lot, and that’s the advice I have for other people.
Catch Mirabelle Lee on ‘Saturdays’ on Disney+