Photo Credit: Rowan’s Facebook
Rowan is on the cover the latest issue of NYLON magazine which is on stands now! I couldn’t be more proud of her. Thee is an article that NYLON posted on the website where Rowan talks about political issues, Girl Meets World, and much more. I’ve copied part of where she talks about Girl Meets World and there are some quotes from Danielle Fishel (Topanga) in there as well. Make sure you check out the rest of the article at the source link!
Earlier this year, after three seasons, Girl Meets World was canceled amid dwindling ratings. “I feel good about it now in the sense that, as much as I loved my Girl Meets World family, working for the Disney Channel is stressful, and I have more freedom to do what I want and talk about what I want without feeling inhibited,” she says, sipping her shake. Perhaps surprisingly, she says there was never any blowback or criticism from Disney brass regarding her vocal politics: “I think they actually figured out somewhere along the line that no matter what they said I wasn’t really going to stop.”
Blanchard initially balked at doing the series, a reboot of the popular ’90s-era ABC sitcom Boy Meets World featuring protagonist Riley Matthews, the daughter of the original’s much-beloved couple, Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel). “Absolutely not,” she recalls thinking. “You know what happens to those girls.” Blanchard is often asked about her Disney predecessors, most gallingly during a radio program on which the question was posed whether she’d be “a Miley, a Demi, or a Selena” (as in Cyrus, Lovato, and Gomez). She hates this narrative—the game, not the players. “I knew the show would end someday, and I didn’t want there to be this weird part where it was like, good girl, good girl, good girl, and then, all of a sudden, bam, she’s going to show her boobs,” says Blanchard, laughing. She occasionally punctuates her serious thoughts with a reflexive giggle, and sibilant words reveal the faintest lisp.
Blanchard read the script, felt it was different, and clicked with the creator, Michael Jacobs. Like any Disney show, Girl Meets World was hammy, lesson-oriented, and scrubbed of nuance, but for a target audience aged six to 14, it tackled smart topics like cultural appropriation and autism. She grew close with her TV mom, and together they tried to influence the direction the new series would take—specifically avoiding focusing on romance, the way the original series had.
“I had expressed very adamantly that I wanted the character to be smart, self-sufficient, and to have interests 100 percent outside of relationships,” says Fishel, who was one of two women to direct episodes. “I didn’t necessarily get my way in that regard.” There were eventually some dating plotlines, though Fishel concedes the primary relationship in the show was between Riley and her best friend, Maya.
Blanchard was tight with her castmates, though her taste for old movies, abstract painters like Agnes Martin, and her fierce engagement with politics surely set her apart. Fishel remembers a day when she took her young female co-stars to the Huntington Library near Pasadena and asked them a bunch of thought-provoking questions she’d prepared ahead of time. One of them related to personal happiness, and Blanchard took the opportunity to reflect on the rah-rah positivity of glib self-empowerment. “Her response was basically, ‘It’s important that we recognize that our happiness is not 100 percent self-determined, and it bothers me when people act like our circumstances are something we just need to think our way into,’” says Fishel. “I almost had to stop walking. I tend to be one of those people who think it’s within your power to change anything. How utterly incorrect and privileged.” She pauses. “Rowan really is pretty special