Olivia Rodrigo is having a stellar year. She shot to musical fame after her single “ drivers license” (aka 2021’s collective heartbreak anthem) topped charts for eight weeks after its January release. Months later, she released her critically acclaimed debut album, SOUR . The 18-year-old also recently graduated high school, got her own driver’s license, nabbed a new boyfriend, and even took a meeting with the president.
As if she hasn’t done enough this year, Rodrigo garnered
five MTV Video Music Awards nominations, including a nod in the coveted “Artist of the Year” category and one for “Song of the Year” for “drivers license.” As fans wait to see if she’ll take home any awards, they can rest assured knowing she will definitely grace the stage because she’s slated to perform during the Sept. 12 event.
But prior to dominating pop-culture consciousness as a talented singer/songwriter, the Filipina-American talent got her start as a child actor. She landed her first role as the lead in the direct-to-video film
before she even turned 13 and has filmed many more acting projects since. Here are Rodrigo’s best movie and TV roles, from the Disney+ spinoff An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success High School Musical: The Musical: The Series to a guest appearance on New Girl . High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Rodrigo is most known for her role as Wildcat Nini Salazar-Roberts in the Disney+
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series spinoff. The mockumentary drama follows East High’s stagings of a different musical for each of the two seasons. On Season 1, East High stages High School Musical, and theater enthusiast Nini auditions for the part of Gabriella Montez (originated by Vanessa Hudgens). She then finds out she’s starring opposite her ex-boyfriend, Ricky ( Joshua Bassett), who lands the role of Troy Bolton (previously played by a basketball-dribbling Zac Efron).
If you enjoyed the original
HSM soundtrack, which came out in 2006, you’ll definitely want to sing along to the series’ covers of the movie’s quintessential songs. (Rodrigo does a particularly great job with the iconic duet “ Breaking Free.”) The series also features new tracks, including “ All I Want,” Rodrigo’s first-ever composition. New Girl
Nick Miller ( Jake Johnson) got his act together and released The Pepperwood Chronicles novel in Season 6 of Jessica Day ( New Girl, Zooey Deschanel) coerced him into talking to a bunch of high school girls to up her street cred as principal. The students, including Rodrigo’s Terrinea, eventually fawn over Nick and his brilliance.
While she wasn’t given a ton of lines, Rodrigo played the swooning teenager convincingly and called Jess “totally the coolest ever.”
Deschanel recently posted a throwback of Rodrigo’s guesting on Twitter, saying, “Real footage of Olivia Rodrigo crediting me for inspiring her number #1 album. JK, but great album @Olivia Rodrigo!” *Petition for a Pepperwood Chronicles ballad starts now.* Bizaardvark
When Rodrigo was just 14, she landed a Disney Channel lead as Paige Olvera, the guitar-strumming half of the
Bizaardvark duo alongside Madison Hu. For three seasons, she flexed her comedic talents and vocal range as the social media-savvy vlogger who starts a Vuugler channel (like YouTube). If you want to see Disney-style delivery with Rodrigo singing a love ballad about a blobfish or rapping about a school participation award, this is the show to watch. Grace Stirs Up Success
Rodrigo’s first-ever role was as the lead in the direct-to-video film
In it, a beret-wearing Rodrigo plays nine-year-old Grace Thomas, an aspiring baker inspired by her grandparents’ bakery. She flies to France and trains at her uncle’s patisserie, though she struggles to impress him with her American dishes. When she hears that her family’s shop lacks funding to stay open, she joins An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success. to win the cash prize — all she needs to do is get creative with her baked goods. There’s a lot going on plot-wise, but Rodrigo is adorable in the film. Masterchef Junior
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