Let's be real: Without Miranda Sanchez, there was no "Lizzie McGuire." From her spunky attitude to her hella-cool hairstyles, Lizzie and Gordo's BFF was the reason we believed they had a picture-perfect plan.
Then, suddenly, she was gone. Lalaine, the actress who played Miranda, didn't appear in some of the last episodes of the show and was also MIA in "The Lizzie McGuire Movie." The show claimed Miranda went "on vacation" with her family to Mexico. If that's true, the Sanchez family must've really enjoyed it, because they were gone a super long time ...
Just recently, an impromptu "Lizzie McGuire" reunion brought Lalaine, Hilary Duff and their co-star Jake Thomas back together for "the first time in 14 years," according to Lalaine. Below, she fills The Huffington Post in on what she's been up to and what exactly happened to Miranda Sanchez:
So what are you up to nowadays?
I'm just more on the relaxed side of things. I hold a job down to pay the bills, and I've been doing all these random little projects.
[My life used to consist of] craziness and nonstop everything, and, when I was a kid, not really knowing what a kid's life was. It was just go, go, go. Now it’s just a completely different perspective on my go, go, go. I'm just more like trying to walk over there. I'm not trying to jog or run anymore.
Cool. You remind me of my cousin Jenna. She’s very laid-back.
I hear that a lot by the way. I remind people of their cousins. Cousins in particular.
Why do you think this reunion took so long to happen?
It's just like one of those things, you know, sometimes you lose touch. I had a time where I went through what I call my "dark years," where I just went nuts and stupid, just being angry and acting like I was so badass. That just turned into me digging myself in a deep hole, and after I got arrested that was like a slap in the face that I needed to turn my perspective around.
Are you all keeping in touch now?
It’s probably best that we lost touch during those times I went through, and I’m in a completely different place now, which is why it was so awesome that I felt good when I saw [Hilary]. Hopefully we’ll keep in touch now. She and I exchanged numbers. She texted me a couple times, and it’s such a trip to randomly see her name pop up on my phone now. It’s like, yeah, we may not have spoken for 14 years, but somehow it’s one of those things where it’s probably gonna just pick up where it left off. Or the way it’s supposed to, slowly but surely.
Are you still living in L.A.?
Pretty much the only time I left was when I decided to go on an adventure and peace out and join a girl band for a couple years, and I learned how to play bass. [...] Only five of my friends knew I was leaving because it was so quick, and I was on the road for like a year-and-a-half straight with these girls in like a van all across the country.
Lalaine with Vanity Theft band members.
Wow, that must've been crazy.
I had a lot of adventures. There’s probably lots of video diaries of crazy things that happened to us. I mean, I never performed like that in a band where I was playing something. I got to do my bass face every night like five times a week. That was cool.
What's it like looking back on "Lizzie McGuire"?
If I think about it, which I do every now and then, you know, a nice humble smile comes across my face. I was lucky enough to be a part of something that touched a lot of kids and teens that were going through their lives and their awkward stages, and felt a little better doing it with us.
The fact that I was help for a good amount of girls, that means something. It’s a lot of responsibility. I may have effed that responsibility up a bit when I went through my dark days, but for the ones that haven’t totally abandoned me, I appreciate that a whole lot.
Speaking of awkward stages, the show covered a lot of awkward stuff like buying a first bra. What's it like doing the show and going through awkward stuff as a kid, as well?
I mean, it was just like a little too real, you know? If anything, I feel like my version with my mom would’ve been way more embarrassing and not for Disney TV, probably.
Also, funny enough, Hilary and I hung out a good amount off the show, as well. We lived like across the street from each other by chance. Hilary and I shaved our legs together for the first time, and things like that, you know? It was kind of nice that we had each other for all those extra things that our moms didn’t have to embarrass us about in public.
Did you guys have your own Digital Bean in real life?
I can’t say any of us off set would ever go to the Digital Bean. But there was a Starbucks right by where Hilary and I lived that we would go to, but we never stopped there to hang out. We would always walk and hang out or like go to each other’s house and hang out like by the pool or something.
What do you think about Ethan Craft's advice for great hair? Lather, rinse, but don't repeat.
I've been taking Ethan Craft's advice for like the last three months. I'm not even kidding you, but I will say I think he was referring to shampoo in particular. I do not do shampoo. I only do conditioner, and I do not repeat.
Miranda wasn't in the episodes where Gordo and Lizzie were getting together, so what would she think about that?
I’m pretty sure Miranda always knew and always tried to act like she was oblivious to it. And it’s like, “Are you crushin’ on Gordo? Are you crushin’ on Lizzie?” She acted like she didn’t know, but they were dropping hints all the time, c’mon!
If anything, maybe the fact that Miranda isn’t pestering them and giving them shit about it because her family was in Mexico is why it finally freakin' happened.
What was Miranda up to in Mexico?
You know, Miranda's family was really serious about their roots. We’re probably doing something other than family bonding. My parents were probably making me get more in touch with my Mexican roots.
Were you bummed there was no Miranda in the "Lizzie McGuire" movie?
During that time, I was hopping around doing Radio Disney tours and at the same time filming in New Zealand with A.J. Trauth and Spencer Breslin [on "You Wish!"]. Like, I would’ve been bummed missing out on that.
I’m sure it made no sense to a good amount of people that I wasn’t in the movie ... In spirit, I think Miranda was there no matter what. If I'm in their minds while they were watching it, Miranda was a part of it. But Lalaine wanted to be a part of something else, too. Not that I was trying to disassociate myself, but sometimes that’s how timing works.
What are your thoughts on a future "Lizzie McGuire" reunion show?
I’m curious about it, but that’s all I can comment or answer.
Hmmm ... "curious." Sounds like she'll figure it out on the way.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Also check out Lalaine explaining how that "Lizzie" reunion photo actually happened.