We’re still not over the cancellation of “Girl Meets World,” so when we got the chance to interview Riley Matthews herself, we knew we couldn’t pass it up. Rowan Blanchard played Riley for three seasons on the show and is set to co-star in the feature film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Blanchard also happens to be an outspoken feminist, ardent human rights activist and teen icon.
We caught up with Blanchard before she took the stage at WE Day, an event that encourages students to create positive social change and make a difference in their communities. She chatted about her favorite part about “Girl Meets World,” her queer identity and her go-to midnight snack.
What made you want to get involved with WE Day?
I was able to speak at WE Day two times before this. I spoke at the Minnesota one and the LA one. I just think that event is so special, especially for me, because I’m so used to having to talk to adults all the time. It’s so awesome to be able to talk to thousands of children about getting involved in the future. I obviously do that a lot on social media, but I can’t physically see their faces. So it’s really gratifying and amazing for me to be able to see them in person.
What was your favorite part about being in “Girl Meets World”?
My favorite part about being in “Girl Meets World” was having this amazing camp that I got to go to for four years, where I learned basically 75 percent of the stuff I know in general. I was allowed to explore and experiment with so many acting choices and so many identities, and that was a really safe space. I don’t think of that as work, I guess what I picture it as is high school.
What are some upcoming projects your fans can look forward to?
I just finished the first edit of a cool art book that I’m doing with Random House, so I’m really excited about that. It’s basically one shared diary between a bunch of young artists. I think a lot of the things that are aimed toward young people are made by adults, and have a voice that may seem a little patronizing, and I wanted to make something that seemed like it was inclusive and real. I’ve been working on it for two and a half years so it felt really good to turn something in! I’ve also been working on “A Wrinkle In Time,” which comes out April next year. That entire project was really special.
You tweeted last year that you’re open to liking any gender and identify as queer. What advice do you have for other teens your age who may be struggling with their sexuality?
There’s this weird pressure that you’re either gay or you’re straight. I guess queer is a term that has been reclaimed by this generation, it’s this umbrella term for anything under a large spectrum. But my advice to other kids is: You don’t have to pick an identity. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay one day, bisexual one day, straight another day. You don’t have to pick one word. You don’t even have to pick a word at all. You can just do whatever you like. That’s something I was taught by these Tumblr kids who were like, “You guys don’t have to pick something, you can be anything you want!”
Do you see yourself ever getting more involved with a singing career, like a lot of other Disney stars often have?
I don’t necessarily see myself making music, but I really love musical theater and Broadway. Getting involved with that would be so cool.
What’s the last show you binge watched?
“Big Little Lies.”
What’s your favorite song?
“Humble” by Kendrick Lamar.
What’s your go-to midnight snack?
Probably chocolate, or pretzels if I’m in the mood for something salty.
Who’s your celebrity crush? ️
Kendrick Lamar. Who else? I mean, Rihanna I would marry on any given day.
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
To be invisible. Because then I could sneak into museums.