That's So Raven
Dutch American actress and singer Anneliese van der Pol is popular among young viewers thanks to her portrayal of Chelsea Daniels in the Disney Channel hit series “That's So Raven” (2003-2007), in which she won a Young Artist Award for her performance. She also contributed to the soundtracks “That's So Raven” (2004) and “That's So Raven Too” (2006).
“Raven is a really good friend and I feel no sense of competition between us whatsoever.” Anneliese van der Pol
Starting her acting career in musicals such as “The Sleeping Beauty Ballet,” “The Sound of Music” and “The Will Rogers Follies” in the early 1990s, Anneliese first gained notice as Eva Perón in a 1999 production of “Evita.” The then 15 year old became the youngest actress in history to play the role in a professional production. She also won a Bobbi Award for her performance in “Grease” (1999) and an Austin Critics Table nomination and a B. Iden Payne nomination for her role in “Oklahoma” (2000-2001). Subsequent stage credits include “Beauty and the Beast” (2007, her Broadway debut), “Vanities” (2008 and 2009) and “Meet Me in St. Louis” (2009). Van der Pol also had a small role in the big screen adaptation of “Bartz” (2007) and sang “Over it” (2004) and “Candle on the Water” (2006) for DCOM's “Stuck in the Suburbs” and “DisneyMania 4,” respectively.
Anneliese is also an accomplished dancer.
Childhood and Family:
Named after the late Holocaust refugee Anne Frank, Anneliese Louise van der Pol was born on September 23, 1984, in Naaldwijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands. One of three daughters of Dyan Ross (an American) and Willem van der Pol (a Dutch), she and her family moved to the United States when she was young. Her childhood home was in Bellflower, California, where she was enrolled at Washington Elementary School. Known with the nicknames Lieske and Annie, she graduated from the Orange County High School for the Arts in Santa Ana, California, and was voted “Funniest Girl” in school.
Annie cites tennis as her favorite sport and camping as her favorite outdoor activity. Her hobbies also include dancing, singing and watching independent films with her best friends. She admires such actors as Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day Lewis, Kevin Spacey and Daniel Atuel and comedians like Steve Martin, Tracy Ulman, Will Farrell and Bill Murray. Her favorite singers and bands include Tracy Chapman, Dave Matthews, Beck, Tori Amos, Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel, Ani DiFranco, Fiona Apple, Eva Cassidy, The Strokes, The White Stripes, the Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, and Sublime.
Acting by the third grade, Anneliese van der Pol turned professional by age 15 and wooed critics with her portrayal of Eva Perón in the Buena Park Civic Theatre production of “Evita” (1999). In addition to earning critical acclaim, the role also established her as the youngest American actress to play the political leader in a professional production. Also in 1999, she picked up a Bobbi Award in the category of Best Actress, Musical, for playing Sandy in the Huntington Playhouse production of “Grease.” She was next cast as Laurey in the Austin Musical Theatre Production of “Oklahoma” (2000 to 2001), a play by Curly McLain. For her performance, she was nominated for an Austin Critics Table for Best Actress in a Musical and a B. Iden Payne for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
In 2002, Anneliese landed the role of Chelsea Weber in the independent comedy “Divorce: The Musical,” which was written, directed and starred Steven Dworman. She scored a big break on television the following year when she was cast as Chelsea Ophelia Daniels, the environmentalist vegetarian best friend of Raven, in the Disney Channel Original comedy series “That's So Raven,” starring Raven-Symoné in the title role. Debuting on January 17, 2003, the sitcom ended its original run of 100 episodes on November 10, 2007, making it the longest running series on the network. The sitcom also became the first series on the Disney Channel to break the 65 episode mark and the highest rated series to be broadcasted on the network during its run. Van der Pol received a 2005 Young Artist for Outstanding Young Performers in a TV Series for her work on the show. She also played Chelsea Daniels in a series of videos released from 2004 to 2007 titled “That's So Raven: Supernaturally Stylish” (2004), “That's So Raven: Disguise the Limit” (2005), “Disney Channel Holiday” (2005), “That's So Raven: Raven's House Party” (2005), “That's So Raven: Raven's Makeover Madness” (2006) and “That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana” (2007). She also appeared in an episode of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” (2006).
Van der Pol continued to perform on stage with work in “The Nutcracker” (2002, as Clara) and “Copelia” (2002, had the title role). She then received the title role in Disney's animated series “Katbot” (2005), but the show was canceled during production. She also provided the voice of Heather in an episode of “Kim Possible” and played Rachael in the direct to video “Horror High,” which starred Fiona Gubelmann and Joe Hursley (both also 2005).
Also a singer, Anneliese recorded the song “That's So Raven” with Raven-Symoné and Orlando Brown for the 2004 soundtrack album of the same name, and the song “Over it” (2004) for the Disney Channel Original Movie “Stuck in the Suburbs” (2004, starred Brenda Song and Danielle Panabaker). “Over it” peaked at No. 13 on the Radio Disney Top 30 and No. 18 on the Philippines Top 20. She also recorded the songs “Friends” (with Raven-Symoné), “Let's Stick Together” (with Raven-Symoné and Kyle Massey) and “A Day in the Sun” for the soundtrack “That's So Raven Too,” which was released on March 7, 2006. Still in 2006, she recorded “Candle on the Water” from the live action/animation film “Pete's Dragon” on DisneyMania 4. Anneliese returned to the big screen with the supporting role of Avery in Sean McNamara's “Bratz,” which was based on cartoon characters and dolls of the same name. The movie, however, was a commercial and critical disappointment. Van der Pol also made her Broadway debut that same year starring as Belle in the musical “Beauty and the Beast” (April to July 2007).
From August to September 2008, Anneliese played Kathy in “Vanities: A New Musical” at the Pasadena Playhouse. She went on to reprise the role in the original off-Broadway production at the Second Stage Theatre in New York (from July to August 2009). She also recorded the “Vanities: A New Musical” original cast album for Sh-K-Boom Records (August 2009).
Recently, Anneliese portrayed Esther Smith in the Theatre under the Stars' musical production of “Meet Me in St. Louis” in Houston, Texas. The show ran from September 29 to October 11, 2009.
Van der Pol is rumored to be playing Leslie Van Houten in the upcoming dramatic film “Manson Girls” (2010), which was written and is being directed by Susanna Lo.
Young Artist: Outstanding Young Performers in a TV Series, “That's So Raven,” 2005
Bobbi: Best Actress/Musical, “Grease,” 1999