That's So Raven
Starting out as a baby model for the Ford Modeling Agency, Raven Symone got her first professional acting job at age three playing Olivia Kendall (1989-1992), Bill Cosby's granddaughter and the precious stepdaughter to Lisa Bonet's Denise Huxtable Kendall, on the NBC popular sitcom ''The Cosby Show.'' She then played the regular role of Nicole Lee (1993-1997), the title role's niece, in the ABC sitcom “Hangin' with Mr. Cooper” and has appeared as Eddie Murphy's daughter in ''Dr. Doolittle'' movies (1998 and 2001). However, it was her own show on the Disney Channel, ''That's So Raven'' (2003-2007), which catapulted her to the stardom. Her work in the show won her four Image Awards, two Kids' Choice Awards and one Young Artist Award.
As a Disney star, Raven has starred in their original movies "Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century" (1999) and "Zenon: Z3" (2004), as well as "The Cheetah Girls" (2003) and "The Cheetah Girls 2" (2006) and the accompanied soundtracks. She also provided her voice for the character Monique (2002-2007) in the Disney Emmy-winning animated series, ''Kim Possible.'' She is currently working for Disney's upcoming film, a comedy titled "College Road Trip" in which she will star opposite Martin Lawrence.
The talented star, who was signed by MCA Records when she was 5 years old, has released three solo albums, ''Here's to New Dreams'' (1993), ''Undeniable'' (1999) and ''This Is My Time'' (2004). She will release a self-titled fourth album in March 2008.
5' 2½" personable, perky and energetic Raven was rated 2003's 8th ''Hottest Teen Female Star'' at age 18. She was also one of VH1's "100 Greatest Kid Stars" (2005) and E's ''50 Most Cutest Child Stars All Grown-Up'' (2005).
"I believe strongly in girl power, for girls to be confident in themselves." Raven Symone
Childhood and Family:
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 10, 1985, Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman went to Alpharetta's Webb Bridge Middle School and graduated from Atlanta's North Springs High School in June 2004. Her parents are Christopher B. Pearman and Lydia Gaulden.
Raven, nicknamed ''Rae'' or ''Rave,'' is an excellent cook and plans to attend culinary school. Her favorite fruits are mangoes and bananas and her favorite snacks are pickles, potato chips, creme brulée and shrimp with cheese grits. In her free time, she enjoys listening to all different types of music, playing Scrabble and watching "South Park" (1997). She once shared an apartment in Los Angeles with fellow actress/singer Lindsay Lohan.
The city of Winnfield gave Raven the key to the city and declared December 20, 1989, as Raven-Symone Day.
This Is My Time
At a very young age, Raven Symone was brought by her parents to the Ford Modeling Agency in New York City and immediately was signed to a contract as a baby. She began singing at the age of 4 and performed on Broadway at the age of 5.
Ford subsequently sent Raven on her first audition, for Sidney Poitier's comedy film starring Bill Cosby, ''Ghost Dad'' (1990). Although she didn't get the part because she was too young for the role, Cosby remembered her adorable face and planned to have her cast as Olivia Kendall, the three-year-old stepdaughter to Lisa Bonet's Denise Huxtable Kendall, on his popular sitcom on NBC, ''The Cosby Show.'' Raven stayed on the show for three seasons (1989-1992) and cultivated quite a following. Her performance earned her three Young Artist Award nominations, which she won one in 1991 for Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Nine category.
In 1990, when she was 5 years old, Raven was signed to MCA Records and became the youngest person ever to be signed by the recording company (as of 2005). However, she didn't release a debut album until she was 8, titled "Here's to New Dreams" (1993). The rap album spawned the hit singles "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of," which was the first single written and produced by Melissa Elliott, now known as Missy Elliott, and "Raven Is the Flavor." Although the single "That's What Little Girls Are Made Of" did relatively well on the charts, MCA Records shortened Raven's contract as a result of the album's poor sales.
After ''The Cosby Show'' ended in 1992, Raven moved to the ABC sitcom ''Hangin' with Mr. Cooper'' in 1993. She played Nicole Lee during the second until the fifth season (1993-1997) of the show. For her work, Raven received an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress in 1996 and a Young Artist Award nomination for Best Youth Comedienne in 1994.
During her ''Hangin' with Mr. Cooper'' stint, Raven was cast as the younger version of Halle Berry's title character in the acclaimed television mini-series "Queen" (1993), based on Alex Haley's family history about a light-skinned daughter of a plantation owner and a slave. She also played Stymie's (played by Kevin Jamal Woods) girlfriend in Penelope Spheeris' feature length film "The Little Rascals" (1994), based upon the classic short film series "Our Gang." In 1998, she went on to co-star as Eddie Murphy's daughter in the family comedy movie "Doctor Dolittle," which was very loosely inspired by the series of children's novels of the same name.
Next, Disney cast her opposite Kirsten Storms in their original movie, ''Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century'' (1999), which earned her a YoungStar Award nomination for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Mini-Series/Made for TV Film. She later reprised her role as Nebula Wade in its sequel, "Zenon: Z3" (2004).
In May 1999, Raven released her second studio album, "Undeniable." The album was given a limited release and was re-issued in November 2006 under the TMG Records label with different cover and title, "From Then Until."
After reprising her role in 2001's ''Dr. Dolittle 2,'' which earned her an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Actor/Actress and a Kids' Choice Award nomination for Favorite Female Movie Star, Raven was picked by Disney as the star of her own show, "That's So Raven." Debuting in January 2003, the comedy series became an instant hit and the first (and only) Disney Channel Series to create a spin-off, ''Cory in the House,'' which premiered on January 12, 2007. For her performance, Raven took home four Image Awards for Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program - Series or Special (2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007), two Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite TV Actress (2004, 2005), and one Young Artist Award for Outstanding Young Performers in a TV Series (2005).
Despite the popularity on the show, Raven still managed to diversify and provided her voice for the character Monique (2002-2007) in the Disney Emmy-winning animated series ''Kim Possible.'' Meanwhile, she also starred in "The Cheetah Girls" (2003) and "The Cheetah Girls 2" (2006), popular Disney Channel Original Movies and TV musicals based on a bestselling series of young adult books by Deborah Gregory. Her portrayal of Galleria Garibaldi (aka Bubbles) nominated her for a Black Reel Award for Television: Best Actress.
In 2004, Raven was cast in the animated part of Danielle for the big screen adaptation of Bill Cosby's cartoon, "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," and as Asana in Garry Marshall's comedy-drama film adapted from Meg Cabot's 2000 novel, "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," starring Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway.
"I love to sing. With this album, I'm just trying to be who I really am. This is my time." Raven Symone
On September 21, 2004, Raven released her third studio album, "This Is My Time," which debuted at #50 on the U.S. Billboard 200 with 59,000 copies sold in the first week. Raven received good reviews from critics and fans alike for her mature voice in the singles "Grazing in the Grass," "Backflip," "Bump" and "This Is My Time." She revealed, "I've always written poetry, but never had the courage to really express myself until now. With my earlier albums, I was too young to understand that the writing is the most important part of expressing yourself. With this album, I get the chance to express what I have to say."
In 2006, Raven lent her voice to Marti Brewster in the computer animated comedy adventure film "Everyone's Hero," which was directed by Colin Brady, Christopher Reeve (who was working on this film at the time of his death) and Dan St. Pierre.
Raven has left the Cheetah Girls and resumed her solo singing career. She is currently working on her upcoming album set to be released by Hollywood Records in March 2008. She is also working on an upcoming film with Martin Lawrence, a comedy by Roger Kumble titled "College Road Trip." In the film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Raven will star as an overachieving high school student traveling around the country to find potential colleges, with Lawrence as her overprotective cop father. The film is slated to be released on March 7, 2008.
Image: Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program - Series or Special, "That's So Raven," 2007
Image: Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special, "That's So Raven," 2006
Image: Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series/Special, "That's So Raven," 2005
Young Artist: Outstanding Young Performers in a TV Series, "That's So Raven," 2005
Kids' Choice: Favorite TV Actress, "That's So Raven," 2005
Kids' Choice: Favorite TV Actress, "That's So Raven," 2004
Image: Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Program, "That's So Raven," 2004
Young Artist: Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress Under Nine, "The Cosby Show," 1991