There’s just a half hour before Shake It Up: Made in Japan premieres on Disney Channel — are you excited?!
Shot by Francis Bertrand inside Harry Morton’s Pink Taco Sunset Strip, we had the amazing opportunity to get personal with guest star Ally Maki where she dished about her character, working alongside the cool Shake It Up cast and more. Check it:
JJJ: Tell us about your character in Shake It Up: Made in Japan
AM: My character’s name is Keiko Ishizuka. Keiko is a budding young businesswoman who works for Watanabe Global, the company that is heading the big interactive dance video game that Rocky and Cece are starring in. She takes Rocky and Cece under her wing when they go to Japan, acting as a sort of pseudo manager there. As the story unfolds though, you begin to see what Keiko is really all about! You guys will just have to wait and see!!! 8 PM tonight on Disney!
JJJ: How much fun did you have on set?
AM: I had such a blast. The whole cast and crew were super welcoming and everyone had a TON of energy!! On performance days there were groups of dancers in crazy outfits running around and practicing combos or doing flips. The creative energy was insane! Our director Joel Zwick constantly joked around and had everyone laughing in between takes. Bella and Zendaya were so sweet to work with and just insanely STUNNING in real life. I kept thinking ‘Geez, when I was 14, I was so the opposite of that.’ Braces, no makeup, funny clothes, just awkward.
JJJ: Have you watched the show in the past? What surprised you most about the set?
AM: I have watched the show in the past, basically because I am still such a kid at heart! Bella and Zendaya have such great comedic timing; it really makes the show. Since filming, the question of the hour is always “Did you really get to go to Japan?” and the answer to that is “No, I wish!” We filmed downtown in sound stages, actually the same exact ones that they film all the Shake It Up episodes in. The sets were so well done that at times I would forget that I was in LA and started to think I was actually in Tokyo!
(Click inside for more of our interview with Ally Maki…)
JJJ: What was your favorite part of the special?
AM: Definitely Blue Man Group‘s performance. They are so unique and the things they do are so rad and interesting to watch! I’m definitely a fan.
JJJ: You are of Japanese descent yourself. Do you think the show portrayed Japan accurately?
AM: I think the producers did an amazing job of portraying the Japanese culture with just enough quirkiness to make it funny and not offensive. The Japanese are extremely quirky, always coming up with new and crazy gadgets/ideas, so I think that element brought a lot of comedy to the movie.
JJJ: Have you ever been to Japan? If you haven’t, what’s the first thing you would do when you got off the plane?
AM: One of my life goals is to make it out to Japan. One day…. :) When I get there, the first thing I would do is EAT! And then eat more…..and more. The food there is insane! I’m serious when I say that you would literally have to drag me out of all the different sushi bars and restaurants there.
JJJ: What did you think about the Japanese fashion featured?
AM: AWESOME! I’m obsessed with Japanese fashion already as is, so I was excited to see what they would come up with. Gunther and Tinka’s outfits were so fun and colorful, very representative of Japanese fashion but with that extra Disney punch to it. In other scenes, they portrayed the more traditional side of the clothing as well, which was nice. Overall, I thought they did a fantastic job.
JJJ: What other projects are you working on?
AM: I just finished filming this great feature called Geography Club, which was such a blast. I’m also working a lot on my personal YouTube channel, creating fun skits and comedy shorts to post.
JJJ: Can you tell us more about Geography Club?
AM: Geography Club was such an amazing experience and I was SO grateful to have been a part of it. The movie is based off the best selling teen novel “Geography Club” and follows a group of gay and lesbian teens that form a club where they can meet in private, away from the prying eyes of other students who may suspect their secret. My character’s name is Min, who is dealing with her sexuality and is in a serious relationship with Therese (Nikki Blonsky). I’m a huge advocate for LGBT rights so I was so honored to be a part of this project. I hope that I did Min justice for all the fans of the book out there!!
JJJ: During your shoot, you had a ton of looks! Which was your favorite?
AM: My stylist Audrey Brianne and Belle Epoque Celebrations did such a fabulous job. When they brought the racks of clothes in that day, my jaw was dropped to the floor. I loved all the looks, but my favorite was probably the long white tulle skirt with the patchwork colorful zip up corset top. It was just so unique and fun!
JJJ: We also noticed you tweet/Instagram a lot of pics of you and your friends bowling. Are you any good?
AM: I am TERRIBLE. I honestly think I have a crooked arm because the ball, without fail, will always go to the left and straight into the gutter. EVERY TIME! Or, it will go at such a slow pace that I hold up the entire game. Hah! I think my record score is around a 65? Yikes. Anyone wanna be in my beginner’s bowling league??
JJJ: Have you been following the Mars rover, Curiosity? Do you think there’s life on Mars?
AM: Uh oh. We’re getting into space talk now! When all this was happening the day of, people kept tweeting pics titled “First Look of What’s On Mars” or “First Pics of Life!” and I was totally that gullible person that was like “really?!” and clicked on them only to find a picture of a crazy space alien or some funny looking creature. Definitely had me cracking up all day. In reality though, I would like to think that there is life on Mars. It’s such a cool thought not knowing what’s out there. I hope that one day we find out for sure, hopefully in my lifetime!
Ally was styled by Audrey Brianne with Belle Epoque Celebrations and hair and makeup was provided by Tara Gray Lee.
Looks: (Pics 2, 5, 10 – Body Rock Sport top, Girlfriends Material jacket, Sormeh Lifestyle tulle dress, American Apparel petticoat with Christian Siriano booties, Rebekah Price necklace, Blue Candy earrings and Nana Fabella bracelets)
(Pics 1, 9 – Cameo dress with Sormeh Lifestyle earrings)
(Pic 2 – Curly-V flower dress, Elodie K ring, Samira earrings)
(Pics 6, 11 – Claire Pettibone jacket with London Manori butterfly earrings and Sormeh Lifestyle ring)
(Pics 5, 8 – Cameo dress, Lok’d bowtie, Vanessa Mooney bracelet, Sormeh Lifestyle earrings and Betsey Johnson shoes)
(Pic 4 – Adrianna Papel gown, London Manori maple leaf earrings)
Shake It Up: Made in Japan premieres TONIGHT @ 8PM ET/PT on Disney Channel.