Disney Curse

Molly B (Year 9)

Zac Efron and Dove Cameron. Two incredibly well-known Disney stars with a bumpy road to fame. It’s a common pattern witnessed with celebrities who have begun their careers at Disney Channel, where a majority of stars have encountered some problem that has been created due to their intense time in the middle of the harsh media. It’s called the Disney Curse and it’s something that can make or break a celeb…

Zac Efron

“When you have success young, and you accept the good things, you have to accept all of it. You have to accept the moments of glory but also a great responsibility. And that responsibility, to some degree, involves being a role model. At the same time, I’m a human being, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve learned from each one.”

Arguably one of the most successful Disney stars, Zac Efron began his career on the hit movie franchise, ‘High School Musical’. Following the developing friendship between a popular high school athlete and an academically gifted girl, the series took off quickly, and the young actor’s level of fame followed the same route. It became an unbelievably tense environment for young Zac Efron. From the continuous harassment about relationships between him and his co-star Vanessa Hudgens to being asked about more High School Musical movies, problems started to cultivate. Zac developed drinking problems, drug addictions, and a mental disorder called agoraphobia.

Zac’s alcoholism and drug addiction struggles started soon after he began getting publicly recognized. As disclosed in an interview with elle.com, he’d use heavy drinking to cope with the intense pressures of being a dominant figure within the media. “I was drinking a lot, way too much,” he says, acknowledging there were drugs, too. “It’s never one specific thing. I mean, you’re in your 20s, single, going through life in Hollywood, you know? Everything is thrown at you. I wouldn’t take anything back; I needed to learn everything I did. But it was an interesting journey, to say the least.”

Zac Efron did eventually enter rehab, but his journey wasn’t easy. He got the opportunity to be in a movie called ‘Baywatch’ starring alongside Dwayne Johnson but to play the certain character he was required to put on mass amounts of muscle. Zac Efron stated that losing fat and increasing muscle was much more achievable when you stop drinking.

Dove Cameron

“I’m choosing to love myself, to be who I am every day and not edit myself depending on the room that I’m in”

Dove Cameron starred in two Disney-themed projects, ‘Liv and Maddie’, where she acted as twins as well as ‘Descendants’ where she played the iconic villain Maleficent’s daughter. Whilst Dove claims that both projects were great factors in building her career and that the relationships she developed with her co-stars were lifelong, she’s a clear example of the impact being in the media can have on your personal life. Since her time on Disney, she’s started releasing music about her sexuality and she’s publicly come out stating she’s bisexual and proud of it. Dove Cameron has a lot of mental health issues, and she’s been quite open about them; however, there’s always more to the story.

Dove Cameron’s image completely changed once she left Disney. She went from being “the girl next door” to an empowered strong female who didn’t care what people had to say about her. “I’ve had a feeling of being missed- misunderstood based on a carefully curated image, I didn’t curate”.

The actress also struggles heavily with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. She’s mentioned in certain interviews that being in the media from a younger age has caused many challenges in terms of her mental health, especially her anxiety. Being constantly reminded of her ex and always having to share her life in terms of being followed by paparazzi have impacted the way she acts and feels. In May last year, Dove posted a teary photo with a lengthy caption speaking about how difficult mental health issues are and how they’ve been taken too lightly. In an attempt to be authentic, Dove tries her hardest to share how much she struggles with mental health and feeling sane. She’s honest about how imperfect she is and how everything you see in the media is only skimming the surface of the real story.

Whether it be for the good or the bad, there’s no denying Zac Efron and Dove Cameron’s lives have changed significantly since their time on Disney Channel. They’ve experienced great triumph and the dreaded backlash that comes with it. However, they’ve still managed to persevere against the negatives and perform up to a high acting standard and produce relatable music.

Do you believe in the Disney Curse?