Who’s That Girl? Introducing British Star Sophie Simnett stuns in Gucci on the front cover of Wonderland’s Winter Issue
Star of Disney Channel UK’s highest-rated show The Lodge stuns in Gucci on the front cover of Wonderland’s Winter issue
The Winter issue of the leading trendsetting consumer magazine sees an exciting takeover from Disney’s multi-record breaking new series The Lodge. Sophie Simnett, Luke Newton and Thomas Doherty, the British stars who play leading characters in the series, all feature with Sophie gracing the front cover wearing Gucci. Wonderland themselves have hailed The Lodge as “the all-singing-all-dancing millennial answer to High School Musical”.
The premiere of the series in late September re-wrote Disney’s record books by becoming the highest-rated series launch on Disney Channel in the UK for 5 years and the biggest telecast of 2016 with tween girls across all UK children’s channels. In parallel with this, the global platform that the series has given its stars, has seen them quickly rise up to become worldwide talent with the show airing in over 110 countries including US & Canada.
SOPHIE SIMNETT is one of Disney’s rising stars. Her character Skye is in charge. The Lodge depicts Skye, and her new found rural friends, working tirelessly to keep her dad’s hotel open. After the loss of her mother in the series, she moves from the big city to a tiny village, becomes the star of her own reality TV show, and makes a ton of all-singing all-dancing friends along the way. In real life, Simnett is equally as approachable and kind as her character would appear. Much cooler than me, her references include Roald Dahl and Etta James, and she tells me about managing to film the show, record an album and self-teach herself her A-Levels. An 18-year-old polymath: indeed. The next Miley Cyrus: who knows?
So how did you start singing? Do you sing in a band?
No, when I was younger I sang in a barbershop quartet at school, but that’s about it. I did singing lessons with a teacher, but that was classical. And when I auditioned for The Lodge they were like, ‘Do you do pop?’. There were 13 auditions, and I was doing my A-Levels at the time. But I was busy at the time, so you don’t really think about it, and you just do the pop!
You must have been good at the pop then. How did you hear about getting the part?
I actually heard on my 18th. I was off to meet a group of my friends — all who were auditioning for the show — and I couldn’t tell anyone.
How does it feel to play a character that is in a show specifically for teenagers?
I mean, teens have changed so much! Well it the show has all the classic aspects of Disney in it. And it’s a really local show, and engages with local issues. You have the musical aspect of it, too, which is really wonderful and always engaging. But my character goes through a lot: she’s dealing with the death of a mother, with the massive adjustment from moving from a big city to the countryside — a lot of aspects other teen shows don’t necessarily confront. There’s more to it.
Is there any use of new technologies in it?
Yeah, there’s a whole character — Josh, my character’s best friend — who still lives in the city and their relationship is literally over video messaging. It’s a great way of showing how technology can be used positively to connect people, rather than teens being told to stay off their phones all the time. Within the show there’s a reality show being made about Skye’s life running the Lodge too. A show within a show.
Yeah — A Midsummer Night’s Dream, right?
Well speaking of reality: how does it feel to be following in the footsteps of all of the Disney graduates before you: Britney, Miley, Zac? They are some of the most famous people in the world, and now you’re perhaps on that trajectory?
I mean it’s great. If you look at all of those people’s careers individually they’ve all been totally different. They are in the entertainment industry but in different ways. It’s amazing that Disney has given them that platform that I can perhaps use, and any of those careers would be great. I think it’s important for everyone to be inspired, but not idolise necessarily.
What do you think you want to use that platform for? Do you want to be one of those outspoken celebrities?
I don’t know really. I’m just taking it a step at a time, but I guess I hope to do more film work. It’s interesting. It’s all really new at the moment: this opportunity, this platform. Our audience is really impressionable — young teen girls and boys — and it’s important to use our platforms to educate, but it doesn’t mean shoving our political viewpoints down people’s throats.
What about being a female lead?
Well Skye is incredibly strong. I think my peers and I are very aware of feminism, it’s a very important topic. I mean, feminism defined is believing in equality in both genders, why isn’t that inherent? We have to embrace it and go with it. There’s such a massive group of supporters for these equal rights, you would hope people who didn’t believe it would see that and be like, ‘Oh, wait’.
The Winter issue of Wonderland on sale 7 December. The Lodge airs on Disney Channel
Biographical & background information
As well as lead actress in The Lodge, talented, British actress, Sophie Simnett also appears in theatrical release Mum’s List out in cinemas now where she stars alongside Emilia Fox and Rafe Spall.
Luke Newton and Thomas Doherty have also had a busy year, with Thomas set to star in Disney’s Descendants 2 – a sequel to the Disney Channels highest rated original movie in eight years, featuring the fictional offspring of some of the Magic Kingdom’s most infamous villains. Thomas appears in the sequel as Harry Hook, the son of Captain Hook, and he looks set to be catapulted to global teen idol status once it airs next year. Whilst Luke has appeared in a host UK television shows and West End productions, most notable in the worldwide phenomenon The Book of Mormon.
Thomas Doherty also appeared in Teen Vogue’s Young Hollywood issue (October issue) which recognises up and coming talent and features the 11 stars you “need to know about”. Thomas is featured alongside Ella Purnell, Cole Sprouse and Brianna Hildebrand amongst others.
Wonderland is a contemporary culture magazine covering everything from fashion and beauty, to celebrity, art, film, TV and music. Sophie, Luke and Thomas appear in an exclusive photoshoot and interview in the Winter issue, covering subjects including the responsibilities that come with starring in a hit Disney show with teen appeal, following in the footsteps of former Disney alumni including Britney Spears and Zac Efron, and the pressures of being young men and female leads in the industry. Please let us know if you would be interested in featuring content from the magazine – we have additional imagery which we can offer up exclusively if interested, including behind the scenes at the shoot.
The Lodge hit a high note when it debuted in October on the Disney Channel, pulling in the biggest ratings for a new series launch on the channel since 2011 and the biggest audience share in a decade. The ten-part series has kept its audience gripped with the story of Skye (Simnett) who relocates from the city to her family’s lodge in the countryside. There the show’s mystery-laden and action-packed plots take place, with a complete soundtrack of 9 original songs (including “Believe That” which has nearly 2 million hits on YouTube), burgeoning friendships, and romance, as Wonderland says – “sit down, settle in and prepare for your next obsession”