IML: A lot of child actors don’t stick with it. When did you know you wanted to keep acting as a career?
Raven: I really didn’t, I just never stopped auditioning and I never stopped getting roles that I really liked. I was very fortunate that I’ve had a career that lasted continuously. I’ve been working since I was 16 months old. I’ve been very blessed. I’ve gotten rejected so many times that I probably shouldn’t be in the business. But it gave me thick skin and I just keep on pushing, slowly and surely. I’ve never had any real heights or really low falls. I really don’t want to fluctuate too much because if you go up too high, people will get sick of you and they don’t want to see you anymore. Overexposure is not good.
IML: Do you get something different out of singing than you do from acting?
Raven: I love them both equally. Singing is just another outlet to express what I feel and to show everyone who I really am. I really don’t talk about my personal life that much in interviews because that’s my life, but with music, the way I write, explains who I am.
IML: Who would you love to work with? Do you have a dream co-star?
Raven: I want to work with Robert DeNiro and Jim Carrey.
IML: Is there a kind of a role or character you’d like to do?
Raven: I’m open to anything really. I like that kind of quirky comedy where you can incorporate drama with the comedy.
IML: What advice do you have for kids who want to be in show business?
Raven: It’s cutthroat. It’s not you, if you don’t get picked. Don’t feel bad. They already have what they want in mind and if you fit their profile you get it and if not, you don’t. Also, be very professional because it will get you a lot further. You have to treat people with the same respect whether they’re signing your checks or cleaning up after you.
IML: Are you finished with school now?
Raven: Yes, in fact I graduated last September with honors.
IML: Have you thought about going to college?
Raven: Yes, in the future. I want to work now and go to culinary school in a few years.
IML: You want to be a chef?
Raven: Yes! I love to see the smiles on people’s faces when you cook for them. I love to go to different restaurants. I want to cook because I know this acting isn’t going to last forever and I want something to fall back on. It’s another way to make people smile.
IML: What kinds of things do you like to cook?
Raven: Italian food, a little bit of Chinese, soul food. I like to mix things. Last Thanksgiving I made Portobello mushrooms stuffed with lobster and Japanese potstickers as an appetizer and for the main course I had soul food with a bit of Italian influence in it. If you find the right balance you can have everything that you like in one place.
IML: You work with charities like Children First. Why is that important to you?
Raven: I love doing things that help kids because -- I know it sounds corny but it’s true -- kids are the future and will one day run the country, so we need to prepare children well so they can run the country with open minds and good hearts. Children First, March of Dimes, and Inner City Games all help kids broaden their horizons. They help them with their teamwork and social abilities, and keep them off the streets. I really want to pitch in somehow, whether it’s in schools or out there with the Inner City Games, which gives kids a safe place and teaches them about stuff. The kids that are aware help the ones that are not aware.
IML: Do you have any interests you haven’t told us about?
Raven: I haven’t painted in a while but I do paint. Oil on canvas, mostly landscapes. I make potpourri. I still have the flowers that I got when I did Dr. Doolittle 2. I hang them up to dry and I make potpourri out of them. It keeps my house smelling good.
IML: What do you do when you’re stressed out and want to relax or when you’re down and want to cheer yourself up?
Raven: I light lavender oil and I light candles and I watch South Park. I have so many South Parks on my TiVo!
IML: Do you have a Website?
Raven: There are two. One is Ravenlive.com, that has all the news on Raven, and the other is for my music, Ravenmusic.com.
IML: Thanks, Raven. We’ll check them out!