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EXCLUSIVE! Kylie Cantrall is just trusting the universe

...and it's giving some serious heart eyes (and star power) right back. ðŸ˜

Kylie Cantrall is in her pink era—and she has the hair streaks to match. "I just got them done two days ago," she shares as she plops in a studio makeup chair. "They were dyed red for Descendants and then faded into pink. It's a little fiery, a little sassy and definitely girly. That's my vibe right now."

Kylie's hair isn't the only thing making a statement these days. After headlining the Disney Channel sitcom Gabby Duran & The Unsittables from 2019 to 2021, 18-year-old Kylie has been unstoppable. She's dropped a few can't-miss singles (make "Texts Go Green" your morning alarm bop—you won't regret it), recorded almost-daily music challenges for fans (aka her "QTs"), launched a skincare collab with TruSkin ("beauty is something I've always been really passionate about") and, oh, just casually joined the cast of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series for its final season. (ICYMI, Kylie's Sharpay-inspired character Dani is an instant hit.)

And in her latest main character move, Kylie's the face of another iconic franchise—playing Red in Descendants: The Rise of Red (the fourth chapter, a reboot for the series, premieres on Disney+ this summer).

But her most important role lately? Being the go-to relationship advice gal of her friend group.

"It's funny because I have the least amount of experience with relationships among us," she says. But watching her BFFs' love stories play out has given her plenty of insight. "It's really about seeing your worth and not settling for anyone who makes you feel like you're not enough," she shares.

Kylie isn't just dishing out all her relationship reflections to friends. She's sharing them in her EP, out this month.

"The cool thing about music is you can be vulnerable," Kylie says. "I can be most myself—you don't have any other motive than to just completely say what you feel and what's true to you in that moment."

And her mantra when it comes to living your best, most authentic life? "I'm in the space of trusting the universe and being open to possibilities," she says. "Everything will happen in due time."

Well, we're here to drop a pink, glittery, heart-shaped sign that Kylie is very much on the right path.

GL: Thinking back to your Red era, tell us what makes Descendants: The Rise of Red unique.

Kylie: It's centered around friendship and girlpower. My character Red—she's the daughter of the Queen of Hearts—goes through this heroic journey of finding herself. She's passionate, courageous, there for her friends. Definitely not the type that is, you know, waiting for a prince to come and save her.

We love a girlpower moment. Did that energy live on behind the scenes?

Oh, yes! We—the girls in the film—called each other Destiny's Child. In between takes, Ruby [Rose Turner], Malia [Baker], Morgan [Dudley] and I would sing, do harmonies and put on full elaborate performances offscreen.

We'll stay tuned for your offscreen musical number. Anything else Descendants diehards can look forward to?

If you're a fan of the older Descendants like I was as a kid, you're going to love this one. A lot of crazy things go down that require Red and Chloe—the daughter of Cinderella who's just the smart, perfect golden child—to team up and go back in time. They get to see their parents as teenagers, which is fun.

So when you're not dropping bars with your co-stars, you're working hard on your upcoming EP.

2024 is really going to be a music year. The adrenaline you get from hearing a crowd sing your songs and dancing onstage and getting that immediate reaction is unlike anything else. That's always been my biggest motivation.

What's one song you can't wait to sing along with your QTs?

"Boy for a Day," kind of like a flip on Beyoncé's "If I Were a Boy," which is one of my all-time favorites. As someone who's had her situationships, I incorporate my own personal experiences with guys. It's definitely a sassy one, maybe a little petty.

Does that sum up your energy these days?

I think I'm very chill, and I like to make people feel warm and fuzzy. But you know how Beyoncé has her Sasha Fierce alter ego? My alter ego name is Kizzle. Ruby gave me that nickname. She was just like, "Whenever you get sassy, I call you Kizzle." So I think it's mostly Kizzle on this record.

Does your Kizzle side ever pop out IRL?

When I was 15, my best friend Sharlize broke up with this guy. We put the puzzle pieces together that he was being unfaithful throughout the relationship. So I said, "Give me his phone number right now. I'm going to get him back." I called him with a British accent, and I was like, "How dare you! You should be ashamed of yourself! How could you do this to Sharlize?!" He totally knew it was me.

Definitely a Kizzle moment.

Prime Kizzle, for sure. She was just being the protector that she is, standing up for her friend.

Looking back now, as 18-year-old Kylie (and Kizzle), how would you handle that kind of situation?

Not by making a prank call! It came from a pure place—just trying to bring a smile to my friend who felt so bad. Would I do it now? Probably not.

We're here for a personal growth moment.

I definitely have a new sense of overall patience. I used to be the type of person who was like, "OK, I need things to happen now." I'd get caught in the comparison trap, seeing other people doing so much and thinking I need to do a bunch of things. But I'm in a place in my life where I let things happen in divine timing without trying to expedite anything or get stressed out if someone is busier than me or looks like they're accomplishing more. You really can't rush anything.

Completely agree—and it's clearly working out for you. I definitely see in the EP how you're able to balance that fiery Kizzle side with those more mature Kylie reflections.

There's a cool contrast with [some of] the songs. "Wish You Well" is the sweet breakup song where the production is very happy and bubbly. Compared to "Boy for a Day," I'm more levelheaded and mature. And "Elastic" is about knowing yourself, having balance within yourself—and not switching your life around for others.

"Elastic" has a really unique sound. I can't think of another recent pop song I would compare it to.

I want there to be a feeling of, like, I am in my own space. There's so much ear candy, it's really quirky and it takes you on a journey. Like, thinking it's going to be more moody but then, oh shoot, we're dancing.

And is that the aesthetic you're going for with your music in general?

My sound right now is up-tempo pop, with flavors of R&B and a little bit of '90s nostalgia. Something you can dance to. I'm influenced by the pop girls of the '90s: Britney Spears, Aaliyah, TLC. They'd perform their butts off and really dance. Their music was so empowering.

Well you're definitely giving girls relatable songs to dance it out to.

Music is my vessel for those unfiltered thoughts and emotions—it's raw and addresses feelings I normally don't talk about. I want my music to empower girls: to encourage them to be their own best friend, to speak up, to know their worth and to leave a crush who isn't treating them well. There is going to be someone who will see how precious and incredible you are. In the meantime, just get up and dance and feel your most confident.

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our February/March 2024 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Photographed by Mike Azria. Interview by Kayleigh Roberts. Styled by Lo VonRumpf. Hair by George Fragkiousdakis. Makeup by Sophia Hutch.

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by Katherine Hammer | 2/21/2024
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