Sofia Carson Brings Her Latinidad to Ava Jalali’s Wardrobe
Colombian-American actress Sofia Carson is a celeb of all trades. From movies, fashion shows, making music, and now starring on TV as Ava Jalali. The “Love Is the Name” singer shared with CHICA how her Colombian background influences her character’s wardrobe and more.
Sofia Carson is a woman of many trades.
Not only did the singer and actress of Colombian descent land an amazing role as Evie (the daughter of Evil Queen) in Disney's Descendants back in 2015 — a role continued in the sequel and third, set to premiere mid-year — she also pulls up slaying at shows at Fashion Week and has dropped records with Hollywood Records. The hustle doesn't stop there, she now stars in the Pretty Little Liar's franchise The Perfectionist.
The Perf's messaging is different from PPL's, despite the branding. Unfolding the concept of our cultural obsession with perfectionism, the creator of both shows, Marlene King said she wanted to critique society instead of repeating a romantic drama.
Carson, who is also a PLL fan, shared her experience with CHICA: “I've always been a fan of Marlene King because she stands for inclusivity and diversity, and she writes such complex female characters that are at the forefront of her shows which is so exciting.”
The show centers on three college students who attend the equivalent of Harvard or Yale. The characters are expected to maintain absolute perfection in everything they do, and the show explores what students and parents are willing to do to maintain the false idea of perfectionism.
When the script was handed to Carson, Marlene warned her to brace herself for a roller coaster ride, “Hold on tight, Sofia, you're going on one hell of a ride,” she told her.
Her character, Ava Jalali, a coding and hacking badass, who also happens to have amazing fashion sense, loses the love of her life in the first episode, a situation that adds to the many traumas she internalizes as she is learning to navigate the world without her parents — criminals who are on the run from the FBI.
As a faithful PLL fan, Carson admits which characters from the original series identify with Ava: “Ava's character is kind of a mix between Hannah and Aria, I would say, in the fashion sense, of course, she's the fashion girl of this series. But she also has a little bit of Aria as well.”
What thrills Carson the most is the ability to incorporate her life-long inspirations to Ava's wardrobe. Growing up, she admired the way her grandmother and mother dressed. Carson's mom, Laura Char Carson, is half Colombian — her grandmother was originally from Philadelphia; both women married Colombians — and drawing influences from both worlds was a way Laura expressed herself. This played a huge part of Sofia's childhood. Obsessed with how chic and timeless they always were, she now uses those influences in both her personal and Ava's style.
“In Hispanic culture, the woman loves dressing up. They really love feeling and looking beautiful, and they put effort into that and I think that's something I've always done as well, and it's definitely something you see in Ava. Over-the-top in the best way, always dressed to the T. So I put a lot of myself in her style as well.”
The over-the-top approach of her character is depicted in the first episode, when she arrives to a funeral in a black minidress with huge puffy sleeves. Though she hinted that everything is not what it seems with her character, the actress is excited for viewers to take the ride with her.
“I'm looking forward to people seeing the growth of Ava's character, there's so much to her, so much to her story.”