Raini Rodriguez talks Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3

Disney darling Raini Rodriguez is tackling a new occupation, and that is singing, a talent she showcases in Disney’s newest film, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta. Rodriguez sings the film’s theme song, “Living Your Dreams.” The film follows Chihuahuas Papi (George Lopez) and Chloe (Odette Annable) celebrating their daughter’s quinceanera, a Mexican tradition and rite of passage for young women.

Rodriguez is known for her role on Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally, her feature-film debut in Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and her recent, more dramatic role in Girl in Progress. Now that she is delving into the music scene for Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3, the Texas-native spoke to The Reel Story about her work.

AG: Let’s start off with you telling me a little bit about this song for BHC3.
RR: The song is called, “Living Your Dreams.” I’m super excited, because it’s kind of mirroring real life. I am literally living my dreams being able to do this song. I recorded one version in English and one version in Spanish, and the version in Spanish is called, “Vive Tus Sueños.” I’m very, very excited. It’s a huge dream of mine to be able to do music as well, and to be able to do it for this movie and for Disney is really exciting. Now that the DVD is out, the music video is on it as well. It’s pretty cool to know that kids can watch it all the time.

AG: Do you speak a lot of Spanish, or did you have to learn it for the song?
RR: I actually don’t speak Spanish that well. It’s pretty funny. So when they wanted me to do it in Spanish, I got really excited, because I was like, “Yeah, this is perfect!” I got to work on it with my dad a lot, and it sounds great. I mean, if you listen to it, it sounds like I’ve spoken Spanish my entire life. When I actually speak Spanish, though, I don’t sound convincing at all. It’s really very funny. I was super excited I got to record it in Spanish, because it’s a whole other opportunity, another side of me that I got to show others.

AG: What does it mean to you to be able to sing it in Spanish?
RR: I think it’s really important. First of all, it shows a different side to you. Second, I know it made my grandma proud and my dad proud, all my family proud. It’s good, because it reaches different cultures. They don’t have to dub my voice; it is me. I’m singing in Spanish, so I know the kids in Latin America are going to appreciate that when they hear it. I was a challenge, and I really enjoyed it. It was so much fun. I think the Spanish version would have to be my favorite, though, just because of how much more work went into it but it sounds so well.

AG: So what’s your favorite thing about these Beverly Hills Chihuahua movies?
RR: They’re just adorable! The fact that they’re talking dogs and they each have a distinctive personality is just my favorite. I think the pug in the movie is the cutest one, the party planner. Cutest dog ever! They each have their own personality and their own voices, but they’re so funny.

AG: Do you have any dogs yourself?
RR: I don’t have any myself now, but I did have a Blue Heeler. That’s like a cow dog. She recently passed away, but we had all kinds of dogs growing up.

AG: What’s been your favorite type of dog?
RR: Probably the Blue Heeler, because they are so smart! Seriously.

AG: How long have you been singing?
RR: Well, I’ve been singing my whole life, but professionally, about two years. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, and being on Disney is the greatest opportunity ever. When they find out you can sing, they’re willing to give you a chance. I’ve been training my whole life, and now to be able to showcase it is pretty exciting.

AG: Your roles onscreen and in television are usually so funny. Are those roles that you look for, or how does that work?
RR: When the auditions come along, I kind of choose what kind of auditions I want to go to. Typically, I go for comedy. That’s the kind of thing that I love to do the most. I love making people laugh, and having the ability to do so, I love that. I recently did a drama movie, though, and that was a lot of fun. That was a different side of me that I got to see and that everybody else got to see. That was successful and paid off, and I would love to do more of that. Typically, I love to go for the sarcastic funny type or family comedies, family movies, or family shows. Then, I have nieces and family that enjoy watching that, but the dramatic role was about bullying and that kind of stuff, so that’s a good thing to show. I just love it all.

AG: Drama versus comedy. What do you feel is harder?
RR: Oh, man. I seriously have to give it up to everybody that can cry all the time. The people on all those drama shows, I have to give it up to them. To be able to do that every week is a true inspiration. Comedy, I love it, and I’m naturally a funny sarcastic person. I feel like comedy is also hard, but everything is hard for everybody. But I have to give it up for those drama folks.

AG: I know you’re on Austin & Ally, and your little brother, Rico, is on Modern Family. What is it like living in a show-biz family?
RR: It’s so much fun. It’s so rewarding to know that we’re both on successful shows, and we really enjoy it. We’re so supportive of each other as well. Schedules can get kind of crazy, like if my call time is at a different time than his, we have to be in two places at once. It can get a little difficult, but other than that, we’re so supportive. Our entire family is so supportive as well. It’s really nice to know that everyone backs us up. The most important thing is that Rico and I support each other. That really helps a lot.

AG: What has it been like for you as a Hispanic in this industry?
RR: I find it very rewarding to be able to play a great character like Trish or record a song in English and in Spanish and reach out to broader audiences. It gives them hope that they can do anything they want no matter what nationality they are. It’s good. It’s rewarding. Our culture has a lot of passion for life and family, and it’s good to showcase that in a positive way.

AG: What would you say about that responsibility you carry with you being a role model and a Hispanic?
RR: You know, I’m just myself. I’m myself, and I know that now, being on TV and being a Hispanic especially, you do have people watching you all the time. I find that it’s just important to be yourself, and I’m naturally a very boring person (laughs). So I’m pretty good at that. To be able to inspire kids and make them smile is something I enjoy doing every day. To be able to say that’s my job is awesome. If kids want to say that, that I’m their role model and I inspire them, I’m all for it.

AG: What advice do you have for little girls like you that look up to you?
RR: Just go for it. Don’t let anything hold you back. Love yourself and surround yourself with good people. Whatever you want to do in life, whether it’s to be an actor or a singer or you want to go to NASA and be an astronaut, go for it. Do whatever you want to do and whatever is going to make you happy. Live your life, because you hear a lot of people that might bully you or put you down, but just go for it. Live your dreams.

AG: What’s next for you?
RR: The next season of Austin & Ally will premiere October 2nd, so we’re excited for that. I recently was in a movie called “Girl in Progress,” and that’s out on DVD now. And of course, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 came out on DVD on Tuesday, so I have a lot of great things coming up.

AG: Awesome. Do you have any last words for the readers here in Houston about yourself or about the movie or anything else?
RR: Well, I love that this is Houston. Texas is my home state, so I love that. Just thank you so much for all of the support and keep on rockin’!

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