Absurdly young activist helping encourage American youth to participate in political activism
"Rowan Blanchard is an American actress. She is known for her role as Riley Matthews on the Disney Channel series Girl Meets World that aired from 2014 until 2017. She also makes appearances on The Goldbergs as Jackie Geary.
In 2010, Rowan was cast as Mona's daughter in The Back-up Plan and was in the main cast of the Disney Junior Original Series Dance-A-Lot Robot as Caitlin. In 2011, she was cast as Rebecca Wilson in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, and as Raquel Pacheco in Little in Common. In late January 2013, Blanchard was cast as Riley Matthews in the Disney Channel series Girl Meets World. She also sings the title song, along with co-star Sabrina Carpenter. The titular character is the daughter of Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World. She is an active member of Disney Channel Circle of Stars. In early January 2015, Blanchard was cast as Cleo in the Disney Channel Original Movie Invisible Sister.
In 2016, it was announced that Blanchard was set to co-star in a feature film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time; the film was expected to begin production in November. In September 2017 Blanchard announced that she would be releasing a book, titled "Still Here".
Rowan Blanchard is a public activist in areas such as feminism, human rights, and gun violence. While most of her comments regarding these issues are posted via Twitter or Tumblr, she has spoken at the UN Women and US National Committee's annual conference as part of #TeamHeForShe, a feminist campaign.” (1)
Katherine Rosman of the New York Times writes “Ms. Blanchard, the 14-year-old star of the Disney Channel show “Girl Meets World,” a coming-of-age sitcom about a group of friends in New York, had come to the East Coast to celebrate her involvement in a distinctly un-Disney production: “The Realest Real,” a six-minute short film written and directed by Carrie Brownstein of “Portlandia” fame. It is produced, in part, by Kenzo and showcases actors like Natasha Lyonne and Mahershala Ali.
She had also come for New York Fashion Week, where the press anointed her (as Vanity Fair and New York magazine had done in September) the new face of a creative set populated by young women like Tavi Gevinson.
Ms. Blanchard is too young for a driving learner’s permit (she turns 15 this week), but she has 4.5 million followers on Instagram and nearly a half-million on Twitter. While so many young celebrities use social media to portray a vanilla image in pursuit of mainstream success, Ms. Blanchard is doing the opposite. She relies on social media to showcase herself as quirky, politically aware and a feminist.
On Instagram she posts about #BlackLivesMatter, feminism, L.G.B.T. rights, domestic violence and books she is reading: “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” “The Girls,” “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.”
On Twitter, she promoted a recent episode of “Girl Meets World” like this: “tn’s ep of GMW we talk about how (gasp!) there’s a world outside of America & cultural appreciation rather than cultural appropriation :).” She identifies as queer, she said, not because she necessarily is gay or bisexual, but because she isn’t necessarily not.
This week she was in Washington to celebrate Day of the Girl and posted on Instagram a photograph of her with Michelle Obama.
None of this is standard fare for a Disney girl, as Ms. Blanchard is well aware. “I would be lying to you if I told you being on Disney wasn’t scary because of the connotation of it: ‘Oh she’s on Disney. Is she going to be a Miley, a Demi or a Selena?’ None of those people have anything to do with any of us,” she said of herself and her castmates, who include Sabrina Carpenter, a musician and actress who is also on her way to post-Disney success.” (2)
“In a series of tweets in January 2016, she stated that while she had "only ever liked boys" in the past, she was "open to liking any gender" and therefore she identifies as queer.” (3)