Interview: 'Andi Mack' Star Lilan Bowden Talks Representation, Disney Channel, and the Exciting Season 2 Finale
In more ways than one, Disney Channel's original series Andi Mack has made quite the name for [...]
In more ways than one, Disney Channel's original series Andi Mack has made quite the name for itself. The sophomore series has given kids and teenagers a slew of heart-warming stories, a cast of insanely relatable characters, and a groundbreaking glimpse into the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. It came as no surprise that Disney Channel gave it an early season 3 renewal.
The show tells the story of a girl named Andi Mack, who finds out in the pilot that her older sister, Bex, is actually her mother. As this new relationship unfolds, both Andi and Bex do their best to help one another navigate the difficulties of life, love, and friendship.
Ahead of the show's season 2 finale on Monday night on The Disney Channel at 8 p.m. ET, star Lilan Bowden, who plays Bex, took some time to chat with ComicBook.com about landing the career-changing role, breaking new ground on Disney Channel, and what to expect as the season comes to a close.
ComicBook: Tell us a bit about landing your role on Andi Mack.
Bowden: I went in just all excited, because I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, this is so different, this is so cool. I really, really want to book this." I felt like I got the character of Bex pretty well. There's some auditions I feel like you get where you're like, "OK, I feel like I could play this, or I don't understand this dialogue, but I'll really work hard on it." And I feel like when I got this script, I was like, "Oh, I get this girl. I get her deal. I hope they see how lucky they are set I am it."
But I was very lucky to book it too, you know? I felt like I was ... it was a good audition experience, all the way through.
Did you find any similarities between Bex and yourself during the audition?
Oh yeah. There were some jokes written for Bex in the audition sides that I totally understood. I understood, I could see in my mind how they were already gonna be delivered. I felt her cadence, you know? She kind of, I talked about this before, but she uses humor to deflect. And sometimes she says the wrong thing at the wrong time, and I feel like I completely connect to that.
I feel like we get each other. I mean, that's just very much — she's a lot cooler than I am.
You've been working incredibly closely with Peyton Elizabeth Lee, who plays your daughter on the show. Have the two of you gotten close off-screen as well?
Oh man, I feel so lucky that Peyton and I really bonded over the season. I feel like not every acting relationship works like that. You can't expect that, you know? You never know who you're gonna get, and who you're gonna have to pretend to be BFFs with.
But Peyton and I got each other, and I feel like our relationship has only grown since season one. I feel so close to her. We spend so much time outside of set just hanging out as well. And I feel like that's a feedback loop where we bond on set, so we want to spend time outside. And because we spend so much time outside, our relationship is stronger, and so on and so forth.
Another one of your young co-stars got a massive role recently. Asher Angel is about to star in Shazam! for DC. How did the rest of the cast react when he broke the news?
Oh, we were so excited for him. And then it was, he shot the film on an Andi Mack hiatus. And so when he came back, we were just like, "How was Shazam?" It was just, it was so cool, you know? It's always so great when you see somebody that you love succeed, and get their dreams come true, you know? And I feel like for some of us, that was Andi Mack. And to see people get even more exciting stuff on top of that is just so cool, you know? We were very, very cool that one of us is Shazam.
What's been your experience working on a show for Disney Channel?
Oh yeah. You know, this is my first time being a series regular on a show that aired. So this is a big deal. And I've only been nothing but impressed with how hands-on the Disney Channel is. The president and the vice-president both took time to introduce themselves to me. They both take time to talk with every one of us whenever there's events when we're all there. And they're always been so supportive.
... I was almost surprised to learn that the Disney Channel is almost like a small family. And I was comparing notes to some of my other friends who are on different TV shows, and they were saying, "Oh, that's not really my experience." So it makes me think that Disney Channel takes some extra time and effort to connect with the stars of their shows. Probably because they are kids, but I mean, they don't have to do that, you know? But they offer life skill workshops for the kids. You know? Because it's a unique experience being a child growing up on a TV show.
I'm pleased to say that I've been impressed being a part of it. They let me sit on them even though I'm not a kid. I'm kind of in that mid-range. I'm not really a kid, but I'm not an adult either. But that's fun for me. I kind of like that they don't know what I am, you know? Because I feel like I'm both.
Over the last couple of years, Andi Mack has broken ground with its representation of the LGBTQ+ community on-screen, and it all started with Cyrus coming out to Buffy.
I cry every single time I watch that scene. It's so good. And I know that Josh Rush and Sofia Wylie (Cyrus and Buffy) they took that scene very seriously as well. So they spent a lot of time on their own. Not going method with it, just they took it upon themselves to rehearse it, and make it feel as real as possible, and feel as truthful to the experience of a kid questioning their sexual identity. And I think that really plays.
I was so moved, and I had already read the script, I knew it was gonna happen. But watching it felt like I was seeing it for the first time. And then I'm just so happy that we've got so much positive feedback on it, that 'Oh good, fans feel what I feel when they watch it too.' So it's been wonderful to be a part of.
It's cool for me because I love to be a part of storylines that are about diversity, and about inclusion, and have really good messages. I love it when art can do more than just be entertainment. So for me, it's very gratifying too. And I know for, especially for Josh, Cyrus, he feels that responsibility, and I think he loves that responsibility too, of being the vessel for telling this story.
What can you tell us about the upcoming Season 2 finale?
We will get to see ... I'm constantly trying to introduce spoilers without spoiling anything, you know? I'm trying to find new and fun ways to do that. We get to see the cast members who usually don't interact with each other, we will get to see more of that as we're wrapping up to the end. So that's really fun for people who love cast members that are not interacting with each other, they will be pleased as we get to the end. And the end is pretty exciting. We don't let the viewer off easy, I think.
The season finale of Andi Mack airs Monday night on The Disney Channel at 8 p.m. ET.0comments