Anneliese Van Der Pol's Life after 'That's so Raven' Ended
While the actress has never found the same mainstream success she had co-starring in the Disney series, her career is everything but over, and she has continued devoted herself to acting in other spaces.
When “Raven’s Home” debuted in 2017, the fans of the original series, which ended in 2007, were delighted to see the 35-year-old Dutch-American actress Anneliese Van der Pol return to reprise the role of Chelsea Daniels.
While for many it meant the first time they saw her since “That’s So Raven” arrived at its finale, but the fact is that Van der Pol hasn’t wasted a second when it comes to continuing to pursue her life passion as a profession. This is where she’s been.
In 2010, three years after “Raven” wrapped, Van der Pol returned to the spotlight with a big-screen role in the parody film “Vampires Suck,” which channels the teenage romance “Twilight” film franchise.
The actress landed the role of Jennifer, based on Anna Kendrick’s Jessica, thanks to her over-the-top recreation of Kendrick’s performance in “Up in the Air” (2009), which earned her the role even though she had never seen a “Twilight” movie.
“One night while we were filming, I invited some of my friends and people from the cast and we watched the movies on demand in our hotel room. Not really into the vampire craze, let alone chick-flick led story like that. Not my thing,” she said.
But 2010 also gave Van der Pol the opportunity to take part in a much more meaningful project, by becoming the host of the puppet show “Shalom Sesame,” that went on for 12 episodes.
A practicing Jew, the actress was happy to help children explore their Jewish identity while they discover Israel in this series developed as a collaboration between Sesame Workshop and Israel’s Channel HOP!
“I think it's really important to educate children in a fun way and a not too confusing way," van der Pol told Hartford Courant in 2009, when she was getting ready to travel to Israel for the first time in her life to work on the show.
Way before she became known in the mainstream by playing Chelsea in “That’s So Raven,” Van der Pol started her stage career, and she admits that it is in the theater where she enjoys performing the most.
“Nothing is like the live audience aspect. I always feel a bit more challenged, if I’m being perfectly honest, in the theater than I ever do in television.”
-Anneliese van der Pol, East Valley Tribune, 2018.
Since the ending of “That’s So Raven,” Van der Pol has appeared in several plays around the US, including “Meet Me in St. Louis,” Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and Jane Austen’s “Emma.”
In 2007, Van der Pol was cast as the last Belle in her Broadway debut with the Disney musical “Beauty and the Beast,” followed by the Off-Broadway musical “Vanities.” More recently, in 2018, she starred in the play “Annie.”
REPRISING HER MOST FAMOUS ROLE
In 2017, ten years after the final season of “That’s So Raven,” fans of the TV show learned the exciting news that a spinoff series named “Raven’s Home” was going to bring back original cast members Raven-Symoné and Van der Pol.
The show features Raven and Chelsea as two single mothers that decide to raise their children together in a shared household.
"I'm really proud to be doing this with Ray. I think it is very rare that you see two mothers on a show, leading a half-hour sitcom with children, and that's it,” Van der Pol told Bustle about sharing the screen with Symoné once again.
“You don't have a guy, you know, coming in saving the day with all the funny lines. It's me and Ray and I think that's enough," the actress shared.
In October 2019, Disney Channel renewed “Raven’s Home” for a fourth season, to be aired in 2020.
2017 saw Symoné and Van der Pol get back together in the small screen, but in real life, the two have continued seeing each other and in touch since the two share a friendship of many years.
Van der Pol is not shy to admit that she can get very emotional just to talk about her lifelong friendship with her on-screen and off-screen best friend, and she shared that their relationship also works wonders in the workplace.
“Raven and I have always really respected each other's talent, and that goes a long way. And if somebody can make you better in your job, and you can make them better, I mean, you better stick together,” the actress told “Today” in 2019.
Having dedicated most of her life to show business, Van der Pol came to the point when she felt she was ready to share her knowledge, talents, and experience with a new generation of aspiring performers as a mentor of the youth.
The “That’s So Raven” star is among the several celebrities that are taking part in the program Actors Giving Back, founded by actor David DeLuise, expecting to make the talent development industry more ethical and accessible.
Apart from Van der Pol, other celebrity mentors include Jennifer Stone, Paris Berelc, Nathan Arenas, Amber Montana, and Bill Chott.