*Tyler Perry fans already know about China Anne McClain, the 12-year-old actress-singer who starred alongside her older sisters in the director’s “Daddy’s Little Girls” and as Jazmine Payne on his TBS series “House of Payne.”
The Disney Channel caught wind of the budding star in 2009, and promptly got her feet wet as a guest star on “Hannah Montana.”
Three “Jonas” episodes and two “Wizards of Waverly Place” broadcasts later, Disney has rewarded China with a series of her very own.
“A.N.T. Farm,” which premiered last week and airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m., stars McClain as musical prodigy Chyna Parks. At the tender age of 11, she and some other gifted students her age enroll in the specialized A.N.T. Program at their local high school – and must quickly learn to fend for themselves.
“A.N.T. stands for Advanced Natural Talents, and all these kids are very advanced in whatever – art, mathematics,” McClain tells EUR. “It’s at a high school, so they really don’t want us there. So we have to maneuver our way through and get out safely.”
As for her character, “She’s very confident, she doesn’t care about what all the high schoolers say about her, and she’s going to make the best of her high school experience,” says China. [Scroll down to watch a show promo.]
The daughter of record producer Michael McClain, China says she lucked out in landing a series that will allow her to flex both her acting and musical talents. In fact, China and her two sisters, Lauryn and Sierra McClain, have a record deal with Hollywood Records – the official label for Disney stars who also sing – like Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and the Jonas Bros.
“I’m really excited,” she says. “We’re going to [record] the “A.N.T. Farm” stuff and then keep me and my sisters’ stuff separately.”
In the audio bonus below, China explains how she and her sisters snuck up on a music career.