Disney training young stars to help them cope with fame

Indo Asian News Service

Los Angeles, March 12 (IANS) Studio Disney is providing classes for its young stars to help them cope with fame after stars like Britney Spears and Demi Lovato suffered meltdowns.

According to a source, the studio has been offering "life skills" and "healthy living" classes to their up-and-coming stars, reports nypost.com.

The source added that it is for the first time that the network offers "life skills", and is coaching actors on how to navigate the wilds of social media and pitfalls of fame.

"It's the golden handcuffs. They are going through things anyone in high school goes through," said Marlene Wallach, President of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens, who has repped Disney stars.

She added: "But it is so magnified and there is so much attention given to them when they're on a Disney show. It's just 1,000 times more intensified than that for your typical kid. The success comes at a cost."

Many have seen child stars make the transition from innocent youth to uncontrollable young adults -- Bella Thorne is a more recent example.

Judy Taylor, head of casting and talent relations for Disney Channel, said: "We realise these are young people and they are in a transition in their own personal life. Rather than dictate what they can and cannot do, we try to provide resources with these kind of classes and partner with their parents to give them support and guidance."

New talent attends a half-day session called "Talent 101", which provides a road map about what to expect on set and how life will change, reports nypost.com.

"We talk to them about staying in touch with their friends who knew them before they were on a series . . . just to give (them) a sense of real life and to stay grounded," said Taylor.

There are also monthly optional "life skills" classes, which the network has not previously talked about in the press. The courses, which started three years ago, focus on emotional and physical well-being and are taught by a pediatrician and a Ph.D. expert on child development.