The first time Bella Thorne slipped into the look she would wear through the majority of the romantic comedy "Blended," she reacted the way any other teenager would.
"The thing that ran through my mind was that this was not a cute look," Thorne says of the boyish clothes and wig. "But, while it was a look I would have never picked, it did show me how much I like playing characters. I now know I don't just want to play the pretty girl all the time."
Thorne's transformation is so complete that she looks nothing like the aspiring dancer she played in the Disney Channel series "Shake It Up."
She plays Hilary, the daughter of the character played by Adam Sandler. He's a single father of three girls — Thorne playing the oldest — who has done his best but treats the girls as if they were boys.
Thorne's character goes along with this until she meets a young man on a mixed-up family vacation. "Blended" is the story of a single dad (Sandler) and a single mom (Drew Barrymore) who meet on a disastrous first date. But through a series of comic twists, the couple — and their children — end up sharing an African vacation.
Filming in Africa was a fun learning experience for Thorne. She found it a great opportunity to learn from Sandler and Barrymore, of whom she's been a fan since she first saw "The Wedding Singer."
"I definitely learned a lot from them because they are both such great comedians and famous for making people laugh. For me, it was just a matter of you hope they think you are funny. I was way too nervous around them because of that," Thorne says. "But it ended up being a very fun set."
During the weeks she was in Africa, Thorne bonded with her movie sisters and mom. She found Barrymore to be somewhere between a mom and sister in the way she treated her. But even with all of the strong on-set connections, Thorne found it tough to be away from her real home for so long.
The 16-year-old actress has a lot of projects going. Along with six more feature films waiting to be released, she's the new Candie's girl, has just released the new single "Call It Whatever" and signed a three-book deal with Random House.
Thorne loves everything she's doing, but she is particularly proud of the upcoming "Autumn Falls" book series because she had to overcome dyslexia when she was younger. That conquest is a main motivation in her becoming an author.
"I love writing my book series because I want kids all over the world to know that if I can write a book — three books — then they can do anything," Thorne says.
So far, there's nothing that Thorne's attempted that she's not been able to conquer. The only hurdle is that she's her own worst critic. It's a trait she got from her father.
"He was never satisfied and knew he could always do better," Thorne says. "He told me that you are never on top. There's always someone above you and that I should always work to do better."