teen actor cameron boyce on dealing with the dark side of fame
With almost eight million Instagram followers, Cameron Boyce has been propelled to dizzying heights of fame at just 19 years old.
This article originally appeared in i-D's The Superstar Issue, no. 354, Winter 2018
Not long ago, 19-year-old Cameron Boyce was cruising down a Los Angeles highway in a convertible with a keen soccer mum hot on his heels. She knocked on her car window to get the young star’s attention, holding out her phone to snap a quick photo. “‘You’re that Disney kid!’” he laughs infectiously, imitating his roadside admirer. To a generation and their parents, Cameron is ‘that Disney kid’: the star of Descendants, a hit series of movies about the spawn of Disney villains in which he plays the son of Cruella de Vil. It was his international breakout role – one that has helped earn him 7.7 million Instagram followers. “When you’re passionate about something, it’s so hard to think about doing something else,” he says, laughing off his grandmother’s plans for him to form a back-up career in case acting didn’t work out. “It’s like being in love: even if there’s a person that walks past you in the street, one that you might be attracted to, inside you know that you’re not even looking at them.”
“For about a year of my life, if I didn’t have to leave my house, I wouldn’t."
Cameron’s in love with what he does, but the implications of being in the spotlight are tumultuous. It’s given him a hugely supportive legion of fans but when it comes to facing the real world, the prospect of being bombarded with camera phones can be hard to come to terms with and hugely intimidating. “For about a year of my life, if I didn’t have to leave my house, I wouldn’t,” he says of his darkest period. “It was a bad way of dealing with fame, but it’s a scary feeling to know that everybody is looking at you all the time.” Cameron has learned to cope with it, though, and is adamant that he’ll use his platform for good. He’s started working with a charity called The Thirst Project, and is spreading the word about the group’s push to bring clean water to millions around the world who desperately need it. “I want to leave something so much bigger than myself when I’m gone,” he stresses of combining activism with acting. “I don’t wanna waste time thinking about what I should do anymore – I just wanna do it.”
Photography Cameron McCool
Styling Melissa Levy
Hair Dylan Chavles at Art Department using Oribe. Make-up Holly Silius at Lowe and Co Worldwide using Giorgio Armani Beauty. Photography assistance Olivia Rosenberg. Styling assistance Mei Ling Cooper, Emily Diddle and Rachele Antjuanette. Production Richie Davies.