Actress Sofia Carson‘s life hasn’t been the same since she starred in the hit Disney Channel film series Descendants. In a recent interview with Teen Vogue the 26-year-old dished on what it was like filming the musical movies and looked back at the “magical” moment she first stepped foot on the set.

“My life changed completely. I had never really acted before,” she said. “The first day on set we were shooting the opening number ‘Rotten to the Core.’ My mom flew in and I remember having the biggest case of butterflies in my stomach, but it was magical. As much as the movie is a fairy tale, even shooting it felt like a fairy tale…To play like a real-life Disney princess, it was so surreal.”

Sofia also remembered the moment that she realized playing her character, Evie, was more than “just being a princess.”

“She’s the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White who was the most vain woman in the world. She defines her daughter by her beauty,” she explained. “Evie’s story was aimed toward little girls around the world to tell them that you are so much more than a pretty face, that you are not defined by any reflection in the mirror nor any glass ceiling. Evie’s story became this triumph of girl power.”

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She may be a total Hollywood starlet now, but before slaying red carpets and appearing in major film franchises, Sofia struggled to get roles. Before she booked her first job, the actress took classes at UCLA.

“It was always the deal that [my parents] supported me unconditionally, however, I had to go to school and pursue my education. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to even go to college. I moved to LA myself and I was auditioning while I was in school,” she explained. I went on about 200 auditions before I got my first job. It was a small guest-starring role on a Disney Channel series called Austin & Ally. I remember when I got the email saying that I got the job, at the very bottom it said like, ‘And this is what you’re going to be paid,’ and I was like, ‘Ah, I get paid to do this?'”

Sofia will always remember her past, but now she’s looking toward the future of her career. It includes being a role model for young women.

“My priority is really doing everything that I can to use my voice and this platform, continue my work with UNICEF to the best of my ability,” she revealed. “I really do feel that I have a responsibility to the young girls that I’m lucky enough to have any sort of influence on.”

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