In the world of sister duos, there’s Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Hilary and Haylie Duff — and now there’s Ashley and Jennifer Tisdale.
The Tisdales will be out in force Tuesday for a viewing party for Jennifer‘s new DVD Bring It On: In It To Win It. The family and their closest friends are renting a room in the restaurant Jen‘s boyfriend manages.
Ashley, 22, underwent rhinoplasty November 30. “She’s in great shape,” Jennifer, 26, tells me. “That will be the first time she’s seen it.”
Ashley‘s video Be Good To Me appears in the romantic comedy, and Jennifer says, “it’s almost like she was on set because during this one scene I kept looking over and seeing my sister. I was like ‘OK, this is weird!’
Jennifer plays Chelsea, a ditzy character that is unlike the college grad she is in real-life. The actress has a screenwriting degree from Cal State Northridge, and tells me she missed out on Ashley’s dating dramas because she was away at school.
What is their sisterly bond like these days?
“She’s my younger sister, so I’m very protective of her,” Jennifer says. “She’s my best friend. I call her when I’m in trouble, I call her when I need advice, we go shopping together, we go to the gym together. It’s supportive and awesome.”
She says Ashley is handling the success of High School Musical with grace – and reveals High School Musical 3 is due to begin shooting in April. Spoiler alert! – it’s about prom and graduation.
“When they shot High School Musical, no one expected it could be what it is today,” she says. “Ashley’s still the same person she was prior to filming it. She’s busier now, but she hasn’t changed at all in terms of who she is as a person and how she handles herself.”
Jennifer loves the perks of being Ashley’s big sis. “You’ll get a box from someone who wants you to wear something that they make, and all of a sudden you’ll get a box full of free clothes. You’re like ‘oh my God, now that I’m actually making money, I don’t have to pay for clothes? Cool!’ Being able to go to cool events, like being able to go to movie premieres and awards shows, and all those things that you never got to do being a struggling actor is nice.”
Along with their parents, she keeps Ashley’s ego from getting too big.
“We call each other out on diva moments – whether it’s me, whether it’s my sister, whether it’s my mother. We are there to say ‘check yourself. You’re being a little bit of a diva’ and then you’re like ‘I see it, you’re right.’ Being able to have an open dialogue with your family and being able to feel like you can talk to them about anything and tell them anything helps keep people grounded. Then you’re never trying to front about anything. You’re like ‘this is how it is, awesome, cool … let’s move on.’”
Jennifer says her family plays a key role in keeping them real.
“They’ve played a significant role in how grounded my sister and I still are in terms of everything that’s going on. They have supported us 100% since the day we decided that this is something we wanted to do, and I quit the business when I was in high school because I was a cheerleader and I wanted to be a cheerleader and I didn’t want to miss football games for auditions. My family supported me 100%. They never said ‘you’re making the wrong decision.’ They never said ‘don’t do this.’ They said ‘we support you whatever you do. If you want to get back into it, we’ll support you doing that too.’ It’s been great to have people who are just there no matter what.”
As the actress sister of Miss High School Musical, how does she cope with sibling rivalry?
“We don’t have any sibling rivalry,” Jen admits. “One thing my mom and my dad made clear when we started this industry is that the only person you’re ever competing with in life is yourself. That’s something she and I have taken to heart. We are close in age, and we do audition for the same projects at times. Sometimes she books some and sometimes I book some, but at the end of the day, we’re always helping each other. If I went on an audition, and Ashley was going on it next, I’d tell her ‘oh the casting director said not to do this.’ We’re so different. If she’s going to book something, I’m not. If I’m going to book something, she’s not. With that mentality being given to us at such a young age, it has eliminated any sibling rivalry and created a supportive relationship.”
Despite Ashley’s bubbly onscreen persona in High School Musical, she confesses that her lil’ sis is shy.
What’s the best advice the sisters have shared?
“The best advice I’ve given her is to not let what other people say about you affect how you feel about yourself,” she says. “The best advice she’s given me is never give up because I did step away from the business for awhile, so getting back into it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t like all of a sudden I auditioned and I booked a movie. I finished high school, I started college and trying to juggle college and auditions and being in a sorority and a job … she just said ‘Jen, you’re talented, you’re going to do great, just don’t give up.’ And I didn’t. Now here I am in Bring It On. It works.”
Bring It On: In It To Win It will be released on Tuesday.
“It’s got everything: It’s got romance, it’s got comedy and it’s got more cheerleading performances than any other Bring It On,” Jennifer says.
Next up is I Know What Boys Like, which also stars Katharine McPhee and Rumer Willis. “I was expecting them to be divas, and them to be too cool to talk to me, but we all sat around inbetween takes and gossiped.”
Jennifer says she’d like to write a comedy. Will Ashley be in her pic? “Maybe,” she says slyly. “She definitely has to audition.”