UltimateDisney.com > Interviews > Olesya Rulin, High School Musical actor

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Olesya Rulin Interview

East High's composer reflects on her special Senior Year

By Aaron Wallace

Olesya Rulin is best known for playing Kelsi, the student composer and pianist from all three High School Musical movies. Before making it big with the East High crowd,
Olesya Rulin gets a fun collage for her pre-scroll "High School Musical 3" closing credit.
the Moscow-born Rulin played roles in three other Disney Channel Original movies (The Poof Point, Hounded, and Halloweentown High) in addition to TV guest spots and supporting roles in smaller movies. We were supposed to get a phone interview with Olesya right before High School Musical 3: Senior Year came to DVD and Blu-ray. Due to scheduling conflicts, we had to settle for an e-mail interview. Unfortunately, the actress answered just half our questions, and none of the juicy ones about High School Musical 4 and her Private Valentine co-star Jessica Simpson's weight. (We did ask!) Nonetheless, we get some insight into Kelsi Nielsen and her 22-year-old portrayer.

UltimateDisney.com: Kelsi's role has grown as the franchise goes along. It probably goes without saying that no one expected High School Musical's immense popularity but did you expect that your character would play so large a role in it?

Olesya Rulin: Playing Kelsi was a blast but I had no idea that she would become so popular in the film.

How do you compare the experience of making a television movie to that of making a major theatrical film?

I think the differences were slight for us

Olesya Rulin wears a bow tie as Kelsi Nielsen is acknowledged before the big stage finale of "High School Musical 3."
because we had already worked together on two other projects so going into a theatrical film was comfortable. The production value was bigger which allowed us more time for creative freedom. [Director] Kenny Ortega also was able to include us in all of the project from songs to set design which made me feel really apart of something.

In the movies, Kelsi sings, writes music, and plays piano. We hear you sing in the movie, but are you otherwise musically inclined off the set?

No, I don't play any instruments but I would love to one day.

Kelsi has a distinctive fashion sense. How does it compare to your own?

Kelsi mixes things up and adds an artistic flare to her outfits, which I do as well. I'm more of a classical girl and love the simplicity of a white t-shirt, jeans, and heels. I also love wearing dresses and would if I could every day.

You're starring in Flying By this year alongside Heather Locklear and fellow Disney Channel stars Billy Ray Cyrus and Judith Hoag. What can you tell us about that project?

The film is about a family who is going through a growing process together. My dad (Billy) decides that he is going to go forth and chase his dream of being in a band while my mom struggles with the reality of his choices. I'm the supportive daughter that encourages her father in his path of discovery.

Before the first High School Musical, you co-starred with Lucas Grabeel in Halloweentown High (his first role). You've now made four movies together. Did the two of you get to know each other much on the Halloweentown set?

Lucas and I have known each other for 4 and a half years now which seems crazy. He is such a wonderful actor and a great friend. I love working with him because on our off days he always has something creative going on like making a short film.
Olesya Rulin models Kelsi's prom wear in the Extended Edition DVD's "It's All in the Dress" featurette.

Have you been to Disney World to see the live High School Musical show there?

Yes, I have and it was so fun.

What can you tell us about High School Musical 3's DVD and Blu-ray release?

The bloopers and behind the scenes should be great... we had a good time and goofed off and now we can share them with you.

Are you involved in any of the bonus features?

Yes, the interviews and bloopers as well as behind the scenes.

Buy High School Musical 3: Senior Year Extended Edition DVD from Amazon.com ........
High School Musical 3: Senior Year is now on DVD and Blu-ray.
Read our review. / Buy High School Musical 3: Senior Year from Amazon.com:
2-Disc Extended DVD / 1-Disc Theatrical DVD / Blu-ray/DVD Combo / DVD Trilogy / Blu-ray Trilogy

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Interviews:
Fellow High School Musical 3: Senior Year cast members: Matt Prokop • Justin Martin
Brenda Song ("The Suite Life of Zack & Cody", "Suite Life On Deck") | Taylor Lautner (Twilight, The Adventures of Sharkboy & Lavagirl)
Michael Angarano (Sky High, The Forbidden Kingdom) | Mitchel Musso ("Hannah Montana") |

Related Red Carpet Photo Reports:
High School Musical 2 DVD Premiere at El Capitan (November 2007) | High School Musical DVD Premiere at El Capitan (May 2006)

Related Reviews:
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Extended Edition) • Halloweentown High
High School Musical: Encore Edition, 2-Disc Remix / High School Musical 2: Extended Edition, 2-Disc Deluxe Dance Edition
High School Musical DVD Game • High School Musical: The Concert - Extreme Access Pass DVD, CD
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Posted February 26, 2009.