EXCLUSIVE! Isabella Pappas is embracing her bad side

Isabella Pappas, the 19-year-old London-born actress, is serving up major Mal from Descendants mood in Disney Channel's latest bad-guys-as-the-heroes series. Villains of Valley View (which premieres on June 3) is about a fam of supervillains who go into hiding in a small town and have to fight their evil instincts—or risk blowing their cover. Keep reading to get to know what makes Isabella a bad babe IRL.

Girls' Life: Villains of Valley View seems to have some Descendants vibes, since both show a different side of classic "bad guys." Should fans expect any similarities?

Isabella Pappas: I think there are a lot of similarities, especially between Mal from Descendants and my character Amy. They both have a mean streak, but they keep it in check when it matters. Both of the characters are great examples that we don't have to be 100% perfect all the time to be a good person.

GL: Do you feel like you have anything in common with Amy IRL (minus the whole supervillain thing, ofc)?

Isabella Pappas: Amy isn't a typical lead—she is flawed and loses her temper. And while she may be a villain at heart, she is passionate and cares for others. I'm learning to be more like Amy as I play her, because I'm becoming more confident. Amy knows her worth, and she's taught me to know mine. And while I'm definitely not good at fighting, I do get to do some of my own stunts in the show. So I'm learning a lot.

GL: Since you're playing a villain, we're curious: What famous villain from movies or TV do you think is the most misunderstood?

Isabella Pappas: My all-time favorite villain has to be Villanelle from Killing Eve. Jodie Comer's performance actually inspired me when preparing to play Amy. She's a victim of her upbringing, which I think is true for a lot of villains. Their circumstances shape them, and I think that if given the chance, Villanelle could learn to be a good person—kind of like my character does.

GL: You have an amazing sense of style, which anyone who looks at your Instagram would know. Where do you get your fashion inspo?

Isabella Pappas: Vintage clothing is a huge part of my identity. I love to go thrifting! My favorite places to go are the charity thrift shops in London. It's amazing to find unique pieces that have their own history and to know that the profits are benefiting others and supporting sustainable fashion. I'm inspired by the 1970s and early 2000s—platforms and flared jeans are my staples. I try to regularly post a "Secondhand Saturday" outfit on my Instagram to highlight my thrifted finds.

GL: Speaking of social media, how do you decide what moments from your life are IG-worthy?

Isabella Pappas: I honestly use Instagram like a photo album. I post things that make me happy or mean something to me. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time editing my pictures to make myself look like what I thought society considered "ideal." Since I was 13, I have not doctored photos of myself, because it really messes with your head. I want my Instagram to reflect truthfully who I am as a person—not just what I look like.

GL: What was the last show you binged?

Isabella Pappas: Euphoria, which I've watched multiple times because I can't get enough! It's such a work of art and a dream of mine to be on. I think everything from the acting to the cinematography is perfect. And Zendaya is a huge inspiration to me.

Catch Isabella in Villains of Valley View, premiering today on Disney Channel!

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by Kayleigh Roberts | 6/3/2022