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When it comes to fashion, China Anne McClain likes to move to her own beat.
“I love to wear original pieces you can’t find just anywhere,” said the 13-year-old singer and actress, who made her name starring in the long-running TV series “House of Payne.”
McClain credits her latest role, as the star of the breakout Disney Channel series “A.N.T. Farm,” for inspiring her to make bolder fashion choices. She plays Chyna Parks, an 11-year-old musical prodigy enrolled in a gifted — or “Advanced Natural Talents” — program at a San Francisco high school. Her character sports a sassy wardrobe accessorized with funky footwear. Her character’s fashions have even inspired a real-life collection of girls’ clothing and accessories that launched at Target in late December under Disney’s D-Signed banner.
“Playing Chyna has really changed my style,” said McClain, a Georgia native who also has appeared in “Jonas L.A.” and the Adam Sandler movie “Grown Ups.” “[Before working on the show], I would just throw on sweats and a baseball cap. But once ‘A.N.T. Farm’ started, I was inspired by Chyna to jazz up my style. Now I paint my nails bright, fun colors and add a bunch of accessories and some cool shoes to jeans and a T-shirt.”
McClain’s love of music also has had a major influence on her sense of style. Born into a musical family — her father is a producer and her mother a songwriter — McClain is featured on the “A.N.T. Farm” soundtrack, and she and her sisters, Sierra and Lauryn, plan to release their first album later this year. “Music and dance influence my style in a lot of ways,” McClain said. “Sometimes I go off to work dressed up like I’m going to hit the stage and perform.”
Here, the young starlet talks about her go-to styles for rocking the red carpet and where she likes to splurge on new shoes.
Pairs owned: “About 70 and counting because I spend a lot of time on weekends shopping online.”
Favorite brands: Aldo, Dr. Martens, Steve Madden. “My absolute favorite is Irregular Choice. I can’t wait to go back to the store in New York to see the new selection this year.”
Personal style: “Edgy and fun. I love to wear original pieces you can’t find just anywhere.”
Most comfortable pair: “My Irregular Choice wedge tennis shoes that have a wild print on them. They are so cute you would never think they would be so comfortable. I can even run in them.”
Go-to style for the red carpet: “Any pair with a wedge heel that’s fun and original. Sometimes the photographers will feature them among my red-carpet photos, which is pretty cool.”
Most memorable event look: “[At the ‘Phineas & Ferb’] movie premiere, I wore a beautiful crimson dress with a detailed neckline. I had a feather in my hair, a cute loose belt, a small pouch purse and some rocking shoes with a Native American-inspired decoration running from toe to ankle.”
On-stage shoes: “When I perform, I like to wear funky flats, leather boots or knee-high Converse with bright laces. Then I can dance and not worry about falling.”
Biggest splurge: “When I was in New York [to perform in] the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade last year, I got three pairs of shoes and a fly pair of boots at Irregular Choice. My parents let me spend $700. They said I work really hard and deserved them. Now I don’t get an allowance because I get paid in shoes!”
Must-have trend: “At the moment, it’s wedge heels. I love wearing my mom’s heels, but I can’t wear them out [of the house]. My parents do allow me to wear an elevated wedge, which is easier and safer to walk in.”
I’d never be caught wearing: “Dirty tennis shoes.”
If you could raid your character’s wardrobe, what would you take? “I would grab the super-high wedges I wore in the episode in which I dreamed I was on one of my favorite TV shows, ‘High Heels High.’”