Wagner states a terrific instance of her resourcefulness on the series is the wardrobe of Kate, the sitcom’s preppy cheerleader antagonist played by Ashlie Brillault. (“There’s always a prosperous-lady foil on people shows,” Wagner suggests.) The issue? How to make a character appear prosperous on a shoestring finances. “Kate had these good pleated cheerleading hem skirts, and we’d hem them shorter,” Wagner suggests. “And then I’d choose the material we slash off and make it into a headband. There was a ton of things like that. We seriously had quite minor funds on that show.”
Wagner does not have children, so she wasn’t conscious of Lizzie McGuire’s rapidly escalating attractiveness with younger viewers at the time right up until she been given a piece of supporter mail that included a photograph of two girls dressed as the titular character. “I was like, Oh, okay, perhaps this clearly show genuinely is performing some thing,” she recalls. Her sensation was suitable. A again-to-college line of clothing and add-ons inspired by the demonstrate was soon introduced at Constrained Way too. (Wagner played no purpose in this.) Branded pillows, books, and CD gamers ended up manufactured way too. And a thriving characteristic-size film, centered on Lizzie and her buddies in Italy, grossed virtually $50 million at the box business office.
Wagner, 63, chalks up her contribution to the channel’s aesthetic in a single term: shade. And loads of it. “When I was initially performing on the Disney Channel, somebody instructed me, ‘You have to comprehend that are living-motion demonstrates are in essence competing with cartoons for kids’ attention,” she says. Hence, colors like turquoise, warm pink, and emerald green became trustworthy, crowd-satisfying go-tos for Wagner’s browsing hauls. “The producers normally favored it when I experimented with that things out.”
From Lizzie McGuire, Wagner went on to function on The Suite Existence of Zack and Cody, starring Dylan and Cole Sprouse, and its spin-off sequence, The Suite Existence on Deck. The fashion plate of the demonstrate was London Tipton, a lodge heiress (performed by Brenda Track) who wore campy, Juicy Couture–adjacent getups. Glittery Uggs with a long gown? London was your female. “Brenda was genuinely quick to gown,” Wanger claims. “She explained sure to every little thing I ever showed her.”
Performing on the children’s demonstrates (which normally veered into absurdist territory) also forced Wagner to occur with imaginative methods to services their wackier story strains. She recollects a person episode wherever London Tipton turns into a vending machine—a plot level Wagner confesses she’s even now a minor baffled by. “The author had viewed some thing on the world-wide-web about this Japanese…I don’t know,” she sighs. “Anyway, it turned out to be this folded piece of fabric that seemed like a vending equipment, but we experienced to rig it where by we could make it open up up in serious time and she could walk within. It was so silly and so tough. We had 4 days to do it, but we did it.”