Yes, there are jokes that can be made about Chosen Jacobs, just 20, being “chosen” to star in Friday’s “Sneakerella,” a Disney+ contemporary musical fairy tale.
Yet the name is entirely appropriate because Jacobs has long “chosen” this profession.
“I was growing up in music, I was seeing opera starting about 5 or 6 years old,” he said in a Zoom interview. “I was doing school plays at about 10 but started to really pursue it as a professional career at 13.”
Born in Springfield, but raised in Atlanta, he moved at 14 to Los Angeles with his mother in tow. Was that a scary time? Not for Jacobs.
“Honestly, it was just stepping out on faith. My mom always said, ‘Anything you put your mind to you can do.’
“So I told her what I wanted to do and she was there supporting me every step of the way. Of course, you have fears. But when you have a mother who believes in you so much, in a family that’s behind you, you feel like you can do anything if you just stick with it.”
In L.A., Jacobs soon scored “It” (2017) as Mike Hanlon, the sequel “It Chapter Two” (2019) and a recurring role in “Hawaii Five-O.”
Chosen Jacobs leads in a musical number in 'Sneakerella.' (Disney+)
El (Chosen Jacobs) attends the big dance. (Disney+)
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To star as El in “Sneakerella,” a Cinderella riff, Jacobs endured “almost a year” of auditions, interrupted by the pandemic.
He began with a monthlong singing and dancing crash course.
“We were learning the choreography, recording the songs and it was a very intense but amazing process. My first time really dancing on a professional level.”
It’s a business where many talented young people have failed to adjust to the constant competition, rejection and stress. That’s not a concern for Jacobs.
“I was just raised to where I always believe ‘What is for me will be for me’ and therefore I don’t have to be concerned with anyone else in the end.
“I honestly believe that,” he added. “If I don’t get something, then it wasn’t ever meant for me. But I just feel like I live a really blessed life.
“I get to play in movies, sing and dance for a living and anything that comes with that is just a cost that I’m willing to pay. Of course you get tired, like everyone else, but I try to always focus on how God has blessed me so much in my life.”
“Sneakerella” streams Friday on Disney+.