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Suite Seventeen

San Ramon Valley teen Sophie Oda stars on a hit Disney Channel television show




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By Linda Childers

On the hit Disney Channel TV show The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Sophie Oda plays Barbara Brownstein, the overachieving girlfriend of Cody Martin (Cole Sprouse), one half of the twins who are the main characters. Off camera, the San Ramon Valley native lives the life of a typical 17-year-old—juggling school, friends, and, uh, shopping.

How did you get the role on Suite Life of Zack and Cody?

I originally had auditioned for the role of Lily on Hannah Montana. I didn’t get the part, but Disney liked me and invited me to audition as Barbara on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. I was slated to appear in one episode, but the producers liked the competition between Barbara and Cody, and invited me back as a recurring character.

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Disney recently premiered The Suite Life on Deck. What can you tell us about this new spin-off?

It’s set on a cruise ship, with Zack and Cody attending a high school–at-sea program. I just returned from filming an episode of the show, and the spin-off is much more wacky and crazy.

Your Suite Life character is a bit of a brainiac. Do you also believe that school rules?

School is important, but I have other interests. I was attending classes at Monte Vista High in Danville before taking the high school proficiency test last year, and now I’m a sophomore at Diablo Valley College. I hope to transfer to UCLA next year as a musical theater major.

How do you juggle your life as an East Bay teen with being an actress?

It’s nice living in the East Bay because I’m not recognized as much as I am in Los Angeles. I like shopping at Sunvalley and Stoneridge, skating at the Golden Skate, and enjoying my grandma’s home-cooked Japanese dinners. I went with some friends to the Monte Vista junior prom, and I hope to go to the senior ball this year as well.

What’s next in your career?

I hope to keep appearing on Suite Life, and I’m also auditioning for a new musical/drama/comedy show for FOX. I love how movies like Dreamgirls and High School Musical are generating a renewed interest in musical theater. My dream is to perform in a big-screen musical.

Published: Diablo, March 2009


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