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The Cheetah Girls Head To India In Latest Film

August 19th, 2008 2:25pm EDT
Cheetah GirlsLOS ANGELES (AP) - They're not a singing group but they play one on TV - and very successfully, we might add. But don't even begin to get into it about whether the Cheetah Girls are friends in real life.

"We're like sisters!" Adrienne Bailon declares. "People don't realize when we're not working together we hang out together. We go on vacations together." As she speaks by phone in a nonstop chatter that would quickly give away her hometown roots - if her Noo Yawk accent hadn't already - Bailon is busy getting settled in her new home. "I just moved! Just got an apartment in Beverly Hills! I'm so excited!" she practically exhales into the phone. "I've been busy decorating and stuff."

Until recently she had shared a place in the San Fernando Valley with fellow Cheetah Girl Kiely Williams. When Bailon moved out, the third Cheetah Girl, Sabrina Bryan, moved in. "Kiely and I actually live together now," Bryan says separately. "We all enjoy hanging out at the house."

The Cheetah GirlsThere will be little time for that in the weeks ahead, however. The third Cheetah Girls movie, "The Cheetah Girls One World," premieres on the Disney Channel on Friday (8 p.m. EDT), and there will likely be numerous personal appearances to make after that. A worldwide concert tour is being planned for the fall. After that, who knows? "We're growing up and we all have such huge dreams we want to fulfill. But I would be on board to do a fourth movie. Definitely," Bryan says.

The trio were in their late teens when they became the Cheetah Girls for Disney's 2003 film of the same name. Bailon and Williams were recruited from R&B-hip-hop group 3LW. Bryan, a singer, actress, dancer, had appeared on TV shows such as "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "Grounded for Life." A fourth Cheetah Girl, Disney star Raven-Symone ("That's So Raven"), appeared in the "The Cheetah Girls" and "The Cheetah Girls 2," but is now concentrating on her acting and solo singing career.

When asked whether they missed her presence on the latest film (her character is away at college), Williams says: "Honestly, we totally did. But one of the biggest messages we have is you support your friends whatever they want to do." When they were brought together, the group's members figured "The Cheetah Girls" was likely a one-shot deal. "I remember Kiely and I would talk and at the end of the first movie we were just crying," Bryan says. "You make a movie with some people, you become friends over the process of making this movie and then ... you go your own way."

Instead, the movie was a hit, the soundtrack album went platinum, a concert tour grossed more than $25 million and a 2005 holiday album, "Cheetah-licious Christmas," was a success. When "The Cheetah Girls 2" came out in 2006, critics treated it about as harshly as they had the first movie. "Even by Disney Channel standards, this sequel is weak and shrill and not at all fun," said David Cornelius of the Web site DVDTalk.com.

But tween and teen girls don't write film reviews, and they apparently don't pay much attention to them. The movie was a hit, the soundtrack album went platinum and another album, "TCG," was released last year. "I think definitely our multicultural background appeals to people," says Bailon, who is of Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian descent. Based on the series of popular children's books by Deborah Gregory, the first film starred the actresses of various racial backgrounds as four teens dreaming of musical stardom but never willing to compromise the "one for all, all for one" spirit that bound them together.

The second film took them to Spain in search of fame and again tested their friendship and devotion to one another. "The Cheetah Girls One World" moves the scene to India, where once again they face a challenge: whether to compete against one another for one role in a movie or hang together. In real life, the 24-year-old Bailon says, they're still hanging together - and defying stereotypes.

"We're totally not that catty girl group," she says.

By JOHN ROGERS Associated Press Writer


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