Disney Channel star Raini Rodriguez is back on the big screen in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Raini reprises her role as Kevin James' character Paul Blart's daughter, Maya. This movies takes place six years after the first Mall Cop, so Maya is now a 20-year-old and getting ready to go to college. But first, she and her dad take a much-deserved vacation to Las Vegas.
In the movie, Maya's just trying to have fun on vacay in Sin City and talk to the cute baggage boy, played by major hottie David Henrie, but her dad is seriously trying to cramp her style. Check out our Q&A with Raini about growing up with her character, shooting in Las Vegas before turning 21 and what #BUILTBYGIRLS means to her below.
Cambio: What was your favorite part about filming Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2?
Raini: Getting to comeback with everybody. To be able to comeback and work with Kevin again was just another dream come true. And just getting to play the characters again. I got to play Maya all grown up now and we welcomed a bunch of new people in our movie like David Henrie so to welcome them and all of our crew to our new Mall Cop family was amazing.
Cambio: What's your favorite scene in the movie?
Raini: I have way too many! One of my biggest ones would have to be when...there's some fun action sequence scenes going on and those are so much fun to film, cause you see all of our stunt guys being so cool with all their fighting and how professionally trained they are, and Kevin and his band of misfits being all funny with their fighting. It was a lot of fun and then I got to participate in some of it and that was pretty cool because I'd never gotten to do stunts before.
Check out a sneak peek of Raini in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 below.
Cambio: What was it like filming this movie in Las Vegas?
Raini: It was so much fun! We wrapped the film five days before my 21st birthday so that kind of made it funny, because walking around the casino, I wasn't allowed on the casino floor unless one of our PAs [production assistants] held my hand, because legally I wasn't 21. Las Vegas is so much fun. It's so energetic and full of people, and there's a new group of people on every corner, so to see all that was pretty fun. I got to see fun shows and filming at the Wynn Hotel was beautiful. They were so lovely and accommodating there and they were so welcoming. And it was so much fun! I mean we literally filmed everywhere at the Wynn from the golf course to the roofs of the hotel. So that was pretty fun.
Cambio: Did you stay in Las Vegas to celebrate your 21s birthday?
Raini: I did not, no! Because I was already there for three months, so I had been gone a long time, so I thought I should probably get back home.
Cambio: What did you do to celebrate your 21st birthday?
Raini: I went home to Texas and I had a birthday party with my family. And I got a custom made Wizard of Oz cake, because nothing says I'm 21 like the Wizard of Oz! [laughs] I had a pool party with all my cousins and my family, just spending family time. I don't' get to have a lot of family time back home in Texas, so any rare time that I get to be there is really special to me, so my birthday was fun.
Cambio: What makes this movie different than the first Paul Blart: Mall Cop movie?
Raini: Well first of all, I think it's different, because we're all grown up. This movie takes place six years later. And it's relatable because we have the father-daughter aspect. Maya's 20 now, she's about to go off to college and her dad is still overbearing and holding on to her, not letting her go too much. It's funny, because in the first movie we see her as like a little kid, like a little shy girl that gets kidnapped and needs her dad, and in the second movie she's really tough and headstrong, and she's ready to take over the world in her own way. So it's really special to have that father-daughter dynamic, but at the same time to have it where she's all grown up now and she can take care of herself, too.
Cambio: What's a piece of advice you want to give other girls?
Raini: To go for their dreams no matter what. I was 11 years old when I started acting and from the day that I started acting I always said that I wanted to be on Disney Channel and 10 years later to tell you that that dream came true is so amazing to me. So know that dreams do come true, so just go for it no matter what your dream is. If you want to be a doctor or a singer, just go for it and don't let anybody hold you back. Don't let anybody stop you.
Cambio: What's does #BUILTBYGIRLS mean to you?
Raini: Just being a girl, being yourself. You know I think as a girl we're all special. I think every person's special, and I think you need to always believe that in yourself to just be who you are, because there's all kinds of different people and there's all kinds of different girls. I just think you be the best girl you can be. I think being a girl is a big compliment, because we're strong people and we obviously can fight for our dreams and follow our path the same way that everybody else can. So I think it's pretty awesome to be a girl.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 hits theaters on April 17.