If you’re planning on watching the latest installment of the Step Up movies this weekend, keep an eye out for actress Ally Maki’s brief cameo. Maki was performing a monologue at the TED conference when “Step Up 3D” director Jon Chu took a shining to her. Chu, who also directs The LXD web series starring Harry Shum, Jr., asked Shum for an introduction, since the two had previously played siblings on “iCarly: iGo to Japan.” Test audiences had demanded an explanation to the back story of “Step Up 3D,” and a small role was written for Maki to clear up the confusion.
While the young star has had several TV roles, this is her first in a major film. You may recognize her from appearances in teen-oriented shows like The CW’s “Privileged,” and ABC Family’s recently canceled “10 Things I Hate About You.” Maki’s character, Dawn, had only been scripted for one or two episodes, but her role was expanded to become Bianca’s supportive confidante and the newest love interest of main man Cameron. “Dawn is a mix of me in real life,” says Maki. “She’s bubbly and fun, and I brought myself into it. She’s a bit ditzy as well.” The original movie was one of her favorites growing up, and she vividly recalls the (very hot!) scene where Heath Ledger sings to Julia Stiles on the football field.
Maki may be on screens everywhere (she’s lobbying for a repeat appearance on “Big Bang Theory,” where she provided the face for the long-running inside joke of Leonard’s ex-girlfriend Joyce Kim), but there are some things she wants to keep to herself. “My age is a mystery,” she says coyly. Despite gunning for young adult roles, she is repeatedly given teen roles, which she admits, is not exactly the worst thing ever. “I’m Asian, so I’m going to look young forever. I could be 50 now, no one would know,” she jokes. “I’m going to milk it as long as I can and play high school forever.”
We sure hope she gets more age-suitable roles in the near future, but we’ll take what we can get. Make sure to look out for Maki in “Step Up 3D,” opening this weekend, and follow her on Twitter for the latest news.