The Stunning Transformation Of Dove Cameron

Fans know her as Dove Cameron, the fierce, funny, relatable, and joyous actress who first stole hearts on Disney Channel's "Liv and Maddie" and then became one of our favorite characters on Disney's "Descendants." 

What many don't know, however, is that on January 15, 1996, she was born Chloe Celeste Hosterman, a name that she still uses with close friends and family. Cameron had an incredibly tragic childhood, and after her father died, she legally changed her name, but not in an attempt to run away from her problems. Cameron first dipped her toes in performance arts when she became involved with community theater in her hometown of Bainbridge Island in Washington (per Seventeen). From there, things took off, and she eventually got her big break at Disney. Cameron is versatile, and she's determined to always play characters that excite her, while also making sure they are relatable. 

Cameron might have been through hell and back, but that might very well be what makes her such a stunning actress — and she's just getting started. Here's a look at the stunning transformation of Dove Cameron.

Dove Cameron lost her best friend at the age of 8

Dove Cameron had a shockingly dark childhood. The first of a series of events that changed her life forever was losing her best friend when she was only eight years old. Her friend died tragically: According to Refinery29, she and her sister were both murdered by their father, after which he committed suicide. 

Having to live through such a shocking event at such a young age still affects Cameron to this day. She told JustJaredJr. that she uses the light in her life as a type of cure for the darkness she's previously experienced. She doesn't allow the darkness to have a place in her life — she knows what it's like to feel stuck in it, and she doesn't want that to be her life's story. If anything, what she went through taught her a valuable lesson. "[Y]ou get really clear on what matters and what doesn't. That's been such a blessing," she said.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

She was bullied at school

In an interview with Yahoo! Parenting that Cameron did alongside her mom, she revealed that she was a victim of bullying in middle school. It was also revealed that she was a bit of a loner to begin with. She would spend most of her free time on the internet, watching videos of her favorite idols and living vicariously through them. From an early age, she found more in common with them than her classmates, who mostly tried to make her life miserable.

Cameron had to dodge bullets on the daily. Girls would try to trip her between classes, she got locked in the janitor's closet, and she even had to endure one girl purposely spilling chocolate milk on a dress she made herself. The worst, perhaps, was when she went on a school trip and had girls throw razors at her, telling her to kill herself. It was brutal, but Cameron saw it for what it was. "[T]hey were all insecure. They were angry, snapping at everybody. It was so obvious." 

Her advice to others dealing with bullying is to see bullies for who they really are: people who are hurting and wishing that they had what you've got. The good news is that whatever that something special is, they can never take it away from you.

She moved to Los Angeles at 14 and worked her way to the Disney Channel

Dove Cameron's mom, Bonnie Wallace, decided to make the move to Los Angeles so her daughter could pursue the career of her dreams when Cameron was 14, Yahoo! Parenting reports.

Cameron landed some small parts before finally finding stardom at 16 when she got the lead role on Disney Channel's hit show "Liv & Maddie," where she worked double-time portraying the role of twins (per Refinery 29). She told JustJaredJr. that she spent three months with the show's director to figure out how she could give each of the twins their own unique personalities, interests, and mannerisms.

The show ran for four years, and Cameron told Teen Vogue in an interview that it taught her some valuable lessons, like the fact that family can be present wherever you go in the world if you create it. "It taught me so much about trusting humans and vulnerability and the depths you can reach with those who were once strangers," she said.

She got her first tattoo at 14

Dove Cameron has a rebellious side, and she immortalized that part of her when she got her first tattoo at 14 without permission from her parents. She told Refinery29 that her best friend happened to make friends with a budding tattoo artist who, up to that point, had only ever practiced his craft on an orange. Cameron's friend was going to let him tattoo her, but ended up running scared. Cameron came to her rescue and made the impromptu decision to get a tattoo so her friend could overcome her fear.

She opted for a Capricorn symbol on her bikini line, saying, "... I wanted something that will always be me, even when I'm 85." Cameron has gotten many tattoos since and admitted that the Capricorn symbol is the worst one she has, saying that it's pretty "uneven and faded." However, removing it is not an option for her. She really is going to look back on it even when she's 85 — and honestly, that's pretty cool.

She lost her father to suicide at the age of 15

Tragically losing your childhood friend is more than enough heartache for a lifetime, but Dove Cameron had to face yet another tragedy at the age of 15 when her father died by suicide. Cameron hasn't talked much about her father's death. She remembers him as a "sensitive person" who loved to design jewelry. Cameron told Entertainment Weekly that they later found out that her dad was gay, and after that revelation, his death made more sense to her.

Despite not talking about him much, Cameron took to Instagram in 2019 to pay tribute to her dad on the eighth anniversary of his death. She shared that she ended up visiting his favorite restaurant in Los Angeles, The Original Pantry Café, which turned into an opportunity for her to connect with him. "I have very few reminders in my life left of him, physical proof that he was ever here to begin with," she wrote, admitting that revisiting memories of him is incredibly painful. She added that she has learned to live with the pain and that it's okay not to always be happy.

What she does remember is that her dad was a "fascinating human being," and she told Entertainment Weekly that one of her dreams is to one day make a movie about his life.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

She struggled with her mental health

Dove Cameron has been very open about her mental health journey. In an interview with Beatroute Media, she admitted that she had been going to therapy since she tragically lost her best friend at the age of eight. She told JustJaredJr. that anxiety is something she has to cope with often, and getting recognized by people in public used to be a trigger for her. She also confessed that handling fame wasn't something that came to her naturally (via Grazia Magazine). She had a panic attack the first time someone recognized her, and it took her a while to get used to it.

Cameron is also a big advocate for speaking up about mental health. She told Beatroute that there's no use in denying your pain — your story can always help someone else make it through their own heartache.

Her advice to people struggling with their mental health? Confront that inner voice telling you that you're not good enough, and when you feel like anxiety is suffocating you, don't give in. "... I know it's going to pass. I have examples from my life I can draw from where it has come and gone. So I power through" (via JustJaredJr.).

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

She changed her name to Dove to honor her dad

As most avid fans will know, Dove Cameron used to have a different name: Chloe Celeste Hosterman. Many celebrities change their names, but the reason Cameron decided to change hers is one that's both beautiful and heartbreaking.

Shortly after her father's sudden death, she legally changed her name to Dove. After much speculation about why she chose that name, she revealed in a tweet that it was because of her father, writing, "My father always called me dove. He took his own life when I was 15, I didn't get to say goodbye, so I changed it in honor of him." A fan replied in the comments that it must be like hearing her father speak to her when someone calls her Dove, and Cameron replied, "Exactly."

Even though her dad is no longer with her in person, Cameron is still learning from him. In a post she shared on Instagram, she said that she feels like she's getting to understand him better the older she gets, and that he still teaches her new lessons on the daily.

She got cast in Disney's Descendants

Dove Cameron has mostly played teenagers on-screen, even after she left her own teenage years behind. By the time the first installment in Disney's hit franchise "Descendants" was released, she was already 19. She portrayed the character of Mal, the daughter of Maleficent. 

In an interview with She Knows, Cameron revealed that the prospect of playing Mal really excited her because of the inner conflict the character was dealing with. To Cameron, that made Mal all the more relatable, and brought a human aspect to what was largely a fantasy world. She added that the film's characters are a brilliant example that where you come from does not have to determine where you end up going. You get to decide who you are and who you want to become.

Cameron put a lot of herself into Mal, she told Seventeen. Mal wasn't a fully developed character when Cameron started playing her. She had to fill in a lot of blanks for herself, and that allowed her to create a truly believable character that exhibits many of the traits she possesses. "She's incredibly self-possessed, very strong, very persistent, and resilient," she said. That sounds familiar, indeed.

She used to be a people pleaser

Practically growing up in the spotlight will affect you one way or another, and Dove Cameron realized that first hand when she came to the realization that she had become a people pleaser.

Talking to She Knows, she said that she recognized that behavior in a lot of performers, explaining, "that's just the nature of performing — it completely relies on how people feel about you." She took on different personas depending on the group of people she was with, and it was exhausting. She was constantly self-conscious about how others perceived her. She shared with Entertainment Tonight that she actually hid parts of her personality because she's an "open and fragile" person. This made many of the experiences she had in her youth feel almost "invasive."

In an interview with Digital Spy, she admitted that she used to think she needed to be someone else to make it as an actress, but she realized how wrong this mentality was as she got older, saying, "... you learn that the stuff you're afraid to show and think you want to hide, is actually where all the magic lies." She told She Knows that hiding parts of herself did nothing but make her miserable, so she made a conscious effort to always be true to who she really is. As she stated via Entertainment Tonight, the only opinion she now cares about is the one she has of herself. Now, that's self-empowerment and confidence talking!

She got engaged when she was 20

Dove Cameron told Refinery29 that when she falls in love, it's usually head-over-heels, referring to her relationship with her "Liv and Maddie" co-star Ryan McCartan. The pair started dating in 2013 and got engaged in 2016. Cameron said to People at the time that the proposal was a pleasant surprise.

Sadly, their engagement didn't last. The couple called it quits after almost six months, People reported. Neither of them elaborated on why the engagement ended, but Cameron has hinted at what went wrong in some social media posts and interviews. When she posted a picture of herself and her new beau, Thomas Doherty, one fan wrote "Ryan" in the comment section, to which Cameron replied, "was terrible to me," reports Seventeen

In an interview with Seventeen, Cameron admitted that their relationship wasn't as perfect as it had appeared online, and that the pressure to make it appear as if it was came from McCartan. As for what really happened, we'll probably never know.

Cameron Boyce's death inspired Dove Cameron to advocate for gun control

In 2019, Dove Cameron lost her dear friend and "Descendants" co-star Cameron Boyce. Boyce died from an epileptic seizure, and Cameron told Seventeen that it was a terrible shock when she heard the news from her mother the next day. "If there was a word stronger than devastated that could describe the depth of pain that I was feeling, I would use it," she said.

To honor their son, Boyce's parents founded the Cameron Boyce Foundation, People reports. The foundation launched its first project in the form of a social media campaign to end gun violence, something that Boyce himself had been planning on doing. The campaign, called "Wielding Peace," encouraged people to take pictures of themselves holding objects like household items, instruments, or any relic that is dear to their heart as if they were holding a gun. Along with the pictures, they were also encouraged to share the hardships they've experienced.

Many of Boyce's friends and co-stars joined the movement, including Cameron, but she took it a step further and got a tattoo in his honor as well — a pistol with a rose emerging from its barrel. She shared with Refinery29 that she actively advocates for gun control in honor of Boyce, explaining that she feels it's important to speak up when it comes to these issues because of the huge platform she's been given.

She started releasing music in 2019

Music has been present throughout the work Dove Cameron has done in her career so far. Fans have seen her vocal talent on "Liv and Maddie" and "Descendants," and she also used to post song covers on her YouTube channel. But Dove really dove into the music industry in 2019 when she released her first official singles — yes, there were two, because Dove Cameron doesn't do anything halfway.

She spoke to Teen Vogue in September 2019 to talk about the singles titled "Bloodshot" and "Waste." Even though the songs were released together, they told two different stories. Cameron explained that the songs serve to show different sides of her personality. While "Waste" is a feel-good, sultry track about intense love, "Bloodshot" served as the polar opposite. Cameron exposes a bit of her soul in the track, which focuses on dealing with the pain of losing someone. It was the perfect way to establish herself as an artist in the music industry. 

She has continued to release music, most notably her latest hit, "Boyfriend," an empowering Queer anthem that fans loved so much. It garnered a whopping 24 million streams within the first 24 hours of its release, InStyle reports.

She came out as bisexual in 2020

Dove Cameron has always known that she's bisexual. When she was eight, she had a friend, Erin, and they had what she described to Refinery29 as "early love." 

While she would crush on cute boys with her friends, she also had a crush on some girls. In an interview with Gay Times, she revealed that she had always lived like someone who was out, but never actually flat-out told the world. While she was doing an Instagram Live in 2020, she set the record straight, saying, "Guys, I really needed to explain something to you, maybe I haven't said it, but I'm super queer." Appearing on the cover of Gay Times in 2021 finally cemented her status as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Even though coming out to the world might've seemed like it was pretty effortless for Cameron, it wasn't. Her biggest fear was that the LGBTQ+ community wouldn't want to have anything to do with her. Another nagging voice told her that people would call her a liar if she comes out. It has been the opposite: "I have found unmatched support in the LGBTQ+ community," she said in the interview, adding that she hopes her coming out to the world will inspire others who feel afraid to do the same.

She stars in the comedy series Schmigadoon!

Dove Cameron continues to pursue projects that bring her joy. One of her latest endeavors, the musical comedy "Schmigadoon!" on Apple TV+, was one such project. 

Cameron portrays the role of Betsy, a sweet, innocent waitress in the magical town of Schmigadoon, whose residents are stuck in the 1940s. In an interview with Collider, Cameron said that she instantly knew she wanted to be a part of "Schmigadoon!" because it's such a niche show — it's all about having fun, and not necessarily about drawing a big audience.

When it comes to playing Betsy, Cameron has a few tricks up her sleeve to make characters relatable. Her big secret? Have fun. Cameron is a firm believer in doing everything with joy. Betsy is a special challenge — since the show is set in the 1940s, feminism is not yet a thing in the character's environment, and some of the things Betsy says are the exact opposite of what women stand for today. As Cameron told Refinery29, that's what makes the character funny, and it also means that playing the part is never boring. "I love playing over-the-top characters," she said. And if you've seen the show, you'd know that Betsy is anything but banal.