Sophia Grace Brownlee, 11, and her cousin Rosie McClelland, 8, gained popularity with their guest appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where they interviewed the likes of Taylor Swift and Hugh Grant, and have attracted more than 100 million YouTube views. The English-born duo shot to fame with their cover version of Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass and have been singing, dancing and performing since, releasing their own music and DVDs. The inseparable pair, known for their love of tutus and the colour pink, are in Australia as Westfield’s Happy Giving Experts. Kate Waterhouse caught up with them to chat about fame, the best advice from Ellen and the embarrassing moment when they were kissed by Justin Bieber.
You are both famous around the world. How did this start?
SG: We put out a video on YouTube and then the Ellen show saw it and contacted us. [We went on the show with] Nicki Minaj and then they just kept asking us back [to interview stars on] red carpets and stuff, and then it just went like that.
Are you still in contact with Ellen?
R: Yes, we speak with the Ellen family. They call us or email us to check in on us. They sent gifts for our new baby brother and sister.
What the best advice she has given you?
SG: To always be true to yourself, be grounded and never change.
What is the biggest thing that has changed in your life since finding fame?
SG: Having wonderful fans.
R: Not much has changed, except that we have travelled the world. We are so lucky.
Do your parents travel everywhere you go?
SG: Yes, my parents always come because I’m too young to go by myself.
R: Yes always, my mum and dad and my baby brother, Romeo, come everywhere with me.
How do you fit this all in with your schoolwork?
SG: Well, I have a tutor.
R: I don’t have a tutor. I go to school and I don’t know how I fit it all in.
What is the best part about being in the public eye?
SG: You get to take pictures with fans and sign autographs.
R: You get to know so many different people, and lots of celebrities know us by our first name now. Katy Perry always kisses us.
What is the worst part about it?
SG: There’s not a worst part. Sometimes I want to sign everyone’s autograph, but there’s not enough time.
R: When Justin Bieber kisses you and the paparazzi put it all over the internet and all your friends back home see it! I was so embarrassed. They all thought it was cool, but I didn’t. I still like him as a friend, though.
Who is the most exciting person you guys have met?
SG: Drake. My dad likes him and I really like his music as well.
R: My favourite person I met was Rihanna.
SG: Rihanna is pretty cool. She kissed [me] on my cheeks.
Do you get stopped everywhere you go, around the world?
SG: Yes, and then when other people come up to us, it attracts other people, and then they come over and it’s like a big crowd.
Sophia Grace, your new single was released last week. Tell me about it.
SG: It’s called Best Friends and it’s about having a best friend.
What was it like to release your new single?
SG: Absolutely brilliant! I’m so excited. It’s such an amazing feeling when people tell me they’ve downloaded Best Friends on iTunes!
You both released a film, Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure. What was the hardest thing about making a movie?
SG: Doing the retakes.
R: Learning our lines was hard, but I think the hardest part was being away from all our other family for five weeks.
Has it always been a dream to be acting in films?
R: Yeah, it was a dream. I love acting. I just wish we were allowed to do our own stunts. They got someone else to do them for us, but we really wanted to do it ourselves.
Did you take acting classes?
SG: I never took acting classes.
R: Yes, I take acting classes, but it’s more of a fun class with other children, so I have lots of friends there.
So what do you guys hope to do when you grow up? Will you continue performing?
R: Yes, I want to be a singer and an actress.
SG: I want to be a singer, an actress and a vet.
If you could be in any movie, what would it be?
R: The Mask, because it’s really funny and I absolutely love Cameron Diaz.
What do you do for fun?
SG: Gymnastics, hanging [out] with friends and singing.
R: I play with all my cousins at the weekend. We all meet at the forest to splash in muddy puddles and climb trees: me, Ronni, Delilah, Lily and Brooke and Sophia.
What are you doing while you’re in Australia?
R: We’ve been going to the beach and I really want to see some animals at the zoo.
SG: We’re out here for Westfield as their Happy Giving Experts. We’re helping people pick the right presents. We absolutely love Christmas . . . What we love most is choosing amazing presents and giving them to our family and friends. We always get just as excited as they do when they unwrap their gifts to see what’s inside. It puts the biggest smiles on our faces when we know we’ve given them something they’re really happy about.
What the best Christmas gift you have ever received?
SG: My Barbie dream house!
R: My pet hamster Princess Fluffy. She’s a dwarf hamster. She’s famous too. She has even been on the Ellen show over Skype and she’s in all our books [Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie and Show Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie].
What do you leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve?
SG: Mince pies and milk and a carrot for the reindeer.
R: I always leave a glass of milk and a mince pie for Father Christmas and then I leave some carrots for Rudolph and the other reindeers. It’s so important to leave all of this.
You are known for your tutus and tiaras. How many do you have in your collection?
SG: I’ve lost count – we have so many and we have every colour of the rainbow
R: I’ve never counted, but definitely around 50. We have every colour, even multi-coloured.
WE WENT TO Westfield Sydney Tea salon, Sydney CBD.
WE ATE a selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes.
WE DRANK Tea and Elderflower and Lemon Sparkle.
SOPHIA GRACE AND ROSIE WORE Cotton On Kids.
I WORE a SABA top.