Murray • For Olympus High School student Lexi Crump, Bella Thorne is a face and a voice girls her age have known for years.
“I love that she’s unapologetically herself,” Crump said of Thorne, whose fame began as a teen on Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up,” and grown through movies, music and social media. “I love that she’s just her and doesn’t care what people think.”
Crump’s friend, Melissa Miekle, also an Olympus High student, chimed in, “She’s free-spirited.”
Crump and Mielke, and more than 60 other fans, mostly teen girls, got to see the 20-year-old Thorne in the flesh, along with actor Patrick Schwarzenegger, at a meet-and-greet Tuesday at Murray’s Fashion Place shopping center.
The occasion was a promotion for an upcoming movie, the teen romance “Midnight Sun,” starring Thorne and Schwarzenegger, 24, the son of action star and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and TV news icon Maria Shriver.
In the movie, which opens nationwide March 23, Thorne plays Katie, an 18-year-old musician with a rare skin disorder, xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, which makes contact with sunlight deadly to her. She sleeps by day, but at night goes out to play her guitar and sing — which is how she meets Schwarzenegger’s character, Charlie, a hunky high-school swimmer.
While waiting for the stars to show up, fans could get manicures or henna tattoos, or get their pictures taken at a photo booth. Radio personalities kept the crowd energized by giving away movie swag in trivia and lip-sync contests.
The mall event drew dozens of fans, mostly teen girls who have watched Thorne for years on TV (she currently stars on the Freeform series “Famous in Love”), movies like “Blended” and “The Duff,” and collaborations on YouTube.
“I used to love when she danced, I love her acting — she’s a really good actress. And she’s really funny on Twitter, too,” said Charlie Hess, a student at Murray High School, who was shooting video of the event for her school’s weekly newscast, “Spartan Vision.”
“We kind of grew up watching Bella, on ‘Shake It Up,’” said Brie Haro, who was covering the mall tour stop for the newspaper at Murray High School, the Spartan Sentinel. She’s looking forward to seeing “Midnight Sun,” saying, “I like a good romance.”
Crump and Miekle were the 16th and 17th people in a line who snaked into an unused mall storefront to meet the actors.
When it was their turn, the friends handed their smartphones to a publicist to capture photos of each fan with Thorne in her flame-red ponytail, along with Schwarzenegger and the movie’s director, Scott Speer. After that, they each received autographed posters, a souvenir of their encounter with fame, and a few seconds of conversation.
Thorne, Crump said, “complimented our hair, which was nice. … It was quick, but she was really friendly.”