Gen Z's latest pop icon is shattering all kinds of records...

If you’re an avid TikTok user then you may recognise Olivia Rodrigo or at least have heard her now gold-certified single 'All I Want'. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series breakout star’s vocals became the backdrop to countless user's emotional TikTok videos, inadvertently propelling Rodrigo to the fore.

Ready to take centre stage, the singer is now basking in the record-breaking success of her newly released single 'Driver’s License'.

But just who is Gen z’s exciting new pop phenomenon? Here are nine facts to bring you up to speed.

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1. She is a Filipina-American.

The singer currently resides in Los Angeles for work, but was raised in Marietta California and is of German, Irish and Filipino-American decent. It was revealed that her paternal Great Grandfather migrated to the States as a teenager and her family have lived there ever since.

2. Her first-time driving was with co-star Joshua Basset.

After finding out the song they wrote together, 'Just For A Moment', would be featured in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, the pair went out to celebrate. Being just 16 at the time having yet to acquire her permit, the pair took Bassets car and spent their time driving around the In-N-Out car park.

3. The rising star is home-schooled.

Despite her notably convincing portrayal of High school student, Nini Salazar-Roberts on the Disney+ series, Rodrigo is in fact living vicariously through her character, as she herself has been home-schooled all throughout high school, likely to give her the freedom to focus on her acting career.

4. Taylor Swift is a fan of her work.

The pop icon has praised Rodrigo's talents not once, but twice, the first time being back in April 2020 when she applauded the singer’s cover of 'Cruel Summer' on her Instagram story.

Swift’s most recent interaction with the pop starlet was a comment left under her Instagram post celebrating 'driver's license' being alongside her songs on the iTunes chart in which she said, "I say 'that’s my baby and I’m really proud..."

5. Olivia has been a part of the Disney universe since 2016.

Prior to her breakout role as Nina, Rodrigo starred on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark as Paige Olvera, a guitarist who makes viral videos with her best friend, alongside co-stars Madison Hu and Jake Paul. The show went on for three seasons from 2016 to 2019.

6. Olivia’s First Writing Credit was for the song 'All I Want'.

The single was birthed during the re-shoot period of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series when the producers asked her to write a song to feature in episode four of the series. Rodrigo put pen to paper whilst she and her co-stars were filming the finale and went on to land Billboard Hot 100 hit with the song.

7. The singer is also an advocate for some worthy causes.

Outside of her career in music and entertainment, Rodrigo is an institute speaker and panellist for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a non-profit centred around advocating for equal representation of women in media.

She was also the face of the She Can STEM campaign, a platform aimed at encouraging girls to consider careers within science, technology, engineering, and math.

8. Olivia’s first on-screen gig was a TV commercial.

While many may remember Rodrigo from her portrayal of Grace Thomas in the direct-to-DVD movie, An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success, her first professional acting job was in actually an Old Navy clothing brand commercial.

9. Oliva has been acting since she was six.

Rodrigo began taking singing and acting classes when she was just six years old. As her passions for the arts blossomed, she landed roles in various school shows before going on to perform in regional musical theatre. 

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'Driver's License' is out now.

Words: Ray Sang

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