Hannah Montana was never just an “Ordinary Girl.” Sixteen years after Miley Cyrus took on the role of Miley Ray Stewart and her alter ego Hannah Montana, the casting director for the beloved Disney Channel show revealed the two other actresses who were in the final running for the iconic role: Victorious‘ Daniella Monet and Gossip Girl‘s Taylor Momsen.
On Wednesday night, Hannah Montana casting director Lisa London shared some never-before-revealed details of the top three candidates for the role of Hannah Montana (then named Chloe, not Miley). Responding to a viral TikTok from creator Fernanda Cortes that claimed Mexican singer and actress Belinda was in the final running for the role, London cleared the speculation and spilled the tea about the casting call.
“I wanted everybody to know that Belinda, who’s lovely by the way, was never in the top three for the role of Hannah,” London said, before sharing a photo of her casting sheet, where Momsen, Cyrus, and Monet are listed as the top three candidates for the role. “These were the final three actresses that auditioned at the network test out of over 1,200 girls.”
Though they weren’t cast on Hannah, Monet would end up taking on the role of Trina, the older sister of Tori, on Nickelodeon’s Victorious, while Momsen would play Jenny on The CW’s Gossip Girl. “And if Taylor got cast she would’ve never been on GG,” wrote one fan. “She was the perfect little J so everything works out.” Added another, “I’m more shocked on how Jenny Humphrey and Trina Vega almost had a shot of being Hannah Montana.”
For her part, Belinda — who became famous as a child star on several telenovelas, including Aventuras en el Tiempo and Cómplices al Rescate in the early 2000s — did audition for the role of Hannah Montana, as confirmed by former Disney Channel executive Garry Marsh in an interview with Billboard in 2006. “She wasn’t comfortable enough with a role completely in English,” Marsh said in an interview, according to several Mexican outlets. Belinda added at the time, “I’m nervous speaking in English all the time, but I can write.”
Belinda would later appear on Disney Channel in The Cheetah Girls 2, taking on the role of Marisól Durán, where she’d give us now-iconic songs “A La Nanita Nana” with Adrienne Bailon and “Amigas Cheetahs” with the Cheetah Girls.
After Victorious, Monet would take on the role of Bertha in the short-lived Fred Show — remember that YouTuber? — and later host AwesomenessTV from 2013 to 2015. As for Momsen, she stepped away from acting to focus on her band The Pretty Reckless, which dropped its album Death by Rock and Roll last year.
Last year, as Hannah Montana‘s premiere turned 15, Cyrus shared a sweet handwritten letter to her beloved character. “Although you are considered to be an ‘alter ego’ in reality there was a time in my life when you held more of my identity in your glovette than I did in my bare hands,” Cyrus wrote.