Rising Star: Aly Michalka

"Hellcats" star Aly Michalka "Hellcats" star Aly Michalka

On the CW’s “Hellcats,” sometimes “being here doesn’t mean you belong,” but 3 million viewers earlier this week declared that the series – about the world of competitive college cheerleading – very much belongs! At the center of the show’s squad of highflying spirit champions is AccessHollywood.com’s newest Rising Star, Aly Michalka.

Although not a brand new name to all folks, Aly got her start in Hollywood as one half of the sister music group, Aly & AJ, alongside sister Amanda Joy Michalka (the group now goes by the name 78violet). After a series of hit Disney shows and TV movies, Aly made the leap to features, starring alongside Vanessa Hudgens (of “High School Musical” fame) in 2009’s “Bandslam,” and now, has landed the lead alongside fellow former Disney star Ashley Tisdale (also of “High School Musical” fame) in her own CW series.

In the show, Aly plays Marti Perkins, a gymnast who is forced into the catty cheerleading world in order to pay for college after she loses her scholarship.

“Marti is a really unique girl because she’s really strong,” Aly recently told MTV News. “She knows what she wants. She has an edge about her, but she’s likable. It adds vulnerability when it comes to the people that she meets, and becoming this cheerleader on this squad of girls she would normally never relate to. I love the fact that ‘Hellcats’ follows her journey. She’s cool.”

The 21-year-old says that her new series is darker than your average cheer story.

“It’s a little bit more grittier than ‘Bring It On,’” she explained. “It’s kind of like that meets ‘Friday Night Lights.’ I think ‘Bring It On’ is really great and it’s very bubbly, but this is a little bit more edgier. The music’s more edgier. It’s a really cool show.”

In addition to “Hellcats,” Aly is also starring in the upcoming seem-to-be-surefire-hit “Easy A,” with Emma Stone, Penn Badgley and Amanda Bynes, which hits theaters on September 17. The movie is being compared to the second coming of “Mean Girls.”

It’s a big week of premieres for Aly, so even though she’s not brand new to Hollywood, this launch to the next level of her career is why we’re naming her our next Rising Star.

“Hellcats” airs on The CW on Wednesday at 9 PM

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