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Published:June 29th, 2011 15:38 EST
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Raven-Symone Talks 'State of Georgia'

By Paulette Cohn

We fell in love with her as Olivia on The Cosby Show and watched her turn into a teenager on Disney Channel`s That`s So Raven. Now Raven-Symoné is all grown up and starring in State of Georgia, a new sitcom for ABC Family.Raven plays Georgia Chamberlain, who relocates to New York City from the South and is preparing to take New York City by storm as she builds her acting career.

In this interview, she talks about the changes she has made in her personal life and her new role as a Southern girl looking for fame and fortune in the city that never sleeps.

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Raven, you look amazing.

Raven-Symoné: I got a job. I`m working again and that is always good. You just live life and you grow up and learn things.  I don`t know how long it`s going to be before people just accept it.

But you really do look fantastic. What you doing different now?

Raven-Symoné: I stopped stressing. I get to sit at home away from Hollywood. I bought a house here in a neighborhood that nobody would probably think that I lived in. And I just stay in my house and raise dogs.

Does dog walking keep you fit?

Raven-Symoné: I don`t walk; they go in the backyard to walk. Also, my brother lives with me. You just live life, get away from the stress of everything else and start eating correctly. Don`t swallow your sorrows in cheese grits and cabbage.

Were you looking for a series when this came your way?

Raven-Symoné: I had sold a series to ABC Family; it was a different series. They bought it and loved it and I was like, "Let`s go hard." Then they said, "We have another script that would like you to do." I read it and thought it reminded me of That Girl or Laverne and Shirley without the un-groundedness, this is more grounded than Laverne and Shirley and here I am.

Tell us about your character.

Raven-Symoné: My character is very ambitious, very outgoing and ready for anything. She drags her friend along. They always say sassy and that`s because I`m black. She is a non-crap taker, so that`s what it is.

Can you relate to that?

Raven-Symoné: Always, come on!

Is she a grown-up version of Raven?

Raven-Symoné: No, she`s not the grown-up version of Raven; I think she`s more the grown-up version of " Let me pick one for you. She`s more the grown-up version of Nicole from Hanging with Mr. Cooper, if Nicole ever moved to the richer part of the area that would be her because Nicole is more based in reality. She had dreams but was calmer. Raven would end up being like the crazy woman that Meryl Streep played with the white hair.

Will there be singing on the show? You have a great voice.

Raven-Symoné: I need you to talk to somebody. I`m still working on my fifth album because I am lazy. I am still working on it and will finish it eventually but it`s the show first, music second.

State of Georgia, also starring Majandra Delfino and Loretta Devine, premieres tonight at 8:30 p.m. on ABC Family.

Follow Paulette Cohn on twitter: http://twitter.com/paulette49