Christy Carlson Romano is the Disney Channel star many kids in the early 2000s grew up loving for her roles as Ren Stevens and animated superhero Kim Possible. Now living in Orange, the East Coast transplant has a second child on the way, a production company she runs with her husband, and several films in the works to keep busy. “I think that moving to Orange County is the healthiest thing I’ve ever decided to do in my career. The people I meet here are so supportive, creative, and wonderful,” she says. “You get the hospitality that you get in a small town; you get people who look you in the eyes and say hello to you when you walk down the street.”
Romano and her husband, Brendan Rooney, were dreaming of a historic home and found what they were looking for in Old Towne Orange. “The town itself reminds me of where I grew up (Connecticut), and even though we don’t have seasons that change, we have these beautiful trees that aren’t very characteristic of California—the leaves fall so it feels like there are seasons,” she says. “The house in and of itself makes a lot of people stop and stare. It was an overflow for a hotel, so there are still numbers on the doors in the hall. I really love the house we live in; I want to be buried in it.”
The couple lives near the 1888 Center, where Contra Coffee and Tea is located. “It’s like this big community hang, not only with Chapman students, but with local curators of writing, poetry, and art, so we’ve been looking to host events at our house (with them),” she says. “It would be really fun to do events surrounding cinema.”
Romano and her husband are co-owners of Thinking Cap, a multimedia company producing feature films and digital ads for social media, as well as working with students from Chapman’s film program as often as possible. “We’re like a modern-day ‘Mad Men.’ People don’t necessarily want to go to the big ad executives because they don’t have their fingers on the pulse as much as a mom-and-pop. It’s kind of like shopping local.”
In addition to directing and sometimes co-writing films for Thinking Cap, Romano still acts and has a role in Disney’s live-action “Kim Possible” movie planned for release next year. “People really do identify me as Kim Possible, and I’m flattered because the character means so much to me. She is such a leader when it comes to not thinking in general gender norms. She had a male sidekick, and that was a big deal when it came out. And she didn’t really ever think of it, and I think that surprised a lot of people.”
Living in Orange, it’s not uncommon for her to be recognized for her Disney roles. “I’ve had a Postmates delivery person come to the house and recognize me—she was a little shocked!”
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