Alyson Stoner gained fame from Disney and dancing. But she's moved from 'flashy choreography' to intellectual fare with her YouTube channel and new podcast.

Alyson Stoner 2Lex Lumens

  • Alyson Stoner got her start as a dancer in Missy Elliott's "Work It" music video when she was seven, and also claimed a spot among the 2000s Disney Channel stars and blockbuster actors early in her career.
  • Recently, she's focused on her direct digital audience and intellectual drive with a YouTube channel and new podcast, "Simplexity."
  • Stoner said she sees "Simplexity" as way to feed her curiosity about the world and encourage her fans to engage in society and culture through interviews with experts in a variety of fields.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you're a hip-hop fan, you might know Alyson Stoner from her performance in Missy Elliott's 2002 "Work It" music video when she was seven.

If you grew up shortly after that, you might know her from roles on popular 2000s shows like "Drake and Josh," "That's So Raven," "Mike's Super Short Show," and "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," or movies like "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Camp Rock."

Now, the multi-hyphenate actor and dancer is stretching into the world of podcasting.

In her new show, "Simplexity," which launched Nov. 11, Stoner aims to understand some of the most pressing issues facing today's global society through interviews with guests from world-renowned business women to hip-hop experts.

After 15 years in the entertainment industry, Stoner said she was ready to share a more intellectual side of herself with her fans.

She started that process by building her YouTube channel, which has more than 600,000 subscribers. Stoner's early YouTube videos are primarily dance routines and choreography tutorials, but she said she always planned on using the channel to showcase her less well-known passions as well.

"The Catch-22 of having a previous public identity is that unless you want to shock your audience with a reinvention … you often have to satisfy the appetite of your followers' expectations first," Stoner told Business Insider.

But about two years ago, Stoner shifted her content to focus more on vlogging and tackling meaningful projects. For instance, she took a trip to Ethiopia to work for nonprofit I Pour Life's economic empowerment program with other YouTubers and influencers like Alisha Marie.

Stoner sets out to 'spark curiosity' with new podcast

Having established herself with an online audience, Stoner moved into the audio-only space with "Simplexity," further emphasizing intellectual ideas over showmanship.

"For most of my career, my intellectual ability has been hidden behind flashy choreography," Stoner said.

Stoner works with an external team to source ads for the show, but has the freedom to approve the ads she reads.

"I created the strictest parameters possible for potential sponsors and try to favor sites and services that center education, productivity, health and self-care, and giving back," Stoner said. These sponsorships help fund internal and backend expenses, Stoner said, and while she hopes to continue to grow the "Simplexity" brand, she's not concerned with turning a profit from the podcast.

In podcasting, Stoner said she found the right platform to foster long, in-depth discussions with experts about various aspects of society and culture in a way that's not over-produced or edited.

For example, the first episode features Mariéme Jamme, a Senegalese technologist who was born into poverty, sex trafficked, and is now teaching women and girls to code. Jamme shares her expertise on Africa's role in the tech race, but also chats with Stoner about empowerment in general.

"You will learn about this expert's field, but it's through storytelling and experience of the universal human process," Stoner said. The wide-ranging podcast has no overt theme besides the desire to "spark curiosity" in the audience with important issues, Stoner said.

In future episodes, Stoner plans to interview marine biologists, SpaceX employees, authors, and hinted that she would have have guests from her "previous career milestones."

For more on the business of podcasting, according to industry executives and creators, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:
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