The 'Sweet Magnolias' actress talks to ET about Maddie and Ivey's onscreen appearances in Paramount+'s 'Zoey 101' sequel film.
"Having my two girls be a part of this film and get to make their little debut cameo, if you will, it was so special because they got to do it together," the 32-year-old Sweet Magnolias actress told ET's Denny Directo. "And also, my daughter's friend got to do it with her who's like another child to me."
"Just seeing those two worlds collide, it was a really proud moment for me as a mom," Spears said. "[Maddie] told me she liked what she saw -- the set and saw the production and what it was. She was like, 'Mom, I can't believe that, like, they're all here because this is the movie that you've created.' And that made me feel really proud as a mom that she recognized that and saw you can do big things. It doesn't matter. And seeing her be a part of it was just, it was really a special moment."
Spears spoke about what it's meant to set that example for her daughters, sharing that "there's been a lot of times where I felt like I've been fighting for my seat at the table."
"And I just believe that I have children who don't have a choice. I have to show them that you can do that and also have to provide for them and be somebody who's doing something they love," she said. "And I feel lucky every time I get an opportunity. But I think it all comes down to the fact that I do want my daughters to create the life they want. So how else can I teach them that by trying to do it myself?"
She revealed she sought out her eldest daughter's opinion when it came to making Zoey 102.
"Certain things I did ask her about. I'm like, 'Who's the people that are cool? Who are the people we want to be a part of this?' And she told me the movie was cool. So, you know, job well done. Probably should've given her an EP credit," Spears quipped.
Since it's been 15 years since Spears stepped into Zoey Brooks' shoes, she reflected on the advice she'd give her younger self that she wished she'd known.
"Oh gosh, just trust your instincts is the right thing. It might take longer to get where you want to get, but you're going to get there in a way that you're proud of," Spears said. "The fact that an orchestra is playing music for a movie that I'm in and I'm an EP on, if you would have told that to 16-year-old me, I would've been like, 'No, I'm not worthy, I'm not good enough, there's no way that I will ever be able to do that,' because that's what I was told. So for me to have that, I cannot tell you how thankful I am."
Bringing Zoey 102 to life, Spears says, has "100 percent" sparked her creativity as she seeks out new projects.
"I am like, 'Give me anything.' I am reading scripts I wouldn't normally read. I just want to see what I'm capable of because I feel like if I can overcome my own personal things, then I feel like creatively I could really push myself more as well," she explained, adding that her role on Sweet Magnolias "really got me feeling like, 'Oh, I can still do this.'"
While Spears is open to continuing the Zoey 101 franchise, she expressed interest in being "part of the process behind the camera," which includes "one day" directing, but acknowledged she has "a lot to learn."
Zoey 102 premieres Thursday, July 27 on Paramount+.
This interview was completed prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 13, 2023.