Thursday, February 02, 2017

12-Year-Old Dutchess County, NY Actress Gets Royal Treatment In "Nella The Princess Knight"

Akira Golz, a 12-year-old Southern Dutchess, NY resident is the voice behind Nickelodeon's brand-new animated preschool series, Nella the Princess Knight!


The animated show, geared to the preschools set, premieres Monday, Feb. 6, at 10 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nick USA. The series centers on Nella, an unconventional 8-year-old who possesses the royal qualities of a princess, like compassion and grace, while also embodying the courage and determination of a brave knight.

Whenever a problem arises, Nella embarks on daring quests to save her kingdom through her unique ability to transform from a princess into Nella the Princess Knight. The show features a social-emotional curriculum promoting self-confidence, inclusiveness and compassion for others.

Following its U.S. launch, Nella the Princess Knight will debut internationally in spring 2017, including on Nick Jr. UK & Ireland in May 2017.


Golz, who sings, dances and acts, said getting this role was a dream come true. Though she's lent her voice to Nickelodeon's Dora the Explorer and Peter Rabbit, this is her first starring role. The actor and model, who has been in the business since age five, has also appeared on Broadway in Matilda, along with other regional theater musicals. She said she likes voicing Nella because she's so "cool."

"I'm still trying to process it all," she told Daily Voice. "This is what I've wanted to do for a long time." She particularly likes the fact that Nella likes dancing at extravagant balls just as much as she likes meeting fire-breathing dragons.

Golz can relate as she loves softball, body surfing and dodging through New York City on her scooter, just as much as she does lacing up pointe shoes and singing.

Leading up to Nella the Princess Knight's series premiere, NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App will feature exclusive content including a full-length episode, as well as original pieces of short-form content. NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App will also launch a brand-new game inspired by the show, in which players ride through the kingdom with Nella and help return sleeping dragons to their homes.

Robert Vargas (head writer, Zack and Quack) serves as an executive producer on the show and the series is created by Christine Ricci (curriculum advisor, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Dora the Explorer).

As for where Golz will be when the show airs? Said the tween: "I'll be at school."

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Additionally, via The New York Times:

Nickelodeon Wades Into Princess Politics

LOS ANGELES — Now it’s war: Nickelodeon, once again winning the children’s ratings race against Disney Channel, has decided to throw its weight behind ... a princess.

Nickelodeon has always had its share of magical kingdoms, but this Viacom-owned cable network has tended to leave the princess business to Disney. (And what a business it is, generating an estimated $5.5 billion a year in merchandise revenue alone.) But here comes “Nella the Princess Knight,” which Nickelodeon will introduce on Monday in a programming block for preschoolers.

The self-designated Princess Police, mostly academics who use Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and their slender ilk to make points about their negative impact on young girls, have been a perennial thorn in Disney’s side, even as the company has introduced black and Latina royals, along with a preschool one, “Sofia the First.” Will Nickelodeon now find itself in a similar position?

Maybe not. The self-empowered Nella pushes boundaries, at least for television aimed at 2-year-olds, in the areas of race and gender. She is biracial, with a black father and a white mother, a decision informed by Nickelodeon research indicating that most children under 12 will be nonwhite by 2020 and that already 17 percent are biracial. The character also mashes together traditional boy and girl gender norms.

Nella may ride a unicorn with a pink mane (à la My Little Pony), but she does it while brandishing a sword and wearing knight gear, a bit like a preschool version of Brienne of Tarth from “Game of Thrones.” She is a girlie girl but does traditional boy activities (battling a dragon) and does not spend the majority of her time in a ball gown.

Nickelodeon’s princess may strike some adults as subversive, particularly given the surge of conservatism that helped push Donald J. Trump into office. But children see mixed-race families and the blurring of gender lines as normal, said Cyma Zarghami, Nickelodeon’s longtime chief. “Adults might say, ‘Oh, look — she’s biracial,’ but our viewers just say, ‘That looks like my friend,’” she said.

“An older generation was taught tolerance, and this audience is demanding difference,” said Ms. Zarghami. She led Nickelodeon to ratings strength in 2016 among total viewers and children ages 2 to 11, even as competitors like Disney Channel and Cartoon Network recorded sharp year-on-year drops. (According to Nielsen, Disney still has a big lead among viewers 6 to 14.) She added, “This series seems to be taking on a life of its own, which is incredibly exciting.”

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More Nick: Levittown, NY Child Voices Character On Nickelodeon's "Nella The Princess Knight"!
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