Raised in New York, Cree Cicchino made a big move when she got a callback from Nickelodeon's Game Shakers.
From a young age, Cicchino was involved with dancing, which led her to her passion for the stage and acting. After only a few months in acting classes, Cicchino got the opportunity of a lifetime -- she auditioned for Nickelodeon's hit sitcom Game Shakers and got a part in the pilot, and immediately packed up and moved to L.A. with her family.
With Game Shakers just being picked up for a third season, and with a nomination in this years Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Cicchino is going strong in her role as Babe.
Babe is one-half of a girl duo that owns a hugely successful gaming company. Cicchino's character is creative and quick-witted, and never falters when making tough decisions.
Aol had the chance to sit down with the Nickelodeon actress for a chat about her role on Game Shakers, her acting inspiration, passion for dance, her social media presence (and her fans, who call themselves 'Creetures'). Check out the interview below!:
How did you first get involved with acting?
I actually started out with studying dancing before acting. I started with that when I was about 4 years old, and a few years after that I got into competition dancing. I really fell in love with performing and being on stage, and being comfortable with that. When I was about 12 my mom and I decided that since I liked performing, I should maybe try out acting classes and see where that goes. So, I joined a class and three months later they had a showcase at the end of the session. The next day, people in the industry were calling to sign me. Three months after that, I got the pilot for Game Shakers. It all happened really fast, it was super crazy. I grew up watching Dan Schneider shows, who is the creator of this show, so I'm still pinching myself about all of this.
What's it like working on Nickelodeon?
It's honestly been crazy. When I got this role I hadn't been acting long at all. I was so new, and I still am. I never planned on being an actor, I thought I may as well try it and see where it goes. I'm super lucky and I'm so grateful every day to walk into work knowing I got this amazing opportunity. I'm such a big fan of the creator on the show, so it's really hard to believe. Just a little while ago I was sitting in New York, dancing and going to school, just being a regular kid. My whole life totally changed. I had to move from New York, where I'm from, out to LA to be on the show. It all happened in a whirlwind.
When did you first realize this was something you wanted to do full time?
When I started auditioning I realized I loved it and I loved performing, I realized the passion I had for it all. I genuinely wanted these roles. I didn't move to LA just to audition either, I moved out here after I got the role I wanted.
How has social media helped your career?
Social media is really important, and it's a great tool for reaching fans specifically. It's really fun, you get to connect with fans, hear their feedback, and really communicate with them because they are such a big part of the show and everyone's individual careers. It's important to show your gratitude to them, and we're really lucky that in this day and age we can communicate with everyone so easily.
Of course, it is still so important to use your platform wisely and to share messages you believe in to your fans, and anyone who follows you on social media. It's also important to build a life outside social media, it is a great tool, but you need your privacy. So, it does a lot of good but you need to be able to be present in real time and be able to step away from it all.
What do you hope young girls look up to you for, and take away from your career and your experiences?
I think what I want them to take away is the fact that I'm still a normal person. I'm still a real person. I have a following on social media, and I'm on Nickelodeon, but I am still a teenager and I am still learning, I'm still making mistakes and I'm still growing up. Honestly, I don't feel like a celebrity when I see myself on TV, I still feel like the same old New Yorker I've always been. I hope they just take away the reality of who we are.
What's your favorite thing about being on Game Shakers?
Being on Game Shakers is amazing. I definitely learned that there's so many more people behind the scenes than you think there are when you watch the show on TV. We have such an amazing crew. We film on the same lot as Henry Danger, literally right next door, so we see them every single day. Honestly, we're such a humongous family here. It's such a supportive environment. I was welcomed in with open arms, there's just so many amazing experiences that I'm grateful to have had. I've met so any amazing, talented people who I look up to.
Do you have a dream person you'd want to work with or collaborate with?
There are so many amazing actors out there. First and foremost, I would want to work with Anjelah Johnson, she's an amazing, hilarious comedian. I crack up every time I see her. I really want her to come on Game Shakers and play my mom. I think that would be really hilarious. I would fangirl all week. I also love Kristen Wiig, she's also phenomenal. Obviously, Angelina Jolie -- she's done some amazing work. As I get older, I'm willing to go deeper into the more dramatic movies. Oh, and Gina Rodriguez -- I love her! Fangirl to the max, she's on Jane the Virgin which is an amazing show.
What's your relationship likes with your fans?
Oh, my 'Creetures!' I think we have a good relationship. I try to be as active as possible on social media, like answering their questions. I just can't say how much I appreciate them, and I am still such a humongous fangirl for so many TV shows and so many people. It still hasn't kicked in for me yet that there are people out there who are fans of me. Social media is obviously a great tool for connecting with them, getting their feedback and talking to them -- it really is amazing.
Who's been your biggest inspiration as you've continue in the world of acting, dancing and performing?
There's a variety of people that inspire me in different aspects, because I've done both dancing and acting. I also look up to different people in comedy and drama, there are just so many different categories. But I think the queen above all, who I worship daily, is Beyonce. I'm not lying -- I make all of my friends call me Creeyonce! I saw her in concert and when I left and got home, it was like I stepped out of my own body and I felt like I was watching myself watch her perform.
How has your hispanic heritage been a part of your identity as you continue to grow in acting and in the limelight on TV and social media?
It's exciting, as I've gotten into it, to see more hispanic representation in the acting world. I grew up in my grandmother's house with a very hispanic environment, with the food and the music and Christmastime. I'm close with all of my hispanic family. My grandfather came to the U.S. straight from Ecuador. I've always been proud of being Latina. So getting into this career, it's great to see more and more hispanic roles and representation -- like Jane the Virgin, for example. Everyone does an amazing job in that show.
What's your favorite advice you've received and what advice would you give to someone who's looking to pursue a similar path?
There have been a few pieces of advice that I go back to. Every time I would go into an audition, right before I would walk in the door, my mom would say 'Be Cree.' It's very simple, but there's a deeper meaning. Never lose yourself through everything you go through. It's been really important when people have told me to grow thicker skin, and telling me that not all attention I'm going to get will be positive. You also have to block out the noise and focus on working hard, and getting to your own goals.
I think the best I could give is to work hard at what you want, stay dedicated. Even when you reach your goals, you can always grow more. There's never an absolute finish. You can always improve and grow and learn more about yourself.
What are some things you're passionate about outside of performing?
I've always loved writing, I've obviously written in school forever, but then I started getting into poetry and writing short stories. I think it's a great creative outlet. I've also been an animal lover forever. That's something I've always been passionate about.
What are your hopes for the future of your career?
I definitely want to explore doing film and more genres like drama. I want to dabble in everything. I've been working on singing, so we'll see where that goes. I hope I can do a little bit of everything.
Game Shakers returns with brand-new episodes Saturdays at 8:30pm ET/PT from Saturday 11th February 2017, only on Nickelodeon USA!
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