Paris Berelc on “Hubie Halloween,” Modeling, Disney, and Her Career Family | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Paris Berelc on “Hubie Halloween,” Modeling, Disney, and Her Career Family

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Nov 06, 2020 Web Exclusive
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Paris Berelc lights up the screen. Whether the 21-year-old actor is working on a Disney show with one of her bright young co-stars or whether she’s showcasing her luminescent talents in a movie like Netflix’ Hubie Halloween with Adam Sandler and China Anne McClain, Berelc is one of the fast-rising on-screen performers of the 2020s.

Berelc, who grew up in the Midwest, has worked seemingly constantly ever since her first gig at 11-years-old. She boasts a number of Disney and modeling credits to her name and, these days, she’s flying between jobs, from New York City to Toronto to who knows where is next. We caught up with the rising success story to ask her about what it’s like working these days, what her time on Hubie Halloween showed her, growing up on-set, and much more.

Jake Uitti: What is it like to be at work again now with new pandemic protocol?

Paris Berelc: I was actually just in New York finishing a show a couple months ago. And, yeah, it’s weird because we’re wearing our masks all the time and we take our masks off when we’re actually filming and we’re doing testing every day and everything is, like, wrapped in plastic and there’s red zones and yellow zones. So, it’s a lot. But it’s not that we are working with people that aren’t doing their best to keep us safe. Since the actors are the ones who will have to take their masks off at some point on set. But I am also really happy to get back to work. In quarantine, I was going a little crazy. [Laughs] I’m actually—I’m going to Toronto this week to do another film. So, I’m very grateful that I’m actually working.

When did you first receive applause for a joke you told or a dance or song you performed that made you say to yourself, “I want more of that!?”

I was a gymnast for, like, 10 years. So, that was kind of like my first applause, you know? After doing a performance or winning a medal. But when I was 11-years-old, I did this short film in Connecticut and I played this kid assassin. That was the first time I really filmed something. I just remember that being a really fun experience and after that, I kind of was like, “Okay, I actually want to do this. This is really fun, this is cool to me!” That was the first time I ever really filmed something on camera.

You grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. How did that area influence you and your creativity?

Yeah, I was born and raised in Wisconsin, in Milwaukee. I started modeling when I was a kid. So, Milwaukee and Chicago, they’re really big in print. So, I would model for Kohl’s and Sears and Kmart. Eventually I just got a little bored, kind of just standing in front of a camera. And I knew I wasn’t going to be tall enough to be a model in my adult years. My agency at the time was also an acting agency. So, I was just like, can I do some self-tapes? But I would never hear anything. Actually, it’s funny, because you talked to China [Anne McClain] and she was on a show called A.N.T. Farm on Disney and when I flew to California, that was one of my first auditions for, like a guest role on A.N.T. Farm. The casting director of that show sent my headshot and resume to the Senior VP at the Disney Channel, Judy Taylor. So, I got a general meeting with the Disney Channel. So, really, my career started because of her!

You’re very talented, regimented, and well known. How do you balance all these in one lifetime?

It’s definitely hard. I feel like I’m really good at balancing, you know, work and then family and friends and my boyfriend. But I feel like the part that I do struggle with is, like, actually doing things for myself. That was a big thing for me to learn this year, actually, especially during quarantine, is taking care of myself. So, that’s something I’m learning how to balance and that’s something I’ve been focusing on.

Can you talk about that a little bit more, what that looks like for you?

I started going to therapy. I started writing. I started reading again. And, you know, just making some time for myself, even if it’s something little like going for a drive. One of my favorite things to do is drive and listen to my music. So, if it’s going for a 30-minute drive, that’s just like a little thing I did for myself that day. Stuff like that.

I really enjoyed Hubie Halloween—there’s something cozy about it, strangely. But what was your favorite experience on set, filming it?

That was my first time ever working on a Happy Madison production and I was super excited because I grew up watching those films with my family. Adam Sandler is a great guy. He’s super kind, very hardworking, treats everyone equally. That was very inspiring to watch because he’s been in the industry for so long and I think a lot of people look up to him. I think one of my favorite things about that was—there was that big party scene in the barn. And a lot of my friends were in the film like Amber Frank, Bradley Steven Perry, Kelli Berglund, Karan [Brar]. So, that was, like, the scene where all of us were together, basically. We were all just, like, partying and dancing and having a good time. That was really fun to be able to do this Adam Sandler film and be with some of my closest friends at the same time.

You seem to be close to your family but also close to your career family, those actors and people on set that you’re growing up with in real time. What comes to mind when you think about these folks?

Yeah I think you definitely get a career family. I think in any workspace, you know, you have a career family. Your coworkers become your friends or you end up hating them! [Laughs] But, yeah, I came from Disney and I grew up with Bradley and Jake [Short] and Kelli. And then eventually you’re going to work with those people again. But when we were on Disney, that was our high school. Because none of us went to public high school. I didn’t get that high school experience, I didn’t get to go to school dances. We would go to Disney Balls together. We did graduation together. So, that was our high school and that’s how we grew up in Los Angeles. And in our adult years, we’re going to end up working together at some point. So, yeah, I guess that’s our career family.

A lot of people receive advice directly from mentors but is there anything you’ve observed from afar in another actor or person on set that’s stuck with you?

That’s an interesting question. This is something that I learned but I don’t know if I learned it from seeing it from somebody else do it or if I learned it from—I don’t know. But the one thing that I have learned was how to be a leader. On my last show, Alexa & Katie, that was a show that I led. That one really taught me how to be a leader—when to speak up, when to not speak up. I think that was a really important skill for me to learn because it’s something that I’m going to use throughout my career. Being a leader, to me, isn’t always being the loudest in the room. Being a leader, to me, is about learning how to read a room. I think that’s a very important skill for everyone to learn, for sure.

You’ve been around cameras a fair amount in your life, from acting to modeling. Did that take some getting used to?

Well, my mom told me that I always liked being in front of the camera, even when I was a little kid! [Laughs] But, no, I mean, I think being in front of a camera, it doesn’t really bother me but probably because I’m so used to it. I think that that’s just, like—it’s just something you have to do to do what you love. I don’t like taking photos all the time. When I’m with my friends I actually like taking photos of them. But, I mean, I think it’s cool, too, to be able to watch your work. Not everyone gets to do that. I have one of those jobs where I can really watch the finished product. So, that’s pretty cool!

There is a lot going on in the world these days. Politics and beliefs are very personal and I don’t want to paint you in any corner. But, if and when you think about the future, what comes to mind?

When I think about the future, I think it’s a good thing. I’m not worried about my future. I think I’m going to have a good future. I think I’ll have a great career. I think I’ll have a great marriage and I’ll have kids. [Laughs] And I think of all of my friends and I think that everyone in my life is going to succeed. That’s what I think about when I think about the future. I don’t really look at it in a negative way.

What do you love most about living a creative life?

I am very fortunate and very lucky and grateful that I get to live a life where I have a creative outlet all the time. I love acting but I also love writing and I’m trying to get into producing. I want to have my own production company. That’s just fun. It’s fun to be able to have a job when it’s something that you usually love and you’re passionate about. I do get to be creative all the time and I get to—I love acting because I get to play a different person. I get to not be Paris for a day. That’s not something everyone gets to do. My job, I could really be any job. I could be a nurse or I could be a lawyer one day, you know? You get to play all these things and be all these different characters. I feel like that also keeps your mind going, it keeps your mind fresh and a little childlike. I love what I do.

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