Check out our interview with talented Filipina singer, dancer and actress Frankie McNellis who can be staring Netflix’s musical feature film 13: THE MUSICAL. Starring opposite Emmy Award-winning actresses Debra Messing and Rhea Perlman, as well as Josh Peck of “Drake & Josh” fame, the film is the screen adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical 13 which was Ariana Grande and Elizabeth Gillies (“Victorious”) big debut.

13: THE MUSICAL centers on ‘Evan Goldman’ (Eli Golden), who, after his parent’s divorce, moves from NYC to small-town Indiana and must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party of the year. McNellis plays ‘Lucy’, a popular and mischievous cheerleader who has a crush on the boy that her best friend ‘Kendra’ also likes. She plots an elaborate scheme to prevent them from kissing, roping in an unwitting ‘Evan’. The role, which originally starred Elizabeth Gillies on Broadway, also features one of the most elaborate and impressive musical numbers (“Opportunity”) of the whole film, with Frankie leading the song and dance routine.

Follow Frankie @frankiemcnellis

Hi Frankie, please tell us a little about you?

Hi! I am a 16-year-old actress/artist living in Los Angeles.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Fun, dedicated, and passionate.

Name one your strengths?

Singing!

Who is your role model?

My sister, Alexis, is one of my biggest role models. She is such a beautiful and hardworking woman. I hope to have her confidence when I’m older.

What did you learn from your biggest failure?

One moment I have learned and grown from, is when I sang the national anthem at a NBA game. I over rehearsed the morning of, and my voice was so tired by the time the game started. Ever since then, I’ve learned to take vocal breaks and really focus on my vocal health.

How and when did you started dancing?

My parents put me in dance lessons when I was 5. I instantly fell in love and I have been doing it ever since.

Any advice for aspiring dancers?

Never give up! So many people are going to criticize you and talk about you. No matter what others say, as long as you believe in yourself, you can do it.

What do you love most about dancing?

Dance is a way of expressing yourself and letting go. I love being able to have another outlet, besides music.

What type of dance do you like best?

I absolutely love hip hop and jazz funk.

Now tell us about the Netflix’s upcoming musical feature film “13: THE MUSICAL?”

13: The Musical is based around almost 13-year-old Evan Goldman. He moves to a new town and forces himself to make new friends, so he can invite them to his Bar Mitzvah. He meets the popular kids and hopes that if he helps them with their relationship problem, they can help him have the best party. Spoiler, it doesn’t go the way he plans!

And about your role as Lucy?

I play the popular mean girl/cheerleader Lucy Hallman. She is determined to steal her best friend’s boyfriend and make Evan secretly help her.

How was working with such a talented cast?

It was so amazing working with everyone in the cast. All of the kids are so talented and dedicated to making this film the best. I am so excited for people to see.

Now tell us about the success of Sony Pictures and Build-A-Bear Entertainment film “HONEY GIRLS?”

I am so honored to be a part of the Honey Girls movie. I play the triple threat, sporty, and confident Alex in the film. This was Build-a-Bears first live action film and the music is so incredibly catchy. Honey girls was my first film and I had the best time working on that.

What other projects you have been part of?

When I was 11, I worked on my first project called Play Anything. It was produced by DreamWorks TV and we filmed 6 episodes. My first major project that I worked on was ABC’s Blackish. I guest starred and played a bully.

What is the best and worst part of being an actress?

The best part of being an actress is being able to be on camera and act like a completely different person. Worst part is not always knowing what the next project is.

What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?

I will always love playing mean girls and any role in a musical. However, I would love to be a part of an action or mystery show. I haven’t done anything like that yet and I feel like that would be so cool.

If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?

“How to live your life laughing.” I love to laugh and I feel that it is important to spread the message of joy and laughter. Don’t take life too seriously.

Any advice to entrepreneurs out there?

Take the risk! There is no reward without risk.

What book should every entrepreneur read?

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

Be very careful with who you trust in the industry. Be very careful with who you surround yourself with and remember that your family always has your back.

How would you explain your fashion style and what items in your closet can you not be without?

I love chic couture, textures, colors, fabrics, and silhouettes. I really like to play and have fun with everything I wear and embrace the individuality of each piece and each designer.

Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?

Most days I do school until 3, and then take dance classes from 5 to 9. Afterwards, I go home and play the piano, guitar, and sing.

How would your best friend describe you?

A Leader and understanding.

What’s next for Frankie McNellis in 2022?

I am not allowed to say much. However, I am working on music and I am so excited for people to hear.

What is your favorite healthy food?

I love all types of fruit.

And your favorite cheat food?

I could never have just 1 favorite! I love pizookie and beignets.

What is your own definition of happiness?

Happiness is when you get to do what you love to do for the rest of your life. In my case, music!

How is a normal day in your life?

My schedule is constantly changing. When I was working on 13: The Musical, I woke up around 5 almost every morning. My mom and I would get picked up and brought to set. I would film until around 4. Afterwards, I would go home and play music with my fellow cast members.

What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?

I would start the morning with church. Then go to the studio and create music for the rest of the day.

What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?

I would love to go to the Philippines for Christmas with my family.

If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?

Ariana Grande is a huge inspiration to me and I would love to get the chance to meet her and talk about music! Fun fact, she was in the original Broadway cast of 13!

Best advice ever given?

Never give up. People will try to get in your head and mess with your feelings, but don’t listen and follow your heart.

Do you support any charity?

Infinite-finds.org

Name 3 things you can’t live without?

Family, Friends, and Music.

Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?

No one can predict the future, but I hope to be a huge pop star. I know that God has a plan for me.

Favorite song? Why?

I love Spotlight by Jennifer Hudson because when I first discovered the song, I really related to the meaning. When I was younger, I was used to getting compared to others, and still do. The industry is so competitive. Singing this song felt so good because I felt like I was able to prove the doubters wrong.

What music do you like?

I love all types of music. My favorite is definitely pop!

What do you think of Social Media?

Social Media is a blessing and a curse. It is amazing for reaching and connecting to fans, however, there can be many negative people hiding behind screens.

Where we can follow you?

@frankiemcnellis on Instagram
@mcnellisfrankie on Twitter
@frankiemcnellis on TikTok
@frankiemcnellis on Facebook

Favorites:

Quote: Practice makes permanent.

Favorite Singer/Artist: Ariana Grande

Movie: Mean Girls

Travel Destination: New York

Sports Team: The Phoenix Suns

TV Show: Glee

Book: The Giver by Lois Lowry

 


 

Photo Credit: Brett Erickson