Check out our interview with rising star Yonas Kibreab, a talented young actor and voice actor who has already made an impact in Hollywood with his impressive list of credits. Best known for his roles in the Disney+ original “Star Wars” series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” his leading role as Luna in the Blumhouse Production BLOOD MOON on Hulu, and other projects like “Silicon Valley,” and “Raven’s home,” Yonas can be seen starring in season 2 of “Sweet Tooth” currently trending worldwide on Netflix! He will also star in the new Disney Channel series “Pretty Freekin Scary’ this summer and will voice the title character Elio in the upcoming Disney Pixar film ELIO slated for release in spring 2024.
Follow Yonas @hiyonas_
Hi Yonas, please tell us a little about you?
I was born in Los Angeles and I am currently 12 years old. I love to stay active, so I play tennis, skateboard and do long-distance running. I also love music and I sing and play the piano. I have been playing piano for over 4 years. I started acting at 9 years old and my first big role was playing Luna in the Blumhouse movie called Blood Moon. I got to play a young boy that transformed into a werewolf every full moon. When I was 5/6 year old I had a fascination with werewolf and dressed up as one for several Halloweens. My favorite superheroes are Spiderman and Black Panther.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Fun; Social and Determined
How did you get started into acting?
I got into acting through tennis and Instagram videos. When I started playing tennis my dad and I started to create tennis related Instagram content that was funny and entertaining. My Instagram content caught the eye of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), so the USTA and US Open, invited me to be a KidCaster at the 2018 US Open in New York City. As a KidCaster I got to create social media content during the tournament for USTA and US Open social media accounts and interview professional tennis players, and participate in press conferences. I enjoyed being on camera and this experience inspired me to get a manager and an agent and pursue an acting career.
How has this changed your life?
I feel very fortunate that I have found my passion very early in life. Also acting has allowed me to meet lots of new friends and has taken me to cool places. For the Netflix show “Sweet Tooth”, I got to travel to New Zeeland and stay there for 6 months, which was an amazing experience. But being an actor is also hard work, you have to balance work, auditions and school, and so it get stressful sometimes. My favorite time is being on set, so I feel very fortunate to do what I do.
What is the best and worst part of being an actor?
Best is booking a job and meeting new friends in set. The worst part is getting really far in an audition and not getting the role.
I would encourage readers to checkout my IMDb page https://www.imdb.com/name/nm10354026/ , where all the projects I have been part of are listed. But some of the projects include, Blood Moon, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Better Things season 5, Raven’s Home, Silicon Valley, Slumberkins, and The Big Show Show.
How do you prepare for a role?
I spend time memorizing my lines, then I make notes and spend time understanding the important beats of the scenes that are shooting that day. If I can, I also like to rehearse my lines with other actors on set.
Tell us about the new Disney Channel original series Pretty Freekin Scary) and the Netflix series Sweet Tooth Season 2.
Pretty Freekin Scary is a new Disney Channel series based on the book series “Pretty Freekin Scary” aand created for television by Jason P. Hauser. The show follows the adventures of Frankie Ripp, a 14 year old girl, who dies and goes to the Underworld. After some heated debate in the Underworld with the Grim Reaper herself, Frankie is allowed to return home, but only if she’s accompanied by her new Underworld guardians, Pretty and Scary. I play Remy Ripp, Frankie’s annoying little brother who gets dragged in to her adventures and becomes her sort of side kick. The show will premiere on Disney Channel on June 15 and on Dinsey+ on June 16.
Sweet Tooth Season 2, premiered on Netflix on April 27. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has wiped out much of humanity, and children are born as hybrids with animal features. The hybrids are discriminated against and hunted by the Last Men. The leader of the Last Men is General Abbott. In Season 2, a new wave of the Sick has hit Earth while the hybrid kids are imprisoned at the Preserve by General Abbot and the Last Men in order to find a cure. With the help of Jepperd, a former member of Last Men, and Aimee, the mother of one of the hybrids, the hybrid kids try to escape the preserve and the Last Men. I play Finn Fox, a hybrid fox and human. Finn Fox has a painful past but is not afraid to speak up. Sweet Tooth was filmed in New Zealand, and it was so amazing to spend six month in New Zealand and getting to know the other kids that played hybrids.
Now tell us about the exiting Disney Pixar film project “ELIO?”
Elio is a new Pixar movie that is scheduled to premiere in spring 2024. I play the titular role Elio, with America Ferrera as Elio’s mom, Olga Solis. The movie is directed by Annie Award-winning Coco co-helmer and screenwriter Adrian Molina and produced by Mary Alice Drumm. The animated feature is about an 11-year-old boy who lives with his mom, Olga. Elio is shy and has a hard time making friends and fitting in. Olga is working on a secret military project after learning of a signal from outer space. But Elio intercepts the signal and is beamed up to space instead of his mother, leading to an adventure of a lifetime in a strange alien-based city.
What kind of roles do you like or would like to play and why?
Being a child actor that is learning to be a better and better actor with each role, I would be happy with any role that I am able to book. But my dream role would be to be in a Marvel Movie or play Spiderman.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be up to right now?
A normal 12 year old kid that is into music and sport.
Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?
Kramer form Seinfeld and Spiderman.
Can you name 3 actors/actresses you would love to work with?
I would love to work with Tom Holland, Michael B. Jordan and Tiffany Hadish.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Meeting and working with all kind of different people, making friends and seeing the final results.
What’s your advice for the newer actors?
Make sure you understand the work and commitment required to be a child actor and don’t compare yourself to other actors.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?
Its hard work, so you really have to love the business.
How would your best friend describe you?
Fun to be around.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
The title would be “Daily Laugh”. My family and I have a daily tradition, where we watch a short funny video right before sleep and right when we wake up. It was my idea, and a good way to end the day and start a new day with a laugh.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
I am still young, living with my parents and no “adult” obligations, so I guess I would tell myself make all the mistakes you can make and learn from them.
What’s next for Yonas Kibreab in 2023?
I am still continuing to work on Pixar Elio which will premier in spring 2024, and also on Season 2 of Pupstruction and other announced projects.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Cheeseburger, Pizza and Ice Cream.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Lots of laughs every day and not holding grudges.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would like to meet my Lolo / grandfather, who passed away before I was born. My family tells me that I am an incarnation of my Lolo, so it would be fun to hang out and fun together.
Best advice ever given?
“Don’t tell me what the problem is, tell me what the solution is.” Advice from my dad.
Do you support any charity?
My dad is a Big Brother in the Los Angeles Chapter of Big Brother Big Sister organization, so both my dad and I support the organization.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I hope to continue to be acting and work on different type of projects that are exciting.
Favorite song? Why?
It’s so hard to choose one song, but my favorite artist is Anderson Paak. His music blends so many genre of music that my family and I listen too, like funk, Motown and R&B.
What do you think of Social Media?
I am not on social media, my Instagram is managed by my parents. I actually don’t have a phone or an ipad yet.
Where we can follow you?
I have an Instagram page: @hiyonas_
Book: Spy School Series
Quote: “Don’t tell me what the problem is, tell me what the solution is.”
Movie: All Spiderman Movies
TV Series: Sweet Tooth
Favorite Food: Cheese Burger and Pizza
Travel Destination: Hawaii
Sports Team: Lakers and Arsenal
Photo Credit: Tamara Tihanyi @tihanyiphoto