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Exclusive Interview with Rio Mangini from Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs

unnamedRio Mangini is a 12-year-old prodigy. He is a classically trained pianist who has played Carnegie Hall twice, an actor who made his debut on screen at age nine, and an artist who constantly has his sketchbook in hand.

Rio has previously been seen in “Marvin, Marvin,” “What If”, “Kickin’ It,” “See Dad Run,” “Good Luck Charlie,” and “Switched at Birth.”

He can currently be seen as ‘Ace’ on Nickelodeon’s “Bella and the Bulldogs” which airs on Saturdays at 8:30pm on Nickelodeon.

Keep reading to hear more about Rio and all the amazing things he’s been doing!

 

You are one busy and talented kid! What made you decide to take on movies, TV, and music all at once?

“Why thank you! But it wasn’t really all at once. I’ve been working towards this for years!  I’ve been playing piano since I was 5. I played at Carnegie Hall twice, and won 3 young artist awards.

I got the idea to act when I was 8. I loved the show iCarly . I still love it. My dream was to be on iCarly. Sadly, it ended. But, I still wanted to act. So I told my mom, ‘Hey mom. I wanna be in a comedy show like iCarly,’ and she said, ‘Well honey, you’re not very funny!’

Nowadays, I go to work in the morning and when I’m done with work, I go home and practice piano for an hour or 2. On top of that I have acting and improv classes – so I’ve actually been training for a long time! I’d like to do more movies.”

Do you ever manage to get any free time? What do you like to do when you aren’t busy with other things?

“I do manage to get free time.  I just went to see Fantastic Four with my friends, otherwise known as Fant4stic. I like to draw. I am a crazy artist. I cannot leave the house without a notebook and pen. I don’t draw in color. It’s just how I like drawing. I also like playing video games. I like fencing and archery too. Actually, if I’m not practicing piano or working, I’m probably on my computer.”

For anyone who hasn’t seen the show, how would you describe Bella and the Bulldogs?

“Bella and the Bulldogs is a Nickelodeon series about a cheerleader who dreams of being the quarterback of her school football team. Fortunately, it happened. During one of the football games, when the Bulldogs lost, Bella got so angry, she threw the ball with such force, it hit the mascot very hard and knocked him over. Then she became quarterback. At first they dissed her. She wasn’t appreciated by the team because she was a girl. And she had a hard time keeping her girlfriends happy, too. Throughout the show, she is always trying to become one of the boys and basically stick with them wherever they go. Now she’s a real Bulldog! Our show always has a great moral or lesson to it!” 

What do you like most about playing Ace? 

“Ace is silly. Very silly! But the best part is he takes himself VERY seriously. He has the best punchlines, and I just really like playing a news anchor. News anchors are fun to mess around with, and Ace is the perfect character that demonstrates what reporters are like. Ace is like Ron Burgundy, only 2 feet shorter. He’s a satire of a satire.”

Are you currently filming for the new season?

“Yes and it is a blast! You guys have to stay tuned, because season two is going to reveal more story about the characters, including mine!”

How do you manage to keep up with everything you’re involved in AND school?

“We’re on Summer break, so I’m not in school.  When  I’m working, I  do 1-5 hours of school on set. I get a lot of school work done at my ‘work school.’ When I’m on hiatus I go back to my ‘school school.’ It’s easy because my school is full of actors and they are used to students coming and going. All kids are busy. Some are really busy with sports. I’m just busy with TV and piano! I also go to bed early. (laughs)” 

Are your family and friends supportive of everything you’re doing?

“Yes! My parents are very proud of me, and I have the best friends a 5’1’’ kid could ever have.”

You’ve already played Carnegie Hall. Is there another big dream that you’d like to accomplish some day that you haven’t already managed to make happen?

“To perform at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Olympics in RIO! (laughs)”

Do you have any other projects in the works right now?

“We’re in the middle of shooting season two of Bella and the Bulldogs, so stay tuned! I’m also in the studio working on my music- so please follow me! My Instagram and Twitter are @riomangini so give me a big warm follow.”

Written by Erica Schaaf

Erica is a former social worker and mother of three who has been writing since she was a child. She currently writes fanfiction for the Veronica Mars and The 100 fandoms and is published on Kindle Worlds as well as fanfiction.net and archiveofourown.org. She hopes to one day have the chance to be a fly on the wall on set of her fave shows while filming!

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