Exclusive Interview with Paradise Run’s Daniella Monet

Daniella Monet has been acting since she was seven. She’s probably best known for her role on Nickelodeon’s Victorious, where she sharpened her comedic chops playing Victoria Justice’s hilarious older sister Trina. Since the show’s end she’s guested on a number of series, had a recurring role on Freeform’s Baby Daddy and picked up the hosting mantle on Nickelodeon’s game show Paradise Run. Here Daniella talks about her love of comedy, what it’s like playing host, being a lifestyle enthusiast and what she’d like to do next.

How did you get started so young and what’s been the most challenging thing about growing up in the business?

I got started because I grew up in L.A. and I was a very outgoing kid, and often times in LA if you’re outgoing someone will usually say “you should get them in the business,” and so someone must have said that to my mom. We gave it a try, and I only really did commercials up until I was about a teenager and then started doing more TV and theatrical.

It’s challenging. It’s an interesting industry. I have such a love for it. It’s 100% my passion. I love making people feel happy. I love making them laugh so I’ve really became very strong in my sitcom acting. That’s definitely my preference, and one of the reasons why I love hosting is I still get that same satisfaction from it. I feel like I’m relating to people and able to really connect, but the challenge is that you don’t really have a ton of control over how often you work. You really do have to have other things in your life that keep you busy and give you a purpose. I have several other hobbies and different endeavors that I’m interested in as well.

Speaking of your comedy, you have such a knack for it–from more of the broad physical comedy, like Trina did, to more of the low-key acerbic wit. You really handle all the different levels really well. Who are your comedic heroes? Name two people, one alive and one dead, who would be a dream comedy collaboration for you.

Well I love I Love Lucy so sometimes I felt like Trina had a bit of Lucille Ball in her, which I really liked, and I like Sandra Bullock. I think she’s dry. I think she’s witty. I think she’s still charming and people like her. So, that would be my other one.

Now you’re hosting Nickelodeon’s Paradise Run. For those people who may have missed the first two seasons, what can you tell us about this competition series for kids? 

The difference this year is we have probably triple the amount of celebrity contestants we [normally] have. That’s sort of gone broader than just Nickelodeon talent. Last season we played with having some of the Nick talent on the show, which everyone really seemed to love. This season we kind of upped the ante and had all kind of celebrities. Celebrities from Modern Family, from Fresh Off the Boat from… We have WWE wrestlers. We have athletes. Yeah. So kids get to team up with their favorite superstars.

Aside from filming in Hawaii, and a bunch of new celebrities who are joining your show, what has been your favorite part of being involved with it?

My favorite part has 100% been coming back to the same crew. We have a lot of the same crew from the very first season, and when you’re away from your family and you’re away from your friends for a while, it is so special to have that same connection with everyone. Every year we do an annual boat trip, and we’ll go out into the ocean. We’ll see dolphins. We’ll have lunch. We get to just hang out and bond, and I’m just so lucky that we have one of the… I think one of the hardest working crews.

That’s really lovely. Well, you have challenged the old Hollywood adage about never working with animals or kids. What has been your experience working with kids?

Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so lucky to be able to work with kids. They have a spirit and an energy and a joy about them that you don’t see every day and to call that work, I’ve been so lucky. They’re the future, you know?

Absolutely! Now hosting is a different challenge from acting. What specifically about that do you like the most and is there another reality series you’d love to get in on? Like do you want to hide Tyra Banks in a closet one day on America’s Got Talent?

Hosting has been so much fun for me, because I get to be myself with people, with actual people. A lot of these kids have been… Even the celebrities, at the end of day, we’re all just people. So, it’s really fun for me to just get to introduce myself as myself. Be 100% me. Be there if anyone needs like help or advice or a hug or whatever, and that’s so much fun for me. That’s probably my favorite part of hosting is that I’m not in a full character and then I’d love to go after Chris Harrison’s job on The Bachelor. Second to that, I would 100% have my own home renovation show on HGTV. That would be the end goal.

What would you like to do next in acting? Is there something you haven’t tackled before that you’re dying to do whether that be a specific role, a fave TV show or even a different genre?

I would love to do more animation. I love being the character, and I love kids’ TV, so I think it would definitely be a dream of mine to maybe have an animated series or voice the actor or voice a character on an animated movie, but something along those lines.

You’ve been a vegan since you were ten and consider yourself a lifestyle enthusiast. You share your passion for healthy living and all that entails on your blog. What inspired you to create that space and invite fans in for a closer look at you and the things you love?

I think it really just stems from being a curious kid myself and not exactly knowing who to look at or where to get my information. I really just live my life, and I enjoy sharing it with people in hopes that I can maybe enlighten certain things for them. If they have questions about what a vegan lifestyle is or recipes or going to go even deeper like a cruelty free lifestyle, I want to help carve the way and make a space for that.

It’s nice you have that space and you’re open to the questions. What about it has been the most rewarding part for you?

The most rewarding part, I say, is when people learn something new that they never knew and they’re interested and they’re engaging and open to trying something a little different than what they thought was their normal. We’re all very stuck in our ways, and I think sometimes it’s nice to see a different perspective, and people who are open to that, it gives me hope. It gives me hope that there’s like a future where there’s less pain and suffering for animals.

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Sunday. Taste the rainbow. 🌱🌈 🍽

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You kind of hinted at this a little bit before, but would you like to see your blog translate over to a healthy lifestyle TV show for you? I know you mentioned home renovation. What would a dream show that you created look like?

Ooh, that’s a good question. Listen, I love reality TV, and I definitely know how to be on in front of a camera, but I also think some people’s lives without them having to be performing or be on are just as interesting. A lifestyle show for me would probably just entail how I eat. How I live a cruelty free life. What auditioning is like. The real nitty gritty behind the actual business of acting. What it’s like to book a job, be on set, you know. My personal life. My relationship that I’ve been in for almost seven years now. My dogs, you know. I think all of it to me, obviously I’m so grateful for all of it, and I’ve found that a lot of people are interested. Maybe a show that encompasses all that.

You mentioned something about wanting to do home renovation shows, too?

Yeah, yeah. There’s always this… For me I watch HGTV, oh gosh, probably 50% of the time I’m watching TV, so I’ve always been interested in homes, and I got my real estate license about a year and a half ago, and so it’s always sort of been something that I loosely thought about pursuing. So, yeah, who knows? Maybe that’s in my future.

Do you have any other upcoming projects of any kind you’d like to share with your fans?

No, but I’m hoping that this year or hopefully in the next, I don’t know, near future, I’ll be on a new series. That’s sort of my goal at this point is to get back on some sort of fun sitcom that everyone can watch and enjoy.

Lastly, we know that you’re really passionate about your healthy lifestyle. What is something else you like totally nerd out about?

Ooh, totally nerd out about? Hmm. Okay, okay. Gosh I want to get something interesting but like… You know what? I kind of nerd out about investing. I’m interested in finances. Like I’m so into it. I don’t follow the stock market super closely, but I’m into it. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so interested in real estate because it’s definitely a huge form of people’s investment.

Follow Daniella on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can watch her vegan lifestyle show, D Takes Your V Card, on YouTube or read her past blog posts at DaniellaMonet.com. And don’t forget to catch her on Paradise Run.

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