A job on Disney is one of the hardest gigs to get, but actress Genevieve "G" Hannelius made it on, the hit Disney show, Dog with A Blog three years ago. The 16-year-old is now following in the footsteps of Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez are just a few of the stars who all got their big breaks on Disney as teenagers.
Not only an actress, G is also a successful entrepreneur -- an important step in making the jump from Disney star to a successful adult career -- with a "Make Me Nails" app. ETonline spoke to her to find out what it’s like to be a Disney star balancing a brand while trying to live the life of a normal teenager.
So without further ado, here is everything you need to know about G.
ETonline: How did you get your start in acting?
Genevieve "G" Hannelius: I was born in Boston and grew up in Maine. I was Madeline in a children's theater in Maine, and then I just kind of got bit by the acting bug and loved it. So my mom offered to take me to Los Angeles for three months when I was 9, and we went out just to try it out. I started getting things right away, which was amazing and I was so fortunate. I did commercials and then I got on a pilot with Bob Saget [Surviving Suburbia] that went 13 episodes, and then I did a commercial for the Aquarium of the Pacific that Disney ended up seeing me on and they contacted my mom to have me come audition for them.
Do you consider yourself to be a normal teenager?
GH: I think I’m a normal teenager. I’m really busy all the time. That’s probably super abnormal. It’s rare that I have a full, free day, but I like being busy. I have amazing friends and friends who have known me way before acting. I like doing normal teenage girl things.
What's it really like to work on a show like Dog with a Blog?
GH: It's so, so amazing and kind of a dream come true. I watched Disney ever since I was really young. It has been such an incredible experience and a crazy ride. We have such an amazing cast and crew. It's a dream to work be with people you really love. The best part about being on a children’s show is the fans. They're so excited and so passionate because they're so young. They love the show and they love the dog, and it's a blast!
What's the most surprising part about being on a Disney show?
GH: I think people kind of forget that we’re kids and we have to do school. While you're working all day and trying to keep up with school, that's a hard thing because most kids are going to school for 6 hours all day. And for us, we’re working 6 hours, and then we have 3 hours of school, trying to fit that in spotted throughout the day. You have to get 3 hours of school in every day, that’s the requirement. We go in at like 7 AM, work on school for a few hours, then rehearse all day. If we're not in a scene, we can run back and do a 20 minute period of school, run back and do a costume fitting or something like that. We stay late at the studio until 6 to continue doing school, and then we have to do it on the weekends to try and make up the hours. Blake and I have a schoolroom and have a teacher for high school, and Francesa has a teacher that helps her also. We have another teacher for if we have guest stars.
Who is else on Disney is a force to be reckoned with?
GH: I think that we all kind of look up to the three adult actors on the show: Beth Littleford, Regan Burns and Stephen Full, who is the voice of the dog. They're all really seasoned actors, we always look at them for their strength in comedy. Leigh-Allyn Baker from Good Luck Charlie is such an incredible talent, and my friends on the show, Danielle Soibelman, Kayla Maisonet, L.J. Benet, they’re just awesome.
How do you really feel about dogs?
GH: I have 2! I really like dogs. Before I did Dog with a Blog, I was the voice of a dog in a series called the Buddy movies.
What would fans be surprised to learn about you?
GH: I did it on the show once, but I take circus classes so I can juggle on stilts.
Who are your favorite actors?
GH: Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, Miles Teller, Emily Blunt, Emma Stone, too many to name.
What's your favorite movie?
GH: The Impossible, the thriller. Everyone should see it. I love Clueless and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, too.
What about your favorite music?
GH: Iggy Azalea, Eminem, Vampire Weekend and I love Mindy Gledhill who's an amazing singer/songwriter.
You recently died your hair pink. Is this your new 'do?
GH: It's temporary pink hair spray. It washes out. I’m ready for the Coachella that I’m not going to! I actually dyed my entire head pink when I was 11 or 10 when I went to camp, and I loved it. I felt very fierce.
On your site, it says that you’re an active supporter of A Window Between Worlds, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using art to help end domestic violence, how did you get involved with this organization?
GH: I got involved with them 6 years ago now. My tutor for school volunteered for them. I went to an event, and I met all of the people there who are so welcoming and warm and you just want to help out in any way that you can. When I went on my show and I got attention, I wanted to direct this attention towards this organization. Now for 6 years, I've been hosting Art in The Afternoon, coming up on May 2. They use art as a fueling tool to help woman, children and veterans through trauma.
I go to a lot of their art workshops which help people heal. Even if you're not affected by a traumatic experience, they're so therapeutic, and it's really just a safe environment to explore your feelings.
You are an entrepreneur at a very young age with the "Make Me Nails" app. How did this project get started?
GH: It started about a year ago now. I met this woman who owns a social media and digital media marketing company and we were talking about this idea. I had done nail tutorials on YouTube and my fans had responded to it. I wanted to make nails more accessible to young people, and what's more accessible than an app on your phone? Going into retail stores, you kind of see a stereotype -- whether you're a rocker, you need these nails, if you're girlie, you need these, but women are not a stereotype. Why not be able to completely personalize them?
Which celebrity has the best nails?
GH: I love Demi Lovato's and Shay Mitchell's too.
What do your nails look like right now?
GH: I'm in Palm Springs so I have a palm tree on my nails, and they say "as if" and there's a little bikini.
What's your go-to color?
GH: Mint Candy Apple by Essie, a must-have.
What's your next business venture?
GH: We are so crazy, busy with "Make Me" and we started out with the foundation of the app, but we have so many ideas that we want to build on top of that. We want to make, "Make Me" an umbrella brand and maybe have different products.
Do you feel like you have to be more of brand than just an actor to have a long career?
GH: I think that it’s different for everyone. Sometimes it kind of just ends up that way. Actors or singers develop a brand, because they always want do more. We want to be doing more because we’re creative people. I'm really looking forward to trying new projects and reading scripts and trying different things and experimenting. When I stop having fun, I'll stop doing it.
That might be a while for G, because this girl is a lot of fun and one to watch out for in the years to come.
In honor of Dog with a Blog, celebrate this adorable dog in the video below.
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