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From Disney, To Nickelodeon, To The Big Screen: Aria Brooks Is A Jack Of All Trades

Lucky for me, I got to get on the phone with Aria Brooks, 15 year old singer, song writer, actress and activist, who also happens to be brilliant, kind and extremely inspirational.  What a package right? Aria stars as the female lead in Better Nate than Ever, also starring Joshua Basset and Lisa Kudrow. She has roles on television shows such as Nickelodeon’s All That, and Disney Channel’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She’s starred in movies with Dolly Parton, Juliane Hough and Kathleen Turner. Keep reading for the interview with Aria to learn about her incredible career that launched at such a young age.

You started a career at such a young age, can you walk us through that process?

My parents were actually music educators, so I was always around music and learning and creativity growing up. They were both very supportive of what I wanted to do. They started bringing me to auditions for film, theatre and TV productions. Everything just started falling into place after that!

As your career kept rising, how did school play a part in your life and how did the students react to your fame?

I still went to school in the beginning of my career. I had to take off a lot for auditions and filming but I always came back. The students mostly had a good response. But I always leaned towards adults anyway. From growing up around adults in my family to adults on productions, to crew members my age and students around me, I was around  people the ages of 5,15, and 50 all at once. It’s all different but great experiences. You learn a lot from the adults around you.

Being so young in the industry, what challenges have you faced and what role models helped you along the way?

 It’s hard being young in the industry. It’s also hard separating work from being creative in general. I always say talent will keep you in the business, hard work will get you there.  I’ve had so many role models on set. Lisa Kudrow is a dream, I was starstruck by so many.  Everyone was so amazing. 

Being a creative you have to have a clear mind, and in order to have a clear mind you need a healthy mind. What do you do to keep up with your mental health?

Its funny and a little ironic because, my career is my passion and I love it, and also the cause of some of my mental health triggers. So sometimes it helps it, and sometimes it effects it. It’s hard to turn off your creative side when you also use it for work. I’ve figured out that it’s all fun until it comes to business. So if I hear a melody in my head, I’ll write it down or hum it just for fun. Those moments can come and go. But if I need another song for my EP, then it’s go time. Then it’s ‘Ok Aria you need another song, go’. Thats hard when you have a creative mind because it can definitely lead to feeling burnt out. I’ve started to journal a lot. I think something that also helps is to take breaks. Walk away from people, places or things that no longer serve you. I’ve struggled a lot with people pleasing and I think we all need to accept that we can’t do that to ourselves. Make sure to make time for YOU!

How was it being on a TV series related to an iconic Disney Channel Movie?

Being on HSMTMTS was amazing. I met so many amazing people. The set was so alive, there was a cool spirit to it. I actually was a huge fan of the show before getting called in to audition. I’ve never thought about it as manifesting but I guess I must’ve been! There are things I’ve wanted for so long that are now starting to show up in all different forms and its crazy. 

Tell us about your movie Better Nate than Ever!

Better Nate then Ever was a Disney movie I starred in earlier this year. It’s about two friends that escape to New York City. I play Libby, Nate’s friend and help Nate try to live out his dream by getting him on broadway auditions. It was such an amazing time and experience that I learned a lot from. 

What inspired your EP and what is your favorite song you’ve written?

I think life experiences for sure. Melodies always come to me first. I usually start with the last two words and go from there. It creates a base. Castles and Castles part 1 were supposed to be released together but were actually separated. I grew and learned a lot in between, so I wanted to share that growth. Favorite song…thats a tough one because everything is so close to home for me. It’s all inside of me. If I really had to choose I think Id say my favorite song that I’ve written is “Fire and Water”. Lyrically, “Check Mate”…compositionally, “Fairy Tales”.

What is the best advice you’ve gotten in the industry?

The director of BNTE once told me and my cast mates that the people at the top of the call sheet determine the vibe of the set. That was the best advice and so true to every set I’ve been on. It really made me decide what kind of energy I was going to bring to work. Great energy makes for great work environments. 

How are you using your platform to address the scariness of the world around us lately?

A lot of my music talks about these issues. “Am I Next” discusses police brutality. “Dodge Ball” discusses the discrimination happening in the world. Social media education is so important. Not everyone has the resources to learn and educate themselves. Using our platforms to spread information is so important.

What’s next for Aria Brooks?

I’m actually writing, directing and starring in my own short film. I decided I want to do it all, so I’m just going to do it myself.  That’s the way to get it done. It’s also hard to obtain all three roles for someone my age, so why not employ myself for those roles? The short film will be about POC, the lgbtq community, and more controversial issues with messages that need to be spread. I’m really excited for it. I want to do so many things, I’ve got a lot ahead of me!

What does Life is Bella mean to you?

Well, Bella does mean beautiful. But beauty doesn’t have to be a physical feature, beauty is on the inside. In a world that can get so ugly I think it’s important to look at life that way. Finding the beauty on the inside. Don’t allow others to dim your light.

To Listen to Aria Brooks music, click here! 

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