A new kind of princess hit the airwaves earlier this year when Nella, the Princess Knight, premiered on Nick Jr. Nella looks like a princess (tiara, gown, cute pet), but she’s also a knight! Kind of like a Game of Thrones heroine for the pre-school crowd.
Voicing the role of Nella is Dutchess County’s own Akira Golz. The 12-year-old started modeling when she was 5, and recently finished a run on Broadway as Alice in Matilda, The Musical.
What did you think when you heard about the role of Nella?
I thought it was really cool that someone thought of not just a princess, but a princess knight. She’s also biracial like me so I related to it, and she’s a girly-girl like me. I like to dress up and do ballet, but I’m also very athletic just like Nella.
You’ve done voice-over work before (Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Peter Rabbit). What were those experiences like?
It was just as fun as what I’m doing now. I sang the promos for the shows with two other kids, and I really enjoyed it.
Are any of your family members also involved in theater or the arts?
My dad’s side of the family is very musical. One of my aunts is a cello teacher, and my other aunt is a piano teacher…and my dad told me that my grandma was a singer, so I think maybe I got it from her…I do like to sing, and I do enjoy music.
Where do you need to travel for work?
I really only go to New York City. I once went to Tennessee for a Dollywood (Dollywood’s Splash Country Water park) commercial. That was cool because there were a whole bunch of other kids, and the entire park was shut down. We had to ride one of the roller coasters three times so we could get the perfect shot. They treated us very kindly.
What are the best and most challenging parts of the experience?
Seeing how all of the cartoons work, and the behind-the-scenes [stuff]. Sometimes they’ll show the animatic (the very first part of the whole cartoon-drawing experience) and I’ll have to do ‘pick-ups,’ which are lines that aren’t said correctly. This is also the toughest part, because you can do them over and over again, and there’s still something that doesn’t sound good with them. So they’ll send them back and you’re like, ‘Didn’t I do this last week?’ Then a couple weeks later you’ll see the whole thing — color and music — all put together. It’s definitely a lot of work, but I enjoy it so much that I don’t think of it as hard. It’s just beautiful, and amazing, and it boggles my mind.
What’s coming up for you?
I did record something for a video game, but that hasn’t come out yet. I hope to do some sort of sitcom on TV, but until then, I love doing what I’m doing.