Chazz Nittolo Talks Nickelodeon’s ‘100 Things to Do Before High School,’ Being Homeschooled, And His Passion for the World of Film
He may be only 15, but the super cute and charming Chazz Nittolo is already making his mark in the entertainment industry. In addition to being a NEXT model, he also stars in the hit Nickelodeon family comedy 100 Things to Do Before High School. The show (which officially debuted on June 6 and came from the creative mind of executive producer Scott Fellows) follows three best friends that experience the ups and downs of middle school. Together they face scary faculty as well as cliques and bullies, all while forming new and exciting relationships — and that’s where Nittolo comes in. With his mischievous smile, dirty blond hair and sparkly blue eyes, Nittolo plays the perfect crush for main character CJ Martin (Isabela Moner).
In a recent phone interview with GALO, Nittolo talked about building the chemistry between him and Moner and his relationship with his fellow actors on set. He also dished to us on how he felt when his manager called him up on his birthday to tell him he got the part (talk about the perfect birthday present!), his favorite Nickelodeon shows, and what he enjoys doing during his free time.
Although this Southern California teen heartthrob is primarily focused on acting, he’s also currently working on scriptwriting and says that he could be experimenting with music in the future. Ambitious and driven, there’s no doubt Nittolo’s success will only grow from here. And lucky for him, as he heads into his sophomore year of high school, he has already gotten over the most awkward years of his life, leaving them behind in the halls of middle school.
GALO: Congratulations on landing your first role on television, and in a show like Nick’s 100 Things to Do Before High School! That must have felt amazing. I heard that you got the initial casting call during your birthday dinner. What was running through your mind when you got the callback after your try-out?
Chazz Nittolo: It was really cool! Like, I was really excited to get the opportunity to work on a Nickelodeon show, and it was the first thing in a while, so it was really cool. It was a really good experience.
GALO: And may I ask when your birthday was?
CN: October 26, I was turning 15.
GALO: So you’re almost 16! Are you learning how to drive yet?
CN: Yeah, I’m learning how to drive and getting my permit now!
GALO: Congrats! So, I feel like a lot of kids grow up watching shows on Nickelodeon. I know I did. Before getting the call, did you watch any of the network’s shows?
CN: Yeah, I watch Drake & Josh, Victorious, and just all of the Nickelodeon shows. There was probably always one TV [that was] on in my house when I was growing up with my three other siblings.
GALO: Oh wow, and do you watch the episodes that you’re cast in or do you find it weird to watch yourself on television?
CN: Yeah, I try to watch all of them because I’m friends with all the kids on the show, and it’s just really cool watching everyone on TV.
GALO: Once you arrived on set, what was the most exciting part of filming the show? Was it anything at all what you expected it would be — or was it even better?
CN: It was different. It was a change. But the second I got used to it, I fell in love with it. Every time I go back, I love it. But definitely [that] first day, I was nervous. It was really new to me, but I got used to it. It was really fun.
GALO: And what did you learn from this entire experience that you’ll use going forward in your career?
CN: I know now that every time I go, I’m getting better every day, so you can’t really get upset with stuff that already happened. So I keep going back and getting better every time.
GALO: Let’s talk about your part for a bit. You play the super cute crush of Isabela Moner’s character, CJ Martin. In fact, IMDB refers to you as “the gorgeous eighth grade boy.” That’s not a bad way to be known in this industry!
CN: It’s flattering, but, you know, a name would be pretty cool.
GALO: Can’t argue with that! And what characteristics do you like most about your character?
CN: He is pretty funny — you guys don’t see that just yet. But in future episodes, you see more of what he’s like and who he really is. But he’s your typical cute guy and eighth grade crush, you could say.
GALO: Is that what attracted you to the role in the first place?
GALO: How did you build the chemistry with Moner to make the situation seem as realistic as possible?
CN: We’re all just really good friends. On set and outside of set we all hang out, so it’s just fun.
GALO: Are you crushing on anyone in real life?
CN: No, not right now.
GALO: Going back to the series for a minute, who would you say you grew closest with on the show and what was your funniest moment together?
CN: Owen [Joyner] and Isabela, but I’m friends with Jaheem [Toombs], too. We’re all pretty good friends.
GALO: It’s interesting because you’re of high school age yourself. Given that, would you say that the show mimics certain aspects of your life?
CN: Yeah, of course. With all the teachers and the different types of people in school, it’s definitely relatable.
GALO: And what has your own high school experience been like? Are you a freshman or a sophomore now?
CN: I’m a freshman going into my sophomore year. Freshman year was fun. It was different, definitely different from eighth grade — a big transition, for sure.
GALO: And how are you feeling about going into sophomore year?
CN: I’m excited! I’m going with the flow and I’m excited to learn!
GALO: You’ve revealed in previous interviews that you stopped going to castings at 13 because it was hard to drive from Malibu into the city after school. What changed that you decided to pick up with auditions again, and how does it feel to be back in the acting game?
CN: Yeah, I recently just started getting homeschooled, so now it’s going to be easier for me to go to castings and auditions. But now I’m more involved, for sure.
GALO: That seems like a good call in following your dreams, although it must have been quite an adjustment. What’s that transition been like for you? Do you enjoy it?
CN: Yeah, because I still see all my friends and I’m doing what I love, so I don’t mind it.
GALO: Middle school years are often referred to as the “awkward stage” years. How does this show help kids in middle school overcome their fears and challenges as they head into the high school ones, aka “the best years of their lives?”
CN: The show does that with every episode. It’s really cool, because when you watch every episode, there’s a moral to the story or there’s something that you learn or overcome. It’s something with confidence or friends, so it’s definitely a cool thing to watch if you’re in middle school.
GALO: Apparently, aside from acting, you also love to sing and dance! Do you often sing and dance around the home? And can we expect a song or album from you in the near future?
CN: Maybe in the future, but right now, I’ve been really focused on acting. But you never know, I might sing or dance, it depends.
GALO: Is there anything else that you enjoy doing in your spare time?
CN: I like to edit videos. I’m really into photography and making short videos. I [also] like writing, and I love reading, too.
GALO: I hear you’re also writing a script. That’s a huge accomplishment for someone your age. What compelled you to write it and can you tell us a bit what it’s about? Is writing screenplays something you want to continue to pursue in the future, or do you want to dabble in other areas such as directing or cinematography, perhaps?
CN: It’s still in the beginning stage, but I started writing it just so I could get a better understanding of what I’m doing in this industry. I want to get a fuller picture of everything — directing, writing — and hopefully, I can get a little taste of all of it.
GALO: As we tie things up, I thought we’d circle back to 100 Things to Do Before High School. What can viewers expect to see in the next couple episodes?
CN: Just more fun, more things — there’s more twists and turns and more funny stuff to watch.
GALO: And what can fans expect to happen with your relationship with Isabela’s character?
CN: There’s definitely more that they should watch if they’re interested. It’s hard not to give too much away. I really want these episodes to come out, so that I can start talking about them [laughs].
GALO: What do you want people to know about you that they might not yet know?
CN: I’m doing what I love and I hope to continue doing it.
At this point in the interview, Erica Tucker, Nittolo’s publicist, interjected and revealed to us that he’s quite the family guy.
Erica Tucker: And also he’s really, really a family guy. He likes to spend time with his family — that’s something a lot of people wouldn’t know about him, but he’s very much a family guy.
GALO: Oh yeah, you did say that you have three other siblings?
CN: Yeah, two other brothers and a sister.
GALO: Wow, and where do you fit in?
CN: I’m the second oldest, so I’m the middle child. I have an older brother, Zach, [who’s] 17. I have Jade, my little sister [who is] 12, and then my little brother, Joey, is 4.We’re all pretty close, though. We’re all good friends and have a good time.
GALO: Speaking of family, how supportive have your parents been?
CN: My whole family is such a huge support and we all support each other in everything we do, which is really cool and I’m really grateful for that.
GALO: What about your friends — how did they react when news spread that you got the part? Do they watch you on the show?
CN: A lot of them think it’s pretty funny, and there are always the ones that pick on you, but they all like it.
GALO: You also model on the side. Do you prefer acting over modeling?
CN: I definitely prefer acting. Modeling’s just a side thing.
GALO: Despite it being a side thing, you’re very good at it. And very talented with your acting as well!
CN: Thank you.
GALO: It was a pleasure speaking with you. We can’t wait to see what the writers of 100 Things to Do Before High School have in store for your character!
Can’t get enough of “100 Things to Do Before High School” as you wait for episode 10 to air? Rewatch full episodes or play a few games on Nick.com. And be sure to follow Chazz Nittolo on Twitter @ChazzNittolo for all the latest information on his endeavors! “100 Things to Do Before High School” airs weekly on Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. on Nick.