Alexis Nelis Shares The Scoop On “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”

This week on The Sarah Scoop Show, we had the pleasure of talking to Alexis Nelis, best known for her current role as Natalie Bagley on HSMTMTS. Alexis has starred in a multitude of musical theaters productions over the years and she believes her background in the arts prepared her well for this role. The talented and oh so sweet actress told us about what this experience has meant to her, the cast’s behind the scenes shenanigans, what the off-screen friends do on their off days, and what she hopes audiences get from watching the show. She also shared about causes that are close to her heart and gave us a little scoop on what to expect from season 2!

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Alexis loves that she gets to use her background in musical theater for her role and considers herself “the most blessed person ever”:

“Yes, I am the most blessed person ever to get to be on not only a tv show, but that gets to incorporate my main love of theater, which is what dragged me into this industry in the first place.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis always knew she wanted to be a performer:

“I started when I was really, really little. I’ve always loved singing. I used to make my parents, anytime we went anywhere, or entered any type of building, announce me…do like a full role call before I entered a room, so I always really loved that exciting factor of getting to be big and take up space because we don’t always get to do that in life. I think that was the main attraction for it. “

– Alexis Nelis

Her nerves about the show quickly turned into excitement after reading the first episode. She especially loves the show’s inclusivity and representation:

“At first, I didn’t really know anything about it. You know, honestly, my first reaction was ‘oh my gosh’, what are people gonna think? Because I was the high school musical generation and immediately I just went, [gasp] are they going to try to redo everything? How is this gonna work? And then I read the first episode and just kinda fell in love with it just right off the bat because of all the main inclusion aspect of it.”

– Alexis Nelis

The star explains what the representation in the show means to her:

“They have, you know, gay couples and they have all representations and just a ton of diversity. For an Asian American like me, who has two moms, I didn’t ever see that growing up and I didn’t know that could be something that could be normalized. So, it was one of the most amazing things ever to read that pilot, so immediately I was like, ‘Oh my gosh I wanna be in this show. I wanna work with Tim Federle!'”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis has always loved the undeniable magic of High School Musical and the fond memories she has made surrounding the franchise:

“I remember being in the movie theater for the first time…and they were doing High School Musical 3 and it got to be in like a real live movie theater. Cause we had been watching it on our tv’s at that time…It’s a magical thing. High School Musical brought us all together, you know?”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis tells us a little bit about her character on the show, Natalie:

“Natalie is the stage manager and she is really sweet intentioned always, but she is very much like me. We’re Type A, gotta get her stuff done and then we can play around, and then we can have time to enjoy. But like most theater people know too, you know, we gotta do it correctly and do it correctly for us.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis gives us the scoop on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans and what the cast does when they’re not filming:

“On the very first episode, we have our weekends on Mondays and Tuesdays. Right after that was done and we had our very first weekend we all went sledding in Utah and that was one of the most fun times ever…we’re goofy…People, I think forget that we’re not our characters, but we have so much fun. We do game nights…we do hot tub nights at the hotel that I stay at. We just do a bunch of stuff to keep each other involved and active.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis explains the similarities between her character and herself and gives Tim Federle praise for his casting:

“Oh yes, Tim did an amazing job. I think that he helped bring out our characters and kind of introduce us to them, as well as vice versa. And now we all know what parts of ourselves align correctly with our characters and that helps us bring that more on to screen cause it’s no longer us playing a role, it’s kind of a combination of it.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis reveals the biggest lesson she learned while filming the show:

“It’s taught me how to take up space and while I’m still learning, if that’s something that I’ve been struggling with since I was in middle school and I’m an adult now, I know there are so many little kids and teenagers and even young adults that are struggling as well. I think that the main message is ‘let’s take up space. Let’s stop teaching each other to be smaller and let’s run and fly and help each other get to those big points.”

– Alexis Nelis

She explains that the cast is a “little family” who make sure to support each other when on location in Salt Lake City, Utah:

“I’m so so grateful they have been brought into my life because they are like little rocks. We’re in Utah, we don’t have a ton of connections out there, we really only have each other. We do a really good job at making sure that everyone is okay.”

– Alexis Nelis

The star gushes about the accuracy of Tim Federle’s tweet about the magic of hiring real theater kids:

I think that it’s the most accurate thing I’ve ever heard because I think that kids that grew up in the arts have a type of empathy and ability to connect because, you know, we weren’t always the coolest. But we know how to include people, we know how to make those relationships stay professional and that really was what that entire experience was. Everyone was on their game when we needed to be and we were able to have a ton of fun off-screen as well.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis hopes that fans who watch the show learn to be true to who they are and help each other to live authentically:

“I hope that audiences get the message to be okay with themselves…to find their authentic true selves and to run with it, and fly, and keeping going…figuring out all of the different aspects of themselves that make them unique because that’s what this show has done for me.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis shares about the shows incredible approach to representation and why she loves Nini’s girl boss character:

“Me coming from a place that I just never felt like I was represented on tv and it took a really long time to get there, this was the first show that was like ‘oh my goodness’. We have a character who is diverse. She is absolutely a wonderful woman warrior. Nini is so incredibly powerful. She has two moms and she is teaching women that it’s okay also to not know. I think that there’s a lot of pressure on women specifically on ‘okay, we just need to know where our place is and what those answers to any questions that might arise’. She just teaches young women that it’s okay to figure it out as we go.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis tells us about some of her work as an activist and a cause that is close to her heart:

“I started getting involved with the Autism Speaks foundation through my sorority when I went to Elon University and that has become one of the closest foundations to my heart…because of the hands on experiences we did get to have during our sorority time. We would get to participate in the walks, participate in fundraising and I think that the philanthropic aspect of it just really caught my eye. Autism Speaks is a really, really important foundation to me because they do a lot of important work specifically with people that are on the Autism spectrum and for families that are figuring out…what do we do in certain situations, having support groups, fundraising. All the different things that they can do to support anybody and everyone that they can and I think that’s just one of the most incredible organizations.”

– Alexis Nelis

The actress talked about which episodes were her favorite to film and why:

“I think that [Natalie] really got to shine during the “Save Miss Jenn” episode, which was episode six. But I think that the most fun that I had for all the episodes was nine and ten. There was kind of a nostalgia when we’re getting to actually put on the production. We just got wrapped up into the actual ‘this is High School Musical’ feeling and also thinking about our filming having to come to an end for a couple of months was so sad, but everything just kept us so in the moment and so appreciative of where we were and who we were with at the time.”

– Alexis Nelis

When Alexis is given the choice of Team Ricky or Team EJ…This girl power star chooses team Nini doesn’t need a man!

When asked to choose, which boy she thought was the best fit for Nini, Alexis quickly and confidently answered: “I’m team Nini doesn’t need a man!”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis is just like all of us when she gushes about Joshua Bassett, but she also loves EJ’s story arc:

Following her amazing girl power statement about Nini not needing a man, Alexis gave us a bit more about which ship she likes best. “But, of course, you know, I gotta be Team Ricky. Come on. Look at Josh, come on. He’s a sweetie…But I will say, EJ, his character is so redeemable in the end.”

– Alexis Nelis

She stays busy! Alexis splits her time between filming in Utah and living/auditioning in New York:

“I would say that my time is split kinda 50/50 when we’re in our filming, just because New York I get to do all my auditions and stuff, but I do fly back a ton because…we gotta get those episodes done!”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis gives us an inside scoop on what to expect from Season 2 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series:

“Season 2…Okay, so there’s not much I can say, but I can say it is bigger and better. Everything is just insane better…and bigger. We got the first two episodes shot and then, unfortunately, we were closed due to COVID 19, but we’re looking forward to getting back out there because we have some amazing stuff coming for the audiences.”

When asked if audiences will get to see more of Natalie in season 2, she didn’t spill any secrets: “We’ll have to find out! But I’m so excited for the audience to see how much work and time and love has gone into this new season.”

– Alexis Nelis

Alexis Nelis is an extraordinary actress and such a lovely guest to have on the Sarah Scoop Show! She gave us the inside scoop on all things High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and we loved every second! If you’re looking for something new to binge, log on to Disney+ and check out this show. Don’t worry, if you become obsessed, Season 2 is coming soon and we get to see what is next for our favorite students at East High! Alexis, you are incredibly talented and we can’t wait to cheer you on through your successful career!

Want more? Check out more interviews from The Sarah Scoop Show!

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