• Pretty in pink

    Written by Jon Barrett
    Tony Kids, July 1st, 2006

    New Yorker Julianna Rose Mauriello, 14, star of Nickelodeon's LazyTown, talks with TONY Kids about her hit show, working in Iceland and her recent Emmy nomination.



    So, how would you describe LazyTown to someone who hasn’t seen the show?
    I play Stephanie, a little girl who’s really energetic and a go-getter. The show also stars Sportacus, who’s a superhero and keeps LazyTown safe, and Robbie Rotten, who’s a villain and wants everyone to be lazy and will do anything to get his way. It has a really good message, which is for kids to live a healthy lifestyle.

    How did you find out that you were nominated for an Emmy?
    Actually, the day that it happened my mom was out, so I got home and got a call from Kay, the executive producer of the show. She, thinking that I already knew, said “Congratulations!” and I was like, “For what?” Then she told me and I got so excited, and my mom came home and she was thrilled.

    Okay, we have to ask: What did you wear?
    I actually wore a dress which I helped design with the wardrobe designers at LazyTown, Maria Olafsdottir and Maria Valles. I felt very elegant in it. It was pink, in honor of my character’s favorite color.

    Were you nervous?

    Yes. When I walked the red carpet, which wasn’t actually red, I was just a little nervous. But as we got closer to my category, I started to get butterflies in my stomach.

    How did you feel about losing to puppeteer Kevin Clash, who voices Elmo on Sesame Street?
    Kevin Clash is amazing and I really admire his work. After the show I went over and congratulated him, and he could not have been nicer or more gracious. I was so honored to be in the same category with him!

    Okay, getting back to LazyTown, is it difficult to act with all the puppets and special effects you have in the show?
    It did take some getting used to, but now it’s normal for me to talk with puppets. Now, I watch other shows with puppets and say, “Oh, I know how to do that.” I know all their special tricks!

    We hear the show is taped in Iceland. How much time do you spend over there?
    I’m there for about five months a year.

    Do you go to school there too, or do you go on set?

    I get tutored on set.

    Do you attend regular school when you come back to New York?
    I do, although I wouldn’t call it regular. I’m in ninth grade at the Professional Performing Arts School. So that’s how I can leave school and still keep up with it.

    How would you compare Iceland to New York?
    Well, I love New York. But it’s really interesting in Iceland because the country doesn’t have huge buildings or anything. The countryside is really amazing; there are glaciers and volcanoes and glacial lagoons and all this beautiful stuff that you couldn’t really see anywhere else in the world.

    Do people ever recognize you from the show?
    In Iceland, they do. But in New York—not so much. In Iceland, people come up to me and they’re just like, “Hi, I know who you are.” And they talk to me in Icelandic, which I can speak a little bit.

    Do all your friends watch your show?
    Some of them, yeah. They actually like it. I think they like it because I’m in it and they can watch me when I’m not in school and when I’m not at home. They like the music, which is funny to me.

    Now, a more personal question: Which character would you rather date on the show, Sportacus or Robbie Rotten?
    Probably Sportacus, because, I mean, he’s so much nicer.

    Photograph courtesy of Nickelodeon
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