Ever had to adapt to a new environment? Nicole Alyse Nelson portrays Dayton on Nickelodeon’s I am Frankie. Dayton is Frankie’s best friend who teaches her how to maneuver through life as a nonhuman. Nelson shares more about her role and internal passion for science fiction.
ATM: How does your character deal with a friend who has to fit into a different environment?
NAN: She has to definitely have patience. She is still learning new things every day throughout season two. Frankie learns what not to say out loud and how to blend in with others. My character is teaching Frankie about the world and about other people at school. Dayton is learning also from Frankie about how to be a really good friend, have patience, and loyalty.
ATM: Explain how a friend in your position in the real world deals with having a friend who does not come from the same background or culture.
NAN: You have to always be there for someone whether it is to listen or share an experience. I had maybe one scene out of 20 episodes that was not with Frankie in season one. We are always together. You have to accept them for who they are. You have to love the weird things about them. It is great to be supportive and help with things.
ATM: Have you ever been in Frankie’s position? Have you had moments in your life where adapting was key?
NAN: I was not the cool kid throughout my middle or high school years. I never had a lot of friends. Dayton did not have a best friend before Frankie came into her life. She was lacking that female companionship or any companionship. Dayton feels like a loner, but Frankie is also a loner. I have always felt like a loner in my life. I went to two different high schools. The experience was so uncomfortable. People were not friendly, and I was trying to fit in. I felt like this so many times growing up. I feel good being in this position again, but this time I am doing it with justice. You can gravitate toward real people who will show love and support. Kids need to hear more about this.
ATM: Why do you believe this show is important enough to be on aired on television?
NAN: The rise of social media. People are more insecure than before. This is plastered all throughout Instagram. It is important for children to understand they do not need to look or act a certain way to fit in. This show helps to capture this in a very fun sci-fi way. It is an elaborate and fun way of tackling this common topic.
ATM: Were you attracted to the science fiction as a genre prior to this show?
NAN: Yes, I really love sci-fi. My favorite books and things to watch were always in this genre. I love seeing Frankie project something from her eye and see it go onto a wall. Things will happen that are not physically there. There were green screens and stunts this season.
ATM: What books and films in this genre gravitate your interest?
NAN: I loved reading Harry Potter and The Lightning Thief while growing up. These books were great. I really like space movies. I recently watched Lost in Space on Netflix. I like anything that is visually beautiful similar to the movie Avatar. I can imagine creating and making a world out of nothing.
ATM: Would you agree that sci-fic helps broaden an individual’s imagination to think more outside the box?
NAN: Completely. I think that watching and immersing yourself in a different world is really fun.
ATM: How does sci-fic allow you to think outside the box?
NAN: It opens your mind up to things never thought of before. Kids just sit in front of the computer because of today’s technology. Creative things take your mind to different places. You think about space travel. Where can we as a society end up in 100 years? What are the types of advantages to knowing how many places we will see?