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“Stay positive no matter what. At the end of everything, there’s gonna be a ray of sunshine.”

If you follow Daniella Perkins on social media, or watch her on Knight Squad, it’s obvious that the 17-year-old has always loved performing. But did you know that Daniella used to be super shy? “I got out of my shell at an older age, around 13,” she explains. “I started being goofy!”

And revealing her true, goofy self was the best choice that Daniella could have ever made. Whenever she had downtime while pursuing her dream of becoming a professional actress, Daniella would showcase her goofy personality (usually alongside her sister) on social media. “I posted my first Musically on the same day as my first Nickelodeon job,” she smiles.

That Nickelodeon job wasn’t Knight Squad, but The Legendary Dudas, which aired in the summer of 2016. The series only lasted six episodes, but Daniella didn’t give up on her dream and quickly scored another Nick show: Knight School. But the network decided not to move forward with the project. “It was so devastating,” she remembers.

Experiencing a professional setback can be devastating, but personal ones can hurt even more. “I went through an online bully issue,” says Daniella. “When people are saying things about you that aren’t true, it sucks so much. For some people, it’s very easy for them just to comment something instead of actually thinking about how it does affect a person. My advice would be to stay positive no matter what. At the end of everything, there’s gonna be a ray of sunshine.”

And lately, Daniella’s been feeling lots of sunshine. Nickelodeon eventually brought back Knight School, renamed it Knight Squad, and invited Daniella to return to her role on the series, playing Ciara, a student at the school who’s hiding her true identity: The Princess of Astoria. “I was so happy,” she remembers.

Happy to be starring on a Nickelodeon show, of course, but the deeper reason behind her joy reveals who Daniella really is at her core. “I was so happy because I got to be one of the very first mixed princesses out there,” she says. “When I was growing up, I didn’t see a lot of girls on TV that looked like me. And so for me to actually be able to film this and put it out there for all these young girls that are like me, I feel so blessed to be that example.”

“I go through hate for how I look, for the color of my skin,” she says. “I go through that stuff and it sucks, but that didn’t stop me and it’s not gonna stop anyone else. If you’re determined and don’t give up, you’re gonna succeed. Because I never stopped. There were so many bumps in the road, but I zoned it out and said this is what I want to do with my life, and I’m gonna do it.” And she did. And so can you.

Photos by Joe Magnani

Styling by Robiat Balogun (assisted by Sinai Robles)

Makeup by Marlaine Reiner

Hair by Sabrina Porsche

On Daniella – Dress: Umberto Foddis.  Earrings: Colette Malouf. Bracelets: Macys. Shoes: Alejandra G

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