“Even when the future is scary, you have to be positive and go into it headfirst”
In 2015, Brec Bassinger burst onto our TV screens when she landed the starring role of Bella on Nickelodeon’s Bella and the Bulldogs. As the female quarterback on an all-boys’ football team, Bella broke countless boundaries and completely inspired us. But Brec’s real-life journey is even more incredible.
At just eight years old, she was on a weekend girls’ getaway with her mom and grandmother in Texas. However, the typically bubbly Brec simply wasn’t herself. “I was very moody, very thirsty, and I’d lost a lot of weight very fast,” she remembers. Her mom began researching the symptoms and predicted that Brec might have Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Brec entered the hospital, and after a series of tests, doctors diagnosed her with Type 1 Diabetes. “I didn’t really understand what was going on, but I could tell my parents were worried,” says Brec. “I was old enough to realize it was a big deal and something was changing.”
Brec’s life changed in another way during that hospital stay. “My mom brought this article about Nick Jonas having Type 1 Diabetes into my hospital room and said, ‘If he can do it, you can do it,’” she remembers. “It really inspired me. And at that moment, I wanted to be someone’s Nick Jonas. I wanted to be someone’s inspiration, whether it be a diabetic or another person with a disease.”
Brec began pursuing her dream of acting, but there was one problem: She couldn’t find an agent. “I remember sending my headshots to agents all over town and I wouldn’t hear from any of them,” she says. But just like she wouldn’t let diabetes deter her from living her best life, Brec wouldn’t let rejection stop her from following her dreams.
Eventually, Brec found an agent, scored the life-changing role of Bella, and moved 1,400 miles to California with her mom, while her dad and brothers stayed in Texas. “I kind of picked up my whole life for the show and it was my life for two years,” she says. But in 2016, Nickelodeon canceled the series. “There was that fear of, ‘What am I going to do next?’” she remembers. “Will people only remember me as Bella?”
She could have quit acting and moved back to Texas. But that’s just not Brec. “I had to remember that if I believed I could get one show, I could believe that I could find another,” she says. And she’s gotten much more than one show. Brec scored her first feature film, Status Update, alongside Ross Lynch and Olivia Holt. She also filmed a CBS pilot, a guest starring spot on Code Black, and a recurring role on School of Rock.
While Brec’s life has changed since moving to Hollywood, her purpose certainly has not. “Fame is not my goal,” she explains. “It’s being able to be the best person I can be and to inspire other people to be that as well.”
And whether you’re graduating from high school or starting a new summer job, Brec wants you to remember one thing. “Even when parts of your life are coming to an end, and the future is scary, you just have to be positive and go into it headfirst,” she says. “Never give up, follow your dreams, and just go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? If you shoot for the moon, you’ll at least land among the stars. So live very day like that.”
PHOTOS by Joe Magnani
MAKEUP by Anton Khachaturian (Exclusive Artists Management) & Rachel Burney using Baby Lips products from Maybelline New York (Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm in Quench and Baby Lips Color Balm Crayons in Toasted Taupe and Blush Burst)
HAIR by Matilde Campos & Sabrina Porsche
STYLING by Robiat Balogun – assisted by Sinai Robles (In Garden: Top by Arzamendi Style, Dress & Shoes by Asos. Future is Female: Shirt by OtherWild, Skirt by Danielle Leigh Davis, Earrings by Melody Ehsani, and Shoes by Converse)
#YSBnowGirlsOfSummer Cover Stories: