“There is no one else like you on this planet. Be you. You are beautiful.”
Anything is possible when you follow your dreams and pursue your passions. Just ask Henry Danger’s Riele Downs. While the Toronto native won’t rattle off her amazing accomplishments, a simple conversation with the down-to-earth and incredibly sweet superstar will leave you with a lifetime of inspiration.
As a little girl growing up in Toronto, Canada, Riele admits that she was very shy. But not when she and her big sister, Reiya, would write their own plays and perform them for family members. “We had this one called Friend & Friend,” she smiles. “The names weren’t that elaborate, but we’d come up with these skits and perform them for my cousins.” Their mom, Elle, a professional actress herself, picked up on their love of performing and enrolled the girls in acting classes. Riele and Reiya quickly began booking jobs and would often appear in roles alongside each other. “I think that was really helpful because I was more comfortable,” says Riele.
And while she’s always loved the art of performing, Riele’s also always loved art itself. “There are drawings all over the walls at my home in Toronto,” she says. Her favorite thing to draw? Fashion sketches. “I was into fashion before I can even remember,” she says. “I have this folder of drawings that’s literally from kindergarten. Eventually, I got this book from my teacher that had the outlines of the girls already in it so I could just draw on it.”
And if you watched Riele win an orange blimp at the 2017 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, you saw one of those drawings come to life. Instead of hiring a fashion stylist to dress her, Riele literally dressed herself. She sought out advice from Henry Danger’s wardrobe department before heading to the Los Angeles Fashion District to buy fabric for her dress. “It was a difficult process, but I had fun,” she says. So much fun that she did it again a few weeks later for the Radio Disney Music Awards. “When I put it on, it was this spark of excitement, just knowing I created this and I was the one to design this.”
She loves designing clothes, and she may have close to one million followers on Instagram, but Riele says that neither your clothing labels nor social media following should define you. “I’m the same person without the followers as I am with the followers,” she declares. “What defines you is your personality, what’s in your heart, and how you treat others.”
Instead of letting her social media following define her, Riele chooses to focus on following her dreams. “If you don’t pursue your dreams, there will always be a part of you that’s like, ‘I wish I would have done that’ or ‘I should have done that.’ It will always be unfulfilled if you don’t at least try.”
But Riele’s not just following her dreams; she’s fulfilling them. “A couple of years back, I wouldn’t have thought that I would be on a Nickelodeon show,” she says. “And now I’m here and I’m making my designs, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time. I just feel so fulfilled. There’s this joy that you get when you’re succeeding in what you’re doing.”
And Riele also finds joy in being unique. “There is no one else like you on this planet,” she says. “When people get to meet you, they would never have that unique experience of meeting you if you weren’t being who you are. So do you and just be you – because you are beautiful.”
PHOTOS by Joe Magnani
MAKEUP by Rachel Burney & Anton Khachaturian (Exclusive Artists Management) using Baby Lips products from Maybelline New York (Baby Lips Color Balm Crayons in Refreshing Red and Playful Purple)
HAIR by Matilde Campos & Sabrina Porsche
STYLING by Robiat Balogun – assisted by Sinai Robles (In Garden: Dress by Missguided, Shoes by Jasmine Elizabeth, & Rings by Archives. Future is Female: Shirt by OtherWild, Pants by Hottie + Lord, Shoes by Steve Madden from LuLus)
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Wanna rock Riele Downs’ Baby Lips Looks? Watch the vid below & find out how!