On Friday, March 24, Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance, is set to launch on Prime Video. We get a chance to Nina Lu who stars as Ivy in the movie and that we also know from Bunk’d where she plays Tiffany. We get some great insight into An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance as well as her friendship with Hannah who plays Julie Albright.
Set in 1976 San Francisco, Ivy Ling (Nina Lu, BUNK’D) is a 10-year-old Chinese-American girl who struggles with finding a balance between her two cultural identities: Chinese and American. With her family’s Chinese traditions and obligations, she wishes to be like her all-American best friend, Julie Albright (Hannah Nordberg, General Hospital). When her gymnastics tournament and family’s big Chinese New Year dinner land on the same day, Ivy relies on Julie to guide her with a difficult choice.
[BSCKids]: Tell us about your character in the An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance Amazon Prime special?
[Nina Lu]: The character I play in “An American Girl Story-Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance” is a 10 year old Chinese-American Girl named Ivy Ling. Ivy is best friends with Julie Albright, which is played by Hannah Nordberg! My character struggles to fit in as a Chinese-American in 1976, and wants to be as American as possible. But her family, (especially her mom) is very strict about keeping their traditions. Once she finds out her gymnastics tournament is on the same day as Chinese New Year, Ivy will have to make one of the biggest choices of her life.
[BSCKids]: How do you think you are a bit similar and a bit different from your character? Have you faced any of the same struggles with your families and other obligations?
[Nina]: I think that Ivy and I are alike in some ways, and different in others. For example, we’re both Chinese-American. We both have things that we are passionate about, and parents that we don’t want to let down. We both have friends that we care about, and we love to hang out with. But Ivy DOES live in 1976, and I live in 2017. I don’t really face these problems with my family, since most of them are in China. My parents are understanding, and support me in what I choose to do. There have been things I’ve debated for a while, like Ivy. For example, when I had to be homeschooled to fit my shooting schedule on Bunk’d. I didn’t want to leave my friends, but I also didn’t want to make things too complicated on my schedule, trying to balance school, and the show.
[BSCKids]: How did your audition process go?
[Nina]: When I first heard about this role, I was immediately very excited! I loved the script and Ivy’s character. I met Deborah and Jonathan, the casting directors, and they were very kind! They gave me notes, told me about the character, and we ran over the script! After a period of time, I got a callback for the role, and was super happy. I was nervous that I might not get it, but also very hopeful. And finally, at the last callback, which was a chemistry read between Hannah and I, I finally got to meet Hannah! (Julie.) She was casted before me, and I loved her personality. We became great friends!
[BSCKids]: How was it working with Hannah? How did you both get along and any funny behind the scenes stories you can share?
[Nina]: I LOVED working with Hannah and the rest of my cast! We had a blast filming this movie together! We starting schooling together a few weeks before we started to film, so it was just us minors: Lance, Kyra, Hannah, and me. Lance plays my brother, Kyra my younger sister, and Hannah plays Julie. I remember when it was Lance’s Birthday, and we made a very girly card for him! It was full of bright colors, sequins, and sparkles.
[BSCKids]: Did you get to do your own gymnastics work or did you have a stunt double?
[Nina]: I did do some gymnastics for a year when I was 5 or 6. But I don’t remember anything that I learned, so I’m not amazing at gymnastics! I didn’t do my own stunts, I had a stunt double, Jade, to do it for me! But in between takes, Jade taught me how to mount the balance beam, and I was running through my routine on it. Sasie, our director, saw me doing some moves, and filmed a bit of it for the movie!
[BSCKids]: Were you an American Girl Doll fan growing up? Did you play with them? Any favorite dolls you had growing up?
[Nina]: I never really did have any American Girl dolls while growing up, but I secretly always wanted one. But when I booked the job, my manager bought me a doll, and when I finished the movie, Amazon gave me one of the very rare Ivy dolls that are still out there!
[BSCKids]: Do you think the movie tackles problems that kids face and will help them?
[Nina]: While growing up, I know through experience that kids face choices, and obstacles they have to face. Whether it’s fitting in, friendship problems, or getting used to the process of things changing while they grow up. I think kids would love this movie because it shows how Ivy faces an important choice, and how she developed as a character and learns how to fix her problem. And overall, I think this movie would be super fun to watch!
[BSCKids]: Nina – tell us a bit about your time on Bunk’d? How is it working with Peyton List?
[Nina]: Working on Bunk’d is great! I love working with Peyton, and everyone in our cast and on set! Working with my Bunk’d family never really feels like a job. I’ve known them for such a long time now, and we’re always there for each other. It’s so much fun to experience growing up with them, and working with them!
[BSCKids]: Where can we find you on social media?
[BSCKids]: Anything you have coming up in the future you can talk about?
[Nina]: I’m not working on any projects currently, but I just finished with the movie!
[BSCKids]: Why should everyone watch An American Girl Story – Ivy & Julie 1976: A Happy Balance Amazon Prime movie?
[Nina]: I think this movie would be a great influence on kids, showing them how to face their problems, how you can be different but fit in. And the script is a lot of fun, and it’s cool how it’s centered around a Chinese girl, and I can personally relate to many of the things in the movie, and I think others will too!