Tribute had the opportunity to speak with G Hannelius, the star of the Disney Channel series Dog with a Blog. G (short for Genevieve), began her career in theater in Maine at age seven, and when her mother took her to Los Angeles at age 10 she was quickly cast in a number of projects, including several for the Disney Channel. Small for her age (she’s currently 4’11”), she often plays younger roles, including that of spoiled Dakota Condor on the Disney series Sonny with a Chance. Before she dyed her hair blonde for her current role, G looked very much like a young Natalie Wood. Now at 14, she’s grown up into a beautiful teenager who plays the intelligent and driven Avery Jennings on Dog with a Blog.
I really love your show, it’s so funny.
Hi! Oh thank you so much, it’s nice to talk to you.
How do they animate the dog?
I’m pretty sure they use CGI. I’m not exactly sure, but in the editing process they animate him.
So you say your lines to him and later on, they add the moving lips and so on.
Yes, exactly. And then Stephen Full, who plays the voice of the dog, is offstage reading the lines.
How did you get that nickname?
When I was born, my mom received congratulation letters and they would write “Baby G” and ever since then, I’ve gone by G.
You were really a standout on Sonny with a Chance — when I saw you, I thought you had to be related to Natalie Wood – do you get that comparison a lot?
First of all, thank you and second of all, yes, I get told that all the time (laughs).
Can you see the resemblance yourself?
I do. At first I didn’t know exactly who she was and after I’d gotten so many comments regarding being compared to her, I looked it up and I see the resemblance!
How old were you when you got started in theater?
I think I was seven or eight, and I started doing theater where I’m from, in Maine.
Was it professional or community theater?
A little bit of both. Basically community. I did some plays at my school and then from there I did some community theater at the Children’s Theater of Maine and I actually played Madeline in a play (Madeline’s Rescue, based on the Madeline books), which was a lot of fun for me.
Whose idea was it to get involved in theater?
I’m sure it was a little bit of my mom but mostly me. I’ve kind of always been outgoing and I wanted to try it out.
From there, how did you end up in Los Angeles?
Well, I had done Madeline and a few plays and we were like, “Why don’t we go to Los Angeles for a few months and see what happens? And I went out there and three months turned into five years.
How do you like it there?
I love it, the weather is amazing. I like the weather, it actually overrules everything because Maine is really cold in the winter. It’s nice in the summer.
When you first started and you got a small part on Hannah Montana, had you seen the show? Were you a fan?
Yes, I had, I had been a huge fan of Hannah Montana and I was just excited to get on the show. I didn’t care what my role was, I just wanted to meet Miley Cyrus and be on the show. So that was kind of a dream come true.
And now you’ve got your own Disney Channel show, so that must be amazing.
Yes, it is. I’m very fortunate.
What’s been your favorite role so far?
I’ve done a bunch of roles on Disney, like Sonny with a Chance and Good Luck Charlie, but I think my favorite is Avery, who I play on Dog with a Blog. She’s such a hardworking, ambitious character and that’s a really fun character to play.
What kind of role would you like to play in the future?
Gosh. I think more roles like Avery. I love that hardworking attitude. But I mean, I really admire people like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
What do you like best about filming the show?
I think my favorite part is… it’s really hard. I think it’s coming to work every day and being with the amazing cast and crew is my favorite part but I also love working with the dog. I mean, having the energy of a playful dog on set is a lot of fun.
Do you have any pets at home?
Yes! I actually have two dogs.
What kind of dogs are they?
I have a miniature Pinscher/Chihuahua mix and I have a Shiba Inu, which is a Japanese dog that looks like a fox. It’s very cute.
I heard you love horseback riding.
Yes, I used to ride more than I do. I basically stopped when we started filming the first season because I just couldn’t find time to fit it in with school and everything but I did love doing it. Now actually, my best friend rides horses and I love to watch her.
What kind of riding did you do, English or Western?
I did English. I tried both, but I like English best.
Another one of your hobbies is doing nail polish tutorials on YouTube, how did you get started with that?
I think it started about a year ago. I had watched tutorials on YouTube and from there, I was like, “I can do that!” And so I started putting up my own and I love art, so putting those two together, and I love editing, so I love doing it. It’s a fun hobby to have.
You do the editing as well?
Yes, I do!
Wow, that’s really cool! I love those tutorials, they’re very inspiring.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
No, I actually don’t. I kind of consider Francesca, who plays Chloe on the show, my little sister now, because we’ve become so close.
That’s cute! What’s next for you?
Right now we are filming season two of Dog with a Blog, we’re crazy busy doing that. We have a lot of fun new episodes coming up. Avery’s a few years older in this new season, so I think a lot of girls will be able to relate to the problems that she faces. She has boy problems and school problems and friends, so that’s going to be great and also I’m going to be recording a new single. I love writing and singing music. Actually I have five songs on iTunes right now and I’m recording another, so more music.
That’s awesome! Will Avery be singing on the show?
(Laughs) I hope so! She hasn’t yet, but that would be a blast.
Thank you so much for talking to us today and we look forward to seeing more episodes of Dog with a Blog.
That’s great, thank you so much! It was nice talking to you. Bye-bye!
Dog with a Blog airs in Canada on Family Channel. Click here to download G Hannelius’ music on iTunes.