The Kingston area has been home to more than its fair share of talent – from long time residents Dan Aykroyd, Don Cherry, and the Tragically Hip, to those who have lived here for only a year or two, like Bryan Adams, Lorne Greene, and John Oliver – and now there’s another new star who calls Kingston home.
Alex Hook, who turns 17 this month, is an actress with 40 television episodes and several commercials under her belt.
The teen stars as the title character “Frankie” in Nickelodeon’s hit children’s show, I Am Frankie, which tells the story of an android attempting to fit into an average American high school.
Ahead of the second season’s Canadian premiere on YTV this evening, Alex chatted with the Kingston Herald about the show and her links to our city.
Alex first described the show’s quirky concept, for those who haven’t seen the first season: “The show surrounds the life of a teenage android – an experimental android who is put out into this world for the first time in her life. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds because Frankie is being hunted down by an evil government agency called EGG (Electronic Giga Genetics) who want her to, pretty much, rule the world.
“Frankie [the android] is, of course, very new and very literal. She’s never experienced the world before and she’s put into school where she meets a whole series of new friends – and enemies.”
One of those enemies that Frankie faces right away is the villainous head of EGG, “Mr. Kingston”.
Asked about her nemesis having the same name as her hometown, Alex said: “I remember reading the script for the first time, thinking did they do this on purpose, but they didn’t. It was a total coincidence!”
Since the release of the first season of I Am Frankie, some Kingston youngsters have started to recognize their favourite character around town – something she says has led to a whole range of encounters.
“Our target audience is between 8-12 – in and around that age – they’re very young kids, so they’re quite shy,” she explained. “When they see me they don’t immediately come up to me – I get a confused glare more often than ‘Hey, are you Alex?’
“They all react differently – I’ve had some poor kids who cry, those who are very excited, some were shocked and some were confused. I’ve had every emotion.”
Check out the season 1 trailer for “I Am Frankie”:
Alex, now a student in Grade 12, moved to Kingston from Toronto when she was just 7 years old.
“Obviously when you move from a big city to a smaller town, there’s a lot to get used to, but honestly I loved it,” said Alex. “I do love small towns because there’s a lot more of a community feel and you get to know everyone a lot sooner.
“I love my high school, I love my friend group and the sports are always tons of fun as well. I actually got very used to it; I adapted.”
Balancing acting and education can be tough, but Alex is tackling the challenges as they come – filming three months per year and living her life in Kingston the other nine.
“I Am Frankie shoots three months of the year, so there’s a chunk of time where I would go and shoot full time in Miami,” Alex explained. “That was nice – getting out of the cold winter.
“We shoot on average once a year, so the other nine months I live my life as per usual, go to school, hang out with friends and be a normal kid.
“I definitely value education so I am looking at universities, not necessarily staying in Kingston, although that will be an option.
“I want to get a degree which I can later integrate into an acting career, so I think it would be more beneficial for me to get a degree which I can later use while pursuing the acting. I think it’ll be helpful in the future to have that knowledge – so I am to go to school, for sure. Then eventually I want to put all that knowledge and degree towards my acting.”
There’s no doubt Alex has many years of success ahead of her and we appreciate her taking the time to speak to us about the show and her life here in Kingston!
You can catch the YTV season 2 premiere of Nickelodeon’s “I Am Frankie” on Monday, November 5th at 6pm.
Watch Nickelodeon’s season 2 trailer for “I Am Frankie”: