Zachary Rice - California Nomination by Ellen McCarthy Photography by Liquid Studios Entertainment Issue 52 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Zachary Alexander Rice is a teen actor, gamer and influencer. He uses his extensive fanbase to bring attention to issues close to his heart. One such passion is inspiring underprivileged kids to reach their goals. Zach donates his time teaching, mentoring, and volunteering as a motivational speaker. "I encourage kids to DREAM BIG and believe in themselves. They can be anything they want to be."
Photography by Liquid Studios Entertainment
Tell us more about your work with underprivileged kids. How did you get involved in this and why is it so close to your heart? Ever since I was little, my mom encouraged me to volunteer my time helping others. Just about every weekend our whole family spent time with various charities around Los Angeles. She made it fun. It was like a big adventure. One time we would be folding and packing Jeans for underprivileged teens with "Teens for Jeans" with Kristen Bell and the next week we would be downtown Los Angeles sweeping the sidewalks on Skid Row. I learned that it is our responsibility to help others less fortunate and to make this world a better place. As time went on, and I became a teenager, I saw how spending my time encouraging and working with underprivileged kids seemed to make a big difference in their lives.
What is the hardest part about this leadership role, and what is the most rewarding? The hardest part of leadership is balancing authority with the children. You want to be everyone's friend, but sometimes you have to be the "teacher" and be a little tough when they are wanting to quit and give up. That is a hard balance. I want to be encouraging and I want them to feel empowered. I teach them to go for what they want in life and not to be afraid of failure. So, when I see the kids become confident and assertive, that is more rewarding than words can express!
How has being an actor, gamer, and influencer enabled you to get the message out in a big way? I am so lucky to be able to do the things that I love to do. I believe that being an actor, gamer, and influencer has responsibilities. I want to be a good role model to the kids that look up to me and follow me on social media. I always try my best to be positive, clean cut and kind. Hundreds of my followers reach out to me with sad stories of bullying and feelings of worthlessness and I use those opportunities to encourage them and inspire them.
Photography by Liquid Studios Entertainment
Tell us more about your acting career. How did you get started and what where are you now with it? Acting has always been what I wanted to do. At three years old I told my mom. "Acting is what God sent me down here to do." I really believed that. I have been super lucky to have parents that encouraged me to do anything that I dreamed of doing. I guess that is why it is so important to me to do the same thing for the kids that I mentor who face challenges.
What is one of your biggest accomplishments with acting? I think my biggest accomplishment in acting is the project that I am working on currently. It is called The Supernatural University. (based on a real online University) It is a "Transmedia Universe" which means that it has Movies, TV shows, Video Games, and a Metaverse! I will be starring in all of it, and I am so excited. The first feature film (of 3) will begin filming soon! It is called Lycan, and I just can't wait!
Being a gamer, how much time do you spend on this craft? What are your favorite games to play? I have always loved video games. I spend about 2 hours every day in the evening playing with my friends. It is funny, when Covid happened, I was spending a lot of time at home and my parents said to do something positive with my time. I figured that since acting was shut down and I loved video games, that I would start making TikToks about Minecraft. (My favorite game). I never thought that it would turn into an actual partnership with TikTok and 50 million likes. I still can't believe it.
Photography by Liquid Studios Entertainment - Official Headshot for The Supernatural University
How did you get involved in being an influencer? What positive messages do you put across to your followers? I have always loved social media. I enjoy the fact that you can connect with people who like the same things - It makes the world seem smaller even though I am connecting with people from all around the world! As for my posts, I always try to make my followers laugh by being the goofy guy. Honestly, that is who I am. I want them to know that you don't always need to be "cool" or to pretend to be someone that you are not- They can be who they really are and that is what is important.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? Other inspiring things are that I spend my time writing back to kids that reach out to me on social media when they are going through a hard time. I try to be that "safe place" and "older brother" that listens and encourages them. Sometimes it is just a friendly reminder that they are special and that they "count".
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be and why? I could talk forever about not being fearful and "chasing your passion". I feel that so many of my peers are afraid to put themselves out there because they are worried about being judged by others. Social media can be intimidating and make someone feel vulnerable. I think we need to stand up as individuals and be proud of who we are...and go for our dreams. Whatever they may be.
Photography by Liquid Studios Entertainment - Rice with Iain Armitage on set (Young Sheldon)
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? My advice would be to focus on your goals and never give up- Everyday move forward and do something to move yourself ahead--even if the steps are small ones--because every little bit adds up and brings you that much closer to your dreams coming true.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I would like to have my own Film Production Company. My company would train underprivileged teens to work in the entertainment industry and eventually at my company. I could give everyone with a passion for film an opportunity no matter what their background.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? My favorite activity is flying airplanes. I have a passion for aviation, and I am currently working on my pilot's license.