Talented, friendly, down-to-earth. These are words that perfectly describe the phenomenal actor, Leonardo Cecchi. Hailing from the snowy city of Minneapolis, Minnesota and moving to Italy when he was only a few months old, he grew into an amazing young actor and earned the titular role of Alex in the hit Italian Disney Channel show, Alex & Co, a series about five young teens navigating high school and their loves for music.
From being cast in the American Horror Story spinoff, American Horror Stories, to most recently earning a main role in HBOMax’s original movie, A Christmas Mystery, Leonardo Cecchi is on top of the world right now and is in the midst of a breakthrough. During an exclusive, tell-all interview with The Teen Magazine, he was candid about the acting industry, his life, and more. Here is his journey into stardom.
Everything has a beginning, including passions like acting, which is the thing Leonardo is arguably most passionate about.
When asked what inspired his love for acting, he commented, “The first thing I can remember is that I always liked being at the center of attention and just entertaining a crowd." He continued, "I feel like it must have come from wanting to make people laugh and smile. It came from the thing of “If I can get someone to smile, it just makes me smile.” As I grew up and understood more about jobs, I was like if I could do that, go on TV and reach an audience, that’s the ultimate dream.”
Leonardo Cecchi is very grateful for the opportunity he was given, and states that Alex & Co was one of his favorite shows to work on, saying, "It was key years of my growth and also my acting development. I spent so many hours on set and it was such a foundational experience." At the age of 16, he was scouted by a casting agent for Disney Italy and was cast as the lead of the show.
He further commented on the challenges of filming Alex and Co: "I studied diction in Italian, and worked really hard not to stress about how I pronounce lines and words."
As mentioned previously, acting is what Leonardo is most passionate about. Throughout his time in the acting industry, he's learnt many tricks of the trade, and many techniques that have made him the actor he is now. In addition, he has many people he admires and credits his success to.
He remarked, "I liked careers like Will Smith’s and wanted to act in all different kinds of genres of movies and I really aspired to be an actor that could do different genres. It's changed a little bit just because it’s a different phase of my life. I really admire Tom Holland, Tom Hanks, and Tom Cruise." When referencing familial relationships that have influenced him, he gave credit to his father. "He taught me such a hard-working mentality and ethic.
He really taught me how to put that into my practice and my field and how to not give up, to not let a no define you. He’s an extremely supportive person, always pushing me to do what I want to do, not what he wants me to do. "
He continued to mention his favorite project that he’s worked on. "American Horror Stories, had an insane production. It was an insane experience, like an “Oh, this is Hollywood,” moment. So a TV show, I would say that for sure, and then a movie. This last one I worked on, A Christmas Mystery with ESX, in collaboration with Warner Brothers, was such a wonderful experience. It was such a journey with the cast and the crew.”
As an actor, your body is your temple. Leonardo wasn’t shy when going into depth about his rituals and routines for preparing a role. "I spend a lot of time on the script so I know the material and the character, and then I do whatever I feel I need to do to get into character and get into that moment. So, for example, for this last job I did, A Christmas Mystery, I remember I would meditate every time I got into my trailer." He proceeded, "I have a bunch of different methods that I can use to fix it at that specific moment."
He also gave a word of advice to aspiring young actors. "Any advice I would give to young actors out there is to study many different methods, because then you are essentially a problem-solving kit. Whatever issue you have with your performance, you can fix it."
Q: How did it feel watching your very first starring role on screen?
A: “It was surreal. It was a dream come true when I just started. I started studying acting at 13 or 14.
Cut to two years later, I’m on TV everywhere. Then a year after, I’m on buses and posters. Even at that age, I knew and I kind of had to remind myself, “This isn’t normal, this isn’t how life works.
You usually work your whole life towards something and maybe you get it. Also, I was so disappointed in humanity in a sense.
I was in high school and I wasn’t a popular kid at all, like I was a nerdy, quirky guy. And then I appeared on TV, and I’m cool now. Everyone wants to talk to me, and I’m everyone’s friend.
It kind of made me understand how people are very susceptible and influenced by this kind of stuff and I spent like a year disappointed [in humanity]. It's hard to believe people give so much emphasis to this kind of stuff. You don’t really think about this, but it just really hit me all at once, that how people were treating me changed.
I was like, “Oh, okay, I guess that is how the world works.” That was the honest answer. It wasn’t just at school, it was outside of school too. People would recognize me on the street and I would want to have a conversation with them, but they’d just want to take a photo and leave. Not even appreciate my work."
From Italy to LA
Q: What was it like moving out to LA? How is the culture there different from where you lived before?
A: “Moving out to LA, that was what I needed. Ever since I can remember, this is what I have wanted to do. I wanted to finish school in Italy and then come here and work hard to be an actor.
So I had already started acting, and I just continued that plan, having a few years of experience. Once I relocated here, I loved it. I love the warm weather, I love surfing, I love the climate, I also love the energy that the movie industry has around this town. You just go out and you’re like, “Oh that’s Paramount, that’s Warner Brothers, and that car, it could have been Ben Affleck’s.
Not being recognized and not having the same experience that I had in Italy was extremely refreshing. It allowed me delayed growth. I was 19, I figured out some stuff, and I felt ready to be recognized and famous again. ”
Aside from being a stellar actor, Leonardo is a fun-loving guy, just like everyone else. When some interesting questions arose, he didn't disappoint with his answers.
Q: What got you into surfing?
A: “Ever since I was a kid, I found it interesting. I love oceans and beaches, I love swimming, but the idea of just gliding on a wave just looks so cool. One of the first things I did when I moved to LA was buy a surfboard and a wetsuit.”
Q: If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: “I think I could survive with pasta. Like a good Italian pasta, cause’ there’s also so many ways you can make pasta.”
Q: What's one thing you can't live without?
A: “The first thing that came to mind was a surfboard. Let’s let that define me.”
Q: If you could own any animal in the world, what would it be and why?
A: “Interesting answer: I think an eagle. I don’t know why, they look cool. More practical answer, a cat, honestly. I love cats, they’re so quirky and funny and weird as heck. Some cats you can spend your whole day looking at and they’ll just make you laugh.”
It’s obvious that Leonardo Cecchi has a bright future ahead of him, and has huge goals for his future. When asked what project he's looking forward to next, he said, “A lead in a Netflix TV show. A dramedy, like a drama-comedy, would be awesome.
Any compelling story. Maybe a true story would be awesome, something that shows you vulnerability in these characters and allows you to grow with them. Pretty much any show on Netflix, that’s what I wanna be on.” Leonardo Cecchi has immense talent, and is destined to become a star in the American entertainment industry.
He has accomplished so much at the mere age of 24 and is destined for greatness. If you want to follow his acting journey, be sure to follow him on Instagram and TikTok.