Meet Gabe Eggerling, a 13-year-old actor and philanthropist. Not only does he star as Bailey Burke in Amazon’s original series “The Kicks,” but also he is listed as one of the 100 phenomenal humanitarians in renowned photographer John Russo’s charity book “100 Making a Difference,” alongside First Lady Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai.
“The Kicks” is a family-friendly show based on the New York Times bestselling book series from star soccer player, Alex Morgan. Eggerling plays the tech-savvy brother of the protagonist Devin Burke, played by Sixx Orange.
I had the chance to talk to Eggerling about his various passions and charity work. He speaks with maturity and wisdom beyond his young years.
CH: Where did your passion for acting begin?
GE: I’ve always loved reading. I’ve been a huge avid reader throughout my entire life. My Mom did a lot of photography when she was younger, and one of her friends said to me, “Hey, you’d be really good in a commercial.” Soon, I’d receive scripts and learn lines for short films. I really loved it because I got to read and act out different stories. That’s really what started the passion. I also love filming—the cameras are really cool.
CH: What is it like on the set of “The Kicks?”
GE: I love my whole cast. A lot of the kids—we’re all the same age, so we hang out and we have trailer dance parties. We’re all really good friends. That chemistry really locked in and we got really lucky with the people we have on set.
CH: What do you share in common with your character Bailey?
GE: I share a lot of things in common with Bailey. We both are really laid-back, and we both like gadgets and social media. I have an Instagram on the show. We like photography too—Bailey loves photography, that’s his whole thing. He takes pictures. Those are just some of the similarities we have.
CH: You mentioned earlier your love for reading—where did that begin?
GE: I’ve always loved reading. We’ve always had classical books and literature in our house. I started reading at a very young age. I didn’t want my parents to read me a story—I wanted to read them a story before I fell a sleep. Having a lot of stories in the house—that’s what made me love reading.
CH: What are some of your favorite classics?
GE: I’ve read “Watership Down,” that was really good. I’m going to read “Moby Dick,” that’s the next one on my list, it’s been sitting on that shelf and I’ve been meaning to read it. And I really want to read some “Sherlock Holmes.”
CH: What are you reading currently?
GE: I love a lot of fantasy. There’s a series called “Wings of Fire” that’s about dragons. I also love “Endgame” and “Spirit Animals.”
CH: You are very involved in your philanthropy work—what are some of the organizations you support?
GE: The main one that I support, that I’m actually going to do a Kindness Campaign with in September, is Generation On. They’re amazing—they’ve supported me since 2014. We’ve done a lot of campaigns together and a lot of cool events. They’re fueled by Hasbro so they’ve given me about 1,000 Hasbro toys to donate along with my books. First Book gives me a lot of grants for books. They give me 200 books every third of the year. Another one is Roma Boots. I put books in boots for them. They flew me out to Guatemala, where we put my books in boots and gave them out to people who didn’t have any rain boots or shoes or books.
CH: Would you ever consider writing a book one day?
GE: I have many ideas for writing a book. I’ve written a book before but I haven’t released it, I might in the future. I have a lot of ideas for children’s books… I’d like to write and publish my books as well as give them to kids.
CH: What are some of the most rewarding moments giving back to the community?
GE: I think every moment giving back to the community is really rewarding—spending hours filling backpacks with items, then giving them to kids and seeing their eyes go wide—every step of the way is great. There is no destination. It’s really just one long journey that you enjoy. That’s why I love doing it. It makes you feel so good inside.
CH: In your TedX talk, you mentioned that you are a lover of superheroes. Who is your favorite superhero?
GE: My favorite superhero is definitely Batman. I’ve always loved Batman because he doesn’t actually have a superpower, but he still tries to do his best. He has a lot of money so he gets to make a lot of gadgets, but he wasn’t chosen by anything special, he just tries to help the best he can with what he has. Plus, his suit’s really cool.
CH: What are your upcoming projects?
GE: I’m still recording “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” so you can keep watching the new episodes. There’ll be a season finale soon so you can watch that. I just finished shooting a movie called “Pretty Outrageous” which will be out in 2017. My kindness campaign with Generation On will be coming out in September.
Catch “The Kicks” on Amazon and “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” on Disney Junior.