By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
CALEDONIA—Long-time readers of The Press are sure to recognize the name Ava Ro. As an emerging Canadian artist and actor, Ro has made a name for herself both on stage and behind the camera. Her next appearance may be her biggest yet, taking on co-lead duties on a new Nickelodeon show, Erin & Aaron.
We spoke with Ro about the big opportunity, and why she is so excited for audiences to see the show.
“Erin & Aaron is about a blended family and two step siblings coming together through music. Erin definitely has a love for rock and roll, as you will see throughout the show. She has a tough exterior, but a kind heart,” said Ro. “What I most love about playing Erin is that she is a rebel, and she doesn’t care about what people think of her, and of course … I love her guitar! I also love that she writes her own music.”
She described the moment she found out she had the part: “When the creators of the show and Nickelodeon told my parents they needed to do a late night (LA time) Zoom call, I had no idea they were about to change my life. I got on the call, and I saw Jensen Gering (my now co-star).”
After months of auditions, Ro said she cried tears of excitement when she got the news, adding, “To be from a small town in Canada booking a lead role on a major network US show, I just couldn’t believe it. I used to watch all the big Nick shows like Victorious, The Thundermans, School of Rock … and now I get to be in one. I just feel so lucky and grateful.”
Erin & Aaron isn’t Ro’s only current project. In fact, while auditioning for the part, she was in Rome, Italy filming for another show, called Home Sweet Rome, which is airing this March on Family Channel.
“I almost didn’t do the audition because I had just flown home on hiatus and was jet lagged. I decided I wanted to do it anyway and my agent Francesca Nicassio got me an extension so I could get some rest,” said Ro. “On December 14 I found out I booked the role of Erin and had to move to LA January 5! To prepare for Erin … well I feel I’ve been preparing for her my whole life. From taking dance at Caledonia Studio of Dance since I was 3, to music and vocal lessons every single week for years, I was ready.”
Erin & Aaron was filmed in the classic multi-camera sitcom style. Ro explained, “Multi-cam sitcom shows are AMAZING and fun to shoot! This is my first multi-cam show and I absolutely love it…. We shoot one episode per week.”
“On Monday morning the whole cast, creators, and producers sit together and do the table read. This is when we read the episode all together to see how it flows, what it’s all about, and how the jokes come together,” she explained of the experience of working on such a fast-moving set. “Tuesdays and Wednesdays are spent rehearsing, which includes learning any new music that appears in the episode. The episode is then shot in full on Thursday and Friday.”
“On a typical shoot day, I get to set around 8 a.m. and go straight to hair and makeup. Once I’m finished I put on my wardrobe and we go straight to set,” she continued. “We have a schedule we go by for the day and we usually start with the most difficult and intricate scenes. We block them (practise) once and then we start rolling! We go scene by scene until we wrap for the day!”
On top of the regular rehearsals and shooting, Ro added, “We also have a lot of fun in between. The cast and crew are all so amazing and love to have a good time. On top of all that, I also have to get my schoolwork done! We have our own school room on set and two amazing teachers. We do three hours of school on set every day.”
Ro praised her co-star Gering, who she bonded with hanging out on set and rehearsing their many scenes.
“As soon as I read with him the first time I knew he was Aaron. I could tell Nickelodeon liked us together because during auditions they kept having us read different scenes together,” she noted. “This is his first series and he is blowing us all away with how good he is.… We come together through music in the show and in real life!”
Ro was also impressed by the practicality of the shoot, referring to a scene from the show highlighted in its trailer in which a piano falls down a flight of stairs: “That wasn’t fake. They really pushed a real live piano down the stairs!”
Beyond making people laugh, Ro hopes Erin & Aaron can help spark a love of music and performance in kids who watch it, adding, “Even if it seems hard at first, keep working at it because music can change your whole life and can give you an outlet to express yourself.”
It’s a lesson Ro learned herself as she developed her career.
“I heard a whole lot of ‘no’ before I heard a ‘yes’. But one thing I have learned is that every time I was rejected, I was ‘redirected’ to something better, and I really believe I am where I am meant to be. I want other kids to know this too,” Ro concluded. “It’s hard to not make the team, to not win the game, or to not get picked for the lead in the play. But in the end, it really makes you stronger, and when you do finally get it, you appreciate it that much more.”