By Edward Henderson
The sons and daughters of San Diego have ventured out into the world and accomplished incredible feats. From athletics to the silver screen, our city has birthed some of the most recognizable faces and talents in the nation. 15 year old entertainer Armani Barrett is determined to throw in his name amongst the proud family of San Diegans making their mark on the cultural landscape.
Barrett was recently chosen to play a lead role in the new Nickelodeon show “I Am Frankie”. The show chronicles the adventures of a teenage android trying to conceal her identity and learn what it means to be human at a local high school. Barrett plays the role of Byron Patrick, a shy nerd with a big smile who ends up befriending Frankie in class. The show premiered on Monday, September 11th and will run every night this week at 7:30pm on Nickelodeon.
“I’m so excited to watch myself on TV,” said Barrett. “I want to put joy in people’s smiles, faces and hearts. My goal is to be San Diego’s favorite son.”
The fourth of five children, Barrett’s talent for singing and acting was initially recognized by his father, who is an entertainer in his own right and helps coach his son in acting. Barret’s mother Monique, who served as his manager early on, kick started his career by connecting with a friend on Facebook who had professional headshots of her daughter on her page. From that connection, she learned of a talent agent who was looking for fresh young faces of color. Barrett’s photos garnered an instant response and agency contract offer.
“The path Armani had was not normal,” said Monique. “This was his time, and the door opened for him. I cannot explain it. When I look back on it, I didn’t do anything extra.”
Heartbeat Music Academy in Southeast served as a catalyst for Barrett to hone his musical and acting skills. From there, auditions began to pour in.
The opportunity with Nickelodeon took time to develop, however. Barrett initially auditioned for a different character and after receiving some notes for improvement, was called back to audition again for another role. Heeding the advice of producers, Barrett came back and solidified a role on the show after months of going through the process.
“Honestly, I love the wait. After I audition, it’s really cool to wait and see if I got the job or not. It really keeps you alive. I don’t get nervous. I get my confidence from my parents. They have been there for me through and through. They give me the confidence and God gives me the power I need.”
Outside of the show, Barrett is in production as a writer and costar of a web series called ‘Side Kicks’, where he interviews guests while embarking on countless adventures. He is a special guest singer for a music group called Play Masters, he oversees the design of his own clothing line ‘LeRoi – The Look of a King’ and he’s also a celebrity spokesperson for a pair of non-profit organizations: The Literacy Initiative and Chocolate Journey. The Literacy Initiative provides books to underprivileged children and children in hospitals. The Chocolate Journey mission is supporting youth in the arts.
Barrett balances all of this while attending Madison High School where his mother is a teacher.
You can check out Barrett in “I am Frankie” here.