We always knew cutie Gavin Casalegno had a star quality about him—and now the world is sure of it, thanks to the recent debut of Amazon Prime’s hit The Summer I Turned Pretty. The Texas native plays the lovable Jeremiah and has become a breakout star of the show, gaining one million Instagram followers in just a matter of weeks. He tells The Daily how he’s dealing with success, what he has in common with his character, and what’s keeping him in the Lone Star State.
What have the past few weeks been like for you?
Surreal! It’s a combination of stress and a dream come true. It really has been such a blessing to be able to hang out with the cast and see them again. We get to all celebrate together as a family. It’s felt like a wedding type of situation! It’s incredible.
What’s the stressful part?
There’s a lot of things calling your attention. If I don’t have a healthy balance, it can be kind of stressful. It’s a good kind of stress. It’s a stress that leads to a lot of progress, so I’m not complaining at all. It’s definitely been so much fun.
I loved the show. Your character has so much of your sweet energy. Do you feel like [your character] Jeremiah is similar to you?
It’s crazy! I feel like [writer] Jenny [Han] wrote this character for me. I’m a golden retriever happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Not only did I get to play that on screen, but I also got to explore deeper depths of this character. As I’m discovering who Jeremiah is, I’m also discovering a little of who I am in the process. I feel like this character couldn’t be written more for me.
Where did you film the show and what was the filming like?
We filmed in a small little beach town in North Carolina. It was so much fun. There was all kids our age there. Everyone is having a good time. There was something to do at every time of the day. It felt like a summer vacation that never ended. Even when we were working, we were enjoying ourselves.
The show addresses that stage of life of going from the awkward phase of the teen years to a swan. Did you ever have an awkward phase, or have you always been just adorable?
I wish! I grew up not having a lot of friends. I was cool with everyone, but I grew up alone. There were a lot of good things that came out of it that I can be grateful for now. I definitely think everyone has that moment in their life when they turn into a swan and have that revelation moment of who they are. Everyone has their grow up moment.
When did that happen for you in your teen years?
I think I was 5’8 in my freshman year and everyone was taller than me, because I’m from Texas. I was a little insecure about my height. In my sophomore year, I literally grew four inches in what felt like a blink of an eye. I was 6’2 by the end of my sophomore year. I was like, ‘Life is really different now!’ I think that was a big change for me. It’s weird that society has put such an emphasis and standards on height.
You’ve been acting since age seven. How did that all come about?
I always grew up going to church and a youth pastor told my mom that I had a lot of energy and I should try modeling. It went from that to my mom exploring it and looking at agencies. It kicked off when I was four-years-old and I started doing commercials. It was so much fun and I wanted to do more of it. By age 11, I booked my first film and life was never the same after that. I had a thirst for film. It hasn’t stopped.
What were your summers like?
A lot of camping! It’s been a huge summer vacation that we all look forward to. We also went on lakes swimming. It wasn’t too fancy. We’re simple down here!
The show on Amazon Prime is the biggest thing you’ve ever done professionally. How are you mentally preparing for being noticed by people? How are you dealing?
I love meeting people. I love getting to know people. I don’t think I will ever be mentally prepared. I don’t know if you can possibly be prepared for all of this. It’s giving me a chance to meet people and be myself. I try my hardest to answer people’s messages and have a conversation with people if they notice me. That’s how I’ve always lived my life.
That’s such a good approach! What do you want your career to look like? Are there any actors who you admire?
As far as people who I really look up to, I think Robert Pattison is a fantastic actor. I had the pleasure of meeting him in LA and was blown away by how humble he was. As far as where I want to go, I’m a sucker for romance and drama. I love love stories! I get giddy when I get an audition for a cute love story. As far as drama goes, I love the art of creating movies. Drama is the best way of creating a film art piece.
I know you love fashion. What is it about fashion that you enjoy?
I enjoy fashion. There’s something magical about how fashion can give you so much confidence when you walk in the room.
Who are you favorite designers?
One of my all-time favorites is Tom Ford and I got the dream of working with him on my premiere outfit. That was a surreal experience for me. I was honored! I love Saint Laurent. I love edgy street stuff. And Off/White, obviously! I think Virgil was amazing. I had the pleasure of meeting him quite a few times and he always knew how to make someone’s day.
Why do you still live in Texas? Why not LA or New York?
I lived in LA for four years and I was lucky to get out when I did because of COVID. I love my family. I love my friends. I love the small town I grew up in. You can take the boy out of a small town but you can’t take the small town out of the boy. I enjoy the simple stuff. New York has been calling my name lately. It’s kind of scary…but I’d really enjoy living there! Maybe next year I could be living there!
What are your other interests in life besides acting and family?
Lately it’s been a lot of volleyball. Probably an unhealthy amount! I love it. As far as other passions, I know my faith has a huge impact on my life. I’d have to say volleyball, faith, and taking care of my mental health. I’ve been on a journey lately of trying to find a balance in my own life to be healthy.
Do you have any other projects coming up?
Season 2! My whole year rest of year is going to be consumed with season 2. I’m also hoping for season 3. I’m also going to continue to work on myself and maximize where I’m at.