Lily Mae Silverstein is a young Actress who was born and raised in California. Lily is most well-known for her recurring roles as "Lydia the Weasel" in a television series called “BUNK'D” by Disney. She also plays the role of Katie in the “Walk the Prank” series which is also a Disney production. Lily also plays the role of Penny in the Nickelodeon/Warner Bros. project known as “Alex & Me.”

When Lily is not busy acting, she enjoys making films for her middle school’s award-winning cinematic arts program. She is also passionate about animal and pet rescue.

She has adopted two dogs named Buster and Marley and annually collects donations. She and her friends also frequently volunteer at a number of animal shelters; usually, this is how she celebrates her birthday.

Lily recently granted an exclusive interview where she discussed her acting, animal rescue, and more.

Roles, gigs, and scenes

Meagan Meehan (MM): When and how did you decide to become an actress and was it hard to break into the industry?

Lily Mae Silverstein (LMS): I must have been around two when I started acting. My mother worked in the advertising industry and took my brother and me around for auditions at a very young age. My mother believed we had a face for TV with our red hair and chubby cheeks.

I grew up knowing that if I didn’t like acting, I could quit at any time. Fortunately, that day never came. Although I was too young to recall the major challenges of breaking into the industry, I did seem to have amazing luck with my first job. My brother went in for a Disneyland commercial audition. When he came out of the audition room, I must have caught the casting director’s eye.

The women turned to my mom and asked, “Can she act?” So, if you’re ever looking at a very old Disneyland commercial from 2006 and spot a beaming pair of siblings swinging around in some Alice in Wonderland teacups, you’ll know that’s where I got my start!

MM: What kinds of roles do you typically play and what kinds do you hope to have the opportunity to play in the future?

LMS: I am mostly known for doing mean and high-energy roles. I have been doing improv since the age of six, which I believe benefits me now with my comedy roles. Mean roles typically are the easiest to portray, because you can get as creative as you like. As I grow older I do not want to step out of my Disney/Nickelodeon characters that I love, but, I do want to show future casting directors that I can do both drama and comedy. The drama will always come second to comedy for me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to improve on it. I do find a happy balance with dry comedies because it’s a way to portray subtle acting with good comedic timing. Dry comedy and awkward roles are two genres of acting I would love to do more of in the future.

MM: How did you land gigs with Disney and Nickelodeon?

LMS: At the age of nine, I was brought in for my first Nickelodeon screen test. It was an amazing experience to get such great reception in the room from the show’s producers. Although I didn’t get the role, I made a good impression on those people. Fast-forward two years later, I got my first role with Disney on the show “Bunk’d.” What happened with Nickelodeon is what happens with most of us actors. After years of not getting roles, you keep trying and making good impressions with casting directors.

They will remember you when casting characters that you might be a better fit for in the future. I finally auditioned for the role of Lydia and got it -- a guest star role that would stick with me throughout middle school.

After the Nickelodeon screen test disappointment, I was able to persevere. You win some, you lose some; and even when you lose some, us Silverstein’s take it as a win. Always make good impressions with the casting directors and producers -- never give up.

MM: What were your roles in these projects and what was it like behind the scenes?

LMS: My most recognizable role would have to be Lydia, who is a terrifying camper from the weasel cabin, on Disney’s show “Bunk’d.” I also got to play the part of Katie, the reporter in Disney XD’s “Walk the Prank.” My most recent role was Penny in Warner Bros./Nickelodeon’s upcoming Movie, “Alex & Me.” There were so many fantastic behind the scenes moments from this production!

This was the first major Film I have ever been in.

First, we were not only a cast; we created a fictional family. Regan Champnella who plays the character, Bug, was my little sister; Ava Acres who plays Gia was my big sister, Jessica Treska who plays Claire was my sister-in-law, etc. We were always laughing and playing and having slumber parties. I only worked with these girls for about three weeks, but they know more about me than my best friends do at school. We had a lot of memorable moments; like shooting a scene two-feet from a fire-anthill, or going to the New Orleans Aquarium, then spotting it when we were all watching “Daddy’s Home” together two hours later. My most memorable moment was shooting the last scene and crying in between takes because we knew the words “That’s A Wrap” were coming soon.

I have never cried so hard with a group of friends in my entire life. We balled all the way back to the hotel as we shared stories and funny moments that we will keep with us all our lives. I met some amazing people in those three weeks, and I can’t wait to see them again for the premiere of “Alex & Me” in June.

Dogs, cats, and goals

MM: You’re also into animal rescue, so how did that come about?

LMS: I have two lovely rescue dogs named Buster and Marley who have been with me for the longest time. For my seventh birthday, my neighbor told me about Pet Orphans, an animal rescue in my neighborhood with a great space to celebrate your party with the rescue puppies. I had my party there with a large group of friends and told them to bring a donation instead of a birthday present.

The rescue shelter had about four dogs for us to pet and then gave us kids a tour of the facility. For my next birthday, I wanted to go to different pet rescue and use the same donation idea. I didn’t want to sit around with friends and pet one or two dogs. I wanted to get my hands dirty with bathing, to walk, and picking up after all of the dogs. I just had my 14th birthday on St. Patrick’s Day, where I collected donations yet again. I have had the same birthday process for eight years now, and hopefully for more years to come. Now as a fourteen-year-old, I am looking into options of volunteering in my spare time to contribute to shelters.

MM: What do you think more people can do to help animals and decrease the number of dogs and cats in shelters?

LMS: Society is having a problem with the increasing population of dogs and cats in all parts of the world. It is important now more than ever to get your dog spayed or neutered. There are about twenty million stray dogs that don’t have a home. I think it is important to remind people that it’s better to save a dog from being euthanized, and hopefully cut down on the business of puppy mills if you adopt a dog from a rescue shelter. Shelter dogs need us. Although getting dogs neutered or spayed could be expensive, it truly helps the pet overpopulation. By adopting a pet from a shelter, you would be helping in the movement on getting dogs off the streets and into warm, loving homes.

MM: What are your biggest goals for the future and do you have any fun new projects coming up?

LMS: I am currently in the cinematic arts program at my middle school, and I wish to be a director someday. I’m learning all different aspects of the business from the other side of the lens, and what I would expect from actors. I obviously want to peruse acting in the future as well, but I hope to have a place behind the camera too. I have a big passion for writing and an enormous imagination, so I may even dabble in screenwriting in my upcoming years. I am also a cheerleader, soccer player and dancer on top of that. But acting will always be my first and true passion because it’s what I believe I was supposed to do. It combines all my favorite qualities I find in myself like my creativity, outgoing-ness, and love for being over-dramatic.

I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

Regarding new projects coming up, I am still ecstatic to announce “Alex & Me” where, surprise, I play another mean character. Penny is not as mean as Lydia but has high expectations for her soccer team and pushes her teammates to succeed. I’m so excited to see the finished product and will most likely shed a tear or two remembering all the good times while shooting the movie. It is the most exciting project I have worked on so far. I can’t wait until I can share it with the world.

I also want to put out there that I am going through the process like thousands of other kids do, to work through to follow their dreams. Sometimes auditioning and acting causes stress.

You must have a tough skin to work in this industry. You must work to earn your roles, but you also must learn humility along the way. Acting probably causes a little anxiety too, but I would go through the entire process of auditions, learning lines and multiple callbacks just to be part of a project. Oh wait, I already do. I would also like to share my passion for using my filmmaking knowledge for a purpose. I’ve recently been making documentaries. Two recent ones have been about my school Walkout Against Gun Violence on March 14 and the March for Our Lives rally on March 24. I am very passionate and not afraid to speak my mind about gun control. I have never been so passionate about a film that I’ve made so far than the “March for Our Lives” documentary; the only one of my films that has ever made me cry.