When he’s not playing a beloved TV superhero on Nickelodeon’s Henry Danger, Jace Norman is hustling.
At only 17, the actor has started his own company, Creator Edge Media, a marketing agency that helps bring brands and social influencers together for a more seamless, mutually beneficial relationship.
The idea seemed like a natural one for Norman. “Entrepreneurship was always something I really wanted to do, I just didn’t know how to fully break into it,” he explains to Us Weekly. “My dad was an entrepreneur as well. He didn’t go to college and had dyslexia, and I also have dyslexia. It was calling me a little bit. But being in the entertainment industry, and seeing that transition from old media to new media, from TV to internet and how ads are being sold, kind of having a pulse on that … it made me think maybe I should jump on this.”
The TV star, who teamed up with his business partner, former NBA agent Michael Gruen, points out the apparent disconnect between social media stars and the products they promote. “It’s more about the inauthenticity of it. These people follow their favorite celebrities because they like their style, their brand, what they have to say. They like who they are. So if there’s no authenticity to the influencer, it doesn’t make sense to even run an ad,” Norman tells Us. “They don’t care, and if anything, the company will just annoy them. That’s the opposite of what they want when they pay a lot of money to get their company in front of these people.”
Just two months shy of his 18th birthday, the Kids’ Choice Award winner acknowledges that some companies may be hesitant to get on board, at first. “I think that just kind of comes with the territory. You go to these corporations and they have their style of doing things and you kind of have to prove … You can’t just be like, ‘Hey, I’m a kid and I’m starting a company. This is why you should believe me.’ You have to show them,” Norman says. “I think it’s an uphill battle, but it’s worth it.
The struggle to find seamless integration between content creators and brands is still ongoing, and it’s something Norman hopes to facilitate. “I do think it’s the Wild West in a way. This has only been around a couple years,” he explains. “The old way of doing things on TV has been around for 50 years. In perspective, we’re at the beginning of it. It’s not an established business model.”
This new venture isn’t the only thing keeping him busy. He’s still under contract with Nickelodeon. And with four seasons of Henry Danger under his belt, he’s now voicing a spinoff cartoon version of the series — which he calls “kind of crazy because I used to watch Nickelodeon cartoons as a kid and now I am one” — and recently produced a movie for the network titled Blurt.
“I spent my high school years on the show and those are very pivotal years in my life,” he tells Us. “I learned a lot just from experiencing life growing up in this crazy industry. In the long run, it was worth it. But it can be scary.”
And even though he’s getting into the business of marketing, “Acting is 100 percent still a big passion for me,” Norman says. “I hope I get lucky enough and work hard enough to do both. I think that would be amazing, so that’s what I’m working for. I want to express myself fully and this is the way to do it.”
The budding businessman wants to show young fans that you can prosper even if your talents didn’t necessarily translate in the classroom. “I had dyslexia. I wasn’t very good at school, grade-wise,” he reveals. “So I just want to show that you can be successful. It doesn’t mean you’re not smart, even though now it doesn’t look like that. That’s how it was for me, at least.”
Norman’s goals know no bounds at this point. “I guess I feel like this is a little bit of a transition year for me. I’m turning 18 years old. I’ve done four years of Henry Danger. I’ve changed so much and have grown up,” he says. “My goal is to explore and get outside my bubble and see what life’s about. I don’t want to act like I know everything because I don’t (laughs). Just a next chapter and a next era for me, in my personal life and my career.”
The Adventures of Kid Danger premieres on Nickelodeon Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT.
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