EXCLUSIVE! GiaNina Paolantonio is going after her biggest dreams

GiaNina Paolantonio was born a performer, but this year she's taking her biggest leaps yet. You may recognize the 15-year-old actress, dancer and singer from Broadway's Matilda the Musical (she played Amanda Thripp) or Season 8 of the hit Lifetime reality series Dance Moms (she played, of course, herself). 

But now, the triple threat and social media star is stepping into a whole new light as she pursues her singing career. She dropped one original song, "Talk," back in December 2020, and has *tons* of new tracks on the horizon for 2021. 

We sat down for an exclusive Girls' Life interview with GiaNina, where she dished on what "Talk" is all about, handling the haters and what keeps her so cool and confident (P.S. Check out GiaNina taking over @girlslifemag Insta story and reels on Feb. 26)...

Girls' Life: How'd you decide to expand into music? 

GiaNina: I never thought that, being a dancer, I'd have the time to make music, too. But after Dance Moms, when the pandemic and quarantine started, I started to spend more time on my social media and singing and writing music with a team I have back home. They're amazing and have guided me 100 percent. Honestly, writing songs is something I started doing because I was bored with so much time on my hands [after Dance Moms]. And here I am now, with my first-ever original song out everywhere and even more music coming this spring. It's so exciting. 

Girls' Life: What kind of music do you like to create? 

GiaNina: I love music that's personal and relatable, so that's what I want to put out there. What I love listening to is probably what I want to create! When I write a song, I think, "Let me write about something that's happened to me or to a friend, something I can relate to." With "Talk," it was something I really connected to—when you put yourself out there in the world, people love to talk about you. The way you look, how you act, your family...everything. To be honest, they really shouldn't. Everyone's unique in their own way and should be allowed to be themselves.

Girls' Life: When it comes to all that talk, how do you handle the hate on social media?

GiaNina: I've been in the public eye since I was nine years old. My family used to manage my social media entirely, and they still do, but I've taken more control of it as I've gotten older. I'm so grateful—because they made it so that I could grow up in a happy, healthy and positive environment even as my career was growing. So thank you to my dad for handling the hate and negativity, and thank you to my mom for making my social media a welcoming place! It's made me feel so positive now. My family has always taught me that it doesn't matter what other people think. Just be you. No matter what, there are going to be people who don't like you, but not everyone has to like you. Keep doing what you're doing and spreading good energy and the right people will follow along. 

Musical inspo:
"Lewis Capaldi. And Tate McRae. And Jennifer Lopez!" 
Style vibes: "I'm loving fun jeans and platform shoes."
On Dance Moms: "Everything's a learning experience. Some people are going to love you, some aren't, and you have to just go with it and know who *your* people are."
Fun fact: "I found out I was going to be on Dance Moms through Instagram. No email, no phone call...just an Instagram announcement."

Girls' Life: What's something people would be surprised to know about you?

GiaNina: I'm kind of a homebody! I feel like everything I could possibly want and need to do is at home. Although I love hanging out with my friends and having adventurous days, I also love staying home and just making TikToks. Also, I love animals *so* much. I have a new puppy and he's my best friend. I love him. If dance and singing and social media wasn't my thing, I'd definitely want to work with animals and be a veterinarian. 

Girls' Life: How do you hope people connect to your music? 

GiaNina: I want people to relate to it in a way where they can feel something. I don't know how to put it into words, but it's that moment where you can't stop listening to a song on repeat because you love it and relate to it so much. You almost feel like the artist is talking to you through those lyrics. I hope it feels like I'm on FaceTime with you, just talking. 

Girls' Life: What are your biggest hopes for the future?

GiaNina: I've never been able to pinpoint an exact goal because, honestly, I'm only fifteen. There are so many routes my life could take. Even the past two years have gone in a ton of unexpected directions. So I just go with the flow. As long as I'm happy and I'm making a positive impact on others, then I'm in the right place. I can't wait to see where that takes me.

Listen to "Talk" today and keep up with GiaNina on Instagram!


by Katherine Hammer | 2/26/2021