No Day Like a ‘Snow Day’ For Fabi Aguirre

For so long, a snow day has been a rite of passage for school-aged kids and teens who experience snowfall nearly every winter. There have rituals passed down through the grades, like wearing your pajamas inside and/or backward or sleeping with a spoon under your pillow. Whether those have actually worked or not is up for debate, but the fact remains – nearly all kids want a snow day.

However, due to the pandemic, virtual learning has made snow days a thing of the past for some school districts.

Fabi Aguirre stars as Lane in Nickelodeon and Paramount+’s film Snow Day, a musical remake of the 2000 film of the same name. She acknowledges that snow days might look a bit different 22 years after the original film, but she still believes there’s much to enjoy about them.

“There’d be a snow day, just with Zoom classes involved. I don’t think it’d be like, ‘Oh, no school!’ type of thing,” she says of what future snow days could look like. “Definitely still as much fun because I’d say Zoom classes in the morning, and you take advantage of the rest of the snow day!”

In the 2022 musical film Snow Day, the group of kids and teens manage to get no school at al. It’s a free day where, according to Hal and Natalie Brandston, played by Ky Baldwin and Michaela Russell, respectively, anything is possible.

“This film is exhilarating. It’s fun,” Fabi gushes. “It’s about these two siblings, Hal and Natalie Brandston who, when they get the grand event of a snow day, discover that anything is possible when you truly believe in yourself and you’re determined to achieve your dreams.”

While she calls the original 2000 film iconic and a classic, she says, “This remake includes seven different songs which to me… I’m obsessed with it because I grew up with musical theater. I started musical theater before I got into TV and film, so having my first film be a musical is just my two favorite things combined into one and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this.”

Before Fabi celebrated a snow day as Lane, she spent more than a year on Broadway as an original cast member of On Your Feet! portraying young Gloria Estefan after her run as ‘Little Cosette’ in Les Misérables. “TV and film acting and musical theater acting [are] both very different,” Fabi says of her transition from stage to screen. “I remember when I first started auditioning for TV and film acting, it was very hard to transition from the biiiig acting.” She recalls the principle of theater that her acting has to reach the back of the audience.

“Transitioning into that the first couple years, back when I started to do TV and film, that was a bit tough. As I got used to it, it just became more natural. Now, with this movie being a musical, I think being in Les Misérables and On Your Feet! definitely helped me prepare for that because I’ve learned for a long time to express myself through song and dance. Now that I get to express through actual dialogue and through song and dance is just amazing.”

Playing her definitely helped me get out of my shell, and now since I’ve played her, I take more risks. She’s been great to learn from.

Fabi gets to showcase her singing chops alongside her acting talents throughout the film, but most especially in the song she sings about her best friend, Hal. What is apparent with Fabi’s character Lane throughout is that she is witty but also incredibly supportive and helpful when it comes to her friends.

Asked to describe Lane, Fabi immediately recalls reading the description of the character. “I fell in love with her,” she says. “She is probably one of the most sarcastic people you’ll ever meet. I think she uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism just as I do. She’s really just a true and amazing friend who would ultimately do anything for her best friend, Hal, and would do anything to see him happy. [She’d] go on all these crazy adventures and help him because at the end of the day, regardless of her feelings towards him, she just wants him to be happy. That to me, I think, is truly incredible.”

Lane realizes her feelings for Hal in the film and even though she’s not sure how he’ll react or if he even likes her at all, she still takes the risk to let him know and even offers to continue to help him win another girl’s heart if he doesn’t like her back.

“She is so fearless. She’s a go-getter. She’s a risk-taker. All the things she does in this film – risking her friendship – you gotta have some guts to do it,” Fabi says. “That’s exactly what she [does]. I’ve learned so much playing her because I, myself, am a bit more on the ‘Let’s be a bit safe!’” She confesses she’s not much of a risk-taker in real life. “I’m very much an overthinker and that’s definitely one thing she is not. Playing her definitely helped me get out of my shell, and now since I’ve played her, I take more risks. She’s been great to learn from.”

Photo Credit: Shandon Youngclaus

Watching Lane and Hal’s dynamic throughout the film is also a great example to follow. The two best friends are constantly supporting and reassuring one another, simply wanting the best for each other. In Lane’s case, that’s even if Hal doesn’t feel the same way as her.

“Their dynamic is a true and real one,” she says of the two. “Even after she realizes, ‘Whoa, there’s something different. I’m feeling different things,’ that she’s afraid to feel at the beginning because being friends with someone for your entire childhood and then seeing them a different way is a bit scary. You don’t know how they’ll react.”

The young actress continues, “Even when she realizes and accepts that she does have different feelings towards him, and she’s not so sure he feels the same way for her, she still helps him in getting the girl of his dreams because she does care about him and she does want him to be happy. Their dynamic is truly like a real friendship because, at the end of the day, it’s about both of them just being happy in general in life. I think if that meant [Hal] would be happy with someone else and it wasn’t her, I think that would just mean everything [to her] because she cares, truly, so much about him.”

It just so happens that Fabi’s favorite scene happens just before her character Lane comes to the realization of her feelings for Hal.

“First off, getting to film with Ky Baldwin, who plays Hal Brandston – best friends on-screen, best friends off-screen. He became my best friend ever and so, honestly, every scene to shoot with him was truly so much fun. He made it so much fun and so enjoyable.” She gives a short laugh as she recalls the snow angel scene.

“I think my favorite [scene] had to probably be the snow angel scene because we got about… I want to say six different weather fronts in the span of three to six hours. We got hail, we got a blizzard, we got fog, we got rain, we go ugggghhh!” As if the indecisive weather wasn’t enough, Fabi continues, “And it was so cold!”

One of the sweetest scenes in the movie happens as Lane and Hal get up from their snow angels and Hal offers a chilly Lane his sweater, and later the two create a snow whale to woo Hal’s dream girl.

“The whole idea of the sweater and just us playing with the whale scene,” she adds as some of her favorite scenes. “When Hal explains his plan and getting to play along and getting to put snow down Ky’s neck was pretty fun. You know, throw snowballs and stuff like that. Those [were] super. My favorites.”

Lane’s relationship with Hal plays is another example of a beloved classic trope: childhood friends to lovers. It’s a storyline that’s appreciated by many different fans of media as the close bond already exists between the two characters and the transition from friends to something more leave fans eager to see how two complementary people work in a new dynamic.

Photo Credit: Bertrand Carmeau

“I like enemies-to-lovers and friends-to-lovers,” Fabi says of her favorite tropes. She loves Love, Rosie, well known for its friends-to-lovers angle (and its angst), and also Titanic where outside factors impede a developing relationship.  “[Being] from two different classes, like back in the 20th, 19th century. That to me is just… I love those types. So, so great.”

At the mention of the trope enemies-to-reluctant allies-to-lovers, Fabi lets out cheerful agreement. “The dream. The dream! I would die to be in a film like that one day.”

Although he doesn’t play an obstacle to Lane and Hal’s relationship, Jerry Trainor’s character Snowplowman creates quite an obstacle for Natalie and her friends, with the younger Brandston’s snow day being filled with plans on how to get another one. Despite the fact that Fabi didn’t get any scenes with Jerry in the movie, she says, “I met Jerry for a split second and he was so sweet. Such a genuine, sweet, funny guy.”

Laura Bell Bundy, a Broadway alum herself, only shared the screen with Fabi for a few seconds in one scene before they both split off back to their own storylines. “Laura Bell Bundy was amazing. I love her,” she says with a grin. “We realized we had so many friends in common, so we just started talking about that. She’s awesome.”

Discussing the possibility of a sequel to Snow Day and who she would want to share the screen with, she says, “I think I would love to have scenes with both of them in the near future.” She adds on Viggo Hanvelt who plays Randy Brandston in the film. “My god. I don’t have any scenes with him but I got to spend some time with him backstage on set while they were shooting some other scenes. He was just a little firecracker. I love, love Viggo and he was very funny in this film. I really hope if there’s a sequel, we get some more Randy action because Randy’s amazing – and Viggo too. He’s such a sweet kid.”

There are multiple musical numbers in the film, some taking place on a set and others outside and suspectable to the elements. Noting the differences between dancing on Broadway and dancing in a film didn’t start there.

“For Broadway, as the shows went on, you got more comfortable and it ended up becoming like, ‘Oh, okay. I got this.’ For this, I want to say [we had] two weeks to rehearse all of the choreography.” She continues by saying the finale was a bit trickier.

“Since we had some partner work and we ended up dancing in the snow,” she says of how it wasn’t like filming any regular choreographed scene. “We got a few slips and slides here and there. But that just made the experience all that much more fun because it is a snow day.”

She says that with less time to prepare, she would be in her apartment and dance it out or practice. “Very different but just as much fun.”

Of the several songs featured in the film, one of the favorites of both TEENPLICITY and Fabi is “Cake”. The song, performed by Shelby Simmons and Myles Erlick, who play Claire and Chuck Wheeler, respectively, takes place towards the start of the film and features elaborate dance numbers inside the eating establishment.

I want kids to know that they’re not alone and it can happen to anyone.

“My favorite song!” Fabi exclaims. “I love all of them, seriously. But I think my favorite is ‘Cake’.” There’s a grin on her face as she says, “I’m not going to lie, I need to have my little Broadway moment with Jerry’s song, ‘These Kids’. I feel like it’s very Broadway and I’m a sucker for Broadway.” Unable to pick a top favorite between “Cake” and “These Kids”, the actress laughs. “I love it so much. And the finale is so much fun too! It’s so sweet!”

Fabi’s love for Broadway musicals comes from more than being on Broadway. Her enthusiasm and joy when speaking about musicals are evident and are shown by the smile that can’t leave her face when the topic comes up.

Given her history on Broadway, when posed the question of her dream role on those iconic stages, past or present, Fabi quickly comes up with a few.

“I would love to be Elphaba in Wicked, Éponine in Les Misérables – come back, just as a different character! Fantine. And Christine Daaé in [Phantom of the Opera’s sequel] Love Never Dies!”

She laughs as she proclaims that there’s one more on her list. “Oh my god, I would love to be Katherine Howard in Six.” She reveals, “I had an obsession with Six in the summer of 2020.” Another laugh escapes her as she admits the obsession is still very present. “So definitely Katherine Howard.”

The topic of Broadway musicals brings up the popularity of musical adaptations of previous works that make their way to the stage. The question of what Fabi would like to see adapted into a musical is posed to the actress and she takes a few moments to consider her first suggestion before ultimately settling on a unique answer.

It in a musical. Wouldn’t that be funny? I think we need a song for Pennywise, kind of like how Jerry has a backstory as to why he wants to destroy these kids’ dreams. Why does Pennywise want to eat kids?” She laughs, saying, “I think we deserve a musical for that.”

In addition to pieces of media being adapted for the Broadway stage, many Broadway musicals end up adapted for movies. Of the large number of movie musicals in the world, one of Fabi’s favorites is 2021’s West Side Story. “Actually, Myles Erlick who played Chuck Wheeler was in West Side Story and he was amazing too!” She adds The Greatest Showman to her list before excitement takes over and she quickly adds, “In the Heights! In the Heights was phenomenal. Phenomenal. Oh my god, amazing. I loved it.”

Photo Credit: Bertrand Carmeau

When Fabi is not busy on set filming or on Broadway, she supports the University of Miami Pediatric Gastroenterology Department as she works to raise awareness about children with chronic gastric issues.

“About a year or so ago, I got diagnosed with certain illnesses of the stomach. I was diagnosed with gastroparesis and eosinophilic gastritis and it really took a toll. It really made me open my eyes,” she shares. “One of my closest, dearest friends is about a year older than I am, so when I was 12, she was dealing with so much of these gastro issues – not necessarily the same as mine.” She continues, “I wouldn’t understand [why] she wouldn’t want to sleep over my house sometimes. She told me it was because of this but I didn’t quite understand until I went through it and I actually experienced [how] horrible it can be to have these stomachaches and be restrictive of food and it limits everything.”

While there’s currently no cure for the gastric diseases that Fabi has, alongside medication, dietary changes are purported to help. “It really opened my eyes to see how important it is to be healthy and to be present because not only did it just make me feel all this pain, it took away my social interaction, my social life. I still am struggling with these illnesses but now I’m so much more confident and I’m doing a bit better.”

In her efforts to raise awareness, Fabi says, “I want kids to know that they’re not alone and it can happen to anyone. I really want to make the world a better place by raising awareness [of] these issues.”

Snow Day is streaming now on Paramount+!

For all things Fabi Aguirre, be sure to follow her on Instagram and TikTok!

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