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Frankie McNellis Shines on "Honey Girls"

The fifteen-year-old actress stars in the latest Build-a-Bear production, where three young artists enter a talent competition that will change their lives.

Frankie McNellis plays Alex in the new Build-a-Bear movie, Honey Girls starring Ashanti and with music supervisor Julia Michaels
Photo: Robert Kazandjian

Even though it’s early, Frankie McNellis hops on a Zoom call with the brightest smile on her face. Her newest role? The energetic and talented all-star athlete turned superstar, Alex, in Build-a-Bear Entertainment's Honey Girls. Fresh on streaming platforms, the film introduces three young hopeful artists who enter an arduous competition for a huge prize: Performing with Fancy G, played by Ashanti. Even though the three girls are told this isn’t a team competition, they begin to perform anonymously as a trio, going viral for their incredible performances. In the end, the movie is all about finding strength in numbers and remaining true to yourself no matter what life throws your way.

While Frankie is quick to note that she doesn’t relate to the basketball-superstar label that Alex carries, she shares plenty of similarities with her character. For one, they’re both musically inclined. From joining their school’s acapella groups to playing all sorts of different instruments. In addition to the music, Frankie is also a talented dancer and has been since she was five. Without a doubt, and fans of the movie can agree, Frankie was the perfect casting for the dynamic Alex. She did a tremendous job bringing this character to life.

Not only does this production count with the talent of those on screen, but the film boasts an incredible resume off camera. Honey Girls features an original soundtrack co-written by Mark Nilan Jr., a Grammy Award winner composer who’s worked with Lady Gaga. In addition to Mark, Julia Michaels, the famous singer songwriter, is the music supervisor for this film. And of course Ashanti also delivers some amazing performances throughout the entire project. For Frankie, working with artists of this caliber wasn’t just inspiring, but she made the most of it by learning everything she could on set.

“I’ve always loved Ashanti,” Frankie said. “I just learned a lot from seeing her do what she does for a living.”