Ellie Zeiler Juggles TikTok With Crown Lake Season 3 - Exclusive Interview

At only 18, Ellie Zeiler has already achieved massive success in the social media world. She has over 10 million followers on TikTok and well over a million Instagram followers. Now, the social media superstar is taking on a completely new challenge acting in Season 3 of Brat TV's "Crown Lake."

The first two seasons of the teen series took place in the '90s and followed Nellie Chambers, played by Francesca Capaldi, and her classmates unraveling a mystery at their boarding school. For Season 3, the story has jumped forward to the present day and introduced a whole new cast of characters, including Symonne Harrison as Molly, Nick Bencivengo as Danny, and Zeiler as Ari.

During an exclusive interview with The List, Zeiler shared why she was excited to join the cast of "Crown Lake" and the most significant challenges she faced while filming. Zeiler also opened up about what she wants to do in the future and some of the pressure she faces as an influencer.

How Ellie liked her first acting experience

"Crown Lake" is your first time acting as a character in a TV show. What made you want to start doing that?

I've always been very interested in acting. In this scenario, Brat TV is so open to new creators and new actors and actresses. I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to go into a really safe space and feel very comfortable, but also get to have a very professional experience as well.

Do you feel like you want to pursue acting going forward after this experience?

Absolutely. Yes. Going into it, I was like, "Okay, it's going to be super exciting and fun to get to be on a set and work on something long-term." I ended up absolutely falling in love with acting. I'm so excited to get to hopefully explore that more in the future as well.

Are you excited to have your fans and followers see you doing something so different?

I am. I feel like, because my followers see me as me, I am myself on social media. Getting to explore the role of Ari and have them see me, but it's not necessarily my character in my own life, is going to be very interesting to have people watch.

Going into the role, did you know what to expect? Do you feel like you were just along for the ride?

I was so nervous, so scared. The first week of filming, I was so nervous every single day going into it. I told myself that if I really worked hard and I really developed or got to really get into character, then it would all work out. It was such a fun experience.

Do you feel like there was anything that was more challenging than you expected or different than you anticipated?

[One thing that I thought was going to be difficult] was memorizing lines. I am not a good memorizer, and I needed to make flashcards like I was back in high school or [back in] in-person school. That was a challenge for me, but by the end, I totally got through it. It was very easy for me to memorize lines by the end of it, which I thought was very interesting.

Oh, that's cool. You developed the skill as you went on?

Yeah, exactly. Yes.

How Ellie became her character

What would you say was your favorite part of acting?

To be honest, the whole experience was amazing. Getting to be a different person and be a different character was super fun, and getting to explore someone else's side and character as well. Also, the cast and crew, in general, were so nice. We all bonded and became a family by the end of it, and so it was really special.

With becoming your character, Ari, were there any ways that you related to her or that you felt like you guys were very different?

No. I related to her in the sense that she dealt with a lot of people judging her in school. We've all been in that place of walking down a hallway and being super nervous that people are looking at you or people are judging you. I really related to that moment specifically. Yeah, I really related to Ari.

What was it like, as you said, you got really close to the cast ... Was it nice that a lot of you were around the same age and kind of have had similar experiences?

Yeah. It was really exciting, as well, because I feel like half of us were on social media, and it was our first time acting. The other half didn't necessarily have social media, but they were actors. We got to come together and teach each other things where, at lunch, I'd be teaching people how to make Tik Toks. On set, they'd be teaching me how to really get into a role and into a character. We were both learning from each other, which was fun.

Did you feel like it was a big learning experience for you just being on the set in general?

Oh, absolutely. Oh my gosh. I learned so much. It was great.

What are Ellie's plans for the future?

In the future, if you were to do more acting roles, are there any kind of projects you'd want to do? More TV shows or movies? What would be your dream part?

I would love to work on a movie because that's one thing that you get to watch. I feel like every single week, I'm so excited for a new episode to come out, but I want all of them to come out at once. Hopefully, a movie is in my future. I'm manifesting it now.

You've already accomplished [so much]. You have all your social media following, and now you're acting. Is there anything else in the future that you're like, "That's the next goal that I want to try and tackle?"

Yes, of course. I feel like it depends on the day but continuing acting is definitely something that I'm super excited to put a lot more time and energy into. Continuing social media, too — staying on track, that's my goal.

With the first few episodes of the show coming out, how has it been seeing people react to seeing your acting?

Oh, it's been great. When you put something out — we filmed it a couple of months ago, and now it's coming out –you're nervous to see how people will take it, but the response has been really great because the show really does and will, in the future as more episodes come out, dive into issues that teenagers deal with every single day in their normal life. To have people actually relate to the issues that we're acting in is very special to get to see.

Were there any issues explored in the show in particular that you were excited to put that message out there?

Yes. Especially with Ari, who's my character, she really got to come into her own by the end of the season, which we're going to get to see. She really stuck to her beliefs and ... staying true to herself is very important. Again, very cliché, but she really showed that by the end of the season. I'm excited for people to get to see that at the end, too.

Why she can't focus on how many followers she has

You have this huge social media following. Does that ever feel overwhelming when you're trying something new like this, knowing that a lot of people will be watching it maybe to see you specifically?

Oh, my God. That scares me in general. Yeah. I feel like even with posting on social media, I can never think of a mass group of people, or else I'll get so nervous, and I won't post. I have to think of that one person that's watching me and try to relate to them. It's scary, but it's [once] you get over it, it's fine.

Day-to-day, when you're posting and stuff like that, do you just have to kind to compartmentalize your... [or] ignore that there are millions of people?

Yes, exactly. It's almost impossible to wrap your mind around millions and millions of people watching you ... What gets me through it is imagining maybe my younger self or myself, in general, watching me. Focusing on that teenage girl who's going through stuff in school and looks to me as a distraction or a role model or a friend, whatever it is, I try to focus on looking at one person.

When you first started posting these videos, did you ever imagine how quickly or how much you would blow up?

Absolutely not. Every single day, I'm so grateful that this is my life and that I get to do this. I grew up doing theater and always wanted to be an actress in the back of my mind. The fact that I get to actually explore these sides of myself, I'm like, I have no words. I'm so grateful for it.

Season 3 of Crown Lake is available to stream now on Brat TV. New episodes premiere every Tuesday