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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Fame at Vandy: Disney star Ethan Wacker

Child actor turned Vandy student balances fame and college life.
Photo courtesy @imethanwacker

Every Vanderbilt class has their fair share of outstanding student talent, but few have caught the public eye quite as overtly as Disney-star-turned-first-year Ethan Wacker. 

The first year at college promises to bring some degree of social anxiety and shyness.Wacker, however, is no stranger to the pressure of putting himself out there, giving him a leg up throughout his first year at Vanderbilt. At only 12 years old, Wacker said he secured his first acting job on the set of “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” performing in front of millions.

“I was part of a skit, and I was so nervous because it was a live show, so I had to make sure I wouldn’t forget my lines,” Wacker said. “I’ll always cherish that as my first real acting experience.” 

As a child actor, Wacker has appeared on “K.C. Undercover,” “Hawaii Five-O” and as a cast member on Disney’s comedy “Bizaardvark” alongside Jake Paul, Olivia Rodrigo and Madison Hu. 

Although he was born in Connecticut, Wacker grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and said it was there that he developed a passion for movies. Wacker’s love for the Disney Channel inspired him to attend an open casting call in Hawaii and a subsequent convention in Los Angeles, where he met his agent and manager and started auditioning. 

“Being able to entertain people, even for a few minutes or a few hours, is such a beautiful thing,” Wacker said. “But once I got to L.A., I realized that you can audition for 99 roles and only get one. It’s a really tough industry.” 

Despite the competitive nature of Hollywood, after several callbacks and auditions, “Bizaardvark” producers cast Wacker as Bernie Schotz in 2016. Wacker’s role on “Bizaardvark” helped him gain recognition and a fanbase. With more than 2.1 million Instagram followers, 1.9 million TikTok followers and 247,000 YouTube subscribers, Wacker said he is grateful for the opportunity to share his life with so many people. 

“I’m really just a normal guy, so I think people are attracted to the content I post because it’s relatable and real,” Wacker said. “A lot of people think someone with a lot of followers is some sort of mystical being, but that’s not the case at all.” 

While most young actors drop out of school or don’t attend college at all, Wacker said receiving a college education, especially one at Vanderbilt, has always been important to him. With most of his friends residing in Hawaii, Wacker used his time outside of acting to focus on schoolwork, SAT scores and building up his resume. He hopes that the next four years will help him achieve his academic and professional goals.

Instagram will load in the frontend.

After visiting several times and sitting in on classes, Wacker committed to Vandy, and his May college announcement via Instagram received more than 130 thousand likes from fans.  

“Coming to Vanderbilt was a no-brainer,” Wacker said. “Nashville is such a vibrant community. I love academics. I love sports. And I love country music. Vandy just brought that all together for me.” 

Wacker plans on majoring in Economics and ultimately wants to pursue a career in financial consulting, he said. Additionally, he hopes to study political science and business. 

“I’m extremely dedicated to education and learning, and I want to follow a more intellectual path both in college and career-wise,” Wacker said. “I’m interested in math and economics which will be really valuable in the professional world.” 

Although he is not acting in college, Wacker said he plans on continuing to post Vandy and fitness content to his many fans on  Instagram and TikTok. 

“So many people come up to me or message me who saw me on “Bizaardvark” when I was really small who say they’ve been inspired by seeing me working out and bringing myself to a healthy weight,” Wacker said. “Exercising really helped me during quarantine, and I definitely want to continue with my fitness journey in Nashville.” 

While he does not discount the possibility of returning to acting after college, Wacker said he wants to focus on academics and a professional career outside of Hollywood. 

Wacker said he wouldn’t consider himself “famous,” and he hopes other Vandy students treat him like they would any ordinary guy. 

“In Hawaii, we live by this ‘spirit of aloha,’ which basically means to treat everyone with kindness,” Wacker said. “I want my classmates to know they can talk to me about anything because at the end of the day I’m a normal college student like them.” 

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The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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3 years ago

Ethan Wacker I hope you are reading this you are awesome and i really hope that you appear in movies or shows. I watch your youtube channel and you are a true inspiration Sports are awesome to me to and when i grow up I want to be an actor. Please post a youtube video and get this question on since I don’t have social media. Do you hope to do any m0re acting jobs and how do you get in and how did you start.

3 years ago

He is a true inspiration and stole model that I wish to be like.Vanderbilt is a university I will really like to study in the future.thanks you.sending all love during the pandemic.