It is not often that people get a chance to meet their favorite actors or heroes, but on Sunday, fans of actor Drake Bell got a chance to spend time with the star at a meet and greet at Revenant Body Art Studio in Canyon Country.
“Drake’s management actually reached out to us,” said Kristen Sterling, owner of Revenant Body Art Studio. “We’re all really big fans of his because we grew up on Nickelodeon and it’s really cool to meet him in person and see how he’s changed. We’re really excited to host events like this because Santa Clarita is such a community oriented place and we want to be able to bond over happy things, not just sad ones.”
Bell said that he chose to hold his meet and greet at a tattoo shop because he has always enjoyed tattoos and likes to engage with his fans by sharing mutual likes. He added that he still finds meeting fans surreal and impactful because many fans tell him stories about how his character influenced their lives and caused them to do things like learn guitar.
“I like to find cool little spots to do pop ups in between shows, then put it out on social media,” Bell said. “Sometimes the turnout is big and sometimes it’s small and intimate, but it’s really cool meeting the hardcore fans. I love being able to get feedback from my fans and engage with them on a one-on-one level. It’s crazy because I’ll meet people from bands that I’m a fan of and they tell me that I’m the reason they started playing music.”
One such fan, Alex Caceres, discovered Bell through the show and even learned how to play all of his songs on his guitar.
“When I heard that he was having a meet and greet, I knew I had to meet him because I am such a big fan,” Caceres said. “I can’t describe my emotions now that I’ve met him, I’m just so excited.
Though Caceres brought his guitar for Bell to sign, what he did not expect was for Bell to sing along with him as he played some of his songs and to get an impromptu lesson from the actor and musician.
“I know all of his songs and I spent maybe five months learning them all so for me to play for him was just so amazing,” Caceres said. “I never thought that would happen. I want to preserve this guitar forever now.”
Bell is best known for his role as Drake Parker in Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh,” and filmed scenes for the 2008 television movie “Merry Christmas Drake & Josh” at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.
“It’s not as hot here right now,” he said with a smile. “I remember since it was a Christmas movie we had to be wearing sweaters and everything had to look like it was winter, but it was still 98 degrees. But I’ve spent a lot of time in Santa Clarita, since I grew up in LA and I make a lot of music out here too. I like how quaint it is here; it feels like a small town.”
Casey Manley, who drove an hour and a half from Diamond Bar to the meet and greet , said that “Drake & Josh” was his favorite show growing up and that this was an uncommon opportunity for him to meet his idol.
“Drake taught us how to be fearless,” he said. “I think Drake just had a lot of good luck, but he wasn’t scared to talk to a girl or to play a talent show with his band. I’m not sure if I’ll get a tattoo today since that’s not something I want to go into lightly, but I’m really having a catch 22 here because it’s not every day I can get a tattoo with my childhood icon.”
After his turn to meet the entertainer, Manning said that he felt a stronger connection with him.
“It was awesome just to have a conversation with Drake about what our common musical interests are,” Manley said. “It just really humanized him and lets us know that the person on TV isn’t part of an alien species and that he bleeds red just like the rest of us.”