Joshua Rush sees ‘Andi Mack’ as one step toward change |

Joshua Rush sees ‘Andi Mack’ as one step toward change

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Joshua Rush attends Nickelodeon’s 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards.

The final episode of the groundbreaking Disney Channel series “Andi Mack” is scheduled to be broadcast July 26. During its three seasons, the series has been praised for tackling issues designed to spark social change especially in the case of Joshua Rush. His character marked the first portrayal of an openly gay character on Disney Channel.

Facing the final episodes created mixed emotions for the Houston native.

“I look at this show and everything about it as lightning in a bottle,” Rush says during a break from meeting with fans attending the Disney Channel Fan Fest held earlier this year at the Disney California Adventure Park. “The reaction from the fans has been phenomenal for one part and completely freaking mind-boggling to me on the other.

“I have been honored and blessed to have been part of this show.”

The series revolves around Andi Mack (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) who, on the eve of her 13th birthday, learns that her older sister, Bex (Lilan Bowden), is actually her mother. That monumental realization sends the teen on a journey of discovery accompanied by her best friends, Buffy Driscoll (Sofia Wylie), Jonah Beck (Asher Angel) and Cyrus Goodman (Rush).

Year to-date, “Andi Mack” is the most-watched series overall on Disney Channel and it remains the highest rated program with youngsters ages 6-14. Not only have the young viewers been supportive but the show earned a Television Academy Honor, a GLAAD Media Award, a U.S. Asia Institute honor, the Common Sense Media Seal for Quality Family Programming and a Peabody Award nomination.

Rush knew from the first tryout that “Andi Mack” was going to open new doors. The description of the character he was given during the audition didn’t openly say the character was gay but described Cyrus as someone who was not interested in girls but was not too worried about it at that time. He approached the character as being the one friend in Andi’s life who knows how to lighten the mood when necessary.

By the time he auditioned for the Disney Channel series, Rush had already worked on a long list of projects including being the voice of the honey badger, Bunga, on Disney Junior’s animated series “The Lion Guard.” His voice work also includes “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show,” “Clarence,” “Star Vs. The Forces of Evil” and “The Adventures of Puss in Boots.”

“One of the things I think about a lot about when I am playing this character — and the influence and legacy of the character after the show ends — is that love and acceptance and tolerance is something that is native to everyone. Every child born has love in their heart for everyone out there,” Rush says. “Hate and intolerance is something that is taught.

“If we can get ahead of that negative learning being set in stone, then I am doing my job right. I am allowing that natural love that everyone has to take over.”

His work on “Andi Mack” is just one way Rush is looking to create more positivity in the world. When he is not acting, Rush pushes the importance of the youth voice in politics to the point he stars in a self-produced current affairs series on Instagram called NewsInARush. The one-minute segments are used by Rush to break down important news topics into segments designed to educate and ignite an interest in current events in young people.

Rush’s interest in politics started with the 2012 elections and he has served as the Under 18 Ambassador for National Absentee Ballot Day. He also has worked as a congressional intern and that gave him a first-hand look at the political system. One lesson he learned is that being exposed to as much information as possible is critical.

“If the one voice you are hearing is Donald Trump or Mike Pence you are not have a real world of the world. I like listening to the president, and I like what he has to say, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to listen to every side of the point,” Rush says.

Categories: AandE | Movies TV
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