Though Noah Centineo is a rising star thanks to his starring role in the Netflix hit movie To All the Boys I Loved Before and its sequel, To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, he was once more of a wallflower than a leading man. From a young age, Centineo suffered from terrible shyness. Acting, however, allowed him an outlet that helped break him out of his shell.
Best known for his role as the charming, confident Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys, Centineo couldn’t have been more unlike his iconic character as a kid if he tried. In an interview with NPR earlier this year, Centineo admits he was “a very shy kid” as a youngster. “I was very sensitive and wasn’t good at meeting new people.”
That all began to change when Centineo got involved in theater during third grade. After he started learning more about improv and “what acting was and becoming a character,” the Perfect Date actor began to discover the confidence he’d possessed all along.
The Jungle Book kickstarted Noah Centineo’s career
The moment Centineo truly fell in love with being on stage came when he was in fifth grade. He was cast as Mowgli in a production of The Jungle Book, where he ran “around with this leotard on.” And somehow, leotard notwithstanding, it all finally clicked.
“…Maybe it was the adoration, you know, the applause at the end and then the rush of just like being in front of people and making them laugh. Maybe it was the attention, I don’t know,” Centineo said, “but I started just knowing that I felt euphoric when I was doing it, and I wanted to keep doing it.” Obviously, his passion has paid off. Centineo is now unofficially known as “the internet’s boyfriend” thanks to his performance as the dreamy Peter Kavinsky. That title does come with some pressure, however.
It can be difficult to maintain your own sense of self when there’s a whole world out there with their own ideas of what you’re like. That’s a pitfall that causes many young actors to stumble. Centineo, however, has an answer for that as well.
Though he admits “not losing my sense of self is difficult sometimes,” he often checks in with himself, asking himself, “OK, OK, OK, take all this away. Take all this away. Back before any of that, what were you into? What did you like to do?” He also keeps a journal and has tried his hand at meditation, though he says about those efforts, “…It’s so difficult to keep that up, dude, oh my god.” Still, it’s impressive that Centineo seems to keep a level head despite his meteoric rise to fame. Hopefully, he can keep that same humble attitude that drew so many to him in the first place.