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Flynn From Shake It Up Is Unrecognizable Now

The Disney Channel series "Shake It Up" helped make Zendaya a star when she played teen Rocky Blue, but Disney couldn't have made the show about teenagers navigating life while dancing on a local show in Chicago work without her co-star Bella Thorne as CeCe Jones and their supporting cast, which included members of both the Jones and Blue families and some rival dancers. These characters included Flynn Jones, CeCe's mischievous younger brother, who was played by a young actor named Davis Cleveland. He was just eight years old when the show started in 2010 and 11 when it ended in 2013 (via J-14 Magazine). 

That makes him still quite a young man: In 2021, he's only 19 years old. Still, given that it's been eight years since "Shake It Up" fans saw him in his role as Flynn, he's definitely transformed. He is no longer an 11-year-old boy, which means you probably won't recognize him now. Although he continued his acting career for a few years, he's not a huge presence either on screen or on social media today. Here's what he's been doing since "Shake It Up" ended.

Flynn was the cute, precocious brother of Bella Thorne's CeCe Jones

Flynn Jones was the quintessential annoying brother who played plenty of pranks but still cared about his family. He went to Jackson Elementary School while CeCe, Rocky and their friends went to John Hughes High. He often had his own subplots, while his sibling and her friends were off doing more teenager-y things involving dance, romantic relationships, and later, the demise of the dance show within the show. Flynn had a genius friend named Henry Dillon (Buddy Handleson), took karate, got his own dance routine, and occasionally acted more devious and intelligent than his age would imply. "You sound like a 35-year-old man trapped in a kid's body," his mother's new firefighter boyfriend Jeremy says in the first Season 3 episode. 

Interestingly, one of his co-stars described Davis that way as well. In an interview with Assignment X, Zendaya called Cleveland "hilarious," saying, "He is just like that character. Honestly, Davis I'm 100% convinced that he is not 10 years old. There is like a little 30-year-old man stuck inside of him. I hang out with him like a teenager and any of my other friends and he is so smart. He is so beyond his years and it's actually pretty astounding to me because he is so smart. I love being around him because he is such a cool kid!"

We can't help wonder if Cleveland's true personality inspired the writers to add that description of Flynn into the script. 

Cleveland used his celebrity to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis

Plenty of actors have a pet cause that they support with their celebrity, and Cleveland, during the prime of his child stardom, was no different. He spent some time working to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis and efforts to find a cure for the genetic disease that affects the lung, pancreas, and respiratory system. Apparently, he did it to help Macy Drewry, a patient whom he met and developed a friendship with over Twitter (via East Texas' KLTV). The friendship led him to join her at the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk in 2012, where he signed autographs and supported Drewry in her efforts. 

It's unclear if Cleveland continues to support cystic fibrosis awareness, or if this was a one-time event done at the behest of a friend. His involvement certainly provided him with some good publicity and hopefully brought some extra support to the fundraiser, but he's never publicly participated in another such event. 

Cleveland had a promising career, which ended in 2017

Davis' television career started just a few years before "Shake It Up." A native Texan, the young actor started doing commercial work in his home state but then moved to Los Angeles to break into the business. Prior to getting regular work, he did ads for McDonalds, Nissan, Kmart, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Honey-Baked Ham (via Disney press release). He did guest spots on shows like "Criminal Minds," "How I Met Your Mother," "Desperate Housewives," Ghost Whisperer," "Pair of Kings," and "Zeke and Luther" and starred in a Fox comedy pilot called "Sons of Tucson" in 2009. That pilot didn't get off the ground, but "Shake It Up," a year later, did. Before "Shake It Up," he had small roles on a couple of episodes on "Hannah Montana," playing unnamed characters. While he was on the Disney Channel, he made cameos as Flynn on other series like "Good Luck Charlie."

"Shake It Up" could be considered the young actor's big break, garnering him fans and a couple of Young Artist Awards ensemble nominations. It may have led to his later guest appearance on "Rizzoli & Ives" in 2014, and his association with Nickelodeon afterwards. His last major credits are in three Nickelodeon projects: the original movies "Rufus," "Rufus 2," and the TV series "Legendary Dudas," in which he made a 2016 appearance. Since 2017 he has not done any acting at all, but he seems to have good reasons for his disappearance.

Cleveland finished out his childhood acting career on Nickelodeon

A few young actors ended up being part of both Disney and Nickeolodeon's pantheon of child stars, and Cleveland became one of them in 2016, three years after the end of "Shake It Up," with "Rufus" and its 2017 sequel, "Rufus 2." In the hour-long Nickelodeon Original Movie "Rufus," he played Manny Garcia, the new kid in school after moving from Connecticut to Texas. He embarrasses himself on the very first day, but after school as he's playing with his dog they find an amulet necklace that grants his wish to have a friend he can bring to school. It turns Rufus into a human (Jace Norman). Soon, Manny becomes jealous of his dog's popularity at school, but when Manny is in danger, Rufus is definitely a boy's best friend. 

Davis doesn't seem to have done a lot of press for the movie or the sequel, the plot of which involves the amulet working randomly due to a crack it suffered in the first movie. However, Nickelodeon did release a behind-the-scenes antics video showing how much fun the child stars had on set while playing games and acting, as Cleveland's co-star Haley Tju said, like "one big dysfunctional family." 

Cleveland is a college student now

For now, Cleveland isn't particularly active on social media, even though his Instagram account has 99.7K followers and he could, if he wanted, cultivate a career as an influencer. His Twitter and Facebook accounts haven't been updated much since 2015. Of course, this might be attributed to the fact that he appears to have returned to normal life for a more traditional high school experience in Katy, Texas, where he participated in school athletics just as he did in California

Today, he's a college student. His Instragram bio indicates that he might be studying psychology at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where he also seems to be involved with the school's Pre-Dental Society. That does not seem to bode well for a future in Hollywood, if fans are holding out hope that he'll return to the acting profession once he has graduated. He seems to want to stay out of the limelight these days, based on the content he's posting sporadically now (pictures of non-Hollywood friends, travel, college haunts, trips to the gym) versus what he posted prior to 2015, which included plenty of mentions of auditions, along with gratitude to fans as well as his faith. But you never know — he's still pretty young.