Interviewed by: Jennifer Presser, CSA
1) Has there been a Casting Director that has encouraged and/or supported you in your career?
Yes and I am very grateful for them all and their support. Jennifer Presser and I met in a general meeting a few months ago and she has been a great supporter of mine ever since, recently casting me in a feature film and always championing my career. Several years ago, Risa Bramon Garcia called me in for three separate roles for The Affair and it was great to feel as though someone was in my corner throughout that process. It also reaffirmed that not getting a role isn't necessarily a reflection on your talent or ability, and that's helped me to feel a lot freer throughout the audition process and more at peace with whatever the outcome may be as there are so many factors that are out of your control. All you can do is work hard, show up fully, and leave the rest to fate.
2) What work are you most proud of?
I recently worked on a film written and directed by Christina Hulen called Everything's Fine, where I play a schoolteacher suffering from PTSD after being involved in a school shooting. This is a topic that I was already passionate about, but after doing research for my character and digging deeper, it became even more apparent that stories like this need to be told. Our wonderful on-set Production Assistant, Savanna Trujillo-Poelma, is a survivor of a school shooting, and the film is endorsed by Manny Oliver and Change The Ref, so I felt very humbled to be a part of this project as the story is so deeply personal to so many people and with that came a responsibility to tell it right. There's a scene where my character, Hannah, opens up to her wife and I completely broke down as the subject matter sat really heavy and felt so real in those moments. It sounds cliché but I really felt myself shift into the character and lose myself in her world, as though her experience became my own. The film was helmed by our wonderful director, Chris, who led with such integrity and created such a positive environment for us all. I'm proud to say the film has been accepted into its first festival - LA Shorts International Fest - and will premiere there in July.
3) What or who inspired you to pursue acting as a career?
I started acting at a young age in local theatre and would regularly compete in the Liverpool Performing Arts Festival, winning the Actress of the Year award three times. I very quickly realized that nothing made me feel alive the way acting did and I'm very fortunate to have been raised by a mother who encouraged me to pursue my passion. My late stepfather was a police officer who had a passion for music and he built a small studio in our garden shed where he had synthesizers, drums and a guitar. He didn't enjoy his job but lived for those moments where he could lose himself by making music in his shed on his days off or after a stressful shift at work. He passed away before he had chance to turn it into a career the way he hoped so I always promised myself that I would pursue what I loved in his honour.
4) What was your first IMDBPro credit and how did you feel when you saw it?
It was a 7-minute short film that my friend Alessandro and I created together as we had just graduated from acting school at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and felt a bit lost but wanted to get creative. I remember seeing it come up on IMDb and feeling proud!
5) How has IMDBPro helped you market yourself to filmmakers?
I see my IMDB page as my online resumé that allows people to see what I've been working on and who with, so it's quick and easy to send over to anyone who may need more information on my background and work. It's been a great way to stay connected to the business and it has consistently been a really useful tool when it comes to researching people in all facets of the industry.
6) Any funny casting room stories?
Once upon a time in a commercial casting, I had to mime riding a bicycle into a jewelry shop and robbing all of the jewelry before cycling back out as part of my escape. I had no idea what to do and remember feeling mortified. Safe to say, it wasn't my finest moment!
7) Tell us a fun fact about you outside of acting:
Although acting was always my first love, I originally studied French and Italian at Manchester University. Although I always wanted to act first and foremost, my high school encouraged me to study something academic to have a back-up option, so as someone who loves to travel, I decided to study languages. I really struggled as I'm a firm believer that in life, you should always start with Plan A instead of Plan B, which is what I was doing at just 18 years old. A few months into my course, my Italian lecturer called me into his office and asked why my best piece of work had been about the world of Italian film. I told him that I'd acted from a young age and that was what I loved to do. He responded by saying 'perhaps you should go and do that', so I took his advice and that's what I did. I withdrew from university and just six months later, moved to Los Angeles to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts after raising money for my visa through sponsorships, scholarships and grants. I do still speak French though, so the student debt wasn't for nothing!
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