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Emilie Germain

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Photo By: Michel Pinto

Name: Emilie Germain

Hometown: Puteaux, France

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Germain: I was 22. I have been acting since age seven – plays exclusively back in France. I always knew I loved acting. I begged my parents to go to theater camp during the summer, but I’m the first actor of the family and making it my living wasn’t something I considered fully until I realized that, “Hey, this is my life and I’m going to do what I love for a living because I can.” When I first transferred to San Jose State as an exchange student, I dropped all my classes for acting classes and shot my first film and completely fell in love with the film-making process. There was no going back after that.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Germain: My grandfather would watch me every Wednesday (not a school day in France) and insisted that we watch “Modern Times,” “The Three Stooges,” “Gone with the Wind” and “Some Like It Hot” on rotation. My grandfather was someone very guarded, who rarely showed his feelings. Seeing his face light up when we would watch them, helped me understand, early on, the eternal power of an amazing story on screen. I’ve also been blessed growing up watching phenomenal French actors Josiane Balasko, Nathalie Baye, Sophie Marceau, Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon… who constantly inspired me by consistently giving themselves entirely in every film they were involved in.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Germain: I prioritized the craft and still do. I think that it is the most important element to cherish. I know it is a tough industry. Clearly, it can take years until something significant happens, but acting is the job so when the moment comes, I want to be ready. Of course, there are mandatory steps that I follow: update my reel, shoot new headshots every six months, update my resume, sign up to LA Casting and Actors Access, network, join SAG, get an agent, regularly communicate with my agent, etc., but I also came here with a network of people I went to film school with. Many of them are doing great and I think a support system is essential. I consider most of these people my family of heart. We’ve been through hell and back together and they share my passion and determination. I have their backs and they have mine. Of course, I’ve also met amazing new people along the way. Going 100 percent after my dreams is both challenging and rewarding. I am constantly learning new things about the industry, but being true to myself, knowing what I want and going after it are really the things that stand out. The plan is to keep working hard, keep going forward and trust my gut.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Germain: I didn’t exactly move from home directly to pursuing my dream career. I had been acting all my life but I hadn’t considered it as a career until I shot my first film during my first year in the United States. When I moved to San Francisco, all became crystal clear and I enrolled at Academy of Art where I studied acting and started shooting on a regular basis. It’s after I completed my Meisner technique training, that I finally felt it was time for me to move to LA and officially start my career as an actor.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Germain: I experienced more of a culture shock moving from San Francisco to LA than I did moving from Paris to San Francisco. It was very hard for me to adjust to the pace, the traffic, the mentality … for over a year. I never had to drive on a daily basis before so that in itself, was something… interesting, and I was coming from a very hippy, chill community into smack middle of Hollywood on my own, so I had a “how to live in LA” phase to go through on top of learning about the industry. Eventually, I found my angels, the area where I really feel at home and work started coming in and has been consistent since.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Germain: I have had the privilege to work on several feature films as the lead. That was a big milestone for me. I had led countless shorts but when I first found out I was working alongside Corey Page in the film “Can’t Be Undone,” who I had religiously watched every single day after school back in France on the Australian TV show “Heartbreak High,” it was epic. That same year I got to work with Sally Field in “Hello My Name is Doris,” I got myself a credit on the film “Starry Eyes” and I shot my first lead in a horror feature film “Sweet Kitty.” In 2016, I gave birth to my twin sons Enzo and Sebastien, who play baby Calhoun in “Modern Family” season 8 and as you can imagine, I’ve been pretty busy taking care of my little monkeys for the past year, but now that things are a little less crazy, I am back at it full time and I actually just found out I booked two other features shooting later this year so I’ll keep you posted!

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Germain: I’ve had the pleasure to play with every genre and I truly love them all. I tend to feel most at home in drama but at the end, what really matters is how the story makes me feel when I first read a script. I am currently working on three features films: a horror, a comedy and a drama. All of them have a very unique perspective and voice and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Part of the fun is being able to travel within all those worlds and bring each story to life. I love working on a film that makes me think about life in a new way and open a dialogue about its message. For that reason there are many many… really many roles I’d like to play.

Photo By: Michel Pinto

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Germain: Empathy. Tenacity. Faith. An infinite imagination and a wide open heart.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Germain: My dream acting career simply consists in telling beautiful, powerful stories that empower the voiceless, the underdogs, and other dreamers that intend to do good in this world on an international level. This is why, eventually, I intend to have my own production company to make sure all those films get made.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Germain: Believe in yourself and the truth in your heart at all times. In the beginning, train. Take classes. Practice. The most seasoned actors still learn every day because there is always something new to discover. Shoot as many films as you can, student films or your own at first to build your reel and learn how to work on camera until it becomes second nature. Success is when preparation meets opportunity. You can manifest opportunities all day long but you have to be ready for them. It s hard at first to cope with the inevitable amount of rejection that comes with this path but you have to trust that there are roles specifically made for you out there. Always take into consideration that it takes a whole team of committed, passionate and determined people working together to make this happen. Surround yourself with those people. It takes a team to make a dream come true.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
GermainIMDB/Instagram

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Next Up

Lindsey Schuberth

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Name: Lindsey Schuberth

Hometown: Blue Springs, MO

Current Location: Los Angeles

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Schuberth: You know, the first time I can remember telling someone I was going to be an actress was my sophomore high school biology instructor. She was asking me what science class I wanted to take next, and I told her that I wouldn’t need to take anymore as I was going to be an actress. If I only knew that I would go on to major in both Biology and Theatre in just two short years! (Laughter) I did always love to perform though and was involved in all the talent shows and plays in school and church.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Schuberth: Honestly, I have two moments that I distinctly remember inspiring me towards a career in acting. The first was watching my sister, Lauren Schuberth, in a community theater show when I was five. It was the first time I had seen live theater, and I’ll never forget how this enchanted world of knights, princesses, and castles came to life right in front of me. I was hooked. The second, was watching a movie called “A Walk To Remember” at the age of 12. I was so moved by Mandy Moore’s performance that I knew I wanted to also inspire people the way she inspired me in that film. To inspire, encourage, make people have emotion and really feel life, that was thrilling to me. I knew through acting I would have the opportunity to help people, and that still gets me so excited!

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Schuberth: In my mind, as a 16 year old, growing up in the heartland of the US, my plan was to go to college, get a degree in Theatre, and then move to New York or Los Angeles. I didn’t know what it actually took to approach this kind of career. As I studied at Greenville College (University) in IL, I found out they had a study “domestically” abroad program called the LA Film Studies Center in Los Angeles. So, I quickly signed up for that to get to LA to see if I even liked on-camera acting, or maybe God would show me another route he wanted for my life. This program was fundamental in teaching me about living in LA as an artist. It solidified that LA was the place for me!

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Schuberth: After attending the LAFSC program in LA, I knew that I was going to move back, but I had one semester left of school, so I returned to finish. Once graduated, I saved enough money in one month to get me to LA, so in July of 2012, at the age of 22, I made the big move. It was a scary and thrilling time in life.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Schuberth: The transition for me was pretty smooth as I had just gone to school in LA and formed friendships and now had a network of people from that program to connect to as well. I also moved back out with a friend I had made through that program, so I was already living with a close friend. I also found a church community quickly after moving to LA, which was so helpful in making LA feel like home. I’m so grateful as I know many people come out without knowing anyone. Joining acting classes right away also gave me another network of people to connect with. When one chooses to move out here and he or she asks me for advice, the first thing I tell them is to make LA your home. Get a place to live, find community in whatever form you like best because you can’t pursue a dream without a support system. LA can be a very lonely place, but if you put yourself out there and start joining sports teams, acting classes, church groups, whatever that might be for you, it makes the pursuit that much better and more fulfilling.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Schuberth: My biggest break was in 2017 when I booked my first TV co-star for the online platform YouTube Red. The show is called “Rhett & Link’s Buddy System.” Season 2. I played a fun, hipster barista! It was an incredible experience to work alongside the YouTube titans Rhett & Link, known for their show “Good Mythical Morning,” as well as the director, Steve Pink, who has directed comedies like “Hot Tub Time Machine.” I couldn’t be more excited to see what happens next!

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Schuberth: Yes, actually I was just offered a role in the Shakespeare play “Romeo & Juliet!” I’ve always wanted to do a full Shakespeare play, so I couldn’t be more thrilled! Ovation Arts is taking a modern twist with the show and having me play the male role of Tybalt!

Along with period pieces, I also want to work on romantic comedies, musicals, and dramas that deal with family dynamics. These are all among the genres I’d love to play both on screen and on Broadway! Ideally, I’d love to look back and see my career be shaped in both the stage and camera worlds.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Schuberth: Perseverance. This job is all about moving forward no matter the setbacks or “nos.” The people who don’t give up are usually the ones you see 20 years down the line with a career and a powerful story.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Schuberth: The biggest dream I have when it comes to my acting career is that I might have a voice to create change in the world. I want people to know they have value, they are loved, and we all bring something unique to the table. If I can even make one person feel seen and worthy, then my career in acting has been worth it. I know God has created me to bring light and hope to those around me.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Schuberth: I would say, if there is nothing else you can even consider doing, then come. Join the tribe, be ready to be challenged, to never give up chasing what you want, to live a journey that is only yours. It isn’t an easy one, but if you have the passion, it will be worth it.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?

IMDb

Actors Access

My website

My Instagram

 

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Next Up

Caitlin Grace

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Photo By: Nagel Photography

Name: Caitlin Grace

Hometown: Lodi, CA

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Grace: I knew as a young child, that acting was something that I had to pursue. I always felt that I could tell stories as well as those cast in parts on my favorite shows. I remember, “Who’s Afraid of The Dark” for sure, and I wanted to be on that show so bad!

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Grace: Absolutely, for what really sealed my inspiration was Kirsten Dunst and when she played, Claudia, in Interview with the Vampire I was so thoroughly impressed with her performance and felt, “If she can do it, I know I can do it too.” Boom.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Grace: Oh boy, this is still a tough question after all these years. I knew, that if I didn’t at least try to pursue acting, I may live in regret for the rest of my life. I remember feeling that as young as age nine. My father really wanted me to study and become an engineer. I toyed with the idea of getting my law degree, and I remember Pops saying, “You can do it, all you need to take are baby steps.” When I did apply to San Francisco State University, it was for a Theater Arts Major. Funny enough, I didn’t elect to have an academic counselor when I started, and two years after my receiving my Associates Degree, I realized that I had fallen into Psychology. It was difficult to get into theater classes after my first two years. I should have signed up for those courses freshman year. But honestly, I didn’t have the confidence, at all, to pursue it in college. But Psychology has served me very well in my study of the craft of acting, for one must know, how and what, motivates people to do the things they do. So, plan wise? I just had to remind myself that acting was to be pursed in baby steps as well. I feel I have to remind myself that acting is NOT that same formula as getting your Doctorate or a Law Degree. Where one gets their BA or BS, then Masters, then Graduate Program/Med School, then the tests to tell you’re ready to get a residency or internship. Acting is NOT the same. I don’t feel that there is a true tested formula for making it as an artist. It’s a matter of plugging along and seeing what does and doesn’t feel right, and trusting your intuitions along the way.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Grace: I went to college right after graduating from high school. My last semester in college, a friend of mine who did study entertainment, mentioned she got an internship at a casting directors office and was moving to LA the summer after graduation. I hopped on that band wagon and moved here with her. I was freshly 21, and still had A LOT of work to do, not only in making moves in the industry, but on myself as well.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Grace: It was easy in the sense that we ended up moving in with a lovely friend we had both met in college. She had a few extra rooms in her childhood house that her parents left to her and her siblings when they bought a second house a few blocks away. They were very patient with me, as I was really going through and experiencing my own demons. I ended up moving in with my grandparents a couple months after moving here, which was a blessing. I am lucky enough to have family here that has always supported me. But as much as others wanted to help me, I found myself pushing away, still not feeling that I deserved any help from anyone. I did feel alone for years, despite meeting some very amazing and patient people, it still took me some time to allow myself to trust others and let them in. But it became easier when I started studying at Beverly Hills Playhouse. That’s when the walls started to crumble down.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Grace: I went on an audition for a feature and it was improv. Very basic, you need for your scene partner to stay with you, but they for sure leave at the end of the scene. I remember sitting in the waiting room and writing down all the logical reasons why that character should stay with me. I did my homework, and I remember feeling like I nailed that audition. In fact, I did a happy dance walking back to my car. A few weeks later, the director, Antoine La, called my back in to read with nine other people they were casting for the opposite role. And to my absolute delight, Tim Drier, whom I’d worked and studied with at BHP for the past couple years, showed up to read for that part! It was a wonderful experience! Though I didn’t hear back immediately, I was okay with that. I did what I could and I figured they went with someone, probably younger, for that role. Tim told me to keep my head up. And a couple weeks later, Antoine reached out and told me that, though they went another direction for the part I originally read for, they actually wrote in a part for me, based off my auditions. I’m telling you, THAT was the moment I knew that I was REALLY on the right path, and I am so happy I stuck it out for as long as I have.

P.S. Tim booked his role too and we filmed our first feature, “Followed,” with the most FANTASTIC team, produced by Viscape Arts! Stay Tuned, it’s almost wrapped in post and slated to release 2018! #followedmovie baby!

Photo By: Nagel Photography

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role youd like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Grace: I love all genres, honestly, and as long as I gravitate toward a storyline, I’m happy to play and experience the role.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Grace: I find that the greatest strength one could ever have, is to TRUST and have absolute faith and confidence in yourself and the choice you made to pursue your craft and dream. It’s a very hard road, and not only will others doubt your resolve and your ability, you will too. YOU can’t let that doubting dialogue become your fear or your demise. You know you’re true heart and passion, and you need to trust that. And remember, you could be the best actor in the room, but that doesn’t promise you’ll get the part. So realize, it’s not rejection if you don’t book, you just weren’t what they were looking for, but that DOESN’T mean you aren’t good and you don’t deserve it. But babe; I’ve seen and met a lot of jaded people trying to make it in this industry. TRUST when I say that you can’t let your ego get the best of you. You will be you’re own worst enemy. Don’t let your fear and self consciousness overwhelm you. Remember, you know your ability, so again, it’s all about trusting yourself.

Did I stress that too much? Did I say trust too many times? (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Grace: My ultimate dream when it comes to my acting career is simple. When I watch a show, or movie, or play, and I am moved, I feel a sense of catharsis. My dream is to do the same for others, to help them realize something about themselves, and maybe learn a little life lesson from the story I’ve helped to create and tell. I want to move people. And walking down the red carpet and up to that podium of course! I’ve been visualizing it for so long, I’m so excited for it to manifest!

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Grace: You have to be prepared to be very very patient. Be patient with learning technique and studying your craft. Be patient to get the right head shots and develop a good reel. DON’T give yourself a timeline: i.e., “I’ll give it two years.” If you really really want it, “It takes a super human effort,” said Alex Craig Mann. So be patient AND persistent. For don’t forget, this is the industry of “hurry up and wait.” And, take it easy on yourself. You may go through a year where you are booking left and right, then the next year, it seems like it’s all dried up, and you haven’t been called in for auditions, or you can’t find a new agent, or a manager. There are ebbs and flows in this industry, be prepared to ride them and not fight them.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Grace: You can check out my website, www.caitlingraces.com, and/or connect though Instagram and Facebook.

I am on Actors Access, LACasting and IMDb.

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Next Up

Christine Severin

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Photo By: Nori Rasmussen

Name: Christine Severin

Hometown: Laurens, SC

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Severin: I’ve always wanted to act, but as far as for a living I decided I would do it for a living a couple of years ago. 2014 to be exact.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Severin: Oh loads. I could tell you one of the first movies I remember seeing in theaters was “The Lord of the Rings” and Aragorn was such a bad ass that I wanted to be just like him. I could also tell you that I would listen to the “Moulin Rouge!” soundtrack on replay as a kid and imagine myself singing and dancing with the cast in one epic love story. Or that “Sweet Home Alabama” was one of my favorite comedies growing up because it reminded me so much of the town I lived in. I could give you a list of actresses that shaped how I want my career to look: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Saldana, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, among many, many others. My inspiration as a kid was endless.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Severin: I honestly just started seriously pursuing acting a few months ago, so I am still working on the day-to-day. As far as approaching my career, when I first decided to move I made a five year plan on where I should be in how much time. So far everything is on schedule.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Severin: My whole life I wanted to move to California to be an actress, but it was always on the back burner for different reasons. I started seriously thinking about moving to California in 2013 when I was 21. I was about to graduate and thought instead of going into law school, I would move to California to seriously pursue acting.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Severin: Moving to California was the easiest transition I’ve ever made in my life. I think it was because I wanted it for so long or maybe because I moved here with my best friend from college, but I didn’t feel the isolation and loneliness most people initially feel when they move here. As far as a support group and friends, I moved here with my best friend so we had each other in those first months after moving. A couple of months later I got a job and found more support with the people I met there.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Severin: I actually wouldn’t say I’ve had my “big break” yet as far as projects are concerned. If anything my “big break” this year was just being able to own an audition without nerves, and transfer my confidence into landing roles. Like I said, I’ve only been seriously pursuing acting for a couple of months, but I have landed a few shorts from that and I will be in a show premiering on Amazon next year, so that’s all very exciting.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Severin: For genre, I have always loved drama. When I was younger, I would recite dramatic monologues in the mirror and practice crying on command. For me, my favorite part about those moments in film is that it really moves me and makes me feel human. If a scene can make me cry, then it’s a damn good performance, and that’s what I’d like to be able to portray on screen one day.

As far as roles go, I have always wanted to play a superhero. Even before the hero trend was happening in movies, I just thought Batman was such a cool dude. I’d love to play Hawkgirl in a film, or some kind of other badass chick that young girls could look up to and want to be too.

Photo By: Nori Rasmussen

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Severin: The greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability is a good understanding of people. When we as actors get a script, it’s our job to tell a character’s story and make sure it is as authentic as possible for our audience. Being able to understand different people, who have experienced different things and who come from different walks of life is the greatest strength a performer can have, apart from acting ability, to tell a story as truthfully as possible.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Severin: My ultimate dream as far as my career is to move and inspire people with the projects I take on as an actress. To me that also translates into winning an Oscar, but I also have smaller goals too like just being in attendance at the Oscars, hosting SNL, or playing lip sync with Jimmy Fallon. I also think it’d be great to use a successful career as a platform to bring other important topics to light, but that’s way in the future from now. Needless to say, big goals. Big, BIG goals.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who are considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Severin: Failure is not an option and there is no plan B. It’s a tough mindset, but that’s my best advice. Of course there are always good and bad days in this industry, but instead of focusing on the bad, just look back and see how far you’ve come from day one. Be competitive, work hard, and put yourself in a winner’s mindset. If you look at your journey that way, then you realize that every “no” or rejection is not a failure, it’s actually just a chance to grow and be better than you were when you started.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Severin: You can find all my professional contact info on my IMDb page! Or just follow me on Instagram.

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Next Up

Grayson Hodgkiss

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Name: Grayson Hodgkiss

Hometown: Downers Grove, IL/Atlanta, GA

Current Location: San Diego, CA/Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Hodgkiss: I started to become interested in pursuing acting as a career my junior year in high school. I realized my love for performing and being in front of large crowds through dance competitions, musicals, plays, choir concerts, and through public appearances as Miss Illinois Teen USA. Yes, I was momentarily a pageant queen. I decided to sign with a local agency in Chicago, Hinsdale Talent Boutique, and they helped open the doors to new auditions and opportunities in downtown Chicago. This interest in acting has stayed with me throughout college though I was studying Broadcast Journalism when I started my degree at San Diego State University.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Hodgkiss: I am a hopeless romantic so naturally I am drawn to love stories. One play that stuck with me through the years is “Phantom of the Opera.” I love stories including the classic love triangle and/or star-crossed lovers. I also really enjoy singing and still know every word to every song in that musical. As far as film, I do have a special place in my heart for “The Notebook.”

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Hodgkiss: Thankfully I had a lot of help when it comes to approaching my career as an actor. My mom was acting as my “mom-ager” for a while until I was introduced to my wonderful manager. My manager, Chip Altholz, was the first person to introduce me to the basics of this industry. One of the most helpful things we did towards the beginning was to create a five-year plan so we had specific goals we had to reach by the end of each year. The goals helped to keep me focused while I was still pursuing my degree at school. My mom, Chip, and two brothers also flew out to Los Angeles with me to go visit different agencies and eventually find the one that was right for me. I am currently signed with Metropolitan Talent Agency in Los Angeles.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Hodgkiss: The first time I moved away from home was when I was 17 years old and beginning my freshman year at SDSU. I decided to move 2,000 miles away from home and start a new life out in California. I figured if this truly was the industry I wanted to be a part of, then I needed to be where all the action was happening. My junior year in college I decided to take some time off from school and move to LA to see if this was something that was even possible. I guess you could say I jumped right into the frying pan, but I was never going to know if I could do it until I tried for myself. I am very thankful to have such a great support system from my family and friends. They have always persuaded me to chase my dreams, no matter how extreme they may be.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Hodgkiss: The initial transition to move away from my family was difficult to say the least. I knew absolutely no one when I moved to California, and was forced out of my comfort zone from the very beginning. It took a few months before I started to feel at ease and then by the end of my first year I started making San Diego my home. As far as the move to LA, it was very lonely in the beginning too. I found myself reaching out to friends and family for comfort constantly. I got hired at a new restaurant called Delilah in West Hollywood after a month, and quickly assimilated into the LA lifestyle. I was taking two different acting classes while there and felt myself maturing and improving my acting abilities within a short amount of time. Los Angeles is no joke. You can feel the competition radiating off of the people around you at auditions. I knew if I wanted to have any success in this industry I was going to have to rise to the occasion and meet my competitors with just as much motivation and ability. It was exhilarating.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Hodgkiss: I think the biggest role that I have landed so far has been an independent film that had a destination shoot. I had a friend, whom I worked on another project with, reach out to me and ask me to audition for a role that I ended up landing. The film was set in Slab City, CA, which is in the middle of the desert out by Coachella Valley. I had never done something like this before and it is a trip that I will remember for the rest of my life. I do still feel like I am waiting for my big break and am excited to see what is in store.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Hodgkiss: I would really like to take on either the romantic lead in a film or television show, or a lead role in a comedy because I have become very comfortable with these types of characters. I think I feel very at home when it comes to comedy because I am a very optimistic and light-hearted person. For a more challenging role, I would love to take on an intense dramatic role that involves some sort of transformation from me.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Hodgkiss: I think one of the best strengths an actor can have is perseverance and a hunger to learn. I find that I am constantly watching the people and world around me to try and soak up as much information as I can. This becomes so useful when you are asked to draw upon past experiences or try and inhabit a certain behavior. Even if you have never experienced it yourself, you have seen someone else do it and can apply that knowledge. This business is a numbers game and you have to be willing to keep auditioning, no matter how many “no’s” you have received in the past.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Hodgkiss: My ultimate dream would be to star in at least a handful of successful movies and television shows, and I would like those projects to have an exotic set location. The travel bug has definitely bitten me, and if I were able to combine my love for traveling with my love for acting, I would be immensely happy. I want to be proud of the work I have helped produce and have no issues showing my loved ones the projects I have been involved in. If I end up winning an award for my work in the future that would also be wonderful. I want to lead somewhat of a normal life as well. I plan on then using my voice in society to elicit positive change in the world. I have always had a big heart for those in need and would love to use my influence for good.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Hodgkiss: I feel like the best piece of advice I can give to young actors is to maintain a positive attitude and keep auditioning. I have been told time and time again that this is a numbers game above all else, and I cannot stress to you how right these people are. It is insanely frustrating at times, but you have to find a way to love the entire experience. You have to love the adrenaline rush before and during auditions, enjoy memorizing lines and taking on new personas, and dedicate countless hours to prepare yourself for a role.

Another very important piece of advice that I could give is to learn exactly who you are and what makes you unique. You need to understand exactly what motivates you, what angers you, what things you love, and what things you hate. Only then are you truly able to shed yourself and inhabit the shell of another character. I also think it is vital to surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up and never stop believing in you. It can be so easy to get down on yourself after a rough audition or performance, but the key is to brush it off and move on. It is so much easier said than done, but you will lose your sanity any other way.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Hodgkiss: People can learn more about me by logging on to my website, IMDb, and/or following me on different social media platforms!
IMDb
Website
Instagram
Facebook

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Next Up

Bárbara Eliodorio

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Name: Bárbara Eliodorio

Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil

Current Location: New York City

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Eliodorio: Around seven or eight years old when I learned that my favorite game, playing pretend, was a profession. I used to talk by myself and create my own stories, then one day watching TV, I saw a very famous Brazilian actress saying that that’s what she used to do when she was a child, and I made the click that maybe I was an actress too.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Eliodorio: Yes. Television is huge in Brazil, especially soap operas, and that’s mostly what I watched growing up. I remember being very moved by Claudia Abreu performance in a telenovela called “Celebridade.”

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Eliodorio: Good question. I had several plans and had to redo them multiple times – they say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. (Laughter)

I always thought a solid base was necessary, which is why I made sure to study a lot. I studied for three years in Brazil then another three here, and of course, the learning process will never cease, but I wanted to get very familiar with the craft. I think my approach is to be really, really sharp with my work, and then just put it out there. Knowing what kind of art you want to do and who you want to work with… it’s very important to aim in a direction and shoot for it. Take all of the opportunities you can and be in constant risk. Don’t get stuck in comfort zones because that’s where art dies.

You need to be constantly sharing your work and making sure your artistry is being seen and heard. No one can see your work if you are home watching “Stranger Things.” (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Eliodorio: I always wanted to study outside of Brazil. I felt the need for more technique and that’s what brought me New York. I was 19.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Eliodorio: Not very long. I adapt really quickly as I have studied abroad a few times before, so I’m kind of used to the awkwardness and the “getting used to” a place. I kind of like that discomfort! I was also very lucky and made friends really quick, which made everything easier.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Eliodorio: I think my latest project was a big break for me. It was called “Female Voices From Brazil” and done at the Martin E. Segal Theatre, where so many artists whom I admire have performed. I got to be lead in a beautiful play called “The Body’s Night.” It was a very demanding role, and it really made me see acting through a different prism. It was a lovely experience.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Eliodorio: I love everything, from Greek tragedies to melodramas!

I love very sensitive, damaged characters who are in the edge of madness like Ofelia from “Hamlet” and Nina from “The Seagull,” but I’m learning to like characters who have nothing to do with me, and are so interesting to play, like Cleopatra from “Antony & Cleopatra.”

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Eliodorio: To be a nice person and be bold. Be kind to people always – that will bring you far. But also take risks, everyday! When you live in possibility you never have anything to lose, ever. So just do it and don’t look back.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Eliodorio: I have a lot of dreams and lots of artists I’d like to collaborate with. Mostly, I want to make art that has social impact – make voices that are constantly being silenced heard. I think that’s the dream.

I also want my theatre collective, Evoé, to keep growing and bringing Brazilian culture to more and more people.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Eliodorio: Is a lot easier than it seems. When you are home thinking, planning, you can see so many obstacles and things that can go wrong, so just DO IT. Just come and things will sort itself out.

The other thing is time. You have to trust divine timing and sometimes it’s just not the time to make the move yet. The universe may have other plans for you, and that is okay too.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Eliodorio: My Instagram: @barbaraeliodorio

And at my theatre collective website: www.evoecollective.com

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Next Up

Kelsey Boze

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Name: Kelsey Boze

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Current Location: Los Angeles, California

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Boze: When I was 15. I chose to drop all other extra curricular activities once I began high school and focused solely on my school’s theater program. Then my senior year I did half days of school and half days at a pre-college program at Pittsburgh Musical Theater.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Boze: I basically was a Disney princess as a child – always dancing around, singing, loving animals, and trying to get them to dress me. So they were a huge influence on my singing voice and acting style. As I got older I became a major fan of Audrey Hepburn and Julia Roberts. The most notable performance though was Angelina Jolie in “Girl, Interrupted.” I stayed up late one night with my mom and grandmother to watch that movie and was terrified of her character, Lisa. My mom explained to me that she was an actress just pretending and that stuck with me.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Boze: Truthfully my only plan was a choice of LA over NYC. I made the decision to come out here and I had always easily found success in Pittsburgh – getting agents and work – so I figured the same would be true out here. After three years of being out here… I think differently. But my plan is always changing as I step higher and higher in my career. With new successes come new plans of how to continue that rise up.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Boze: Technically my professional acting career began in college. I moved only 45 minutes away from home that time to attend Point Park University in downtown Pittsburgh. I was originally from Peters Township, PA. I was 18. The real move that continued my professional acting career came when I was 22 when I moved to Los Angeles.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Boze: The initial transition from east coast to west was extremely difficult. I moved to LA not knowing anyone or anything about the city. I rented an apartment and drove my car cross country with my dad. He set me up for about a week (my uncle from Seattle helped) and then I was on my own. I’ve learned that I would never do that again. I strongly believe you should set up a life for yourself before you move to a new place. But within my first year here I was cast in my first feature film, “A Closer Walk With Thee,” which brought me a good support group and a new boyfriend. That is when LA began to feel like home.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Boze: “Stasis,” a feature film I am in, which is available on Netflix in most countries, iTunes and Amazon in the U.S. and comes to Netflix in the U.S. in December. It is the only project I’ve worked on so far that has brought me fan mail and international attention.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Boze: What I would like to work on for the majority of my career is dramatic features. I have an ear for comedy but I really enjoy taking on a drama. Whether in major motion pictures or plays/musicals on Broadway, I tend to favor drama. Anything with real emotional depth and complexity of character peaks my interest. Two bucket list characters I want to play are Poison Ivy and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Boze: Networking. Knowing what they have to offer as an actor and convincing people of that.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Boze: My ultimate dream is to regularly take on lead or supporting roles in major motion pictures.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Boze: Have a place to live, at least one person you know who you can explore the city with, and at LEAST job prospects for an income set before you make the move. An income, an agent, and a manager would be ideal things to have beforehand but aren’t essential. If moving to LA, have a car.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Boze: The easiest place would be my website: www.kelseyboze.com. And I have profiles on LA Casting, Actors Access, and IMDb. I also have a fan group that I send emails to with career updates; to join that, email updatemeonkb@gmail.com.

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Next Up

Shelly West

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Name: Shelly West

Hometown: Cottage Grove, MN

Current Location: North Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
West: I knew I loved performing when I was young. I still have a school paper I wrote about what career will I have in 20 years. I wrote, “I will live in California as an actress or a lawyer.” I was 10 at the time. While I knew it that young, I hid it for a long time. I wasn’t in high school theater or anything – I was too scared and judgmental once I hit my teens. I hid my desire to act for a lot of my life, and didn’t even take an acting class until I was 29.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
West: I loved some of the young actresses on TV – Danica McKellar as Winnie on “The Wonder Years,” Tiffani-Amber Thiessen as Kelly on “Saved By The Bell,” and Alyssa Milano as Sam on “Who’s The Boss.” I wanted to dress and act like those ladies and I had their pictures up on my wall when I was young. But it was in my early 20s when “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” came out and Kate Winslet was so quirky and flawed in her role as Clementine that I just fell in love with her. I felt like that character represented so much of who I was… confused, but confident, but lost, but creative, but hurt, but in love, but everything. That film as a whole is a huge inspiration to me.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
West: By the time I decided to pursue acting full-time I had already been in the industry for years. I started out coordinating, production managing, and assistant directing for independent film and commercials. I switched over to acting because I simply couldn’t deny it anymore, and while I thought I had it figured out considering all my “experience,” navigating the acting waters is way different than any other freelance filmmaking position in many ways. It’s a process of courage and discovery every day for me. One thing I always told myself is that no matter how crazy it gets, as long as I do something towards my acting career every day, even if that means sending one email or taking notes from an article I read, I was moving forward. That has turned into so much more on a daily basis, and I have found HUGE value in goal-setting and getting real about what I want and what it will actually take to achieve it. I can’t just want it, I must take action. (Funny how as actors we struggle with that sometimes!) It’s a lot of work that isn’t on camera or in class. My general approach is in attitude, spirit, and mentality, that I must come from a place of ‘It will happen.’ When I feel intimidated about doing something, I ask the question, “Why not?” and remind myself I don’t have anything to lose. This may be an industry with a tough reputation, and rightfully so, but it’s also an industry where anything is possible.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
West: I moved to Los Angeles when I was 27. Interestingly, at the time I was pursuing a producing career. It was after I turned 30 and realized that life is too short that I decided to take acting seriously and that yes, I love performing, and yes, I will be good at it, and yes, people will pay me enough doing it that I can make a living.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
West: The move itself was relatively easy because I had a network of people already living in LA from other films I had worked on while in the Midwest. But LA is a busy city, and folks are working so feverishly at their dreams that ‘hanging out’ is sometimes a lot to ask. I didn’t understand that at first. Time is a huge commodity and people are selective. It probably took me about three years before I felt like I understood the energy here and I knew enough people for it to feel like home. I find people value genuine friendships in this town, but they take a while to really bloom. Like, I’ll call someone I haven’t spoken to in four years and they’re happy to hear from me, and we reconnect and grow the friendship, but it can’t be forced. People LOVE to hire their friends, but it’s not instant.

TrunkSpace: What has been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
West: So far, I would say the first role I ever booked, because that’s what made it real! It was a non-union commercial and paid $500. The audition was more of an interview, totally last minute, and I was over the moon excited that I was cast. It reinforced that it’s possible.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
West: It changes. Lately I’ve enjoyed darker, crazier characters, like Charlize Theron in “Monster” or Amanda Plummer in “Pulp Fiction.” I’m finding a lot of value in exploring the truth within the ‘ugly’ and what it means to be human from that perspective, with the same needs and desires as everybody else but shadowed with demons. I’m definitely at home in the all-American mom type of look, but I’m itching to spice it up!

West in “Hammer Suite”

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
West: An awareness of what’s possible in this lifetime. A sense of self. Trust and listening with an open mind. Emotional intelligence, and an understanding of how the internal reality generates the external reality. Being kind to other humans without expecting to get anything back. Travel and accepting diversity. Contributing to other people’s stories. Implementing the art of acting into the art of life. Giving people space to be themselves. A curiosity to constantly learn. Skill-wise, learn how to write, edit and dance.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
West: Kathy Bates might have my dream career. Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe winner, a star on the Walk of Fame, drama, horror, comedy, feature film, TV, sitcom, theater, voiceover – she does it ALL! I want all of that! In addition (because now I must strive to top Kathy Bates), I’d love to have a production company that produces mindful narrative around the world.

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
West: Don’t wait because you’re making it complicated and overthinking. Just listen to yourself, and if you hear the calling, then go for it! Have no fear, you will figure it out. There will be ups and downs, but if you are serious, you gotta go for it. Get involved with networks, groups, organizations. There are so many. Meet as many people as you can, and genuinely ask how you can support them. Be brave, love yourself, and be kind.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
West: At my website www.shellywest.com, and I will soon have a link to join my mailing list! The marketing stuff has been a challenge but I’m excited to say it’s happening! I’m looking forward to a simple way to keep in touch with everyone. And of course Facebook, Twitter and Insta!

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Next Up

Dayna Lee Brand

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Name: Dayna Lee Brand

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Brand: I would say I always knew I wanted to, but believing I could came much later. It wasn’t just one moment in time, it was many moments strung together that, looking back, were pivotal for me to start believing I could make acting a career. One of those moments was reading an interview from Laverne Cox. She said something along the lines of, “You’ve got to want it more than anything else, you’ve got to want even if it means being broke and living in Kansas.” That statement resonated with me. I began asking myself what was really worth giving up every other luxury for. At one point, I made a list of everything I wanted in life. I then asked myself one by one if I wanted each thing on that list more than I wanted to be an actress. The answer was no every single time. That was when I knew I was going to begin pursuing this career.

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Brand: My family used to see a lot of musicals when we were younger, Cinderella was my favorite. There’s something special about being in the theater. And of course, this was before cell phones, so the audience was fully immersed in the play. In films, I remember being mezmorized by Angelina Jolie in “Girl, Interrupted” and Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.” They were real, tortured, and yet, playful. I admired their dynamic performances.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Brand: Plan…? I had a very specific plan before I got to LA, how things would happen and in what order. Needless to say, that plan changed a million and one times. My biggest piece of advice is to do your research and then do some more research. There is so much information out there and thousands of people willing to take advantage of those with this dream. It will never hurt in your acting or your life to be well-informed.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Brand: Actually, I was 23, living in Connecticut/NYC at the time, and working at a hedge fund. I know, BIG change. Right after college I told my mom I was moving to NYC with no job, no place to live, and going to find a job at a hedge fund. She told me that I was crazy and I shouldn’t do it. She laughed at the thought of me working at a hedge fund. A little over a year later I told my mom I was moving to LA with no job, no place to live, and to pursue acting. I had expected the same speech as before moving to NYC, but instead she just said, “Okay, honey.”

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Brand: I was a bit of a gypsy the last few years of my life, so the transition was very easy. My sister lives in LA also, so I felt right at home almost immediately. I had this overwhelming sense that I was finally on the right path from the moment I packed up my car in Westport, CT and started the drive to LA. I think if something is right, you’ll sense instantly and that’s how it was for me as soon as I got here.

TrunkSpace: What has been been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Brand: I just got my first role on an independent film called, “Time to Turn the Paige.” Hopefully, I am not speaking too soon because we haven’t started filming yet and people in LA tend to be on the flakier side, but to me it’s my first break because I finally get to be a part of something, doing what I love.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Brand: I would love to play someone completely opposite of me or someone really evil or tortured. I think that’s the fun in acting, that you get to be all of these different kinds of people.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Brand: Sacrifice. Be honest with yourself, would you want this if it meant sacrificing time with friends because you need to study lines, or even a bed because between acting classes and rent, not one dollar can go to anything else? You need to be not only comfortable, but infatuated, with the uncomfortable.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Brand: To be a part of a great project. It sounds cheesy, but to be a part of a film or TV show that can make an audience laugh, cry, fall in love, feel something, anything, is the ultimate goal. To share raw, human emotion with them.

An Oscar wouldn’t hurt either, though. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Brand: If you know this is what you want, not because of fame or money or attention, because it’s what you truly love, then do it and do it now. Be kind to everyone. Never complain and be grateful for every opportunity no matter how small. Let life happen to you. Every experience, every pain, every happiness will fuel you.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
IMDb here.
Instagram here.

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Next Up

Kristen Leigh

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Name: Kristen Leigh (McCusker)

Hometown: Westford, MA

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

TrunkSpace: When did you know that you wanted to act for a living?
Leigh: My earliest experiences with acting involved my three siblings and one of those giant VHS camcorders that you had to balance on your shoulder. We made lots of silly movies, like spoofs of “Star Wars” and James Bond. I started performing in musicals in middle school and by the 8th grade had decided that I wanted a career in theater. I went on to become very involved in musical and dramatic productions in our public high school’s theater program, at Westford Academy in Westford, MA. This program was (and is) top notch and it gave me a solid foundation. My decision to study acting was solidified my junior year of high school when I played Maureen in “RENT.”

TrunkSpace: Was there a particular performance or actor/actress from your childhood that you remember being drawn to and inspired by?
Leigh: As a young kid I looked up to Jim Carrey and Mike Meyers. I remember dreaming about being a female Jim Carrey. When I grew into my teens and young adulthood, I began looking up to strong women actors like Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Viola Davis.

TrunkSpace: How did you decide to approach your career as an actor? Did you formulate a plan of how you wanted to attack what is known for being a hard industry to crack?
Leigh: I was accepted into NYU’s Tisch School of the Performing Arts and spent the first half of my time there studying Musical Theater at their New Studio on Broadway. But I knew that I wanted to do all types of acting. I wanted to make sure that I received training in TV, film, and commercial acting, as well as voiceover. So halfway through my time in college I made the move to a Tisch partner program, Stonestreet Studios. I stayed in NYC for a couple of years after graduation and then decided to move to LA. Before I moved to LA I came up with a game plan of certain steps I needed to take and certain tasks I needed to accomplish before I arrived and for when I arrived in LA. There are so many different ways to get a foot in the door, you just have to be prepared for when that opportunity comes, and also put yourself out there and be open. And I never want to stop learning! I am currently enrolled in an animation voiceover class and I’m loving every minute of it.

TrunkSpace: When did you decide to move away from your home and pursue acting as a career? How old were you at the time?
Leigh: I moved away to Muhlenberg College when I was 18, and it was six hours away from my home, which was far for me. I then transferred to NYU the following year. I lived in NYC after graduation for a couple of years, auditioning, doing regional theater, student films, an independent TV pilot and voiceover work. Then I decided to move to LA in September 2016 to focus more on TV/Film/VO.

TrunkSpace: Was that move an easy transition for you initially? How long did it take you to feel at home and find a good support group of friends and peers?
Leigh: Moving from a rural area of Massachusetts where I grew up to NYC was a drastic transition. But it was exciting and I was soon too busy with college classes and rehearsals to focus on adjusting. You just do what you have to do to get things done! I miss NYC sometimes. LA is a whole other beast, because it is a completely different environment. I don’t have school or a set schedule. I have to make sure that I set aside time to focus on my career. I get support from my older brother, who is also an actor in LA and from the great friends I’ve made, many of whom are co-workers at the restaurant I work at. It took about three months to feel comfortable and at home, and it’s still a work in progress, but that is to be expected… it still hasn’t been a year!

TrunkSpace: What has been your biggest break in terms of a particular role or project thus far?
Leigh: I’m still waiting for that big break! I guess I would say my big break was being involved in a short film soon after arriving in LA that made me SAG-Eligible. Since I’ve been in LA I’ve done several short films and a pilot for a web series that they want to pitch to networks. Right now I am focusing on obtaining representation and getting into the voice acting world out here.

TrunkSpace: Is there a specific type of role you’d like to take on or a specific genre that you feel more at home in?
Leigh: I would love to land a super heroine role, something involving action and combat. I have some experience with shooting (rifle, shotgun, and pistol), as well as bow and arrow. I have also done some boxing and kickboxing. I hope to take a stage combat course. I also love indie, fantasy, sci-fi.

TrunkSpace: What would you say is the greatest strength an actor/actress can have outside of acting ability itself?
Leigh: Experiencing life to the fullest and allowing yourself to experience all of the emotions that come with that. And, of course, taking those you care about with you on that ride. Exposure and connections with people and situations have helped me become a better actor with regards to emotional empathy. You have a better understanding of characters when you experience all that life has to offer. As an actor, you need to draw from experiences and emotions.

TrunkSpace: What is your ultimate dream when it comes to your acting career? Where would you like your path to lead?
Leigh: I would love to be on a long-running sitcom, because I love comedy and being around energy and fun. Also, you’d get to develop relationships with the cast and crew and really develop your character over many seasons. Comedy is my favorite. However, to play a superhero in a film is another huge dream of mine! Marvel, here’s looking at you!

TrunkSpace: What advice would you give another young aspiring actor/actress who is considering moving away from home to pursue their dream?
Leigh: Do it. Take the plunge. You’ll gain self-confidence, learn so much about yourself and other people, see places you wouldn’t have otherwise, and you’ll be going outside your comfort zone, which is most important. Do what’s best for you and the dreams you want to pursue. Take the risk, but be smart about it. Before you make the move, do your research, reach out to people and make contacts. Make sure that you have some money saved up. I moved back home for three months before my move to LA, in order to work full-time and save every dime. You don’t want to worry about where your next meal is coming from while you are trying to focus on establishing your acting career. In the end, you will find good people to surround yourself with and opportunity wherever you go, as long as you remain open to exploring and working hard to achieve your goals.

TrunkSpace: Where can people (and casting directors) learn more about you?
Leigh:
My website: www.kristenleigh.net
My IMDb: www.imdb.me/kristenleigh
My Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kristenleighmccusker
ActorsAccess: http://resumes.actorsaccess.com/kristenleigh

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