Interview by Hannah Diamond, Editing by Maria Corr
How did you decide that you wanted to pursue a future in theater?
I decided I wanted to pursue a career in acting when I was eight years old. While visiting family in Ireland for the first time, at a large party of about sixty mostly strangers, I sang and played the tin whistle and felt very comfortable. That was my first time performing in front of an audience.
How did you land your roles and what roles have you been in?
Before I could land any roles, it was necessary to find an agent to represent me. I was signed by one of the top youth agencies in New York City at the age of eight. The way the business works, agents submit their talent for print, commercial, or legit (theatre, TV, or film) work and hope the casting director chooses them for an audition.
I would go to New York constantly for any of the opportunities requested of me. For print work, it was merely getting photos taken. For commercials, I would be required to do improv. For theatre, TV, or film, I would have to sing and memorize sides (lines). Frequently, I was only given a few hours notice, and lots of pages to memorize.
I have appeared in over one hundred print campaigns (Target, Benetton, Macy’s, Vogue Bambini, Crayola, Small Magazine, Kahn Lucas, Jessica Simpson, etc). I have been a principal in over ten commercials (Hatfield Pork Roast, Conair nails, Perfect Cupcake, Justin Bieber doll, AMEX, etc). My feature films include Bride Wars and The Rebound. I recently did a TV pilot called Airy Jeanine & Friends. I also attend the Performing Arts High School where I was recently a lead in the Real Inspector Hound. I will also be performing a monologue in the Shakespeare Festival at DeSales University in March.
What opportunities and connections have you gained?
I get to meet and work with new people on every booking. Often I get to work seasoned actors who are inspiring mentors that become good friends. I still keep in good contact with many of the actors I have worked with.
What does your job entail?
Each job is a little different. Some require more improv. There is always a lot of downtime on set--a lot of waiting. We often do the same scene twenty or more times in different ways, changing things just a tiny bit until the director gets it the way he or she likes it.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I hope to continue pursuing my acting career.
What are the sacrifices and struggles of being so young in the acting world?
I often miss out on local opportunities because I’m frequently traveling into the city for auditions and don’t have time to be involved in school or community theatre or sports. I take voice lessons and would love to take dance but with my schedule, it is difficult to fit both.
What has being an actress exposed you to?
Being an actress has exposed me to the realities of the industry. It is very competitive and you have to learn not to take rejection personally.
What has the acting showed you about the real world?
Acting has shown me in the real world that a part for a fifteen year old will probably get booked by a twenty year old because of union laws and the amount of hours a twenty year old can work as opposed to a person under the age of eighteen.
What advice would you give other young actors and actresses looking to get into the business?
If you want to become an actor, really learn your craft and keep learning and refining, it is so important. You have to have the dedication, and determination to be in the business. You have to really want it to make a successful career out of it.
What do you do in your spare time?
I volunteer at my grandmother's nursing home and am an honor student.