It was June 2012 and I was on the corner of Hollywood & Highland, in front of the Roosevelt Hotel, sweating like any Dutch girl would at that time of the year at that location. But an egg shell colored Beetle with a sassy brunette at the wheel came to relieve me. That is how I first met Grace and why I had no choice but to like her. That and the fact that she is a down to earth, sweet and smart actress, not always abundant in LaLaLand.
Grace was discovered at her high school in Austin, Texas and started working pretty much immediately after she touched down in LA. Two years, a bunch of exciting acting jobs (you can currently see Grace in The Vampire Diaries) and quite some LA wisdom later Grace was kind enough to share her experiences and advice here…
You were discovered by a talent agent during a high school production. What was that like? How did your classmates and family respond? It was certainly strange to have been “discovered” in high school. I wasn’t pursuing a professional career at that point and we had never had an agent see a show. It wasn’t really on my radar being from Texas.
What were your first weeks in LA like? Was it hard being away from your family? My first week in LA was crazy, I didn’t have a headshot, I stayed in an extended stay for six days with my mom. On my sixth day I auditioned for Fright Night and got an apartment I talked my way into with a report card and a promise. That night I stayed in my new place on an air mattress and that next morning I got to table read for Fright Night.
What was your first day on the set of Fright Night like? Were you nervous? I think I had so little idea what I was doing when I got to the set of Fright Night I didn’t even know what to be nervous about, but I learned a lot very quickly to keep up and only made a fool of myself most of the time. :)
Even though you started working pretty soon after arriving in LA, did you ever have doubts or moments you wanted to quit? My fourth month in LA I had kinda let the city get to me. I think I lost any self confidence I had moved out with and had to go home for two weeks and do yoga everyday for like two months before I came into myself again. It was a lot of not knowing anyone and certainly not knowing who to trust.
What do you find to be the hardest thing to deal with in this industry and LA? And how do you deal with it? I would without a doubt say that the part I hate most about show business is the business. All the being on set and actually acting I LOVE. It’s when Twitter followers of all things get brought into consideration for who gets to play a role when I feel like gagging myself with a spoon.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about LA and the film business people in it? I think people assume the glamour you can see on a Hollywood screen bleeds into the lives of those who work in Hollywood. I think a lot of people would be surprised how hard people work.
What is the best advice you ever got? Take Fountain! (that’s a traffic joke) But seriously, I had a camp counselor once who made me define success before I got there, because if you don’t you can never be satisfied. So I knew that the minute I could pay my rent with doing any sort of art, I would have made it- anything else is icing.
And last but not least, what advice would you give to other actors coming to LA to try and make it? To an actor coming to LA I would say, listen to all advice to get, but dont take all of it. The second you come out here everyone has rules for you (always hold your sides, smile in your headshot, always ask a question in an audition, leave the audition as quickly as possible, make a choice no one else will, etc.) and while some of these rules might be good, and some of them may have worked for others in the past, if they aren’t exactly what you would do, (i.e. if they block you from what you truly are as an artist) they probably won’t work for you, and if they do, you might not be happy where you end up.
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