Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you are from.
I’m 20 years old, I grew up in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, I’m a cat lady, and I have an extreme obsession with dark chocolate,
When did you start acting?
I started acting almost five years ago. I was 16 when I moved from South Carolina to Los Angeles.
What pushed you towards acting?
It was always my dream to act since I was a little girl. I was always so fascinated with film growing up, but being from South Carolina, we didn’t have any outlets except a small local theater. I made short films all through middle school and high school on my own time. Harry Potter was the movie that really lit a fire inside me. I wanted so badly to be Hermione Grainger.
What is your favorite aspect about your job?
My favorite aspect about my job is the traveling! I never really stay put for too long. Acting has taken me to so many places I probably would have never been to if it wasn’t for work.
What is your dream role?
To be honest, I don’t really have a dream role. I always get re-inspired when I read a new script. I definitely love to be challenged and take on roles outside my comfort zone.
Moving from South Carolina to Los Angeles to pursue your acting career, was the transition difficult for you? What did you find similar and different about the two places?
It was very difficult. I had only ever lived in SC, so moving was very new to me. I had to find new friends, a new school, and a new place to live. LA and SC are very very different. I grew up in a small town, which LA is the complete opposite. Probably the only similarity is being close to the beach. I love the West Coast, but I really miss sweet tea.
What was it like to work with Billy Ray Cyrus?
Billy Ray Cyrus is the greatest! He is such an amazing person and has taught me so so much throughout the past two years. I’ve always been a fan of his since Hannah Montana. I’m so blessed to have been able to work side-by-side with him.
For readers who may not know your upcoming film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, can you describe what it is about?
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to Robin William’s Jumanji from 1995. Basically, one day in detention, a group of teenagers find the original Jumanji game, that has now evolved into a video game, and decide to play out of curiosity. Before they can even stop the process, they’re “sucked” into the game itself through the TV screen and appear as their chosen avatars. From then they have to fight to survive and beat the game.
I really just love to keep my mind and imagination flowing.
What is your favorite project you’ve been a part of?
Still The King was probably my favorite project I’ve been a part of. I made friends that will always be a part of my life, and I learned so much being a part of a project that went for two seasons. Also, I really enjoyed living in Nashville.
Besides acting, what are your other passions?
When I’m not acting, I love to hike and travel! Painting, reading, binge watching movies; I really just love to keep my mind and imagination flowing.
What’s on your current playlist?
Right now I can’t stop listening to The Paper Kites and Half Moon Run!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to be extremely happy and working consistently! I don’t need much!
As a young star, what are some of the pressures, if any, you feel from society?
I try not to let the pressure of society get to me too much, I tend to block it out. The hardest thing I find is pressure to always say the right thing. We’re human and we all slip up and say stupid things. Sometimes it feels like you have to walk on egg shells instead of just being completely yourself.
How do you strive to be a good role model?
I am in no way a role model. I’m definitely not perfect. But, I try to do things that better me as a person and always make happiness my goal. I try to live by the phrase, “don’t do anything you wouldn’t want you grandma to catch you doing.”
If you were stuck in a deserted island and could only bring 3 movies with you, which ones would they be?
That’s so tough!! Probably The Goonies, Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
What advice would you give to those following their passions?
Definitely don’t ever stop trying. Life is way too short to not being doing what makes you happiest.
What has been the most surreal experience you’ve had since taking the leap to follow your passions?
Probably seen hard work finally pay off. Finally seeing your work on the TV screen or in the theater is something that never really gets old. Its all I’ve dreamed about as a little girl.
PHOTOS TIA LIU
INTERVIEW ANA SANDOVAL
WORDS LIAM CURTIS
Read more in Volume III, Issue No. 001 – Winter 2018.