Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘Working in high school is tricky. Acting is what I love doing, and I’m grateful for these experiences.’

Garden City

“I’m an actor, singer and tap dancer. My big break was when I was 7 and shot the film ‘Prisoners’ with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. I didn’t know anyone, and I went up to Hugh Jackman and asked him if he had to audition for the movie. He said, ‘Oh, no.’ I said, ‘Lucky!’

“I’ve been in the business since I was a baby model. My first memory of acting is when I was 2 or 3. I booked a modeling job, and they dressed me up as Rapunzel. I wanted to be the best Rapunzel ever! I learned that I like getting attention from people. One of my funniest memories is when I was 11 and did a show called ‘Odd Mom Out.’ My character got her period, and there was a song and dance number called ‘Go with the Flow.’ There were even background dancers!

“I’m a senior in high school now. I either go straight from school to the city for auditions, or on Saturdays I go to a coach who tapes my auditions. I want to make sure I’m the best I can be. I bring my scripts to school, and my friend rehearses with me. Working in high school is tricky. You have a lot of pressure to keep your grades up, and that’s only when you book the job. You don’t really have excuses when you have to audition. It’s what I love doing, and I’m grateful for these experiences. It’s not for people who aren’t willing to put in the work. You have to be willing to not do clubs or sports. If I book a job, I’m out. I can’t go to every party and hangout.

“Though acting is a part of me, it’s not all there is to me. I’m on a tap competition team, and take three APs at my school; plus, I attend Long Island High School for the Arts. My most recent job was the Apple TV+ series ‘Dickinson,’ which starred Hailee Steinfeld. I played Emily Dickinson’s evil cousin. I got to dress up like I lived in the 1800s. The first time I tried on a corset, I couldn’t breathe! I tell people they can’t take rejection personally. I’ve worked on about 17 jobs, but I’ve gone on hundreds of auditions. I’ve learned that I have a lot of perseverance. I know that I can push myself to keep going no matter what. Sometimes I’ll miss a party because I’m waiting all day to film something. When I think back, I ask myself, ‘Was it worth it?’ My answer is always yes.”

Interviewed by Iris Wiener