By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY AliKay Photography
- Los Angeles, California
Teen actress Ava Cantrell discusses Nickelodeon's Haunted Hathaways, finding the right agent, and filming the Warner Bros. picture Lights Out. Ava also talks exclusively with We Blab Entertainment Magazine, about booking roles outside of Hollywood.
You started acting at eight years old, and before that doing dance competitions. How did Ava get started in the business?
I actually got started in the business because of dancing! My parent loved the performance aspect of dance, and thought I might like to try acting. They saw that I loved It was all about being on the stage, under the lights and making people smile. Once I got started acting, I was soon booking roles, and I fell in love with the craft. I've been doing it ever since! Dance is still a major part of my life but, my priority is acting.
In 2013 you landed the role of Penelope on Nickelodeon’s The Haunted Hathaways. Can you tell us what the audition process was like?
Penelope Pritchard was such a fun role, and a fun auditioning process as well. I knew a lot of people went out for it and, saw friends in the room, and I think we fell in love with Penelope. It was a role I really connected too. I thought Penelope was hilarious and, so out of touch with reality. I went in for the first call in full costume. I was wearing high pigtails, an unbelievably huge tutu skirt, and I was even carrying a doll. It was one of those auditions I took a risk on. I personally knew a girl that was very bratty like Penelope, so it was fun to act it out. I would never call someone a brat; it's more fun to imitate one.
Congratulations on the outstanding performance in the Warner Bros horror film, Lights Out. For our readers who haven’t seen the film yet, can you tell us about your character Young Diana?
Thank you so much! I am not only Human Diana but also the voice of creature Diana. Young Diana had issues that went way back. Her parents put her in a mental institution where she met Sophie. Diana could control people's minds. Diana was a human but, got killed in the institution yet, she can't have light of any kind on her skin or else she burns. She is the type of friend that will never leave your side, and is completely obsessed and, wants the people she loves to herself. I find Diana sympathetic in the way she really just wanted a friend or anyone in her life, and was desperate for that.
We always hear if you want to pursue a career in acting move to L.A. Can you give us some real world advice, on how to book studio roles in Hollywood?
Honestly I think the whole move to LA advice is changing. I live outside of L.A. in San Diego, and I actually love having an outside life, outside of Hollywood. So many roles you can go on tape for. Many kids fly in and out of L.A. I have friends that live even father away from L.A. then I do, and work all of the time. Also so many things are filmed outside of L.A. lately. I have a successful career not living in Hollywood so, it can become a reality.
Actors tend to get overwhelmed when seeking out representation. How did you find the right agent?
My Dad was a kid actor, and he was the one initially that thought I should be an actor. We went to an agent that wanted to charge money to represent me, which we all know is a no-no! My mom told my dad to pick the top three agents submit me and if anyone bites, it was meant to be. Luckily I got meetings with two top agents out of the three. We chose our favorite, and have been with them ever since.
In your latest film One Under the Sun you play Amelia Voss the daughter whose mother is going to mars, but also has terminal cancer. Can you tell us some more about your character?
Amelia Voss is my most challenging role to date. I go through all stages of cancer. I stay alive even when very ill because I am waiting for my Mom to return from her expedition and my life, and my choices matter immensely to the world. Amelia is a fighter, she's strong willed but, also very loving. She is a character that screen audiences will fall in love with. The response I gotten from the role of at the premiere was the most enthusiastic response I have ever received. Amelia will make you cry, but also will inspired you and you see the world in a different way.
A large part of the audition process is rejection. How dose Ava personally handle rejection?
I really don't see not getting a role as rejection. I don't want anyone to feel rejected over the roles I have gotten. We as actors have to give it all in the room. We make choices, and sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't. We can't second-guess ourselves. We can only prepare, and leave it all out there. I myself as an actress get invested in roles, but some just aren't mine to have. I'm that actress that will watch the shows, or movies that I didn't get and completely understand why I wasn't the right person, and I see how that person fit the role perfectly. Sometimes that will be me, and other times it will not. It feels pretty good when everything aligns!