It isn’t a race. Everything is so competitive in my field and really just in general. We are not in a race against each other but on our own path. Enjoy the ride whether is a fast paced exciting one or super leisurely. Just enjoy it.
As a part of our series about Inspirational Women In Hollywood, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Ava Cantrell.
Young Hollywood actress Ava Cantrell was never one to shy away from challenges. The versatile performer started out in commercials and student films working her way up to recurring roles on Nickelodeon, “Young Sheldon” and starring in major motion pictures like Warner Brothers hit horror movie “Lights Out”. Embarking on college last year and balancing a busy acting career would be an ambitious task for anyone but then Covid hit in March. Ava chose not to let Hollywood closing and college moving to online stand in her way of success. She found that online classes and zoom auditions causing her considerable eye strain. Ava then searched for Blue Blocking glasses to help her and her entrepreneur spirit kicked in, and started to soar. She found her first business! Ava saw a tremendous growing niche and started a company with her parents called ZOOMe, specializing in fashionable blue blocking glasses. Ava looks forward to the challenge of balancing her two careers along with her second year in college. When those moments of free time do arrive you can find her pursuing her childhood passion of surfing the San Diego waves.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up and still live in San Diego. I love it here. I’ve always had a passion for the beach and became involved in surfing when I was pretty young. I relish going to LA for acting work but I love being able to come home to San Diego afterwards. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My mom and dad always had their own businesses and I grew up helping them when needed. From servicing clients to brand development I was right there. My dad and his partners got a Shark Tank deal for one of their products and that was a whole learning experience right there that equals a degree in entrepreneurship. It is so advantageous that my family shares all they know with me. My family has a work hard mentality that has really helped me learn how to motivate as well as really appreciate my off time.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was a competitive dancer when I was in grade school and loved the performance aspect of the art. My dad saw that I drew everyone’s attention even though in the beginning my skills were not so abundant. He said that I may not follow the choreography as well as others but I would shine and bring immense personality when I got on stage. I guess you could say I had the “it factor” LOL! My acting career path has been slow and steady. I appreciate each booking I have ever had from student short films to Warner Brothers, I have had the same amount of gratitude. As far as my career of being and entrepreneur, it was pretty much a no brainer at some point to delve into business with my family. It was just finding the right product at the right time.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
As a Sienfield fan, meeting Jason Alexander on the set of “Young Sheldon” has been beyond interesting. Learning his technique of acting is a highlight of my career. His approach is authentic and marvelous and I love it! To work with some of Hollywoods greatest has been magnificent.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The greatest thing about acting is that their are no mistakes, just choices. If I find myself in situation that I forget a line, I just keep going with it. I keep improving. There is no right way to do anything in acting, trust me. There is the directors wish and request but so many directors love being as creative as possible and then rolling with it. You get an acting job because they love you. If you are professional on set, then everything else is being creative and adaptable.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents and Nana have all helped me along the way so much. Just securing me in the business was work and research for them. It is interesting how people will say to my family, “I want to be an actor or get my kid into the business.” Part of doing that, is figuring it out. We always help but there is so much work that the research is the easy part. My boyfriend of a year is also really helpful and amazing at accents. My whole inner circle basically drops everything to help me get ready for my auditions. We all jump on deck because time is of the essence. My manager Sharon is my coach and she is the final and most crucial step before seeing casting or sending my tape in. It really takes a village.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
Acting is full of failure, but if you understand the process it is so freeing and can really change your whole entire life. I have such thick skin from being an actress. Each year I keep flourishing more and more. I am accepting of things out of my control and comfortable in my own skin. Acting as my coach Sharon says, “Is a hobby that you will give everything up for” It isn’t a full time job. Because of acting I have time to also be in online college and start my brand ZOOMe! How lucky am I to have a career like that? It is a blessing not a curse. My agents Nicole and Milton keep me busy with auditions and that keeps my skills sharp to go through the process once again. You can look at acting as challenging or fulfilling. I see my career as fulfilling even though it is filled with highs and lows and a lot of dry seasons.
Also, you have to have thick skin in this business. Get used to the no’s, there are way more of them then yes’s. If this is your passion stay with it. Never base your success by the money you make. This is a craft that can be honed with practice, but maybe for what ever reason you are not marketable. Maybe the market for your look is fleeting. Don’t let that stop you. You don’t need to make your living at this to be successful, very few do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands who can crush it on stage or on screen. We are blessed to be living in a time where there is virtually no barrier to entry in film making.
What drives you to get up everyday and work in TV and Film? What change do you want to see in the industry going forward?
I never know what I will be doing each day, so the excitement of what the day can bring is my drive. Our industry is going through so many changes right now. It is hard time for the industry with Coronavirus and things keep changing. At this point I am waiting for things to really start up again. I have indie projects that I am waiting to film. As a union actor I follow the rules and we are all wanting to work, but as safely as possible. I am ready.
You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?
Because my career has little job security I have learned to take matters in my own hands as well as in this business is a lot who you know. I will be working on a short film “Mission 22” as a veteran that has come home from deployment with scars and challenges. It is critical to be to bring awareness to the 22 veterans a day that try to commit suicide. I will be working with Glen David Miller who did special effects for “Titanic” and elated to see his special effects in a movie I am starring in. Super excited. I have a feature film “Abigial” with Shondrella Avery from “Napolean Dynamite”, and super excited to be in a psychological thriller with diverse casting in the lead role. I am a producer for Brandon TV with a show in development called “Crestmore” which is entertaining and filled with teen drama as well as addresses LGBTQ issues. I am just awaiting the green light go, and my teams are working on doing all this safely and within Union guidelines. I worked so hard to become a union member, and all my projects will move forward in the right way that fits our new crazy times.
We are very interested in looking at diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture and our youth growing up today?
All of my projects moving forward have diversity. I am excited to be a part of the moment. As a woman I am also looking for more diversity that gives women roles that are unique and go far deeper than surface level. There is a lot to address, and we are making progress!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- It isn’t a race. Everything is so competitive in my field and really just in general. We are not in a race against each other but on our own path. Enjoy the ride whether is a fast paced exciting one or super leisurely. Just enjoy it.
- Your outside interests and your life is just as important as your career. I swiftly learned this and am so thankful. I see many other actors in my field put everything into just acting. A career with absolutely no control and so much disappointment ; that makes no sense. Treat all aspects of your life as equals. I have always been well rounded from being valedictorian at my virtual high school to having outsides sports like dance and then surfing. I prioritize acting when I am working, but when I am not working school and my business take priority.
- Be authentic. Just because everyone else is on tiktok doesn’t mean I have to be. I am somewhat private and share what I feel comfortable with. My audience knows my work in acting or philanthropy and I value them and they value me. Hats off to those building audiences on social media with apps, but again, just not me.
- Learn to let go. I don’t hold onto the part of me that was a child actor. I hope to continue my acting path an planning on it it but it will be as an adult actor. I admire so many actors that have unrecognizable names. I know it sounds crazy but that is the career path I strive for. I want to be known as that amazing actress in blank amazing project, not as Ava Cantrell.
- Build your own life. I am so excited to build my brand ZOOMe. I am happy to have something I am in control of. Find one thing that makes you feel like you have a say. For me that’s college and my brand. My hard work will be rewarded in both.
Can you share with our readers any self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.
My biggest self care is surfing. It is so good for my mind and body. I have been surfing since I was seven and I love not only how peaceful being in the ocean is. but I can evolve in the sport every year. Every year I advance and learn something new. I work out a bit more now, and really like seeing myself get stronger. I give back to charities as that makes my heart feel happy. I take time for myself as well as spend time on myself.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“A Smooth Sea never made a skilled sailor” Is my go to quote. It is a simple quote but very profound and very relatable! The rough sea and learning to navigate just makes those glass water sunny days that more enjoyable. I love that quote so much!
You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My movement at this time in my life is “Authenticity” and being authentic to yourself. I think being bullied and then standing alone and standing up for myself is such a huge gift now. I learned how to be authentic as well as not following anyone’s path but my own. I learned how to be OK in my own skin and have acceptance. I look at groups and cliques and really feel sorry for so many young people that have no idea who they are. Find that person and be that person.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I am a science nerd and love animals so Jane Goodall would be my choice. I love and admire every single thing about her, from forging her own unique path to being so outspoken. We were both at the same event for National Geographic “Sea of Shadows” but I was shy to approach her and everyone had this look in their eyes to get to her. I knew it wasn’t the right time. But maybe someday? @JaneGoodallInst xo
Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?
Yes you can find me @avacantrell on Instagram, @theavacantrell on Twitter and facebook and I would love if everyone reading this and spending so much time online would check out my brand @Zoomewear all social medias or www.zoomewear.com Please check out my photographer that shot all these amazing photos on insta @alikayphotography and www.alikayphotography.com
This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank you! Wishing you the same!