Avery and I were in L.A for about a month and had a great experience! We started our first week with an acting class with Cynthia Bain (a casting director for Nickelodeon)- she is fantastic with kids and worked with Avery to understand the scene and figure out her role. All the other kids in the class were "working actors" and Avery felt a little out of place, but loved the atmosphere. During the classes, I was able to spend time with other moms and made some new friends.
Our days weren't filled with much busy-ness, but they were still full and we always had a plan (being in California was actually fantastic for my Heritage Makers business, because I had time to focus on work without lots of other obligations). Avery participated in gymnastics and tumbling classes that she enjoyed and was able to keep up her skills. We meet with the management company several times to discuss director workshops, classes, wardrobe, and interviews. In one of our first meetings the manager was a little hard on Avery (and me) about making sure to keep up on her look. He was strict about getting a facial and staying on top of any face blemishes, using white strips for her teeth, having manicured nails at all times, getting extensions, wearing the right shades of (and VERY LITTLE) make-up, and so forth. As we left the meeting my "mama-bear" instincts kicked in and I was very protective of my baby girl. Avery and I had a conversation about self-esteem, looks, superficial qualities, and much more. As I asked Avery what she wanted to do with the information we had been given- I was blown away by her maturity. She says, "mom, I understand their job- and they are right about how I need to look in order to get a part. I also understand that my looks don't make me who I am. I intend to work hard to reach my goals, and by looking my best and acting my best- it can help to make that a reality." I was impressed with her grasp of what is real and what is superficial.
For Avery the highlights were the photo shoot with famed photographer Linda Vanoff, acting orientation classes with Zach Burnett, having hair extensions done, and getting a facial. Lowlights for Avery: having to keep up on her math homework with a mom that doesn't understand her homework.
One of the best things about our adventure, and what really helped to make it possible~ was having great family members there to stay with and hang out with. We stayed in Upland with my mom's sister- Bob and Donna Ellis were amazing! They graciously opened their home to us and we enjoyed our time with them. Every night after working full time as the missionaries over the Bishops Storehouse, they would put together a full dinner for us. We tried to not be a burden and help out as much as we could, but their generosity was overwhelming. Avery always called Donna, "grandma" and we felt very comfortable there. Because I didn't have other obligations, I slept more than I have in years! It was heaven.
We also spent a lot of time with my cousin Jen Broderick and her darling family. Avery fell in love with the kids and wanted to take their 1 year old baby Graycen home with us when we left. Jenn teaches an exercise class at the church three days a week and I very much enjoyed staying connected to my workouts. Jenn also signed up as a Heritage Makers consultant and we did her grand opening workshops and got her trained and ready to go. She is amazing and my time with her was well spent.
We left to come back to Idaho in the middle of February, with the intend to go back as soon as the manager needed Avery for more auditions. We have been so blessed since~ Avery has had the opportunity to do Skype interviews and auditions for three projects. She auditioned for the part in a Hallmark style movie, a feature film, and just this week she had a big audition for a new Nickelodeon Pilot show that is currently being cast. She hasn't landed a role yet- but she is hopeful. For me, things as going exactly as I wanted. I like that this dream is moving at a slow pace, but that she is able to continue to work on her craft and develop her talents. For a mother, it's a great situation.
Thanks for all the love, support, and interest that has been shown on Avery's behalf.
|Avery right after Grace did her extensions|
|One of my favorite nights was going to the Redlands Temple|
|Jenn Broderick with me outside the temple|
|Linda Vanoff doing Avery's new headshots|
|Working out at the church- Jenn kicked my butt most days|
|Tyson had to help Avery with math- because I was lost|