You know how you meet people and you automatically know they are awesome and that they are "your kind" of people? That's how it was when I met Annie Heise. We met (so cliché) in an acting class in the fall of 2016 and after our first rehearsal (where we didn't do much rehearsing) we became legitimate, cry at happy hour (me, not her), friends.
Annie is one of the kindest, most giving, hardworking people I know. I don't know anyone who is more honest with themselves about who they are, what they want and where they are going. Annie is a rad human. Which is why when I told her I was starting a blog she was so excited and when I told her I wanted to feature one badass actress a month, she so kindly agreed. (And not just agreed, was excited to help. Because that's how awesome Annie is).
So - why this post? Every month I am going to feature actresses who are kicking ass and doing their thing in Los Angeles. Why? Because, I know for me, it's motivating to hear of people who are actually doing it. People who have moved to Los Angeles and made it work for themselves. Everyone's story is so different and there really isn't an end to this journey. (We all forget that sometimes!)
Without further ado - My interview with The Blacklist (NBC), The Good Mistress (Lifetime) and Madoff (ABC) actress Annie Heise.
Ans: Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got started in acting?
Annie: Spring of my senior year of high school was when everything really started - I auditioned for Into the Woods, a Stephen Sondheim musical, I played the part of ‘The Witch’ and from then on I just knew. I was off to journalism school the next fall, and was just doomed from the beginning… (laugh)
So I left after one semester and enrolled at the University of MN (I am originally from the Twin Cities, MN), I took my first acting classes, learned what monologues are, took singing lessons, and dance classes… I began researching college BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) acting programs. It’s different than a traditional Bachelor of Arts - there is a core acting curriculum with few outside classes and there are usually only 10-12 students and you take every class together for four years. I was told about Carnegie Mellon’s program and auditioned and somehow got in! Around graduation time we all traveled to NYC and LA to do a “showcase” - scenes and monologues for managers, agents, and casting directors. LA was where I ended up!
Lucky, I left school with a great group of representation and they set me up really well - I was able to meet lots of great people in the casting community and here I am!
Ans: NY or LA? Or both?
Annie: BOTH! For different reasons… a lot of people say go where you want to live. Which I totally agree, having a life outside of the grind of the entertainment world is a great way to stay sane. I have lived in both and here is a bit about my experience briefly…
Ans: What was your favorite project you have worked on?
Annie: THE BLACKLIST - a very exciting project to work on. They write as they go… so you are always on your toes. Also this was my first time being written for… which felt like a dream!
Ans: What was the hardest thing you've had to overcome in your acting career?
Annie: Changing agents and dry spells… but the realty always is nothing is the end of the world or end of your career. It’s a process, enjoy the journey!
Ans: Who has been the most instrumental in your career life?
My manager - she really understands me and looks out for me. I feel creatively taken care of as well as business wise. I think it’s important to feel good about your manager… they are the ones that are in it for the long haul (ideally).
Ans: What advice do you have for people trying to break into the industry?
Annie: Always show up and always have a good curious attitude. Be open! It is a building process, it’s like a brick house you are slowly building. You can’t control much in this industry… but you can always be prepared for when opportunities do come your way.
What's the best life advice you've been given?
Annie: YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Ans: How important is it for you to have like-minded artists around? How did you build that community for yourself?
Hmmm this is an interesting one… I need to balance my artist friends and my real world friends. I think building a community happens organically, I try to keep people around that make me feel good about myself and inspire me. I really don't like competitive friendships, so those I stay away from.
Oh hey there
Thank you for stopping by. My name is Ansley and I am a creative being. With not much to show for it. Feel the same?! Welcome! For all of you artists out there who are just hanging in there - this is for you!