Photo Courtesy of Haley Smith
There’s a saying that circulates the thespian culture that goes along the lines of the world being a stage. While that may not apply to all people, it certainly rings true for junior Theater and Media Production major Haley Smith. Smith gives off a girl-next-door feeling, but her dreams are anything but common.
“Every little girl kind of has their dream of what they want to be,” Smith said, with a soft chuckle. “And for me, I wanted to be a movie star.”
Smith said she knew by the time she was 5 that she wanted to be an actress. She reminisced that her parents have always been supportive, so they took her to an audition and she ended up booking her first commercial for the Denver Zoo. After that, Smith said she was hooked on acting.
Smith said that growing up in this industry has allowed her to learn and grow while looking up to self-made success stories. Smith knows that although talent is important in the performance industry, it seems as if everybody knows somebody and that sometimes becomes overwhelming.
“Oftentimes, you hear little kids saying they dream of being an actor because of the glamorous lives they see in tabloids or on television,” Smith said.
Smith said there is so much more to acting than being a celebrity and, the keys to success are actually work, sacrifice and thick skin.
“I once heard that to be a good actor, it should cost you something,” Smith said. “I look up to those who have worked hard, made sacrifices and gotten themselves the success that they have earned.”
Now Smith says she is working hard and earning her success as a full-time student at Pepperdine. Smith chose to study at Pepperdine because it’s very close to the acting industry without being right in the heart of Los Angeles. Smith also said she chose Malibu because there is a relaxed nature to it, and that it’s full of opportunities and connections.
“As actors, it is important that we are fluid,” Smith said. “And that we can work with changing schedules and circumstances.”
A typical day is not limited to classes, and even with an overwhelming schedule, Smith prioritizes making enough time for friends and family. As Smith assures, success is nothing without people to share it.
Smith said she’s not concerned with how she’s progressing in the performance industry or how successful she’ll be, as long she continues to do what she loves. Smith confirms that the arts industry has shifted immensely in the past few years. With technology advancing, the industry seems to be leaving behind classic, less-technological techniques and mediums.
As Smith continues to learn new techniques, Smith said she finds excitement in being able to collaborate in new projects and teach others around her.
“It’s easy in this industry to turn it into a game of comparison, comparing yourself to everyone around you. Don’t,” Smith said. “Your passion needs to be more important to you than the status or thoughts of others.”
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