Whitney Avalon making a name on TV, WebWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Whitney Avalon is thoughtful and philosophical on the subject of her profession and lifelong obsession — performing.
“Though of course civilization needs innovators of all stripes — healers, scientists, builders, and so many other fields are vital — storytellers hold a significant place in society,” Avalon said in an interview with Toledo Free Press Star. “I live for the opportunity to mirror the world back at its inhabitants as truthfully as possible and to help them notice, just for an instant, ways to improve or evolve. Or just make them laugh. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do!”
Viewers have gotten to know Avalon more during the past few years. For all the memorable guest shots she’s had on a slew of popular shows, however, the Los Angeles-based actress has found her greatest public recognition from an unexpected source: A cereal commercial.
“I thought it would be my appearance on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for which I might be recognized, since so many millions of fans watch it every week, but actually I’ve gotten the most attention recently for a Cheerios commercial [that featured an interracial family] that turned into a touchstone for discussion about racism in modern society,” Avalon said.
“Although occasionally someone will tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, aren’t you that barista who saw Raj naked [on ‘The Big Bang Theory’]?’”
You get the sense that it’s not about those moments of recognition for Avalon, though. Fame is a nice byproduct, one that can lead to more work, but acting is really about scratching a creative itch that just isn’t satisfied any other way. For Avalon, that impulse has been around since childhood.
“Though I did get my degree in theater, I first spent over a decade (from the age of 6) onstage, so most of my initial training was getting thrown right in and learning on the job,” she said. “I suspect much of my timing, enunciation and sense of humor come from hopping from musical to musical during my formative years and studying the other performers.”
The majority of the years that followed saw Avalon continuing to ply her trade under stage lights around the country, in productions as varied as the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Proof” and the national tour of “Sesame Street Live!”
“I don’t think I ever stopped grinning with glee during that show. It may be impossible to frown when you’re chatting with Big Bird,” she said.
Avalon said her theatrical experience gives her valuable tools for working in television.
“I’ve spent decades proving the adage ‘The show must go on,’ so I’m told I’m pretty unflappable on set,” she said.
“Multicam sitcoms, where we actors are in three-walled rooms performing for a live studio audience, are the perfect opportunity to combine theater’s electric actor-audience human connection with television’s instant rewriting process. Weeks spent working on sitcoms are my heaven.”
Recently, Avalon has found another creative outlet that she is attacking with all the passion that is her trademark: YouTube. She has been producing videos of skits and songs she has written to her official channel (youtube.com/whitneyavalon), all of which feature Avalon’s natural sense of joy and enthusiasm.
“I’m regularly told that there’s a glow in my eyes that lights up a room and I’m
happy to report that it’s genuine; I really, truly am that enthusiastic about life in general. Of course, when I get to create my own comedy songs and short films, guide them through production and release them out into the world, I’m even more excited than usual. I am madly in love with writing.”
In addition to their clever construction and performances, Avalon’s videos look great, too — they feature a high-budget veneer that stands in sharp contrast to the modest amounts spent on them.
“The crews and collaborators I’ve had on the various videos are superheroes, using their expertise to make a miniscule budget look pretty darn good. You need great visuals and sound quality to tell a story compellingly, so I’m grateful to everyone who’s done all the technical work to make that happen.”
And no matter what form Avalon’s muse may take, you can be sure she will continue to put all of her heart into it.
“Ultimately, this business doesn’t let me choose on which path I’ll get to move farthest, so I’m just going to keep hammering away at all the areas I love, writing new projects, pitching ideas, singing my face off, producing content, performing in others’ works, building a live comedy music show, and popping up on televisions and computers doing all manner of wacky things.
“I’ve been so fortunate so far in life! I can’t wait for whatever’s next.”