Aspiring actress: Eight-year-old Anne Van den Heuvel has big dreams for a career in actingWritten by Holly Tuey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Van den Heuvel (stage name Anne Bex) is an 8-year-old with big dreams. Although she spends most of her time with her family in Helena, Ohio, Anne and her mother Miranda go to Los Angeles each year for pilot season (February and March), and Anne has acted in two independent or student films.
It started three years ago, Miranda said, when Anne was about 5. After having family photos taken, Anne was constantly asking her mother to take her picture again. Miranda asked Anne if she wanted to be a model, and when Anne said yes, she was enrolled at the acting and modeling school in Toledo, Starbound Entertainment Group — the same school credited with discovering Katie Holmes.
“I tried out for modeling in Toledo, but [the instructor] saw something in me that I needed to be an actor,” Anne explained.
She took acting classes and fell in love. Her teacher suggested she go to California, and that’s where she met her acting coach Marnie Cooper, who coached a young Miley Cyrus for “Hannah Montana.” Her agent, Susan Duff, is the mother of actress and singer Hilary Duff.
Anne may want to follow in Duff’s footsteps. She said in addition to acting, she likes to dance and sing. She took hip-hop dance lessons in LA, and said she wants to see her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame someday.
“Anne loves it. She handles her own phone calls, leaves her own messages,” Miranda said. “As parents, you’ve got to support them, especially in the Midwest. You have to give them the opportunity to go to New York or LA.”
When they travel to LA or Boston, where they spent three weeks filming an upcoming feature-length project called “Mary Loss of Soul,” Anne is homeschooled to keep up with her class.
She even Skypes with her classmates and said some of the other people working on the film helped her with her homework.
Although “Mary Loss of Soul” has not been released yet, it will likely be shown in film festivals first. Anne plays Mary’s sister in the film and said she really liked shooting on location.
Anne has also acted in a short student film called “The 5 Rules to Being an Imaginary Friend.” In it, the protagonist is teaching a class on how to be an imaginary friend. For each rule, he recalls his time spent with a little girl, played by Anne. The film has been nominated for a spot in a film festival.
“When you do it, it’s like you step into another suit for a character and it’s just really fun to be someone else,” she said.
Anne’s class and teachers at school watched the short film, as well as the trailer for “Mary Loss of Soul.” But it has taken Anne plenty of work to get this far. She and her mom said she has probably auditioned around 50 times for roles since she started acting. When she is home, she auditions with a video and her family helps.
It’s pretty impressive for just 8 years old, but Anne is not done yet. She said she wants to act for a long time, and she is determined to succeed.
“If you want it, you can do it!” she said to anyone else with big dreams.
To see the trailer for “Mary Loss of Soul,” visit www.marylossofsoul.com.