Sutherland Shire performer determined to make it in the big time

Performer : Charlie Powell was fortunate to dance at the 2016 NRL Grand Final. Picture: John Veage.
Performer : Charlie Powell was fortunate to dance at the 2016 NRL Grand Final. Picture: John Veage.

Its every aspiring actor's dream to make it big in Hollywood.

Charlie Powell is a young Sutherland Shire performer currently living in Los Angeles whose journey in pursuing an acting career has been made more problematic with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charlie grew up in Caringbah South, close to the Cronulla beaches where she found her love for the sun and the surf. She also found a passion for the entertainment industry and started performing on stage and screen at Ettingshausen's dance studio.

Growing up she became the school captain of Laguna Street Public School and her primary school dance teacher Wendy McMahon who had trained the Cronulla Sharks Mermaids encouraged her to join the squad.

In 2016 she was lucky enough to perform at the NRL Grand Final in front of 84,000 people and whilst attending the Newtown High School of the performing arts she auditioned and was awarded a scholarship to The Joffrey Ballet School in New York.

Charlie said she decided to finish her HSC and declined the offer. In the last year of high school, she auditioned at a dance festival in the USA and was awarded a Broadway Dance Professional Scholarship in New York City, and also a scholarship to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"During my last two years of high school, I was doing a little modelling, promotional and acting as an extra (Home and Away etc.) and I became quite intrigued with the whole world of acting," she said this week from her home in LA.

"This led me to participate in acting classes at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts and Screenwise Australia and instantly knew I where my future would lie."

After auditioning successfully for The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles- 19-year-old Charlie was off to live in Los Angeles, graduating at the Dolby Theatre with an Associate Degree in Theatre.

"Since graduating, I have acted in lead and supporting roles for a few short films such as 'Face-off', 'Just' and 'The Ride'. I have also appeared in TV commercials, including Liquid IV and Flawless NuRazor where my dance training came in handy." Ms Powell said

Due to intensive visa requirements, securing representation was her biggest obstacle and she began going to multiple auditions and castings a week for quality films and productions whilst also attending acting and dance classes.

"The ball had well and truly started rolling with my career. I had secured representation in the USA with manager Steven Salisbury as well as a commercial and print agency - Sports Lifestyle Limited and was thrilled of how everything was moving "

Then COVID hit in March 2020.

"It's been a very difficult time over the past few months. I, like many others, was stood down from my part-time job at The Montage Beverly Hills.

"The industry has shut down, so there are no auditions. I live alone at the moment, so I have felt quite isolated and have been separated from my family in Australia for the past seven months.

"Financially and mentally, it has affected my life and my journey to remain in the United States. I am living off my Australian savings in Los Angeles, which is hard with the dollar being so tough."

Charlie said the hardest thing about living in Los Angeles during the COVID pandemic is the uncertainty of when or if things will return to normal.

"It's like living in limbo, but I guess that's what the whole world is doing at the moment. Through this tough experience, I have found the positive side of quarantine, focused on learning new things, reached out to old and new friends, and learnt to never take anything for granted."

But Charlie was not giving up and said she would continue to keep chasing her American dream no matter what obstacles are put in front of her and how hard it's going to be, because "Hollywood is one door that leads to a thousand others."