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An insiders look at being a New Zealand actress in LA

A young woman in glasses is standing in front of a pink background in New Zealand.

We all have our own perceptions of La La Land, but what’s it really like being an actress in Hollywood? I sat down with six-two’s Global editor Ginny Copestake, to discuss it all, from my position as a New Zealand actress living in LA…

Why did you make the move to LA?

I had been making trips back and forth to LA from New Zealand for a few years for work and at the time, I was working on a show in New Zealand and questioning whether I should give up my current comfortable situation or make the leap to uncertainty. My Mum was the deciding factor, she said, ‘if you don’t go, will you regret it?’. My immediate response was ‘yes’ so that was it, it was decided. I was going to make the move to LA and take a gamble on the dream. I am proud to say I have been working in LA regularly and through hard work and a lot of persistence, I am starting to generate some traction here, which is very exciting.

A New Zealand actress in a red jumpsuit standing in front of the E News weekend sign.

What has your journey been like since moving there – the highs and the lows?

Highs and lows is a great way to describe it! I think LA was once described to me as “the dream and the nightmare” and to some extent I can see how this is true. Your life can change overnight and you can have seasons where no matter how talented you are and how hard you work, you can still face a lot of rejection. I have for sure had my share of wonderful successes and a lot of rejection and disappointment but I think that is true for anyone who is pursuing a career in the arts. Its unpredictable and that is also part of the reason we sign up for it.

Do you come across any issues auditioning for American roles?

I usually go in to most auditions with an American accent and then whip out the kiwi accent at the end. Sometimes my visa used to things complicated but I recently just got my Green Card so I’m glad that is no longer an issue.

What’s the most ‘Hollywood’ thing you’ve done?

I paid a small fortune to go to a sweat lodge because someone spoke about it in an interview. Basically, you lay in a hot sleeping bag for an hour and sweat out your toxins. It’s miserable, expensive, and I felt horrible afterwards!

What’s your best celeb story?

I met Niall Horan at an ATM in LA many years ago when they had just come on to X-Factor in the UK. I was with my dad and both him and Zayne were just walking around aimlessly. I introduced myself, and we have been good friends ever since. He’s awesome and very funny. It makes me laugh, there is no way he could just walk around LA now without a mob of girls following him. He deserves every success, he is one of the most talented people I know.

kim crossman niall horan

What’s been your biggest Hollywood fail so far?

I don’t know if it is a ‘Hollywood fail’ as such but more of a failure pertaining to Hollywood would be that at times I doubt myself. Doubt and desperation are so easy to spot, even if you think you are doing a good job and hiding it. I have taken such huge risks to be in LA and made huge sacrifices and then I sometimes get stuck in my own head and begin to doubt small things or question what I am doing, or compare my journey to someone else’s and beat myself up. No matter what career path you are on I know we can all be guilty of that at times. It doesn’t serve me and I need to be better about not dwelling on small things that are out of my control, or things I can’t change and just trust that I am on the right path and everything will come to fruition when it is supposed to.

How does LA differ from New Zealand? Does it get lonely, and how do you combat that?

I think the most difficult part about LA is that ‘opportunity trumps loyalty’ which for me, was a really difficult thing to adjust too. It’s not usually a malicious thing, just that most people who have moved here are so driven, desperate and ambitious that if a better offer comes up or an audition comes up or perhaps they are invited somewhere and they feel they need to be there to propel themselves forward, they will do it because that is what they are here for. I don’t think New Zealanders have that same quality for the most part. I feel that loyalty and companionship is championed in New Zealand, where success and winning seems to be more important in LA. I also love that LA is a bit tough and it tests you. I think that’s why people say this about LA and NYC, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”

I really enjoy going back to New Zealand as much as possible to get re-charged and reconnected with my family and the environment. Nothing beats New Zealand beaches and a good ole Kiwi BBQ.

Do you see LA as being your permanent home?

I think I am a nomad at heart and the idea of ‘permanent home’ terrifies me! I can see myself being predominantly based in LA for a while. It makes the most sense with what I am trying to achieve as an actress. But I am open to living elsewhere and excited to explore as much of the world as possible. Next stop is India with Contiki in December.