Dreams come true for aspiring actress

Dreams come true for aspiring actress

Editor’s note: Story was revised for clarification

By Sloane Samberson

Staff Writer

The time of the year has come when seniors receive college acceptance letters, a robe they will only wear once and an oddly shaped cap. For most Coppell 2014 graduates, their future will begin close to home, but for Faith Christian Academy senior Megan McGown, plans of heading west for the city of angels is already in full action.

“I applied to colleges just like everybody else. I got in, got a scholarship and then decided maybe this isn’t what I want to do,” McGown said. “Back in November, I signed with an agency in Los Angeles. That was the ultimate push to get me to go out to California. Getting the opportunity to live, audition and work out there was impossible to pass up.”

As a child, McGown was always putting on a show.

“Whenever my grandparents came to visit, I had choreographed routines to Britney Spears that I would share with them. They really enjoyed watching me,” McGown said.

McGown did not start out wanting to act, she had plans of becoming a model instead.

“They said I was too short for the adult division but too tall for the kids division, so they told me I should start taking acting lessons so they could filter me in to the commercial/print side of things,” McGown said. “I started training at Cathryn Sullivan’s in Lewisville and immediately fell in love with it. I was like ‘Forget modeling, I want to be an actor!’”

Whether it is sports, school or acting, McGown never fails to exceed general expectations.

“[Megan] has always been a very independent, confident person,” Megan’s mother Chris McGown said. “Whenever you see the passion in her ignite, its just like ‘OK, here we go!’ Pretty much everything she has tried, she has worked really hard at.”

 Megan has already had to plan out even the most detailed aspects of her life. She is very self assured, knowing what she needs to have in her life to stay grounded and what would be too much to handle.

“I’m going to take my first semester off from school, so I can get acclimated with the area. Having the load of being a full time student and having to audition would be too much to handle at once,” Megan said. “I plan to figure out life the first semester, find a church, figure out what activities I want to be involved in and then see how things go, and I will eventually be enrolled in school while I’m out there.”

Cathryn Sullivan, Megan’s acting coach, has played a huge role in preparing her for success. Without Sullivan, Megan would not have received the opportunities she is receiving now.

“Ms. Sullivan does seminars where she brings in acting coaches and agents. The agent I signed with in Los Angeles had seen me two years ago at a seminar and wanted to keep an eye on me until I finished high school,” McGown said.

The growth Megan has made from when she started acting to where she is now has been tremendous.

“As a parent you’re always like, ‘Oh you’re doing great. You’re doing so well,’ and then you look back now, five years ago when she started her training and you realize she really has come such a long way,” Ms. McGown said.

Megan has already had success in her newly blossoming career. She was featured in the student film, Mini-Vandals, created at the University of Texas at Austin and in a regional commercial with Cirro Energy. She has also landed herself a co-star role on the post-apocalyptic show, “Revolution”, on NBC.

“The co-star role has been one of the biggest learning experiences I’ve had so far. Just getting the feel of being on set everyday made me even more excited for the future,” Megan said.

Megan said these experiences on set provided her with lessons you simply cannot get in the classroom.

Faith has been a huge aspect in Megan’s acting career.

“My relationship with God has prepared me very well for this adventure. I feel like everything I have done has not been on my own,” Megan said. “I feel like He has opened so many doors for me that I couldn’t have opened myself. I feel like if this wasn’t the direction I should be going in that He would have already made it clear.”

Faith and a strong support system from parents allows Megan to pursue her dream of being an actress.

“My family has also played a huge role in my preparation for pursuing acting. They are super supportive of what I’m doing and they sacrifice a lot to take me to auditions and by letting me move to Los Angeles,” Megan said.

The McGown family believes in the value of having a family structured around support. Whatever the occasion, they are there for each other.

“Just supporting Megan in her training and driving her from place to place makes all the difference. I help her get to auditions, even though she is 18 and I do not necessarily have to be there. It gets lonely on the road so we like to have the time to bond while driving,” Ms. McGown said.

The agency in Los Angeles wanted Megan to move out back in January for pilot season, but Megan decided that she wanted to finish out her senior year and enjoy her last months as a highschooler. She agreed to move in August.

“When I move in August, it will be the beginning of the episodic season,” Megan said. “For newer actors, episodic season is the best time to start building up their resume. They are more likely to bring in someone who is [newer to the market] than people who have been out there for a while now.”

Moving away from home is nerveracking enough as a 19-year-old, especially when you are moving to a place so different from where you grew up.

“I am most nervous about moving away from home especially since I will not be a freshman going through orientation. I’m just jumping into the real world, living in an apartment and working,” McGown said.

For Megan, the nervousness she may feel at times does not amount to how excited she is to move to Los Angeles.

“I am so lucky to get the opportunity to pursue acting. Obviously being in Los Angeles, the span of auditioning you will do is much greater than in the Dallas market. I am also excited to get to meet different people,” Megan said.

Acting has been a huge life lesson for Megan, and will continue to teach her new things whether it be by the roles she plays, the people she meets or the atmospheres she is casted into.

“The cool thing about acting is that it prepares you for a lot of different things in life. It teaches you about public speaking, being able to communicate things and being able to portray different characters,” Megan said. “You have to study them, you have to understand where these people are coming from and I think acting teaches you a variety of skills that can help you in any job.”

Many accomplishments can come with being a successful actor or actress. Cody Linley, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato all took acting lessons from Cathryn Sullivan, later to become very successful actors on Disney Channel.

“The ultimate goal is to get an Oscar,” Megan joked. “My real goal is to be consistently working, which based on how many people don’t make it, is a struggle. Whether I work in TV or movies, I am not narrowed down to one thing. I really just want to get to do what I love on a daily basis, which is acting.”