Chehalis Girl is working to break into the entertainment world
By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]
Many children who dream of a career in show business are quickly shut down by those who perceive the path as unrealistic or unsuccessful.
This is not the case for Amanda Linwood, who is entering eighth grade at Chehalis Middle School this year. She has a mother who has supported her dreams since Amanda started dancing at the Southwest Washington Dance Center at the age of 3.
Amanda’s resume includes drama, dancing in The Nutcracker, and the last five from the Little Miss Friendly pageant.
“I always had a lot of people, when she was on stage, thinking that she had a great stage presence and that she was going to be a really good dancer and we can see that in her,” her mom said. Teresa about when Amanda started dancing. “We were at the mall one day. I think she was 8 and there were dancers and models and acting stuff on stage and she was like, “I wanna do that”. And we kind of saved up to make it happen.
Amanda cut her teeth onstage in “Annie Jr.” at the Evergreen Playhouse a few years ago, where she played the role of an orphan. Children were able to be involved in every piece from the production of the musical, from the costumes to the making of props. To adapt to the role of the neglected child, she rubbed coffee into her hair to mimic dirt.
Her love for the experience inspired Amanda’s next move: a 10-week acting course with “NYLA Talent,” after which she was invited to attend iPOP2021, a conference in Orlando, Florida. The course allows emerging talents to learn and practice their skills in front of an audience of potential agencies.
She spent the nine months leading up to the conference in Zoom training. Every Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Amanda and her cohort practiced modeling, acting, dancing or singing. Obviously, practicing a skill you hear show off in front of a crowd while you’re technically alone in your room can’t fully prepare you, but the lecture had several workshops before the performances.
“For modeling, there was this big track with judges all along the track and judges at the end of the track. And I’m like ‘that’s a lot of judges,’ ”Amanda said. “Once I got there I was a little nervous, but it all just fell apart.”
Teresa could see this instant change in Amanda’s confidence as she peeked through the cracks in the door to get a glimpse of her daughter’s performance.
“There are 650 kids in this whole iPOP convention and let’s say there’s a hundred kids in her age group doing this one, let’s say she’s ready for commercial auditions, you’re all lined up in that little whole room and so you can kind of play with the energy of the person in front of you, looking at the mistakes, ”Teresa said.“ She nailed it. It was like a totally different kid up there.
Amanda has received four “recalls,” the industry term for signing deals with an agency. She decided to go with an agency based in Los Angeles, 90210Talent.
Since then, she has trained in various acting skills to prepare for her groundbreaking concert. The agency and her mother are looking for Amanda’s first job. She suggested it might be an advertisement, but her ultimate dream would be to someday star in action or sci-fi movies.
Prior to her conference experience, she had never been a model, but the confidence she gained had a lasting impact on Amanda, even after she left the runway.
“It was my first year of modeling this year and I think I did well enough for that. Because you don’t have anything to memorize,” she said.
Funding for her fledgling fame is a major hurdle, but Teresa has gone to crowdsourcing through Facebook to fund Amanda’s trip to Orlando. And the pandemic has made this year a particularly difficult time to break into entertainment. Due to medical issues, she chose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, so she is only applying to local concerts at this time.
“We’re sort of on hold to go to California or Texas, Florida. … But Seattle is crazy about the Hollywood market. It’s amazing what’s in your own backyard, ”Teresa said.
Despite the challenges, the process of getting to where she is today has already been rewarding for Amanda. She said she made friends and discovered herself along the way.
After being asked what made her proudest, she replied, “I’ve come this far. “