Aislin answers my questions as we talk about her acting and performing career both deliberately and thoughtfully. Better
than you might expect from someone who is barely a teenager. You can tell she wants to get it right. Her poise is no surprise though
as she has been active as a performer since she was 3 years old. That builds character.|
The daughter of nature loving and artistic parents, her mother worked at a performing arts school for a time and her father is an art gallery owner in Asheville, North Carolina. She grew up surrounded by talent and enlightened minds. Not to mention the support she has received from her parents and mentors along the way. That can make a big difference in the formative years.
You can tell a lot about a person by the people they regard as role models. For Aislin it is Emma Watson for being a down to earth actor that uses her celebrity to bring attention to the causes she favors and Malala Yousafzai for her bravery in standing up for the right to go to school and get an education in a country where young girls are discouraged from doing so. A refreshing outlook for someone to aspire to.
"Aislin has had a leading role in my films Sleepyhead, Fools Paradise, Clean, The Beckoning and most recently Demons in Disguise. I love directing children and Aislin has honestly become sort of like a muse for many of my characters. She has such a beautiful and unique look and her acting is so strong for someone her age. She absorbs what I say and takes my directions like any professional adult actor would. She is very intelligent for her years and is wonderful to have on set. She is very easy to direct- especially because each time I work with her she matures more and more as an actor and her professionalism and ease on set just continues to strengthen.
In person when we are not working on a scene Aislin is full of life, humor, and stories. She is a born entertainer. And because she is so mature she is able to connect with all sorts of people on set."
She has also been doing well in commercials. Recently doing some print modeling for the Eddie Bauer clothing store chain. Let's just hope she remains down to earth with her head on her shoulders as she grows in this business and I'm sure we'll see lots more from this young lady in the future.
I've seen you in a number of your films and you seem to have a natural talent for acting without overacting. Do you have to work at it?"
Aislin Thank you for saying I have natural talent, that is so kind! This question is funny because I did musical theatre for 6 years before I started film and it definitely took a lot of effort for me to be animated for the stage. Overacting is hard work for me. On-camera acting comes easy because it is so subtle. I don't really put too much work into it as I just listen to what the director wants and try to create the character. Most directors are good at telling you what motivates a character and so I give them my interpretation of what they ask for. So far I have gotten to work with some amazing directors who know how to communicate exactly what they want. I have been lucky.
How did you begin working with Kira Bursky and who are some of the other directors that you've worked with?
Aislin A few years ago I appeared in a film made for the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project and Kira saw the film. She tracked me down and asked me to be on her team that year and cast me in the lead role of her film Sleepyhead. Somehow I won Best Actress that year when I was 11 and Kira and I have been making films together ever since.
Other North Carolina directors I have worked with are Joe Chiazza of 5Ahead Films and Blake Edwards of INSP Network, both out of Charlotte. Student directors are fun and I have been lucky to work with some amazing ones from the FSU Film School, Western Carolina University, and Cinelon Productions out of Elon College. Since my southeast agents are in Atlanta I have worked with directors at TNT Network, Indigo Studios and W3BG on commercials and ads. I have also been in a few music videos and those are cool because the director is usually the singer or rapper in a band so that is different from working on a film or commercial set. Everyone has their own style but I can honestly say that every director I have worked with so far have been awesome and a blast to work with!
Speaking of music videos. I notice you sing and dance as well. You seem to be fully invested in performing. Does it matter to you which of these talents comes to the forefront first?
Aislin Well ever since I was cast in my first lead role in a short film a few years ago I decided to focus primarily on screen acting. This was a big step for me as I had been in dance classes since I was 2 years old and doing plays since I was 3. For awhile my mom worked at a performing arts school so by the time I was 10 I had done around 25 performances on the stage and I was burnt out. Luckily that was around the same time I was cast in my first student film. On-camera acting is my truest passion when I think of all the performing arts and I hope it is where I find the most success though singing and dancing is and always will be a part of my life. While I don't have any aspirations to be on Broadway or become a professional dancer, it would be awesome to be cast in a movie one day where I can use my triple threat skills.
That's great that you've had the opportunity to be in and around performances since you were very young. I'm sure that contributes to the poise needed to be a successful performer. Do you primarily depend on your agent to find work for you or are there things you do to promote yourself?
Aislin I am lucky to have such supportive parents, they both look out for local opportunities for me since they know a lot of artistic people in the area. My mom also works hard to find me auditions that my agents might not get like non-union jobs and students films. Then I take advantage of social media for self-promotion and have profiles on twitter, facebook, youtube IMDb, and a personal website. My mom helps me manage them and I have actually booked great roles in short films via my facebook page. Everything else though I depend on my agents for. I have agents in the southeast and also in Los Angeles and I rely on them to get me the bigger auditions for commercials, films & TV.
I'm aware that more and more auditions are moving online. How often do you record your auditions instead of traveling to an audition? Which method works best for you?
Aislin The majority of professional film and TV jobs these days require a taped audition in the first round. Usually you only meet with the casting director if you have gotten a callback. Commercials are a little different, some of those you submit a tape for but most are in person. After taping lots of auditions over the past couple of years I actually enjoy self-taping now and have gotten pretty good at it. Getting the opportunity to meet with casting is the priority though as I make a better impression in person and I like when they can direct my audition. The best is when I direct book a job off my headshot & résumé which is happening more and more. As much as I enjoy the audition process I love getting the job without it since it frees up my time.
Who are some of your influences and people you admire?
Aislin Like a lot of teens I am influenced by my peers and by individuals I come across on Instagram and other social media sites. I tend to be impressed by people who try to stand out from the crowd instead of being like everyone else, I like unique beings. Also anyone who watches out for those less fortunate and who will stand up for what's right is really cool as that is a hard thing to do sometimes. I am not impressed by celebrities so much but I do admire Emma Watson. Her acting skills improved so much over the course of all those Harry Potter movies! Plus she uses her celebrity status to bring attention to her favorite charities and she seems down to earth. She is such an awesome role model.
What activities are you involved in outside of acting and performing?
Aislin Since I live in the mountains I spend lots of time in nature and love horseback riding, archery, and hiking. I also draw a lot, especially anime, and am constantly inspired by visual art at my dad's art gallery. Other than that I spend as much time as possible with my friend's being a kid.
It sounds like you have a talented family and knowing Asheville a talented community as well. I found the short film you were in Through The Glass intriguing. What can you tell me about that film and the people you worked with on it?
It was filmed over 2 days and I enjoyed working with the other lead though the subject matter was intense. I liked the entire cast and crew actually, everyone was easy-going and very professional. It was a fun weekend and then we found out many weeks later that it won Best Submission at the Cinelon Film Festival. That was really cool and the director won Best Director so I was thankful to have the chance to work with her.
Do you do any commercial work?
Aislin Yes I do book commercials. A TV ad for a car dealership was my very first paid job when I was 5. I enjoy doing commercial work so much as the acting is usually fun and upbeat. In previous ads I have had to go fishing, be a camper at summer camp and dance around the room with my family. This is so different from the drama that is usually in my film work.
Commercials are great for building my résumé and keeping me busy as I work towards my break into feature films/TV. Plus more people tend to see my commercial work. I was in a promo for a TNT television drama that showed in movie theatres this summer and so many friends from all over the country said they saw me in it. That was so cool.
;What's ahead for you? What do you have coming up?
Aislin I have some photo shoots coming up which I am excited about, I love modeling. This fall I plan on getting more voice-over work since there are 2 recording studios near me. I have only auditioned for a couple jobs but I did book my first one and I know it is something I want to pursue as an artist. Other than that I hope to keep getting auditions from my agents and see what I can accomplish before I go to high school next year. I have been home-schooling these past 2 years to have more flexibility in my schedule but I can't wait to go to a public high school next year, I want to have a normal childhood as much as possible.
What would you say has been the key to your success up to this point.
Aislin I have always had great teachers in my life who have inspired me and taught me well. Every dance, music and acting mentor has brought me insight that has helped shape my journey. Also Asheville is a great place to be if you are an artist and growing up here you are constantly exposed to music, theatre and visual arts. Art & music festivals abound, it is such a supportive community for creativity and opportunities to work with talented people are everywhere. Of course the biggest key to my success are my parents. Thank goodness they are artists at heart and have given me more opportunities than some parents might have.