Last night was the NYC premiere of “Transformers: Age Of Extinction.” Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader alumna Abigail Klein, who has a small part in the film, stepped out on the (silver?) carpet with her fellow cast mates. Click here and here for photos and here for video.
Wow, was I asleep at the switch. Last week ex Buc’s cheerleader Brooke Newton was 10 miles up the road filming mermaid scenes as the lead actress in her latest project: Winding Waters, a short film. I go all over Florida photographing professional cheerleaders and I missed Ms. Brooke in my own backyard. Here’s a couple photos
Brooke and her best cheer buddy Stacy (Westbrook) Whitehead, circa 2005
Stacy and Brooke on Winding Waters set.
Brooke appearing at Daytime Emmy Awards
By Frank Lovece
“He made me feel so comfortable,” says Galiano, 24, a former Knicks City Dancer and a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance” season four in 2008. “I was flabbergasted that he made me feel like I’ve been doing this for a hundred years, because I was so nervous and this was my first movie, acting-wise. And he was in character the whole time,” she marvels. “He did not break character.”
And Pacino’s character is quite a character — aged wiseguy Val, who’s released from prison after 28 years of never ratting out his criminal confreres. He reunites with his best friend, Doc (Christopher Walken), and their old wheelman, Hirsch (Alan Arkin). But Doc has to kill Val, on orders from their old capo (Mark Margolis). In the meantime, Val wants to celebrate his freedom.
So he goes dancing, and in a sad, sweet scene, he meets Lisa, Galiano’s character. “He wants to party,” Galiano says of Val, “and at first he comes off a little bit harsh, but then we slow-dance and he’s like, ‘Wow, this is really nice, being with a woman again,’ and he thanks me at the end — a real gentleman.”
To Galiano’s surprise, part of the scene appears in film’s trailer. “When I saw it, I was freaking out!” she says.
The Commack High School alumna, now based in Los Angeles, will be back on Long Island this weekend with her dance troupe, The Beat, conducting classes and workshops at the Marriott in Uniondale Saturday and Sunday. Galiano, who went public with her diagnosis of MS last year, says a portion of every registration fee will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.
Then it’s back to L.A., where she appears in “Bounce,” a VH1 drama series about NBA dancers, premiering in May. And she adds that there’s a guy in her life, her MS seems to be under control, and now, with her first speaking movie role, “I don’t think I’ve been this happy in a really long time.”
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleader captain Victoria Vodar is continuing to find success in her acting career. Vicki is in the latest Steven Soderbergh film — Magic Mike, staring Channing Tatum– scheduled for theatrical release on June 29. Follow Vicki at her web site link below.
by Kody Keplinger
April 4, 2012
Recently, I had the extreme privilege of chatting with Abigail Klein, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader turned up-and-coming actress who will be appearing in the comedy That’s My Boy this summer. The film stars Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, and Leighton Meester, and it was Abigail’s first film.
“It was my first, so that was super awesome, because the cast is insane,” said Abigail, who plays one of Leighton Meester’s bridesmaids in the film. “It was a lot of fun to learn from the best and be on set with all of these great people every day.” After a few appearances on TV shows like 90210 and The Young and the Restless, Abigail auditioned for smaller role in That’s My Boy. She was asked to read again for the part of one of the bridesmaids, and later got offered the part. “It’s completely crazy to me still.”
The film shot for a month in Cape Cod, where Abigail got to work with the A-list cast, about whom she had nothing but good things to say. “I was really nervous,” she admitted. Her nerves came from being a new to the whole acting scene and working with such a high profile cast, but she had nothing to worry about. “It was so relaxed and so fun.”
Before heading out to LA, Abigail was a dancer, even being one of the prestigious Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for three and a half years. She has a background in jazz, tap, ballet, and lyrical dance. “I never took any acting classes. I never made time to do anything else but dance,” Abigail said. But after a while, she needed a change in pace. After visiting a friend on the set of Iron Man, she said that acting and film began to intrigue her. “I loved how everybody was working together. I loved the energy and the vibe.”
While Abigail has stopped dancing for the moment, she is open to the idea of starting again, especially if it relates to a role. With dance movies like Step Up and its sequels hitting the box office fairly regularly, that might not be out of the realm of possibility.
Looking to the future, Abigail is keeping an open mind about her career. “My approach has been taking acting day by day,” she told me. “I think I’m open to what’s meant to be.”
But she does have a few dreams. When asked about someone she’d love to work with in the future, Abigail said, “I think it would be so cool if I could work with Tim Burton.” She cited The Nightmare Before Christmas as one of her favorite films, saying she and her parents used to watch it every year.
Be sure to catch Abigail in That’s My Boy, in theaters this June. You can also keep up with her on twitterand catch her in Easton Corbin’s upcoming music video, “Lovin’ You Is Fun.” Take it from me—she’s one to watch.
By Rob Sylvester
As our esteemed editor Rick Chandler made note of on Friday, there’s been a surprising revelation for fans of NBC’s long-running sitcom The Office: program stalwart & favorite put-down target of the lovably sociopathic Michael Scott, idle-minded Dunder-Mifflin employee Phyllis was once an NFL cheerleader. Well not the character, but the actress who plays her — who is unimaginatively also named Phyllis (Smith) — was once a paid pom-pom waver for the football Cardinals of St. Louis, before her life took her on a decidedly different career path (and workout plan, but hey, that happens to the best of us).
And now, due to the tried-and-true Internet standard of proof — “pics or it didn’t happen” — we can see at the right that it did in fact happen, along with a deliciously old-school hairstyle and a cheerleading uniform much different than the sartorial skimpiness you’d find on today’s sideline mavens in Dallas or Washington or even sensible St. Louis. Time, once again, makes fools of us all.
No word if other walking punch-lines from the work-place satire (looking at you, Kevin and Stanley) are hiding equally scandalous pasts, but if a picture surfaces of either of them in a cheerleading uniform, you can bet your ass we’ll let you know.
Amber Lancaster on transitioning from modeling to acting and her role on MTV’s ‘RJ Berger’
By Philiana Ng
After spending several years as a model and rolling out prizes and cheering on contestants on “The Price Is Right,” Amber Lancaster was ready to try at acting. Luck was on her side. MTV’s first original scripted series in years, “The Hard Times of RJ Berger,” was the first pilot she auditioned for, and she landed it. Revolving around a teenage boy going through hormonal changes, “Berger” recently returned for its second season.
The fun-loving Lancaster—who didn’t study theater or acting in school—sat down with Back Stage to discuss transitioning from modeling to acting, the audition process for her role on the MTV comedy as Jenny, a high school cheerleader, and what she has learned so far.
Back Stage: Was this a natural transition for you, to go from modeling to acting?
Amber Lancaster: I started realizing all the potential there was in this town for work. I started taking classes. It was fun; I’ve always enjoyed it. I started auditioning. I was still modeling—it’s a lot better to have modeling as a side job than working at a restaurant. When I would audition for TV or film, I was doing it for fun. I think that was really valuable because it took away the need. A lot of actors, they have this “I need to book this” kind of attitude. So that actually worked in my favor.
Back Stage: This was your only pilot that you went in for. How did you get hold of the script?
Lancaster: My agent submitted me for the part, but I actually missed the first audition. [Laughs.] Once I read the part, I thought, “This girl’s 16. I’m never going to get it.” And they always end up going with someone with a bigger name or bigger credits. At that point of my acting career, I was skeptical of it all. It’s relentless. You have to audition, audition, and audition, and there’s hardly any payoff for it. The chances of you getting an audition—it’s a numbers game. The more you go out on, the more chances you’ll get one.
My agent called me and said, “Where are you? They want to see you. Just get there by noon.” So I get there and I read for them, and they called me in immediately to read for the executive producer and director. A couple weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything, but they hadn’t cast the part. They called me in again to read for the producer and director, and then they had me go in to test. They waited another two or three weeks before I finally found out I got it. It was drawn out.
Back Stage: Did they give you any notes in the room on how they wanted your character to be played?
Lancaster: Nope. Every single time I went in, they were like, “That was perfect!” [Laughs.]
Back Stage: Did you take anything that you learned from acting classes and apply it to your audition?
Lancaster: Honestly, I went through quite a few different acting teachers. It would mess me up more than help me. I think that if you have enough life experience and you’re smart enough, you can figure it out. There are all these techniques, which work great for a lot of people, but not for me.
Back Stage: Figuring it out, as in how to approach a certain scene?
Lancaster: When you read a book, you take that journey. I did learn a few things, but it’s all kind of common sense. What worked for me, anyway, [for instance,] is substitution. If you’re having a scene that’s really dramatic, you substitute a time in your life that’s similar to that scene.
Back Stage: What’s the difference between being a series regular and guest starring on a show?
Lancaster: When you’re on a show, you own that character, so I decide how she’s feeling in the moment and how it would make her feel. So you have a lot more artistic freedom to decide. And [as a guest star,] you don’t know the vibe of the rest of the cast or even how the crew works. It’s such a luxury to be on a show, knowing everyone from the craft service guy to the camera guys. You feel so much more comfortable. So going from that and then auditioning—which is such a foreign, weird, uncomfortable thing—it’s night and day.
Back Stage: There are people who love auditioning, and then there are those who despise it. Where do you stand?
Lancaster: It’s so unreal. If you can give a good audition, then you are going to do awesome on set. Auditioning is the hardest part of acting, hands down. When you’re on a set, everything is provided for you. If I have to audition and I have to pretend an alien is eating my leg off, it’s going to be a lot harder than if I’m actually on set where there is a guy dressed as an alien eating my leg off. So much of acting is reacting, and when you’re reading with somebody who has no emotion, who isn’t invested in the scene, it’s hard to play off of them, because it’s not natural.
Back Stage: When the pilot was picked up to series, what was your initial reaction?
Lancaster: I wasn’t even expecting it because there are a million pilots that get made that don’t get picked up. At this point, we had no idea what was going to happen. It was cool that MTV was doing a scripted show, but we didn’t know that we would be the first scripted show that MTV had done in years. I had no expectations, which is pretty much how I’ve operated my entire life. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, I guess.
Back Stage: Your character on the series is a high school cheerleader. Was that close to who you were?
Lancaster: Yeah, I was a cheerleader in high school and then I was a professional cheerleader for the NFL, for the Seattle Seahawks. What’s funny is I didn’t get to do any cheerleading during the show.
Back Stage: How do you approach your character?
Lancaster: I try and apply as much of myself as I can to the character, because I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong. It’s so easy to be yourself. Everybody is so unique that that makes you different enough.
Back Stage: What have you learned from the series that you’d like to take on to future projects?
Lancaster: It’s all a learning experience. Practice makes perfect. Getting to act every day helps you get better at it. Even if you took a professional basketball player, if he didn’t practice basketball every single day, he wouldn’t be as good as he is. He’d have natural talent, but he wouldn’t be as good.
Back Stage: What do you see for yourself in the future?
Lancaster: I love comedy. Drama is fine too, but it’s so serious. Could you imagine being on the “CSI” set all day long dealing with dead bodies? I wouldn’t want that. I want to have fun. I love a challenge and I definitely want to do a thriller
“I love being from Wisconsin,” said Tanya Fischer, 25, from the CBS series “The Defenders.”
Fischer, who grew up in West Bend, spent her youth “daydreaming among the cornfields” about being an actress and was involved in “all sorts of activities” in high school. After graduation, she joined the Milwaukee Bucks’ Energee! Dance Team. She moved to New York in 2004 with “$1,000 and one suitcase,” slept on a friend’s couch and worked odd jobs. She didn’t have money for acting classes but got experience by working for theater companies and performing on stage. Through that, she got an agent and landed a recurring role on the short-lived ABC show “Life on Mars,” which was shot in New York.
“Then the stock market crashed and the industry changed,” she said.
She started losing roles to more established actors looking for work. So when a band she was in visited Los Angeles, she went to a “Defenders” audition, and after several screen tests she got the role. “The Defenders” stars Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Donnell as Las Vegas lawyers. The season finale airs Friday night at 7.
Fischer plays their secretary Zoey, whose competence is camouflaged by her coquettishness.
She said she drew on Judy Holliday in “Born Yesterday” and “Monkey Business,” an early Marilyn Monroe film, in creating the character, whose trademarks are brightly colored Post-it notes and a pink fuzzy-topped pencil, a prop Fischer pocketed when the series finished shooting.
Belushi is the star of the comedy-drama hybrid, but “The Defenders” is also an ensemble show, of which Fischer’s character is “the wild card. The random piece of the puzzle.”
“The Defenders” is produced and written by Whitefish Bay native Niels Mueller, with whom Fischer shared “handshakes and hugs” during the Green Bay Packers’ run to the Super Bowl, albeit behind Chicago native Belushi’s back. She said that Belushi “runs a tight ship” but is “open to improvisation if you come prepared.”
John Candy’s daughter is Fischer’s stand-in, and Belushi’s son Rob has appeared on the show.
Fischer had no such show business connections.
“I’m no producer’s kid,” she said.
Far from it. Her mother, Peggy Fischer, runs Shooting Star Travel in West Bend. Her dad runs a martial arts studio. Her younger sister attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her brother attends her alma mater, West Bend High School.
When we spoke by phone last week, it was the day after she had finished filming her final scene of the season, and she was on a giggly adrenaline high.
“Right now, they’re packing up the stages until we get word” if the show was picked up for a second season, she said.
She is optimistic – “we’ve been pulling in good ratings consistently” – but also philosophical about the show’s future, and her own.
She said that when she interviewed for the commentary track on the DVD boxed set of the first season and was asked what she liked best about the job, “I had to say ‘everything.’ I’m not crashing on friends’ couches or eating food that restaurants throw away anymore. I like knowing my rent’s going to be paid for a while. And I can send my sister some dough for college. Who knows how long anything will last?
“But the work we are doing is something I’m proud of, and the audience seems to like it.”
And renewed or not, her dream is the same as it was in that cornfield: “To be a great actress.”
“I just want to keep at it,” she said. “I can’t wait to see after years of being around, the roles I can play when I’m a crazy old lady.”
On Thursday, Jan. 20, USA Network premieres “Fairly Legal,” starring former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Sarah Shahi as San Francisco mediator Kate Reed. Unlike her dressed-down police-detective character on NBC’s “Life,” Kate is a bit of a fashion plate.
In the “Fairly Legal” pilot, that includes black peep-toe Louboutin pumps with sky-high heels.
Asked how she liked chasing after a cable car in those shoes, Shahi tells Zap2it, “That’s the first question every girl asks. It was very stylish, but it hurt like hell. At one point, I just threw them off, and I yelled at the director, ‘I’m not running around San Francisco looking like this!’