Ajacian’s Acting Career Has Taken off in Past Year

By Mike Ruta

Everything Nikki Grant touches seems to turn nikkigrantto gold for her.

The 21-year-old Ajax dancer and actor says she “begged” her parents as a 10 year old to let her try dancing. After just one year at her studio, she made the competitive dance team. Eight years later Grant auditioned to become a member of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak and for two seasons, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, was its youngest member. She was accepted back for a third season but turned the job down as, after less than a year of taking acting lessons and acting, she landed a major role in a feature film.

Grant admits she got into acting to become famous. And while that may happen in the future, she’s had a change of heart.

“It’s definitely for the love of the art because if you don’t have that it’s hard to succeed in this business,” she says.

The aforementioned film is Beat the World, due for release in March. Grant plays Cherry, a dancer who she says doesn’t have a lot of self-esteem and uses arrogance to hide the fact. She was in Berlin this past summer where some of it was shot.

“It’s about three dance crews from across the world that are battling to get to Beat the World, this dance competition,” she says, noting Cherry is “basically the bad girl” who has designs on one of the male dancers, who has a girlfriend.

Just as she was finishing up her work on Beat the World, Grant found herself on another set, dancing in Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, released in September on the Family Channel and starring the Jonas Brothers. She followed that up with an appearance in an episode of a new TV series, Lost Girl.

If all of this seems like a natural progression, it was: Grant says she got into dancing because a few friends danced. And while she was a member of the Dance Pak, she learned a lot of the other dancers acted as well and she decided to give it a shot.

As you might have guessed, Grant’s extremely outgoing and loves performing in front of a crowd. So, when it came time to be in front of the camera, nerves were not an issue.

“It was so exciting to me,” she says. “It is as if the camera wasn’t there and I was another person.”

She likes acting because it allows her to explore different aspects of her personality.

Grant says the support of her parents is what has carried her though all the rapid changes she’s had in her life in the past few years.

It’s no surprise that the former Ajax High School student has her sights set on her next challenge.

“My next big goal for myself is I’d like to be a series regular on a TV show,” Grant says.

[Nikki Grant at imdb.com]

Former Rams Cheerleader on the Silver Screen

By Joe Williams
St Louis Today

amyhollandpenellramsSome hometown heroes are screening an ambitious movie this Sunday afternoon at the new Granite City cinemas. The inspirational drama “I Am” stars Granite City native Amy Holland Pennell, a former captain of the Rams cheerleaders, and was co-produced by former Cardinal Todd Zeile.

I’m guessing it’s no coincidence that the screening is on 10/10/10. The faith-based drama follows ten characters through a day in Los Angeles as they grapple with the consequences of violating the Ten Commandments. The website for the film (www.iamthemovie.com) calls the interconnected storyline “a faith-based ‘Crash’.”

“I Am” screens Sunday afternoon at 12:15 and 2 p.m. at the new Granite City tri-plex at 1243 Niedringhaus Avenue. The 2 p.m. screening is already sold out; but at 3:45, fans can meet some of the stars, including Pennell, who hosted sports shows on local TV before launching an acting career in Hollywood.

“I Am” (which features Katharine McPhee’s new song “Say Goodbye” on the soundtrack) will be screening at churches throughout the Bi-State area later this year.

[I Am (The Movie) Official Website]

[Amy Holland Pennell]

Theresa Joy Becomes ‘Everything She Wants to Be’ on The Bridge

Thanks to Phil of the Buffalo Pro Cheer Blog for passing this along.

By Tyrone Warner

thresa2This classically trained actor finds strength portraying a detective on the new CTV series.

Theresa joy plays Billy, a feisty and tough street cop, who draws more danger and trouble than she deserves.

“I think she’s just totally driven and has a lot of energy, and she just wants to do the job right. Being a girl, you meet a lot of bad guys in your life and you don’t want to be a victim. So I think for her, she’s in a position where she can take them down and she can help other people,” Joy tells CTV.ca.

“Billy has the power to go out there and stop bad things from happening instead of waiting for them to happen to her. When she reads the newspaper, it doesn’t have to brew inside of her; she goes to work the next day and tries to stop it from happening.”

Billy is just one of the many characters that inhabit the world of “The Bridge,” which chronicles the actions of controversial union boss Frank Leo, played by “Battlestar Galactica” alum Aaron Douglas.

Joy has a number of television and film credits, including appearances on “Nip/Tuck,” “Entourage,” “Reno 911!: Miami,” and “Puck Hogs.” At one point, Joy was also a former NFL Cheerleader (Buffalo Jills 1998-2001). The actress currently splits her time between Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles and Europe.

When comparing herself with her character, Joy says playing Billy gives her a certain feeling of empowerment.

“Billy’s intimidating and I am not. I’m passive and I don’t like fights… I’ll let people be jerks and shrug it off because I don’t need to confront them. It’s weird, because if there’s a character that is not like me, then I really feel like I’m faking it,” says Joy.

“I never felt that way with Billy, so there must be something inside of me. It feels so comfortable to be her. She’s everything I would want to be. My characters in the past, they’d be someone Billy would have in handcuffs!”

When Joy found out she landed her role in “The Bride,” she discovered what life for police offers is really like.

“I went on a ride along in Buffalo, with the Buffalo Police Department in one of the most dangerous parts of Buffalo, and it was scary,” remembers Joy.

“I thought I was brave, but when I got there, I got a bullet proof vest, and I laughed and thought I was going to stay in the car the whole time. The first time I stepped into a house, it was a domestic call, but it’s the east side of Buffalo and it’s pretty scary, I don’t think I’ve even driven through the east side. So it was intimidating just to be there. The house was dark, the two officers I was with went in front of me, and all of a sudden I was like — ‘I don’t know who is around the next corner, I don’t know who is in the next room, I don’t know who might have a gun’ — I felt so helpless. Of course, they had guns and I didn’t. It was really scary. We did a high-speed chase, talked to some gang members, there was a robbery. I think we basically went through a lot of the crimes I find in my scripts, and that was all on one shift.”

The biggest lesson that Joy took from her ride along experience, was just how similar the lives of the officers on “The Bridge” reflect those of real-life cops.

“As an actor, you’ll read the scripts and hear about marriages going bad with alcoholism and suicide and somebody might think, ‘Oh, its TV, they want to keep the show interesting.’ From what I heard from the police officers, is that it’s all real. It’s hard on them. It’s not like other 9 to 5 jobs.”

During her ride along, Joy also remembers some of the more unusual reactions she received while accompanying the police officers.

“I was in character, in a sense, so I was wearing what Billy wears for the first few episodes. I just pulled something out of my own wardrobe which resembles that… these straight leg jeans and this black leather coat,” says Joy.

“During this one stop, this girl came out and said, ‘That’s what the cops are wearing now? That’s too cool for cops!’”


Phil has more here.

Watch the premier of The Bridge here.

The Bridge airs Saturdays at 8pm on CBS.

Theresa at imdb.com.

Photo Gallery: Amber Lancaster, Local Girl Makes Good


Amber Lancaster of Tacoma stars as Jenny Swanson in the new MTV situation comedy “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” Lancaster, 29, is a former Pierce College student and Seattle Seahawks Cheerleader with a long string of credits as a magazine and TV model. The MTV role, in which she plays a high schooler who is the dream girl of a nerdy classmate, is her first big break as an actress.

[Seattle Post-Intelligencer Gallery of Amber Lancaster]

Former Bucs Cheerleader Victoria Vodar in ODD MAN OUT

Larry Bukovey, Kimberly McVicar, Jannette Sepwa and Victoria Vodar
Larry Bukovey, Kimberly McVicar, Jannette Sepwa and Victoria Vodar

American Stage Theatre Company continues its experimental “After Hours” Series with their 3rd Sunday Comedy Night performance of the high concept comedy show, ODD MAN OUT, Sunday, June 20 at 8 p.m. Tickets are “Pay What You Can” at the door and $15 in advance.

This hilariously provocative show follows three spirited comediennes who have just introduced a new member into their show, an odd man out named Larry who isn’t a good fit with the sassy ladies. A collection of funny scenes, sexy dance numbers, videos and improvisational premises, ODD MAN OUT promises to be the experimental must see hit of the year.

ODD MAN OUT stars Jannette Sepwa as the urban word slinging mama, Dah-mo-neek; Second City alumni Kimberly McVicar as Candy, the ex-Playboy-bunny-turned-comedienne-turned-all-around-idiot; Victoria Vodar as Alexis, the gorgeous Harvard graduate with a penchant for punishing all men…with her comedy; and Upright Citizens Brigade veteran Larry Bukovey as the odd man out.

“As directed by Ricky Wayne (THE DUMB SHOW), ODD MAN OUT is that perfect experimental piece of theatre that is funny, edgy and just boarding on being a little too sexy,” said Todd Olson, American Stage’s producing artistic director.

Performances and ticket prices are as follows:
Sunday, June 20 at 8 p.m.

Tickets prices are “Pay What You Can” at the door and $15 in advance.

Please call the American Stage Box Office at (727) 823-PLAY (7529)
or go to www.americanstage.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

American Stage Theatre Company is located at the Raymond James Theatre, 163 3rd Street North in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Former Seattle Sea Gal Amber Lancaster in the Maxim Hot 100

amberlanYou started out as a Hometown Hottie in 2004, and now you’re an MTV star. We think we deserve a cut of your next paycheck!

Oh, for sure! After being voted into the Top 10, I decided to move to L.A. permanently. It kind of launched my career. I am loyal to Maxim through and through.

What were you doing before you became a Hottie?

I was a loan coordinator at a mortgage company in Seattle. My roommate thought I should enter the contest, so we made a video of me dancing around my living room looking like an idiot. If you guys repost that video, I might boycott you.

And you were a Cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks as well, right?

Yeah. We were technically called dancers, but we had pompoms, so it did get a little confusing. The problem is, you tell people you’re a dancer and they think you work at some place called Déjà Vu.

Let’s talk The Hard Times of RJ Berger. What’s it about?

RJ Berger is your quintessential nerdy high school kid, and his friend Miles is always trying to get them noticed and help them move up the social ladder. Anyway, in the very first episode, RJ’s member is exposed at a basketball game.

His member?

You know, his thingy! It turns out it’s quite large, so he gains a bit of notoriety. That propels them into more opportunities at school.

Who do you play?

If the show is like Superbad meets The Wonder Years, then I’m kind of the Winnie Cooper… but a little more scandalous.


Yeah, I’m the down-to-earth girl next door, but RJ is constantly having dreams of me ripping my
dress off in the hallway and showing up to school naked.

That sounds intriguing. So MTV is really doing a non-reality show?

People can’t comprehend that MTV is doing something scripted. It’s a really big deal for them. They’re kind of changing their whole image.

Have you partied with the Jersey Shore folks?

I did! They’re pretty fun, but I don’t know if my liver could handle hanging out with them on a daily basis.

Did the Situation show you his abs?

Definitely. I told him it looked like they were slipping a little bit, and I think it hurt the guy’s feelings.

Do you go out and party very often?

Not so much anymore. When I first got to L.A., I’d go out all the time, but now I’m way more of a homebody.

So what would be a better approach for a girl like you?

Just talk to me about normal things, like music. Also, I love guys who know something that I don’t know.

Such as?

Even if I have absolutely no idea what a dude is talking about, like stocks or something, it’s actually really hot.

[Maxim 2010 Hot 100]

Jill Marie Jones: Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Gets Gig with TBS

From ClutchMagonline.com

jmjEver wonder what happened to ‘Girlfriends’ actress Jill Marie Jones?

Well, she’s landed a gig — that is on, putting her in great company.

Following in the footsteps of TBS’s highly-successful micro-series ‘My Manny,’ which starred Elise Neal, comes a new series starring the woman who played the brazen real estate saleswoman Toni Childs.

The Baileys spokesperson and former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader will star as the title character Gillian in a new series called ‘Gillian in Georgia,’ which follows a hip, single New Yorker who visits her family in a small town in Georgia.

The show will also star ‘Stomp the Yard’ actor Darrin Henson as her love interest, ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ actress Shondrella Avery as her sister and James Mathis II, who appeared in ‘The Matrix.’

It will make its debut during commercial segments following TBS’s ‘Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns’ at 8 pm on April 28 with two new episodes showing each Wednesday for five consecutive weeks within commercial time.

‘Gillian in Georgia’ is sponsored exclusively by Chevy Malibu, which will be prominently featured in the show, particularly to show how the show’s main character uses a Chevy Malibu car to get around town.

Amber Lancaster’s Hard Times

Amber Lancaster is a former Seattle Sea Gal

By By J.Everette Perry

Amber Lancaster plays the cheerleading dream girl of a well-endowed geek on MTV’s first single-cam comedy, The Hard Times of RJ Berger. The show premiers June 6th with a huge push by MTV, as they sober up from their ten-year reality show bender. The comedy is based around RJ’s (Paul Iacono) huge appendage being unveiled during a school pep assembly, and how his popularity goes from zero to 60 quicker then Amber can do the splits. Lancaster has played a soap star diva, been part of the gang on Entourage, and, here, tells us about going to school with no clothes on.

Describe your role on Hard Times.
I play the role of Jenny Swanson. She’s the quintessential, all-American girl-next door that is also the girl of RJ’s dreams (both literally and figuratively).

It’s a funny role that requires good comedic timing.
The show is basically a series of awkward moments. My character is funny without knowing that she is funny, not because of the things she does, but because of how obsessed RJ is with her and she is completely oblivious.

Have there been any awkward moments on set?
My most awkward moment was a scene where RJ dreams that I come to school naked, with nothing but a backpack on. So I filmed the scene with literally nothing but a backpack and 50 extras, 4 cameras, 20 crew. You get the idea. It was very awkward.

What was is like playing a cheerleader?

It was fun!! Although, I didn’t get to wear the uniform as much as I would have liked.

What are your three favorite possessions.

My grandmother’s pearl necklace, old photo albums and music

Other then PAPERMAG.com what are your everyday websites?

Well I have a few, I am an absolute Google fanatic. I must Google at least five things a day. And I love facebook, gilt.com, and imdb.com

What is one of your favorite areas of LA and why?

I love living in Brentwood. It’s a bit removed from Hollywood, close to the ocean, and I can walk anywhere from my apartment, which, in my opinion, is priceless in LA!

The Ironettes

The Ironettes (cheerleader-esque backup dancers) appear in the beginning of Iron Man 2 (in theaters May 7th). On of the Ironettes is played by former Denver Broncos Pro Bowl Cheerleader Renee Herlocker.

Renee was supposed to have a bit of dialogue, but because Robert Downey Jr. was having a hard time remembering his lines, they shortened the whole scene and her lines were cut.



[Renee Herlocker Website]

[Renee on Twitter]