Audiences around the world were recently introduced to local Greenwood High student Grace Marie Wilson as the object of Justin Bieber's crush in the video for his hit song "One Less Lonely Girl". We recently caught up with the young thesbian to find out about her experiences on stage and screen and plans for the future.
By age 11 you were the star of PTK's Alice in Wonderland - when did you start acting and did you always want to be an actress?
My actual first onstage experience was at age 11 when my dad told me about auditions for Snow White at the Capitol Arts Center. I auditioned and ended up getting the lead in my first real play so that got me pumped from the start! I had always wanted to be an actress as long as I can remember and so my dad was the one who helped me jump start it.
Was Justin Bieber's "One Less Lonely Girl" video your first acting role outside of local productions? If not what else?
The Justin video was my frist substantial role outside of local productions, but I had been in the Kellie Pickler "I Wonder" video as an extra before that. I've done some modeling also before the video but no other real acting jobs!
How was working on a music video different than other acting you've done?
Working on the video was more difficult than theatre because it is a completely different acting style. You have to play to the camera instead of a huge audience. In theatre you act with your whole body with gestures ten times bigger than real life, but on camera you must shrink it all down. It was also more difficult because we would have to run maybe a one second shot many times over and over again instead of once on a stage.
What about Justin Bieber was a surprise to you?
I was very surpised at how famous Justin actually was because before the video I had no idea who he was! Then I began talking to my friends and Justin's crew and realized I had landed myself in something bigger than I had expected! It was surreal at first because to me he is just another guy I met! Haha, except girls go crazy over him!
On the internet there were claims that a kiss between you and Justin Bieber had been edited out of the video, is that true? What else was cut and how did the final video differ from what you expected after all the filming?
Yes, the part about the kiss is true, haha. I'm not sure why they decided to cut it out, but as far as I know that was the only thing cut from the video. Maybe they didn't want his fans to freak out! It was an undescribable feeling that I felt when I first saw the video. You really are not prepared to see your own face on MTV, and so it was really shocking when I first saw it. But I loved the way the video turned out! I thought it was well put together and so cute! :)
Do you follow Beiber on Twitter?
I do follow Justin on Twitter, however I hardly ever get on twitter any more. I'm more of a Facebook girl.
Can you tell us some of your other roles on stage or screen? What was your favorite role?
Some of my other roles onstage include: Beth and Alice in PTK's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Alice in PTK's Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella in PTK's The Glass Slipper, Marty in the Capitol Arts Youth Theatre's production of Grease, Ernestine in PTK's Cheaper By The Dozen, and this past school year I was Sarah Brown in Greenwood High's production of Guys and Dolls. Those are only a few of the many productions I've done, but I think they are the most interesting! I can't really pick a favorite because I have enjoyed them all so much! I am actually going to be performing in my second mainstage play at PTK, playing the role of Juliet in their production of Romeo and Juliet!
You've held significant roles in Greenwood High productions including musicals like this spring's Guys and Dolls - are you also interested in pursuing a career in music?
I would LOVE to also pursue a career in music! I love singing and playing music and I have a friend that I record songs with, but I feel like God has really given me my biggest strength in acting, but if I can also land a career in music I would accept it gladly!
You are listed multiple times as a honor roll student, how to you balance your studies and your acting?
It is very stressful when I am in the middle of rehearsing for a show and balancing school at the same time. Also when I have to miss school for auditions and acting or modeling jobs. It's a huge commitment and a lot of work, but I would like to get into a good college so I really try my best to stay caught up with my work and miss the least possible amount of school. You really have to not forget your priorities and school needs to stay at the top of that list! Especially in my house, my family encourages good grades and if my grades were failing I would be pulled out of acting.
On your Facebook wall you mention landing Juliet in PTK's upcoming production - when will that show be and is there anywhere else people can see you perform locally coming up?
I am SO excited to be playing Juliet! I can not wait for rehearsals to start! it is always an honor for actors to land a lead role in Shakespeare. The show will be near the end of January, but I do not have specific dates yet. If people want to find out later in the year they can go online www.ptkbg.org for dates and ticket info.
On Facebook you also mention a deep commitment to your faith, how do you anticipate that effecting your career choices?
Yes, I am very committed to my faith in Christ Jesus, and I give him all the glory for all the talents and amazing once in a lifetime opportunities he has given me. I believe he has put me in the situations I'm in to be a light and a witness to others and I would love to use my talents as a way to glorify him and reach out to others. I know for a fact that this will challenge me in my career choices because the field that I want to pursue will pressure a person to conform to the ways of the world and not live up to the standards and morals God has set for us as Christians.
You will be graduating this year, what are your plans from there?
I do not really have a definite plan for when I graduate, but I am seriously considering taking that summer to travel to L.A. and meet with a few connections that I have there and possibly try to sign with an agency and see how I do auditioning and working at "making it", as they say, that summer. It will be a very hard thing to do to leave everything behind and venture out on my own with no guarantee of making anything, but I feel like God has given me gifts for a reason and I need to use them!
You can keep up with Grace on her facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Grace-Wilson/121359504554291