A young Red Deer woman is following her dreams of becoming an actress and is learning from some of the industry’s best.
Gina Omilon, 19, is currently attending The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles. She moved there last October to begin her schooling and will spend the next three years completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in acting.
“A lot of people ask me why I didn’t do my schooling in Vancouver or Toronto but five years in Vancouver is equivalent to one year in Los Angeles,” she said. “I want to be down here in California, that is where the business is and I figured I might as well just go right from the beginning and start to network and make connections right off the bat.”
As for her first move away from home, Omilon said she has enjoyed it so far.
“I really like it, I have to admit. I just feel like there is so much more here and it is a really good learning experience.”
Since arriving in L.A. Omilon has had the opportunity to meet and network with producers and even be on the red carpet at the Golden Globes where she met A-list celebrities like Quentin Tarantino.
“I’ve gone to the Golden Globes and have met so many people like Quentin Tarantino who actually had a conversation with my friend and I. He was really nice – it was awesome. We also met Jay Leno, Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell and Halle Berry – a massive amount of people. I’m seeing what I potentially want to be doing,” she said. “I was also just on set with producers from the Bourne Identity a couple of weekends ago. The experience has been amazing so far.”
In the upcoming fall semester, Omilon will head to New York to study there as part of an exchange program. “I’ll be there from October to February and then head back to L.A. I am really looking forward to that as well.”
As she nears the end of her second semester, Omilon said she already feels more prepared to start her career.
“I’ve already learned so much. My school has the most alumni on Broadway and all of the faculty is still working in the business. One of my teachers from last semester is on The Walking Dead. I love that all of our teachers are in the biz because we’re getting all of their knowledge and experience passed down to us. I know I’ve improved so much already and they point out stuff that you don’t really notice when you’re just taking high school drama. They are really preparing us.”
Omilon will be returning to Red Deer for the summer, but has also been asked to host a high-profile event in which she’ll be flying out to Toronto for.
She was crowned Miss Teen Red Deer at a provincial pageant hosted by the Miss Teen Canada World in Calgary in March 2012. She held that title for one year before passing it on.
In July she will co-host the Miss Teen Canada World Pageant in Toronto alongside Luke Bilyk of Degrassi: The Next Generation. “I’m really excited.”
As for her ultimate goal, Omilon said she would like to see herself doing film and TV.
“I always say that I’m open to doing Broadway, but films and TV is where I want to go. I would like to see myself in a position of Sandra Bullock or Kate Winslet where they are beginning to be known as ‘greats’. I don’t want to just have a small career and I want to have substance.”
Meanwhile, Omilon also encourages local youth to follow their dreams.
“I feel like so many kids think they’re in a City of 100,000 and that they won’t be able to make it and will just decide to stay in Red Deer. I feel so bad for people who confine themselves to that. You can definitely go out and pursue your dreams. There are so many avenues you can explore to help you get there,” she said. “One thing I have found with Los Angeles, even though it’s really big, is that it is just like any other city but it still gives you that home feeling.”
To follow Omilon’s progress follow her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ginaomilonofficial.