From New York to LA, Holly Anderson has added a new touch of class to the world of acting. Her talents stem from extensive training and real life experiences, which have led her onto a strong pathway to the future of motion pictures and television. She has touched upon areas that most would find almost impossible and yet she yearns to find more. Being a true humanitarian, an animal rights advocate, and an avid boxer, she only has things to prove to herself and will not fail. She is strong willed and tenacious. So, keep your eyes open for this starlit beauty, as she will have so much to show you in her bright future.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Tell us about your career in theatre and film?
Holly Anderson - I started in theatre by working at black boxes and stages in Jersey City, Hoboken and Manhattan, leading my way working non-equity and equity productions. I performed at Jersey City's, The Barrow Mansion in "Spoon River Anthology." Across the Hudson River in Manhattan, at the Waterloo Bridge Theatre in Time Square, I played “Leachery," the deadliest of sins in an Off-Off-Broadway production based on the lives of Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare and Cervantes.
This indeed was an amazing time and I have so many fond memories, like wrapping up rehearsals and walking out into Times Square as it just started to snow. The theatre we worked at was old and snow would come in right through the dressing room window. Because it got a “wee bit chili,” we used to run over to a nearby deli to get chicken soup. We ran Thursday through Saturday night shows with a Sunday matinee, selling out most of the time. Thinking back now, it was a very special and great time. Let me tell you, nothing much equals doing theatre right in Times Square. I’ll never forget it.
It seems like I have been cast in a lot of roles that were "evil." LOL, hey..., do you think that means something? Actually, to be honest, I truly enjoy a good challenge and the “evil doers” and “villains” tend to bring that on. It builds character!
When I moved to the West Coast, I did theatre in Toluca Lake, Sherman Oaks, and Hollywood. When I played Mrs. Disney, the North Hollywood Reporter Review stated that I gave her character “much warmth" and Backstage Magazine quoted me as having an "earnest performance." I have played anything from a pig, all seven dwarfs, to a role in an equity production of the Euripedes Greek Classic, "Trojan Women."
Film was something I also worked both on the East and West Coast. When I was in NYC, I did a whole slew of indie films, while taking acting classes. One was playing the pivotal role of a homeless drug addict, that snuck into a courtroom with a gun and killed a bad cop. It was a feature called, "The Round Table," which was shot in Philly and I would have to take the train to and from Manhattan. It was a non-union indie and it was before I got my SAG card, but I was one of the leads and to me it was a big deal.
I also did background work, so that I could be around a set as much as possible. Eventually, I was bumped up into "Sex and the City" and "As the World Turns." I ended up getting some great camera closeups of just me giving reaction shots. It was weird because I remember after "S&TC," I was in Vegas and some people recognized me from that episode, just from a reaction shot. Ha ha! I did some regional commercials and then I made the big move to Los Angeles, and things came crashing to a halt. Not because of the move, but because I had a rude awaking to the fact that my husband was cheating on me with my best friend.
Obviously my marriage ended and my self esteem went down hill, and acting was thrown to the sidelines but only for a short while. Around the same time, when I was blond, I was cast into a commercial for VH-1 as Uma Thurman in a Pulp Fiction spoof. This sort of lifted my spirits and made me smile, especially working with a John Travolta look-alike.
My film roles in Los Angeles have been diverse from a self absorbed reporter to an emotionally damaged war veteran, which speaking of, I excitedly won two awards for lead actress as the war veteran. But needless to say, the business has its ups and downs, with an array of unfulfilled promises. Ideally, one has to just roll with the punches and not give up hope that something better will come along. For example, recently, I was cast as a crazy pregnant woman in a film with Sean Young, but just heard that they lost their financing, so... one role down the drain. Several months ago, a producer approached me at the New Media Arts Film Festival in LA, pulled me aside and told me that I had the look needed to fill a specific role as the wife of Richard Tyson. He asked me to send my demo reels and pictures to him, which I did. He then sent me the script and told me that the role is mine. Imagine how I felt several months later when I found out on Facebook that he had shot without me, using a woman that has never acted before! I still have the emails from his assistant telling me I was on the cast list as that character. The casting director they hired said she couldn't get me to call her back. I told them I could easily show them phone records she never called me. I cried and cried over that. She never even tried to get in touch with me. Last month, I received a SAG letter informing me that my agent had two strokes within an hour. She is now in an assisted living facility and the agency had to be closed. This is definitely a crazy business. If you are not grounded and solid, it can literally rip your heart out.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - When did you first get started?
Holly Anderson - I started acting in the 90's in Manhattan but it was sporadic. Things or rather "Life" just got in the way and I didn't continuously pursue it. I wish I had started earlier but I always felt too ugly, too fat or too something, that just never made me feel good enough. I think a lot of actors feel that way.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - What motivated you to pursue a career in this area?
Holly Anderson - As a child I was happiest pretending that I was somebody else, somewhere else. It could be anywhere and I could be anyone but myself and in my actual surroundings. So, in hind sight, acting seemed the most natural thing for me to do.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - what projects are you currently working on or will be in the near future?
Holly Anderson - There are a few, actually. In mid February of 2012, I was fortunate enough to have been cast in a Public Service Announcement that will be running nationally as well as on the web. I worked with such greats, as Oscar winning DP Russell Carpenter, Sandrine Orabona and Anke Thommen of the 4infilms company. This Public Service Broadcast is called "We Are The 99%" and being involved, I have to tell you it was a strong and amazing shoot. This is a subject that everyone will identify with and I even got to box in it. For those who don't know, I love to box.
I also recently shot a web series called "John Deere Lane." It’s written and directed by World Stunt Award nominated Jeff Danoff. I was cast as one of the leads with David "Shark" Fralick from the Young and Restless, Todd Senafonte, who was Jean Claude Van Damme’s stunt double, as well as another top Hollywood stunt man, Ben Scott. It was awesome! I hope to do some stunts myself in future episodes because with them, I am surrounded by the best. I actually just spoke with Jeff the other day and he is almost ready to release the episodes and he expects it to go viral.... I can't even begin to tell you how much of an honor it was to work with such a talented cast and crew.
On April 1st, 2012, I was cast in another SAG web series called "Journeys," written and directed by Fred Copeland. Fred is CEO of Cineplex Studios and has a great vision for the future. Speaking of the future, the season #6 of "The Journeys: Forever Destiny” is about past Egyptian women cloned to live in current times. I will be playing the recurring role of an FBI Special Agent, minting new agents. It will run on cable network prior to the web. Hollywood stuntman and actor, Tony Swift is producing a feature near and dear to his heart. It is a western, and the working title is "Legend of the West," to be shot in Northern California's Nevada city, and I will be playing a bounty hunter. I have also been cast by David Heavener in the feature film "Doc Holiday" to which David will be starring and directing. He has written, directed and starred in over 30 films that aired on HBO and SHOWTIME. I am very much looking forward to working with David.
Last but far from least, I am working on a SAG web series called "Get Up" that is in development stage. I am looking forward to starring with award winning actress, DeLane Matthews in "Get Up." DeLane was fortunate to start her busy career Off-Broadway. She has starred and co-starred on numerous television shows, Indy films and web-series. Her last Indy project called "Life's An Itch," wrapped in January, 2012 and hits theaters soon. DeLane and I are both honored, thrilled and looking forward to be working with Carol Connors, who has been nominated for 2 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes, 5 Emmys and co-wrote the Rocky theme song, "Gonna Fly Now." Carol will have a recurring role. This storyline will focus on the plight of war veterans, loyalty to one's country, self and fellow man. It will be written by Wendy Casey Mohler, whose latest script is in negotiations with two major studios. This will be shown on the web through Fred Copeland’s Cineplex Studios and then broadcast on cable TV reaching a viewership greater than 16 million.
As well, I just recently found out that I will be doing an voice over role, for a commercial done for Time Warner. Stay tuned for more!
Arts A La Carte Magazine - What have been some of your biggest challenges that you've had to overcome and are now able to bring to the next table in regards to your career?
Holly Anderson - My biggest challenges have been myself and getting out of my own way. I never fit in anywhere when I was growing up and I always felt like a Martian. I now know, that this is called "unique" and I have something different to bring to the table. My mind could easily be a dark room, it produces so many negatives. So now, instead of letting God be my co-pilot, I decided that on a daily basis, I surrender to him, and let him be the Pilot. With this, my life is good. In this business it helps to be born into it, know someone, and or have an endless supply of money to keep you going. Since I have none of that, I have my own personal challenges. I've known and seen others do really well, but at the same time I've seen friends who just couldn't get a break, even after graduating from the William Esper three year program in New York. One just never knows. For me, I just keep plugging away and following my heart.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Tell us about your ideal role for a film and how you would take it on.
Holly Anderson - My ideal role, is to be a vigilante-like female version of Batman, Ironman, or take on a challenging FBI role! I absolutely love drama and action and get a natural high from those genres. For roles like those, I know that I would be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. Given my life experience and my boxing training, I would definitely be on time, know my lines, and not be high maintenance on set. I don't drink, I don't smoke or do drugs, so I would be a very good asset.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - How did you get involved with dog rescues?
Holly Anderson - NACHO my beloved Chihuahua! Nacho is the reason I got involved with Dog Rescues. I saw from the love that I gave him, how much love I actually had inside myself. It really opened my eyes.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Tell us about this rewarding experience and how it has made you grow as a person.
Holly Anderson - It has given me a sense of calm and peace. It also has shown me how ONE person can really make a difference and that when I saw this; it empowered me to do more.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Did you have to go through any special training?
Holly Anderson - No, it was pretty instinctual.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Is it for anyone or does it take a special type of person?
No, it’s not for everyone, but everyone can do something, or do their part. There is a long list of things people can do. Some people are just not wired to go into a shelter to see the sick, sad or hurting animals, but maybe they can foster, do transport, donate money, newspapers, blankets, etc.., to the shelters. Or they can network with other people to help find homes for these animals. They can educate other people about our animal situation, and let them know why not to buy from a breeder or pet store. And above all else, PLEASE spread the word to spay and neuter your pets. It’s not only dogs and cats, its other animals too. If we all do our part, we can all make a difference.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - What organization have you worked with?
Holly Anderson - Some organizations are better than others but you have to be careful because some of them don't really care about the dogs or cats at all. I like Blankets and Bones in Ohio, One Love for Shelter Dogs here in California, and Twist of Fate in New York City. I also love Jone's Vet in Santa Monica, who do a ton for rescue animals and are a full service animal rights hospital. Kenneth, the owner has a wife Suzann, who was a beautiful actress from the 60's.
I have always been an independent rescuer, which means that I go on my own and rescue. I learned from the best, Jaime Ginsberg, who taught me well. I worked for her rescue when I could, but I did a lot of saving on my own as well. There are so many great women and men in rescue, and they all should be applauded for their time and services.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Tell us about your beloved Nacho.
Holly Anderson- He was the most special little character in my life and he was my best friend, who loved me unconditionally. My heart still aches for him.
Arts A La Carte Magazine How did you rescue him and what types of challenges did you face?
Holly AndersonWhen I used to live in Venice Beach, I walked out of my apartment to wait for a friend that was going to drop off some makeup that I had purchased. I was on my cell and this tiny thing came running by with a leash dragging behind him and he just kept running and then suddenly disappeared. About fifteen minutes later, still waiting for the makeup purchase, I looked across the street and there "the tiny thing" was. Immediately, we locked eyes and he started to run across the street through traffic to get to me. He actually jumped up on my legs and I bent down and picked him up. At the same time, some guys on bicycles rode up and asked if he was mine. I remember saying, "now he is,” and then thought to myself “That’s so weird.” I really didn't want a dog and the main reason is because I had been attacked by my own dog about 15 years prior. It was an Akita, and he ripped open my face and put about 60 stitches into it.
So needless to say, I thought about taking this little guy home because no one seemed to be looking for him. I questioned myself on what to do and how I would take him. My apartment did not allow dogs and I had two cats. My two cats, Burt and Venus, were rescues that I brought from New York. Burt was very ill at that time, and two months almost to the day of Nacho entering into my life, my beloved Burt passed away in my arms. I am now convinced that God put Nacho into my life to help me through my grief of losing Burt.
My neighbor Linda suggested we put an ad on Craigslist to help locate the owners. I really fell in love with this little guy and as much as I wanted to keep him, I know searching for his rightful owner was the right thing to do. Within two days, the owner’s son saw the ad and told his mother. I immediately felt a lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach, because I knew I would have to give him back. I wrapped Nacho up in a little blanket and went to meet her in "The Hood." As soon as I walked up, she looked at us and said "you two belong together." I started to look at this woman and recognize that she was a former Crip gang member. Her appearance was tough on the outside but when I got to know her, she became a friend for life. She told me how she had just rescued him from a gang in Venice, who was using him for pit bull bait. She wasn't physically able to care for him because she just had neck surgery and was in a brace. She loved him but she knew it was best to give him to me. After giving him to me, she and I touched base every other week and discussed other topics. We found that we had a lot in common. She used to laugh and say that Nacho had better clothes now than she did. She and her family are still a big part of my life and I will always love them for giving me the gift that changed my life, my little Nacho. He had such bad Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that I needed to be careful of him biting when he experienced nightmares.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Did he make you grow within and if so how?
Holly Anderson He most certainly did allow me growth. He was one special pup that needed a lot of extra TLC. He was only about four pounds when I got him. He was dirty, covered in fleas, dehydrated, and not neutered. I made sure to take care of all of this. He never betrayed me, he didn't use me, he protected me and best of all, he truly loved me for me.
Arts A La Carte Magazine -What mark did he leave with you to pass on to others?
Holly Anderson He indeed left his mark of love with a very special connection to help another soul who has no expectations and no ulterior motives. My eyes have been opened up to the mere fact that in our own country, we have a huge pet overpopulation along with a number of puppy mills that are disgusting.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Do you think Nacho wants you to get another dog one day and if so, will you?
Holly Anderson - I ended up with four more dogs before Nacho passed. God knows that I could not have survived his passing without the comfort of the others keeping me busy.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - If someone told you that they wanted to get a dog from a breeder and not get a rescue, how could you change their mind?
Holly Anderson - I don't like to lash out at people and try to control them. They have a right to buy from a breeder if they choose but I do try to educate them in a kind and loving manner. I can show them every piece of evidence that they could possibly want to know. Shelter pictures of current animals needing homes, how many millions of perfectly great animals are put to sleep monthly and that some states still have gassing facilities. They literally just shove dogs and cats in a garbage bin and turn on the gas and it’s very painful and extremely inhumane. WHY would you want to keep breeders and stores in business knowing these things are beyond me? Here in California, even though it is not a gassing state, thank God, the shelters are very over run. The animals get sick and end up get beaten up by others in the same cage and they can sense when they are about to die. They die alone, cold and how can anyone let this happen? It breaks my heart.
We can all start somewhere. I didn't know this problem existed until I got Nacho. Many people buy from stores and breeders, due to ignorance. Let the ignorance be replaced with knowledge. As we all know, knowledge is only power when we do something with it.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Tell us about the documentary "Can 1". Can 1 person really make a difference? How was your experience working with filmmaker Ian Cranston?
Holly Anderson - This all came about at the 2010 World Music & Independent Film Festival, where I won my second Lead Actress Award for the role as a disturbed government agent. Ian had asked me what I did back in LA and that was the time that I was really into doing rescues. I started explaining about all the dogs that I had saved and it seemed so normal to me. Ian thought it was very abnormal, I guess in a good way. While at the festival, he asked me if he could fly to LA from Washington State where he lived, and film me for a new documentary he wanted to make called “CAN1,” which means Can 1 Person Make a Difference? I wanted to get the word out, so I agreed.
Not long after, I picked him up at the airport, introduced him to all my friends and acquaintances, drove him around LA to talk to all my rescue and boxing friends. I also referred him to people in New York. Animals are one of my passions and I was more than grateful to have an opportunity to help shelter animals through Ian’s documentary.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - In the eyes of many, you are considered a hero and an angel for helping with dog rescues. What are your next steps in regard to dog rescue?
Holly Anderson - Well, thank you! One day I want to do a commercial for the topic and I have such great visuals in my head that I think it will be tight. Once I am financially able, I would love to open a sanctuary for small dogs thrown out by their owners. And yes, people throw away their animals like trash, it’s very sad. I would definitely partner up with a vet and take in the ones that others consider ugly, like my Angel. They said no one wanted her because of her deformed foot and leg. Before I rescued her, I had read and saw pictures of her. Thankfully, I got to the shelter within a couple of hours of her being euthanized. When I got there, she was in the medical area in a tiny cage so small, that she was all hunched over. She was so dirty and she stunk. Her tail was between her legs and her head was drooping and could just feel how sad and despondent she was. Today, she is a new dog. For my little Albino Spec, I was told he was too ugly, so I decided to go and get him on his last day. He had pneumonia, from being kept in a cage outside and he was only three pounds. He looked like a white mouse, but he's good as new now.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - How did you get involved with boxing? Tell us about this experience and how it’s inter-twined in your life personally and how it’s helped your career.
Holly Anderson That’s a long story. Short version, well, I met a former Heavyweight boxer who was a former belt holder with great talent. So much so, that he most likely would have brought the heavy weight title back for the U.S. from Glitschko. I was actually not into boxing at the time but I thought this would be a no brainer. I managed him, but not for long. He relapsed back into drugs and alcohol and I realized earlier on that I cannot fight a crack pipe. I ended up getting him into two different rehabs. That didn't work, so I moved on.
Afterwards, I fell down a flight of stairs and sprained my ankle. Fortunes Boxing Gym was close to my apartment so I went there. The funny thing was that I said I did not want to learn how to box. I just wanted to get back into working out and to get my ankle moving. At that time, Mysti Friedman, had just started training with me and I don't exactly remember how this happened, but it became another passion, a new addiction. Mysti was a pro boxer and is a very gifted trainer and she's the one responsible for getting me hooked before I knew it hit me. LOL! She also is a dog rescuer. Then I started working with former heavy weight Macka Foley, who trained James "Lights Out Tony." He left to work on a film with James Franco last year. I started working with former welter weight champion Jorge Diaz Urbina. Jorge was flown to Korea to fight for the World Championship. What his trainers did not take into account was the high altitude there. By the eleventh round, he could not breath and he ended up losing the world title. He was Mysti's trainer when she was pro and I am still training with him to this day.
I have been boxing for three years now and I love it. It teaches great discipline and focus. From it, I've come to notice that when one has no discipline in the boxing ring, one has no discipline in their everyday life. It has really taught me well. A couple of times a week, I hit the tractor tire with the sledge hammer. Almost daily, I jump rope, work the speed, heavy and double ended bags, go in the ring to spar and work mitts with Jorge. Funny, right now I happen to have a huge bruise on my arm, so I guess I should have moved.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Who have been your biggest mentors in your lifetime and why? What advice could you pass onto others who follow your path?
Holly Anderson - My sister, my sister, my sister! She was the only one in my life where I felt constant and unconditional love from the time I was born. She was my mother, my best friend and my absolute everything. She was out of the house and married when I was only five, so the times we spent together were quite special and unique. Without her love and prayers for me, I would be dead now. Her husband is a rock and a grounded man. Between the two of them, both have given me a reason to keep going. I am grateful that they inspire me.
Joyce Meyer also became a big influence in my life. I started listening to her about ten years ago. It happened little by little but through her teachings it gave me a foundation on which to live. I also have started following the teaching of RC Blakes Jr, who I strive to learn and be who God has designed me to be. I am learning a lot from him too. I may not be where I need to be yet, but I'm sure not where I used to be.
My advice would be this, everyone has their own journey and they should stay on their God given path, no matter how hard the challenge. Mine can't be yours and yours can’t be mine. We may see people and think gosh, "I wish I was them and I wish I had their life". But honestly, we don't know what they went through to get where they are. Things are not always as they appear. I say pray for God’s wisdom, guidance and humble yourself. Don’t run on emotions and make sure to mind your own business. Find a cause other than yourself to get involved with. For example, bake cookies for the elderly, rescue dogs, do something outside of you. Stay focused and grounded and be of a sober mind.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Why?
Holly Anderson - I see myself creating and producing films as well as meeting a wonderful man, whom I have yet to meet. I hope to marry, live very happily ever after, and help others by not allowing myself to get too comfortable or too complacent. I would love to be involved by reaching out to those who have been involved with human trafficking or help more shelter animals. I really want to be where God wants me to be in five years. If its not any of these options, I am cool with that. I’m sure he’ll let me know because he truly is my guide.
Arts A La Carte Magazine - Do you have any last words for the viewers?
Holly Anderson - Yes, God puts desires and dreams in our hearts for a reason and it’s because he wants us to have that. Follow that dream and surround yourself with good people. Always have gratitude, even for the tiniest of things.
Holly Anderson Demo Reel
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