On Sunday night, the Miss Teenage Canada finalists had the opportunity to experience a seminar with acclaimed author and on-set tutor, Andrea Dana. Inspired by her experiences as the on-set teacher for child celebrities on major Hollywood projects, Andrea is the author of two novels, Starsitter, and Starsitter, Thank God for You!
The Professional Journey of Andrea Dana:
All eyes were glued to Andrea as she discussed her professional journey as an author, what life is really like behind the scenes of hit films and television shows, sharing a few stories of her experiences with some of young Hollywood’s hottest stars. Andrea has worked on hit projects like Mean Girls, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Orphan, Ice Princess, Kick-Ass, and many others. The finalists—many aspiring actresses themselves—also got to hear firsthand what life is like as a teenage television star from the lovely 14-year-old actress Torri Webster. Torri, who stars in the upcoming series, Life with Boys (from the creators of Hannah Montana), posed for pictures with the girls and answered questions from the finalists, who were eager to know how she got her start.
Thanks to her welcoming approachability, Andrea related to the finalists with a natural warmth and humour, peppering her talk with anecdotes that had the girls in stitches. Addressing the pressures faced by young adults deciding on career paths, Andrea offered a sound piece of advice that she was taught early in her career: go back to the profession that you always dreamt of as a child. For Andrea, this was an author. Assuring the girls that there was nothing wrong with venturing off the path of what is “expected” by society at particular stages of life, she described the day that a run-in with an old friend and Sharon Stone changed her life, inspiring her to leave her regular teaching job and become an on-set tutor.
Andrea Dana’s Childhood Dream:
Her exciting career change resulted in a whirlwind of once-in-a-lifetime experiences through work endeavours around the world – from Los Angeles to Japan. These experiences inspired Andrea to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author, and the Starsitter series was born. Based on the adventures of teen starlet Maddy Malone, Starsitter follows the trials and tribulations of Maddy’s guardian, Grace Daniels.
Andrea spoke of life as an author and the writing process, which she explained is different for every writer. She described how she creates her characters based on traits of a variety of young stars, and the storyline through experiences on an assortment of movie sets. She shared some humerous stories, like the time she came face-to-face in an awkward situation with both Justin Timberlake and Mike Myers on the same day on the set of The Love Guru, and how 50 Cent and Terrence Howard used to hang out in the school room on the set of Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Of course the girls went gaga when she revealed that one of her best friends in LA happens to be Jonathan Bennett, otherwise known as Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls.
Andrea Dana’s Advice to Miss Teen Canada Contestants:
For all the aspiring performers, Andrea also offered advice in avoiding the all-too-common young Hollywood trend of falling victim to a destructive path. She highlighted the pressures of young Hollywood and the tendency of the tabloids to sensationalize, which often contributes to the demise of young celebrities.
Andrea revealed she is writing her third book in the series, Starsitter goes to Japan, and awarded ten lucky finalists gift packages, featuring both of her books to date, for answering a series of “Child Star Trivia” questions. Andrea was kind enough to stick around and pose for pictures with the finalists, who were eager to meet both her and Torri.
Thanks Andrea – your words were truly inspirational and demonstrate the limitless possibilities in taking risks and following your inner voice when choosing career paths.
Follow Andrea on Twitter @andreadanaeisen
For more information on Andrea Dana, check out her website.