How do you balance being a successful Hollywood actress and yet remain a grounded teenager? Just ask Athena Baumeister who handles her success with ease and is a seemingly normal teenager who looks forward to her driver’s license and having fun with friends.
Celebrity Teen Scoop recently chatted with Athena about her new movies (she has two new movies coming out at Christmas!), how she got into acting and her advice for others looking to get into acting industry.
CTS: You are set to star as Rubie Price in Monster & Me, which premieres nationwide on October 26th. Could you tell us a little about the movie and your character? What intrigued you about the role? Do you and your character have anything in common?
Athena: In Monster and Me, I play Rubie, a mean and spoiled 13 –year –old who is turned into an ugly “monster” by Santa. Santa tells her that he is going to make her as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside, and she has to learn to be nice enough to get a real present from a real friend by Christmas or she’ll stay that way. It’s a fun Christmas movie. When first I read the script, I liked how funny it was and I was really intrigued by the character arc. I get to go from being a snooty, stuck-up, mean girl to having very real, tender emotional moments with Santa and my family and friends. It is exciting to have that kind of range in a part. Do I have anything in common with Rubie? Hmmm. Well I would hope I’m not anything like she was at the beginning of the movie! But my friends are a very important part of my life and I treasure them, so I think maybe I am a little like the person Rubie ended up being after Santa taught her the value of friendship.
CTS: You will also star as Haley Dagger in the action/horror thriller Seventy Nine. What can we look forward to? Do you hope it will be a Christmas block buster?
Athena: It’s actually as much a psychological thriller as an action/horror thriller. It’s much darker than Monster and Me, of course. My character, Haley, is a teenage runaway who gets picked up hitchhiking by the wrong man, and ends up being part of a secret experiment. It is filmed in an old abandoned insane asylum/women’s prison. It was a really cool place to shoot!
CTS: You are also the star of Correction House, Blip TV’s hit web series. What is the series all about? How’s filming for a web series different then a movie?
Athena: I’ve been in a couple of different web series. Correction House is about a guy who is trying to save his marriage by running a halfway house for recently released prison inmates, and the trouble that results when his wife finds he has left his baby with the ex-cons. This was one of the first things I did when I got to California, and I really enjoyed working with the cast and crew on this set. We had so much fun I was sorry when we wrapped.
CTS: How did you first get your start in acting? Did you always want to get into acting?
Athena: I started doing film school films when I was seven. It was a great experience and the film students were incredibly nice and helpful. They taught me so much about being on set. Not just physical things like how to hit a mark, but terminology (like what it means to hit a mark!) and set etiquette. Even though it’s been 8 or 9 years, I still get together with some of those former students who are now professionals in the business. They made acting in films such a terrific experience for me that they really influenced my decision to move forward with my career.
CTS: How do you stay grounded and not get carried away with the Hollywood spotlight? Are your friends also actors?
Athena: I think my family and friends help me to stay grounded. If you start to get too carried away by the Hollywood spotlight, you wouldn’t be a very good friend any more! Many of my friends are also actors, so we all know what it’s like. For instance, you may have made plans with your friends to do something, but then you get called for an audition or callback or job and have to cancel at the last minute. My friends all understand if that happens because the same thing happens to them and they sometimes have to cancel at the last minute for the same reason. We understand that’s the way it is so no one gets mad about it.
CTS: Do you have any advice for young people thinking of getting into the acting industry?
Athena: Get as much experience as you can. Try out for plays with your local theater, audition for any nearby film schools, make your own films and put them up on YouTube. If you can, take classes in improvisation, because it helps with every job you ever have. But also take advantage of the things you are good at. Are you a basketball player? Dancer? Cellist? Keep doing the things you like and are good at. For example, I was on swim team for 6 years. I never thought it would help with acting, but then I auditioned for a job for a commercial (Qnasl) that required an underwater shoot and the fact that I had all that swim experience helped me book the job (thanks, Coach Bob!). I had so much fun at that underwater shoot, and it was easier for me than the rest of the actors, who were all adults and weren’t as used to spending as much time under water as I was because of being on swim team. So you never know when something you have experience with will help you book a job!
CTS: Who are your greatest acting inspirations?
Athena: I guess I would have to say Uma Thurman, Toni Colette, and Parker Posey, just to name a few. They are all women with strong character choices. I love to watch them in anything they do.
CTS: What do you like to do in your free time when you are not on-set or preparing for a role?
Athena: Well, of course I have school. I am homeschooled so that makes it easy for me when I do book a job, or even just when I have auditions. And I am learning to drive! That is really exciting and I can’t wait until I get my driver’s license. I like dancing and swimming and cooking, and I love animals. This year I want to do my volunteer work at an animal shelter. I write and direct short films with my friends, and have even won some awards at film festivals. I’m also a vegan, so I am trying to develop a lot of delicious vegan recipes that will help more people want to eat cruelty-free meals.