Jeremy Ranch student loves to act and model
September 16, 2016
Jeremy Ranch Elementary student Kiera Milan Hendricks is enjoying life as an actress and model.
The 9-year-old, who is in the school's French Immersion program and a student at the Peggy Bergman Ballet West Academy, started appearing in local and national commercials, music videos and photo shoots when she was 5.
She has also appeared as Romeo at the Egyptian Theatre in "Romeo & Juliet."
Her latest project is a new film called "Brigsby Bear," which will be released in 2017.
The film was directed by "Saturday Night Live" writer David McCary and was written by and stars fellow SNL alum Kyle Mooney. Hendricks plays a younger version of the character played by actress Kate Lyn Shiel.
The Park Record caught up with Hendricks and her mother Robbi and talked about why she got into performing four years ago.
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"I already was really dramatic when I was little, so, my mom thought it would be a great idea to do some acting," Hendricks said with a laugh. "I got into this class when we lived in Denver that helped me understand acting."
A few months later, Hendricks landed her first audition.
"It was for a national commercial for the internet and I was super dramatic in that," she said.
The actress was nervous the first day of the shoot.
"I had never met a director before, but when he told me what to do, he was super funny and I got used to him and the other kids who were with me," Hendricks said. "That has helped me to this day because I learned how to practice and get ready for [the shoots]."
The family, including Hendrick's father Brandon, moved to Park City three years ago.
"We signed up with another agency (McCarty Agency) and I've done lot of auditions over the years," Hendricks said. "I was able to get into two music videos, and before that I did a commercial at St. Regis."
The big break came when the producers of "Brigsby Bear" called.
"My agency called and told me that I had an audition," Hendricks said. "After I did the audition, I got a call back."
Hendricks was cast to play a younger version of Kirsten Dunst, who was originally signed on.
"Kirtsen has blonde hair and that fit with me," Hendricks said. "Then she backed out at the last minute and they recruited another actress with brown hair, but they just went with it."
Hendricks enjoyed her time on the set.
"Although I didn't meet much of the cast, the ones I met were super funny," she said. "I was kind of the only kid there on set that day and they shot my scenes."
Hendricks has also appeared in other commercials for Western Governors
University and modeled for DownEast Outfitters.
"This is probably her most active year," said Robbi, who along with her husband, work in the Park City hotel industry. "It's hard because, of course [up here], we're busy five months, non-stop.
"It's difficult because we'll get a call and they'll need her the next day," she said. "All the auditions are in Salt Lake City. So, we have to plan work schedules and/or pull her out of school for a two-minute audition and then turn around and come back."
Another challenge is that they are not stage parents.
"We don't know how the industry works," Robbi said. "We just do it because she enjoys it."
For Hendricks, the hardest part is figuring out her lines.
"Sometimes you have very hard words that you don't understand, so, you have to practice and practice those things you don't know," she said. "But I don't care if I don't get the part. I just want to have fun."
That enjoyment carries over from performing to photo shoots.
"Every time I do an audition, I get my picture taken and I talk on video, but for a photo shoot, the photographer takes pictures of you and you have to change and do different poses," she said. "You can do whatever pose you want. They just tell you to be sassy, mad or something like that and you get to do creative moves."
"The only struggle Kiera has in acting is to be anything other than happy," Robbi said with a laugh. "That's something her coach Charla Cockran works on with her, because it's hard for her to think of anything sad or scary, because she doesn't like to feel anything but happy."
"I remember one audition that I had to be scared in my room and I said, 'Um, I can't do that," Hendricks said. "My mom and dad think I should be a comedian because I say a lot of funny and weird stuff."
Still, the young actress would eventually like to get her SAG (Screen Actors Guild) card or maybe even membership in a different guild.
"Sometimes I would like to be an actor and sometimes I want to be a director," she said.