Budding Hamilton actress Charlotte Atherton is on her way to the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood - if she can afford the trip, that is.
Atherton, who is studying for a double major in theatre studies and media design at Waikato University, says the total cost of attending the competition in July is around $8000, and she is hoping to raise around $3000 of that amount from the kindness of strangers willing to give her budding career a boost "and make my dream come true".
To this end she has set up a page on the Give a Little fundraising website, where people can donate money to get her from Hamilton to the world's entertainment capital.
"It was just a matter of luck that I stumbled across an application for the championships and honestly, I applied not expecting to get anywhere with it," she said.
"I didn't even tell my family about it until I was asked to send in my audition video, which was months down the track. Though I applied because I wanted to try, I'd like to see how far being involved in the arts of drama can get me.
"I hope to be noticed and gain experience from the people that I will meet there and the boot camp I will be attending in the first week. Also, if I'm good enough, I'd like to get scouted. I would love to feature in a show or movie, or even earn a scholarship to attend an acting school over in the States."
Atherton, who is juggling training for the champs, her university courses and a part-time job at SkyCity Casino, said she had always been dramatic.
"It's like I've been acting my whole life. Though, what really got me was a show . . . at my primary school, St Joseph's School in Whakatane. I remember a scene where a ‘wizard' comes on and butts into a conversation by cutting into another character's sentence. The guy playing the wizard didn't understand that this is what he was meant to do, so I told him . . . After that, I wanted to be able to play the main character." The former Matamata College and St Paul's Collegiate student said musicals were a particular passion.
"I had done show after show after show at high school but never got a main part until St Paul's put on Sweeney Todd. Then, the year after that, we did Damn Yankees.
"Also, Mum has always brought my brother and sister and I to musicals like Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Wicked - shows that I just love."
Although Atherton has not clocked up a lot of screen experience so far - she has had some extra work in Shortland Street as well as numerous school video projects - she has no shortage of ambition, as well as some firm goals in who she wants to work with.
"I think Johnny Depp is amazing. The way he is never the same character twice and sometimes unrecognisable with the characteristics and people he portrays. Peter Jackson is also my idol. I'm a huge fan of his work . . . it would be a dream to work with him."
- Waikato Times