by Aida Toro
“I’ve always loved to be the center of attention,” said Ellie Shaddix. “I was always that kid that would put on plays for my parents, or take the lead in a school project, no matter what it was.”
Shaddix always aspired to be one of the people she saw on the screen every time she watched Disney Channel. When these aspirations came about, she lived in a small town where acting and modeling— anything show-business— was considered just a distant dream. This belief, however, didn’t stop Shaddix from practicing poses in the mirror or reading lines to herself in her room. Nowadays, she lives in Orlando, Florida where the entertainment industry is ever-so-thriving.
“I remember being so excited when I was told by my mom that I booked a commercial…my first commercial,” she said. “Sure, it was just an advertisement for an Iowa-based internet company, but as someone who had yet to enter the beautiful world of acting, it was the best feeling in the world.”
To Shaddix, it was such a fun shoot due to the fact that she got to pretend to be a girl at a sleepover, which she was already skilled at. Not to mention, she met a lot of other girls who all had different stories about how they got into acting, which taught her that everyone has a different origin, but somehow end up in the same place. From then on, Shaddix was hooked.
Since signing with her manager and agent in LA this past June, Shaddix had some pretty amazing auditions for some major projects. Of course, in her perfect world, she would have booked ALL of them by now.
“But one thing we say about auditions is that you have to ‘submit it and forget it’, because otherwise, you’d just be a bundle of nerves, waiting to hear back every minute,” she said. “And you only hear back IF you booked the role.”
Handling rejection is really hard for Shaddox, especially because she is a very optimistic and driven person. Being part of this cutthroat business has taught her that behind every famous person’s “yes”, there are a thousand “no's”.
“Looking back on all of the auditions I’ve done, there is an overwhelming amount of rejection, if that,” she said. “A lot of times it happens where they don’t write you back, leaving you hanging.”
Aside from handling rejection, Shaddix thinks the biggest struggle for her is comparing herself to others. She finds it is really easy to do it to herself, in this day and age with social media and all.
“It’s hard not to get down on myself every time I see a ‘Booked!’ post on Instagram, or I get a notification that one of my friends has yet another audition,” she expressed. “But when all of that gets too overwhelming, I simply just put my phone down and remember that everybody has a different path.”
She added, “That person who posted that picture of themselves on set probably hasn’t been on set for a long time and that friend who just got another audition is probably another audition in a long line of auditions that just didn’t take off. It’s always important for me to remember that we are all in the same boat, as actors and people.”
So far, Shaddix’s favorite audition was for a big motion picture that she can’t disclose information about at the moment. One thing she mentioned was that it is an action movie with tons of stunts and special effects.
“So many auditions are by self-tape these days, meaning my family and I taped the audition at home, where we have a backdrop, lights, and a tripod set up,” she said. “The script I was given allowed me to do some cool flips and stunts, along with some tense, suspenseful dialogue. It was the most unusual script so far, and I really enjoyed it.”
The audition wait game has taught Shaddix that even if one doesn’t book the part, it doesn’t define failure. She didn’t realize how hard it is and what an accomplishment it is to even get as far as being allowed to audition in the first place. She considers even just the audition as the first part of the job because a casting director has to review the candidate’s resume, look at their headshots, and watch their reel before even allowing them to audition.
Indeed, Shaddix is in love with her occupation as an actress. Even though she enjoys it to the max, acting isn’t her WHOLE life. Her main hobbies outside of her regular schedule of auditions, classes, and callbacks run a little long, however, there are some special activities that help her prioritize family and fitness.
“One of these activities is kayaking. I love to take out the kayaks to the lake with my dad, especially when it is manatee season!”, she said with enthusiasm. “We love trying to count how many we see to try and top our previous record. Our current number to beat is 23.” Shaddix also said, “Then on dry land, I love to ride my bike around the neighborhood. Occasionally, I’ll take my bike up to the tennis court and practice hitting the ball.”
Playing tennis with her family is another fun activity that never gets old for her, no matter how many times she does it or how many times she hits the ball over the side of the court and has to go find it in the grass.
Although she is already active playing tennis and kayaking, one of Shaddix’s leading and physically active hobbies is dance.
“Though I’m not competitive, I have and am taking many classes to further my skills, and also get in a good workout,” she said. “All of these hobbies are super important to me because family and physical activity are the biggest parts of my lifestyle.”
Shaddix’s ultimate dream career would be to become a professional actor and model. She said she would continue acting or modeling because she could never imagine herself quitting as she really loves it so much.
“Though I’m sure one day I’ll end up being too busy with school, a full-time job, or family, I have no intentions of leaving the business anytime in the near future,” she said with reassurance.
Shaddox also said she’d like to have her own business as she discovered she is really good at marketing, however, she would prefer to look into advertising. This is due to her having loads of experience in the commercial, print and film fields. Therefore, she believes she’d be well-suited for that specific environment.
“As someone who wants to be an entrepreneur and business owner, I think it would be wonderful to own a marketing/advertising firm,” she said.
On the not-so realistic side, as she calls it, Shaddox would like to consider going to school to study filmmaking and writing for the screen, just because she found that it’s something she has an instinct for.
Like every person on this planet, Shaddox has a special someone that inspires her, and that person is her father.
“My biggest inspiration, and forgive me for the corniness, is probably my father,” she said. “Not just because of the way he raised me to be so incredibly fabulous, but because he is so focused and driven.”
She said her father manages to support the family, spends time with his own mother and sister, maintains a healthy lifestyle, and then somehow finds time to also help Shaddix with her math homework. Shaddix hopes to have her father’s drive and motivation as a quality one day, if not for the long-term benefits, then for the benefits of having the willpower to start a school project the day it is assigned, or to hit the gym early in the morning. The essence of his personality is pure, untouched love for his family and daughter, even if he does not shout it from the rooftops. He holds his head high in the worst of situations, while not putting himself above others who cannot do the same.
“He’s the type of person I want to be, and he’s the only person I’ll allow myself to compare myself to. He continues to inspire me every day, whether he is defeating me in paddle ball at the beach, or teaching me how to use a graphing calculator,” she said. “I can’t stop myself from looking up to him.”