Grace Phipps entered her NESA audition as an 8th grader like most, but unlike others she was ready to amaze the whole NESA staff.
Grace graduated from Lee the school year of 09-10 and almost instantly became a star. Now living in Hollywood, Phipps is in the ABC Family TV show The Nine Lives of Chloe King. She also was a supporting character in the new film Fright Night.
“Within weeks Grace was cast in Fright Night and the Nine Lives of Chloe King,” NESA acting instructor, David Connelly said. “And as a teacher it’s scary to think of your students in LA, because the industry can just chew you up and spit you out.”
Grace plays “Amy” in the Nine Live of Chloe King and she is Chloe’s best friend. Amy is very into fashion, is dating Paul, and is the comedic relief for the show.
“Comedy is a lot harder than other forms of acting. You need to have a really deep understanding of your character to do comedy,” Grace said. “My character is both drama and comedy, and comedy is just an art of specificity.”
Now her family can sit in their living room on their couch and watch Grace at the click of a remote.
“It’s been really fun to see her on tv and in a movie,” Grace’s mother, Kate Phipps said. “It’s surreal but thrilling.”
Before Grace could move to Los Angeles a decision had to be made. This decision involved visits to LA and long talks with her manager Oren Segal.
“Part of the decisions for her to go out there instead of college was hard,” Grace’s father, Gil Phipps said. “She worked so hard to get into the right schools. And now she is a professional, she is her own industry, and she had to grow up so fast.”
Grace had every intention to go to college after high school, but chose to move to LA because the opportunities presented to her by her soon to be manager, Segal.
“Oren is a great guy,” Gil Phipps said. “When we heard he had managed people like Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, and Billy Bob Thorton we we more comfortable with Grace moving out there.”
After moving to LA Grace realized a huge difference in the lifestyles of those in LA compared to those who lived in Boerne or San Antonio. Nothing could have prepared her for such a culture shock.
“In LA there are foreign concepts,” Grace said. “There’s no book on it, and believe me I read all the books that were supposed to be on it.”
Living in LA Grace is now very far from her family. Grace says she is very close to her parents and go a day with out talking to them. She even will Face Time them to show them new furniture in her apartment.
“It sucks being away from them,” Grace said. “But we Skype or Face Time everyday, and i’m also trying to convince them to move to LA.”
Grace may be far but her family make it a point to visit once a month. Whether it’s her mom, her dad, her aunt, or grandparents someone tries to see her every month. Liam Phipps, her younger brother, even payed a visit, during which he got to go on set of Chloe King and meet the writers of the show.
“It’s hard not having her home, but at the same time she would be in Ohio because she would be going to college,” Gil Phipps said. “The only difference is she would be home for the summer, but then she wouldn’t be on my DVR.”
NESA taught Grace so many things, it expanded her singing abilities, dancing, and her stage performance.
“I wouldn’t have been as confident coming out here without NESA,” Grace said. “It gave me confidence in my performance and the ability to perform well.”
NESA offers training to its students that isn’t truly given to high school students anywhere else.
“The level of training is phenomenal,” Gil Phipps said. “If you are really there to learn it, you can learn it.”
NESA gave Grace so much training that she wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Grace Phipps says that through NESA she learned the concept of diction, she felt she might still be “screaming monologues” if it weren’t for NESA.
“She [Grace] couldn’t be doing what she is doing now without NESA. There’d be no way,” Kate Phipps said. “The community doesn’t realize what a resource that is to have in a school.”
Grace Phipps graduated from Lee the 09-10 school year. She was a musical theater major at the North East School of the Arts and Summa Cum Laude graduate.
Still of Ki Hong Lee and Grace Phipps in The Nine Lives of Chloe King. Photos originally on IMdb
Phipps is not only a Lee graduate anymore, she is a movie star. June 14 the ABC Family original tv show, The Nine Lives of Chloe King, premiered. Among the cast was Phipps who plays “Amy,” best friends of Chloe King.
Photos originally on IMDb
Now, Phipps has her eyes on the big screen playing as “Bee” in the Dreamwork remake of Fright Night, to premiere August 19.
Katrina is a senior at Lee and a Creative Writer in NESA. She is the Editor in Chief of the Bugle Call and participates in UIL Academics in journalism and ready writing.
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