Austen Willis, a Stone Bridge High School student, was honored earlier this year at the Liberty District Play Festival. She was one of the eight students named to the festival's all-star cast.
Where did you grow up?
Tell us about your family.
I have grown up with a very funny, supportive and just dope family. My mother and three amazing older sisters are some of my best friends; and my grandparents and parents are extremely supportive of my acting endeavors. My family means a lot to me and I love that I am so close to them. I feel very fortunate to have them.
Favorite school subject:
Well, I must say drama, but I am a fan of history. Study hall isn't so bad either.
What is your favorite (or least favorite) thing about school?
Favorite thing: my friends and learning not necessarily what is on the curriculum, but things needed for life.
Least favorite: the amount of work, but that's a given.
What do you want to do when you get older?
How did you begin acting?
I tried out for the play in sixth grade. I didn't get in, so I decided to give it another shot in high school.
Tell us about your recent award.
Well, I don't really know what to say. It is such an amazing honor and there are so many other talented actors and actress that deserve this award. I am humbled by the recognition. I am also so so happy for AJ. He deserved to win and he is the best actor for sure.
Who inspires you as an actor?
People wise, my mother and sisters. They are pretty much the root of my acting. But music also inspires me. Being able to tell a story, move people and make them think is just thrilling to me, that is why I act.
What is your favorite, book, movie and play?
Book: "My Sisters Keeper."
Movie: "Moulin Rouge."
Play: "Rent." I found the CD in a box of my sister's in sixth grade and fell in love with it. I didn't really understand what it was about, but the music was so amazing and the actors were so talented. I knew from then on I wanted to do that, change someone just by acting.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Living in some city doing what makes me happy.
Favorite place to hang out in the community?
I am a fan of sitting in front of Hershey's with some cool kids.
What are some ideas you have on ways to improve your community?
It is way too expensive. It is so difficult for most people to afford to live around here unless they make millions of dollars. Life isn't very interesting if everyone is rich.
Who is a historical figure you would like to meet?
Bob Marley, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.
Describe how you would most enjoy spending a single day?
Doing something entertaining, being with people that make me smile.
If you could be anyone else, who would you be and why?
No one. I am a fan of being me. Living and learning the way that I do is good enough!
Do you have a favorite quotation?
"... make it clever, and speak from the heart."
"Why is it that everybody likes me, yet no one understands me?"
— Dave Clarke