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article imageA conversation with actress Dylan Gelula Special

By Mindy Peterman     Jun 24, 2014 in Entertainment
With roles in two new TV shows, "Chasing Life" and "Jennifer Falls," Dylan Gelula is quickly becoming a breakout star in TV land.
When she was 12 years old, Dylan Gelula found her first manager — all by herself. Since then, her ambition and talent have gotten her roles in shows like Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and NCIS. Now Gelula can be seen as a regular in two critically acclaimed new series: ABC Family’s Chasing Life, which stars Italia Ricci, and TV Land’s Jennifer Falls, starring Jaime Pressly, Jessica Walter, and Jeffrey Tambor.
I spoke recently with Gelula about her life, career, and how her independence and drive helped her find success in Hollywood.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Philadelphia.
How did you get into acting?
I don’t know. I’m sure there’s some attention seeking thing that’s deep inside me. I always liked being in plays, and when I was twelve I thought I could do it professionally. So I just called a bunch of managers in L.A. and got one.
Really? So you were only twelve years old in Philadelphia and called L.A. on your own?
Yeah. No one told me that it was ridiculous and not something people do.
I’m surprised you didn’t try New York first.
Well, I tried L.A. and then thought I could try New York. And then I did [try] New York.
So how soon after that did you start getting some attention?
Well, I got a manager pretty quickly but I didn’t get work pretty quickly. I started working in New York when I was 16 and did Law and Order. If you work on the east coast long enough you end up on Law and Order.
What was it like being on such an adult show at such a young age?
I grew up watching Law and Order marathons on USA, so it was really exciting to be on it. I [only] had one scene.
Are any of your family in the business?
No, not at all.
So they must have been very supportive to let you go into the business when you were so young.
Yeah, of course, but in a good way. I never had the [typical] stage parents.
You’re very lucky in that respect.
I am lucky because I’ve heard some horror stories.
Did you eventually have to move your whole family out west?
No, not at all. I moved to L.A. by myself when I was 17.
Who are some actors who inspire you?
I’m obsessed with Lupita Nyong’o, who was in 12 Years a Slave. I haven’t even seen 12 Years a Slave but she’s my favorite actor. I’ve never seen her in anything. I’m just obsessed with her. She’s just so gorgeous and the kind of person I’d want to be if I was that famous.
Currently you can be seen in two television series: Chasing Life and Jennifer Falls. Their June premiere dates were fairly close to one another. Were you filming both series around the same time?
No. I shot Chasing Life in the fall. It was supposed to come out a long time ago and they pushed it to the summer. I’m actually shooting Jennifer Falls right now and that came out at the same time as Chasing Life.
What can you tell us about both series and your role on each?
Chasing Life is about a young woman who is reporter and gets cancer. It follows her telling her family, then going for chemo and what happens next. I play her sister’s best friend and I’m really “gothy”. I love it. I’m very much a goth kid in my heart.
Jennifer Falls is about Jennifer (Jaime Pressly), a woman who loses her job and has to move back in with her mother (Jessica Walter). I play [Pressly’s] daughter, Gretchen, who has to move in with them. So there’s three generations living in one house.
Are you having fun filming the show?
Absolutely, yeah. It’s so funny. I feel like people on shows always say that but I actually do think it’s really funny. I think people are really going to like it. I think it’s actually good.
Do you enjoy the acting life?
I do, yeah. As soon as I catch myself complaining about the fact that my call time is five in the morning, I realize that I have a really fun job.
Do you have any specific plans or goals for the future?
I don’t know. I hadn’t planned any of this and it happened. I just kind of want to put my trust in an industry that’s looked out for me.
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