Headline : Soul Surfer Star AnnaSophia Robb Brilliantly Balances Life at 18
By : Rachel Shapiro
AnnaSophia Robb is an actress who not only has a smart head on her shoulders, but also knows how to make great choices. She values the importance of family and friendships, and possesses a great focus for her education. She is a role model for any young actress, and her repertoire is impressive for an 18-year-old. This rising actress can tackle anything she sets to achieve.
AnnaSophia has lived in Denver, Colorado her whole life, and is currently in her senior year of high school. “I have an awesome group of friends. Senior year has been great so far, so I’m really lucky,” AnnaSophia says. I talked to her on the phone just as she got home from a long day of school, waking up at 5:30am. Her plan for the night was to take a nap and start on homework. “I have a regular school life, but then on top of that I’m in films as well. So I need to sit down, read my emails and catch up on a couple of scripts,” which she says she usually reads over the weekend. “It’s a lot of balancing, but I love them both,” she says. “I get the best of both worlds, but I really have to work at both of them.”
This determined young actress, who is currently applying for colleges, has already learned the art of balancing her life. “I really want to get a well-rounded education,” she says. “But I want to keep acting for sure.” She explains how she is also interested in learning “more about the science of my craft, more than just acting, like the filmmaking part of it, and to develop my own projects mainly. Maybe I’ll try it all! I have time,” she says; and that she does.
She started acting when she was little, and always knew acting would be her career path. “I’ve always wanted to do it. I didn’t know why, it’s just one of those things. You know how little kids want to be firemen or something…I was like, ‘I want to be an actress,’” she says and adds, “I was really adamant about it.” Finally at about 8 or 9-years-old she started taking acting classes, and added that to her schedule of school, gymnastics and Irish Dance. She hooked up with an agent from L.A., and then got the part in Because of Winn-Dixie. “And it just kind of bloomed from there.”
Because of Winn-Dixie was her first feature film, and she had her 10th birthday on set. “It’s hard to remember because it was so long ago. I remember just loving it, being around all these people, and my parents were really supportive,” she says, and adds that she remembers working with the dogs a lot too. While shooting the film in Louisiana, her mom lived with her in a motel. Looking back, the intelligent actress who also starred in Bridge to Terabithia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, Jumper and Race to Witch Mountain, appreciates her experiences in her past films and has a different motivation in her films today. “I have a lot deeper passion for it now, and better understanding. Before it was like, ‘Oh this is so much fun!’ But now it’s like, ‘I really want to make this a good film!’
Most recently, AnnaSophia starred as Bethany Hamilton in the remarkable true-story of the pro-surfer whose life was changed by a shark accident. AnnaSophia knew about Bethany Hamilton’s story and after reading the script she says, “I was really excited about the character and I was really curious. It’s such a remarkable story…she’s just that amazing. Thankfully I was able to be a part of the project.” AnnaSophia who is “all about the character,” had to physically and mentally prepare for this role. “I trained a lot for surfing to get that mindset and character, and understand who she is as a person. I really didn’t have any idea how many people she inspired, just with her courage and her faith,” she says of Bethany, who she calls a really good friend now. She also wore a green sleeve on her arm and a prosthetic on her shoulder for the part. She gives credit to the CGI guys for making it look so real, “They did an awesome job.” She says it wasn’t uncomfortable, “it was just one of the elements of the film.”
The filming of the movie took place on the North Shore of Oahu over a span of two-months. “I want to go back so badly!” she says. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt played Bethany Hamilton’s (AnnaSophia) parents in the film, and Carrie Underwood also made her big screen debut. “It was a fantastic cast, and everyone is so talented. But on top of that we all became like family, and we all had so much fun together,” AnnaSophia shares. “Sean McNamara, the director, was so awesome and had such good vibes. Learning to surf and being in Hawaii, we all just loved working together,” she says.
Her next project is working on an animated film called Khumba, where she will play a zebra. “I’m really excited about it, I think it’ll be fun doing animation work!”
As far as role models, AnnaSophia looks up to Mia Farrow, who she worked with on Samantha: An American Girl Holiday, for her humanitarian work. “I think it’s fantastic,” the actress shares, who is involved with humanitarian work herself, and tries to be as involved as she can. You can find out about some great organizations on AnnaSophia’s website (LINK: http://www.annasophiarobb.com/). “Obviously, Natalie Portman,” AnnaSophia says strongly, but cheerfully about the other actress she looks up to highly. “She is kind of a role model for all female actors my age or for young actors in general. I think she’s always picked really smart roles, empowering roles, and very interesting roles. And at the same time she is very committed to her education, and I think she did a really good job at balancing the two”
she shares. “And I hope I can maneuver that smoothly into these transformative years.” We know AnnaSophia will continue to be an amazing role model herself, as she balances her education and successful acting career, staying grounded at all times. TRH wishes her the best and looks for terrific things to come!