Every actor has a moment when they realize, This is it. This is what I am meant to do. For Violett Beane, 23, that moment came during her sophomore year of high school in Austin, Texas, performing onstage in a rendition of the musical Parade. “I wasn’t a lead,” she laughs, but still, “It was scary and very, very exciting. And I thought, ‘I want to feel that again.’ And that was the moment I realized I should pursue this.”
It would be years before that ambition paid off with her star-making role opposite Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me, now in its second season. Beane plays Cara Bloom, a writer in New York City searching for her mother, who left when she was a child. When God “friends” Hall’s character on Facebook, the two mortals are tasked with performing good deeds, giving them renewed faith in the world.
But back in high school, Beane was getting the opposite of high-fives from a divinity, beginning with a new theater coach her junior year who was anything but a fan. “I was calling him out, and he didn’t appreciate that. And I didn’t get cast in anything,” she says. Yes, Beane chalks this interaction up to adolescence, but also to her astrological leanings: She’s a Taurus, and she’s stubborn. But that’s also exactly the reason one grumpy theater teacher didn’t stop her. “I was missing this part of myself that I loved to express,” she says.
Beane credits her spirit to her Buddhist father and Quaker mother, who moved the family—including her older brother, who now runs a motorcycle shop in Los Angeles—from Florida to Austin when she was 10. “My mom was an art teacher, and she always pushed my brother and me to be creative in any way,” she says. As a child, Beane was outgoing, self-possessed, and loud (her word). “I ran around, I did dress-up shows, I was a wild card,” she admits. “I said whatever I wanted and did whatever I wanted. And I’m still that way.”
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