For Leigh-Ann Rose, acting wasn’t even on her radar when she was growing up. “I was quite talkative,” she recalls. “I also wasn’t working to my full potential, so my mom actually took me out of high school because I was too much of a social butterfly, and put me in another high school. She told me, ‘If you do well in this school, then I’ll let you go back to your other high school for your senior year.’ Boy, I got to work and I did well, so I got to return to my original high school and finished my senior year.”
It was that tenacity that Rose assumed would serve her well when she enrolled at Syracuse University. “After four years of studying retail marketing and investing all that money into a college career, I became an assistant buyer for Bloomingdale’s,” she recounts. “I thought I was right where I wanted to be.” But it wasn’t. During college, “I had done some modeling for a local store, which required a little bit of acting, and I liked it. I wanted to add acting as a minor but at the time, it was too late to do that.”
However, when a career in retail wasn’t as fulfilling as she had hoped, Rose put her focus on performing. “On my birthday, I quit Bloomingdale’s,” she recounts. “I told myself that I could do this but it had to be all or nothing. I took bartending lessons so I could work as a bartender. I figured that would hold me over so I could get into an acting conservatory program called the William Esper Studio, and that’s when I jumped to focusing on the acting. I always say, ‘Walk in faith and it’ll happen.’ You just need to keep going.”
At first, her mother wasn’t on board. “She thought I was crazy,” Rose chuckles. “She said, ‘You just spent all this money on college and you’re going to throw it all away for this?’ She was just scared because she knew how unpredictable the entertainment business can be, but I told her, ‘I’m going to do it, Mom,’ and she supported my decision.”
To make it happen, Rose moved to New York City. “I just concentrated on studying and learning the field because there was so much I didn’t know,” she sighs. “In the meantime, I was in college films for Columbia grad students, a web series [FAMOUS FARRAH], commercials, theater and dance troupes. I was doing a little bit of everything.”
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: June 23
Birthplace: Plainfield, NJ
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