Some people say that the natural transition from Modeling is to Acting. In my case it was simple, I was always acting in my head while shooting a layout, ad, beauty or cover. I was thinking of something always and usually it had nothing to do with what was actually happening…hence acting as a segue to my next career.

Of course there are always people who kick you in a direction and help you once you are there. In my case I got a swift kick in the butt by my dear friend Robin Leach, from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. We were dining at COLUMBUS, a hip restaurant at the time in NYC. He took my Susan Bennis and Warren Edwards Champagne beaded heels off my feet, poured champagne in them and we drank out of my shoes as he stated to me – “Young lady, what are you doing? Why aren’t you in HOLLYWOOD? You belong in Hollywood. Now get your ass out there”

Within a few days, Mr. Leach had made several calls on my behalf to ABC, to a top manager at the time and to a photographer. Needless to say, I had a screen test with ABC, a meeting with Larry Thompson, manager extraordinaire, and a photo shoot with the top photographer at the time. Within a week, I had a manager, an agent and was enrolled in Alan Rich’s acting class.

My thoughts were: If it is all that simple, this should be smooth sailing. It was.

My first audition was for Mike Hammer, which I got. My second was for a movie, of which I cannot recall the name, however I got the job. My third was for Wiseguy, of which I got that job and had a big decision to make. The movie and Wiseguy were in conflict. The film was a solid offer, Wiseguy had to see me several more times and watch me jump thru the Network hoops. After 2 times of going in for Wiseguy, I decided to do the film, cause it was a sure thing. CBS, the WISEGUY network, had its process, of which I was tired of at that point. So I took the sure thing and told them I was not going to come in anymore and if they wanted me they had to hire me today cause I was taking the movie role.

Well, they hired me immediately. I had to pass one more test and that was meeting with the Star of the show, Ken Wahl. I was flown up to Vancouver, told to bring enough stuff for 4 months and expect to stay. I shot a few days later. The arc of the story line that I was involved with had a brother, not yet cast, playing opposite me. We shot the first episode without that brother. That brother ended up being Kevin Spacey. That show launched both our careers.

You never know what lurks behind a simple shoe sipping toast- so never turn one down:)

Take a peek at the Acting gigs I have had from conception…enjoy!

Joan Severance