We had the good fortune of connecting with Allyson Brainard Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allyson, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve always loved film because, more so than any other art form, it grabs and transports you to a different culture or time. It allows you to experience things that would otherwise be impossible. In my early 20s, I was scared to pursue my acting dreams for all of the typical reasons: instability, potential failure, etc. Eventually, I realized that I was hurting myself more by not going for it. I’m deeply in touch with my emotions, and acting is my outlet. For me, being creative is a release that I can’t live without.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally? How did you get to where you are? Was your journey easy or hard?
My journey, like most, has been non-linear. I was a theater kid growing up and loved going to the movies more than anything. But, when it came time to pick a career path, I bounced around a lot– I tried Photography, Environmental Science, and then eventually settled into Fashion Production. It was a stable 9-5 office job, but I was creatively unfulfilled and it weighed on me. Then, about four years ago, I had a health scare that required an invasive surgery that took weeks to recover from. I flew home to Australia for the surgery and when I got back to LA, I knew I couldn’t go back to my office job. It completely changed my perspective on things.
So I quit! I started bartending and threw myself full force into acting. I took classes, got headshots, submitted to auditions, but it wasn’t enough. I needed an acting reel, so I collaborated with my best friend and some other talented people in my circle and started producing and acting in my own content. These days, I co-own a production company called Films by Circe with my best friend where we strive to tell stories that amplify women’s voices, and I’m repped by two different talent agencies. Things have been ramping up and I’m really excited to see what the next year brings for me, acting-wise!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’d spend a day at the Arboretum in Arcadia and then get dumplings for lunch in the area. At night we’d have dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant- Speranza in Silver Lake- and then see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse downtown.
I also love to take my dog on hikes in Elysian Park so I’d want to show off the view at Angel’s Crest!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would have to give a shoutout to my best friend, roommate, and Films by Circe partner, Jenn Fernald. Building our company has given me so much confidence to pursue my own dreams. Before that, I knew I wanted to act but had very little direction. Creating a brand and making content with a friend by my side has given me the tools I needed to be a better actor and filmmaker.
I’d also like to point out my acting coach, Alan Feinstein, for helping me fall in love with acting all over again, as well as my fellow actor friend, Chris Borden, for giving me endless guidance with self-tapes, management, agents, and so much more.