COF: Can you tell us a little about "Cryptic" and your character Mia?
BV: Cryptic is an Independent film I did about a girl named Jessie Graver who finds an old cell phone that allows her to communicate with her younger self, and as a result, gives her the ability to alter the future. I play Mia, Jessie’s best friend. As the future shifts, so do the characters. So it was a really fun challenge to alter Mia accordingly, while still maintaining her core identity.
COF: "Freakin' Zombies, Man!" is a short film starring David Gallagher ("Boogeyman 2" "7th Heaven"), can you tell us about the film and your character?
BV: I was actually brought onto the project by my friend Jamie, who plays the lead female role. It was one of my favorite experiences so far. Everyone who worked on it was so awesome, and we had so much fun making it, which I think you can tell when you watch it.
The film is about a kid, Stan, going through typical adolescent stuff, only he also has to deal with the constant presence of zombies. On this particular day in which the movie takes place, he’s had enough. He decides to stand up to the bully, fight the zombies and go after the girl of his dreams. I play that girl’s best friend, and I also, by the end of the film, develop an interest in Stan’s best friend Kevin.
COF: Are you working on any new projects?
BV: I just recently finished a short called “Hearts on the Knee” with Draco Equus Productions. It’s a really beautiful story about a kid who sort of apathetically goes about his life, until one day the absence of a girl he always passes in the parking lot - the girl with hearts on her knees - sparks something in him and evokes a quest to figure out who the mysterious girl is. I play the mysterious girl :)
COF: Can you tell us a little about the first job you ever got while in La La Land?
BV: Ah wow. I believe it was a commercial for a company called Tele2. I got to film it in Sweden, so that was completely amazing, especially for my first professional experience.
COF: What have you been up to while not auditioning or working?
BV: I work at a comic book studio called Aspen Comics. I love it. It’s the best job I could have aside from Acting, and as a fan of comics, it helps that the books are great! I also spend a lot of time with friends, doing yoga, hiking, and I try to go to acting class as much as I can.
COF: If you could pick any actress and actor to work with- who would you choose and why?
BV: Man oh man... good question. There are so many.
The actress is easy - Meryl Streep. If life should every deem me worthy, that would be a dream come true.
For actor... truthfully, my immediate response, I’d probably want to work with my best friend Carter (Jenkins). We study with the same coach, so we use the same process, which I think would be a cool experience, and I also just think it would be fun to work with one of my best friends.
COF: What was your experience like at ComicCon this year?
BV: It was great! I got sick at the end, that was kind of a bummer, but I love Comic Con. It’s definitely up there with Halloween and Christmas. So, it’s always a great experience.
COF: What advice would you give to someone wanting to move out to LA to pursue a career in performing?
BV: Patients and determination. You have to be proactive. Sometimes it can be discouraging, but if you surround yourself with good people, and you stay focused, you can make it happen!
COF: Your character from South of Nowhere has made quite a number of appearances in the SoN fanfiction (southofnohwereonline.com), have you read any of the FF? If so, what is your opinion of the differences between "Carmen" in the series compared to the FF?
BV: I actually haven’t read any, but I would be interested to! I think it would be really cool to see the different perspectives/takes on Carmen.
COF: What/ who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?
BV: My family, definitely. And also, everyone. Haha I realize how generic that sounds. But I mean, ok I’m going to attempt to articulate this: I’m 23, my career is basically my life right now. That being said, I’ve gotten to play some great roles... and I hope to have many more in the future... and what I think about most, even when I’m not working, is that there are people who actually live lives like those I pretend to live. While I’ve certainly faced my own struggles and successes, it’s the people whose stories I get to tell that are really my biggest inspiration. The fact that someone watching is going to be able to identify with my character; I want to tell that story for them. I want to do it justice.
COF: Do you belong to any social networking sites, and do you accept fans on any of them?
BV: I do! I am admittedly very neglectful of both my public and my private Facebook, but I have them. I’ve been cheating on Facebook with Twitter, which I actively use (maybe a little too frequently actually) and as long as the questions aren’t too invasive, I will absolutely tweet back.
COF: Many teens today struggle with identity and sexuality. Did you ever wonder about it ? What advice would you give to those teens?
BV: I did struggle with my identity. I was a bit of a “follower” in my middle school years, but as I went through high school I made a really great group of friends and became much more independent. It took until my 20s though to really start to figure it out. I still struggle a little from time to time. That’s ok though. It’s good to struggle I think... It means you’re growing.
I wouldn’t say I really struggled in regard to my sexuality, but I definitely thought about it. I have a very supportive family and very accepting friends. So when I did seriously think about it, I decided that, for myself, I didn’t need to define it. I’ll just love whoever I love. Thus far in my life though I’ve really only been attracted to guys, so I don’t know what it would be like if I someday fell for a girl. I also am well aware that when dealing with sexuality, it’s not at all that simple for most teenagers.
The best advice I can give is just to figure out what makes you happy, be kind, and always be proud of who you are. The people who love you, will love you no matter what.
Valery Ortiz (Madison from South of Nowhere) had the following questions for you:
Aw Hi Valery!
COF: What was your favorite episode of SON?
BV: I’d have to say the episode that starts with Carmen finding Aiden and Kayla doing yoga together. It was one of the few occasions where Carmen really felt like part of the group. And that opening scene was just so much fun to film :)
COF: If you could switch and be a different character on the show (SON), what would it be? Why?
BV: I wouldn’t! I think all of the characters are amazing, but I really enjoyed playing Carmen. Although I am a closet singer, so Ashley may have been fun.
COF: If a TV show was produced about your life, right now, what would it be called?
BV: Hahaha uhhh Growing Up is a Bitch.
COF: What kind of music are you listening to? - Fan (Twitter)
BV: HoneyChild, HoneyChild, HoneyChild. I love them. I honestly believe they’re the kind of band that will leave such an impression, my kids will be listening to them in 20yrs. I’ve mostly been supporting friends right now. I just went to a show at the Roxy to see the band Scarlet Grey, who are awesome and just the nicest guys. And my friend Matt is in a band called It Boys, they played the Roxy with SG, and are on tour right now. Shameless friend promotion! But I’m fortunate enough to have talented friends :) You guys should check them out. They’re all totally different, and all great in their own way.
COF: Do you have a favorite television series or film? - Fan (Twitter)
BV: I love the show How I Met Your Mother. My friends and I all used to get together after acting class every week and watch it together. So in addition to being a totally awesome show, I have some very fond memories attached to it.
My favorite movie is Dead Poets Society, and I also really loved Away We Go. Oh man! And The Land Before time too. Those are probably my top three.
COF: What made you accept the role of Carmen in SON?- Fan (Twitter)
BV: How could I not? She was such an amazing character to play, there was so much to her. Not to mention I was already friends with Chris Hunter prior to working on the show, and Kyle Searles (who I actually ran into at my audition). So the prospect of getting to work with my friends was also a big plus. Mostly though, I loved that the characters on the show were all so complex. You know, the “bad guys” had good hearts, and the “good guys” screwed up and did mean things sometimes. They were all so, human. Carmen was the kind of character every actor hopes they get to play at least once, and I was lucky enough to get to play her.
COF: Why did you choose UCLA for school? - Fan (Facebook)
BV: I came from a high school with a really great academic program, and after taking classes at a few different schools in the Los Angeles area, UCLA felt like the best fit. The campus doesn’t hurt either.
COF: (FINAL QUESTION) Any final words for your fans?
BV: Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel so fortunate to have been apart of the SON family. You are all so amazing, and I hope that in my future work I continue to meet people who inspire me, and motivate me to do what I do like the fans of SON have. I feel so honored to have been a part of your lives, and so grateful that you have been a part of mine. Thank you.