Photography by Feniger Photography
Interview with Rising Star Augie Duke:
When did you start acting?
I always wanted to be an actress. Half of my family is in the film business, so there was always talk of movies and inspiration in film and art.
When did you actually take the steps to build your acting career?
After high-school I was a little lost – I wasn’t sure where I wanted to direct my focus. I knew I wanted to be an actress, but I was in fear mode. My brother started modeling for fun – he was always skinny and looked like a drug addict version of James Dean. I always envied his careless, but artistic lifestyle. I thought modeling could never be an option knowing that I was only 5’2. My brother took me to meet his agents – they laughed and said you’re cute but you might need to get a stretcher in order for you to model. It stung. Little did they know prior to meeting them I had a test shoot with one of the most famous photographers – Paul Jasmin – at a class he teaches at the Art Institute in Pasadena. Paul called the agents that same day saying that they had to sign me, because I had ‘it’ and that I looked so tall in photographs. So after a crying fit with my brother and him actually threatning he would leave his agents, they called me the next day and I was signed. I knew modeling was a good way to get my face out there and little cash on the side wouldn’t hurt.
What schools did you attend?
Going to be brutally honest – I was never a school girl. Certain classes, yes, but the rest not so much. I knew i still had to join the rest of society and go to school – so I took a couple classes at a community college and at UCLA’s extension program. I also knew I had to take as many acting courses as possible, So I went through an endless amount of classes and finally landed on one I loved. I heard about this lady name Lynette McNeil. I needed a warm, loving coach – yet focused and honest , and that is exactly what she was. It was a scene study class – we had to create scenes weekly. This class was so good for my confidence. I fear the stage but not cameras. Lynette really helped me go beyond me…. I thank her for that experience. It really led to a big change as an actress. Then i went on to Edgemar where I took improv and cold reading classes. Such a fun experience . After that I found my one love – my private coach: Penny allen. When I tell you she has magic in her soul she does.
What did you do for side jobs?
You still need to make money on the side, because its a lot of waiting around for your next break. I worked at a lot of clothing stores. I love fashion so I knew that would be best for me. I actually loved it – I worked at a boutique on Abbot Kinney for the longest time up until a couple of months ago – it was a cute boutique called Coutula. I wanted to become the buyer and all. But it was too hard juggling both acting and fashion – so I stopped working there. I occasionally would work as a party host for certain events. I still to this day work side jobs – keeps me balanced and busy.
How did you get signed to an agency?
I was lucky enough to know people in the industry. Out of connections and through the grape vine, I was signed first with Hri talent. I am still with them to this day. They have been nothing but loving and supportive. I first started with them in their commercial department and then went with them for cinema roles. I know I needed a manager as well, so I put myself out there as much as possible and met a lot of them. One day i was at a party and was talking to a guy named Scott Zimmerman – little did I know he was a well known manager, thank god, because I was just being me, which is why I think he signed me. Thats an important part about acting: you just got to be you.
Photography by Feniger Photography
Have you gone through a hard time in the industry?
Nothing is easy. I went and still go through many ups and downs. I feel like quitting once a month, but if you truly think about it who doesn’t want to quit what they’re doing once in a while. Its stressful. What has helped is knowing that this is my choice and I chose to be an actress – I can only choose my own path and no one else can. If you truly know that it puts the pressure off of all your ideas of peoples misconceptions of you. You have to own yourself and know you are special in your own way, and that is what will get you roles, and far in life.
What else has kept you going?
My family, my boyfriend, and good friends. If you have solid hearts around you you can conquer anything….
What is your latest film so people can look out for you?
Funny enough, one day I get a call from a random woman saying that she has seen photographs of me and that we may know a couple people in common. She then said that she thought I would be perfect for one of the leads in a movie she was in. My first thought was ‘uh huh, okay, awesome, but is this for real?” Then I get a call from my friend Derek Feniger – who has shot a lot of pics of me – saying it was true indeed. I talked to this woman one more time, curious as to what the movie could be. The woman ended up being an actress named Chanel Ryan – now a very good friend of mine. So I put myself on tape and send it out to her contact. I then get a call from the director of this moving saying that they loved me, but this is going to be tough, because some bigger names want the role. I put myself on tape one last time and thats what did it. They took a chance on a newbie. I had the most incredible time shooting – we just wrapped a couple weeks ago. The movie is called Bad Kids Go To Hell staring Judd Nelson, Chanel Ryan, Jeffrey Schmidt, Ben Browder, Cameron Dean Stewart, Ali Faulkner , Amanda Alche, Roger Edwards and Marc Donato. Writer and director Matthew Spradlin and producer also – creator Barry Wernick. The film is based on a graphic novel and will premier sometime next year.
Come Check out the Teaser Trailer of Augie’s new film Bad Kids Go To Hell.