Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BAYLEY ELLENBURG: From the Beach to the Big Apple

From the Beach to the Big Apple

When it comes to the arts,
Florida's Space Coast oozes
talent. And I had the pleasure
of sharing a little personal
coffee time recently with one
of the area's most promising
up-and-coming actresses.

Bayley Ellenburg is not your typical 18-year-old. Dedicated and driven, with passions beyond today's world of iGadgets and YouTube clips depicting cats playing the piano, this high school senior already is a seasoned actress with an impressive résumé.

I first saw Bayley perform onstage in the 2013 production of Hairspray at the King Center in Melbourne, Florida. I immediately was knocked out by her Lucille Ball-like chops. I remember leaning over to my girlfriend and commenting, "Wow, that little girl is gonna be a star." And FYI, when it comes to show biz, I'm NEVER wrong!

Originally from sunny California, Bayley relocated to the Space Coast with her parents in the late '90s. By age three, she was taking professional dance lessons. However, her true calling couldn't be denied, and by age four, several parents her dance classmates encouraged Bayley's mother to enroll  her in drama classes — a move that has reaped enormous dividends.

Bayley Ellenburg (L) with 
the cast of Hairspray.
*Photo: Johnathon Goforth / 
Goforth Photography
One of  Bayley's Internet video bios states that she has no other interests outside of acting — don't believe it. She's also an avid reader. In fact, Bayley recalls the unique way her mother would ground her. Not from video games or hanging out with friends, but from books.

Yet despite her numerous indie film roles and local stage production credits in recent years, Bayley has remained focused on achieving academic excellence — maintaining straight "A" grades throughout high school — although her mom does recall, "There was that one 'B' she got that one time."

As I said, Bayley isn't your typical teen. She's been dual enrolled for the last couple of years, and when she graduates from Satellite High School this spring she already will have earned her AA degree. And while many students her age pursue Spanish as a second language, Bayley actually is taking (and thoroughly enjoying) Japanese and hopes to tackle Chinese in college.

And there it is folks, the "C" word — college. And it should come as no surprise that given her undeniable talent and impeccable scholastic record, Bayley currently is entertaining opportunities to attend various prestigious universities as wells as such top Florida schools as FSU and UCF.

In fact, later this month, Bayley will be traveling to New York City for a once-in-a-lifetime audition at the famed Juilliard  conservatory. Impressive indeed. And soon after, she'll be auditioning for AMDA  and UCLA. Great opportunities to be sure — and those ops ain't cheap. She recently has raised over $2,000 toward audition expenses and is working diligently to generate the additional scratch needed via an Internet fund- raising site.

Although she'll soon be moving on to bigger and brighter achievements, Bayley remains down to earth and fondly recalled a couple of her favorite hometown memories. One was receiving a warm standing ovation for her role as Jolene in a recent local production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Another touching sentiment was regarding her favorite high school teacher, Lucretia Balch. "I love her very much," Bayley said of Balch, one of her greatest mentors.

But there's more on Bayley's plate these days than college auditions. She's also currently preparing to read for an indie film to be shot in New Orleans later this year.

"I don't want to be the next Meryl Streep," she confessed with a wink, peering over the top of her steaming cup of Starbucks brew. "I want to be the first Bayley Ellenburg."

Well said. Now go knock 'em dead, kid!

-Christopher Long
(January 2014)

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  1. VERY proud of you Bayley, your talent and your dedication to be the best you can be is very commendable, and I'm impressed! Like you, my son Ryan got A's all through school, and just graduated Magna Cum Laude from college last summer, (just missed Suma!), and he loves to read books as you guys have to get together again when you get to California, you have a lot in common! I can't wait to see your parents as well! BTW...I usually go to the American Idol finale, if you guys are interested and free, it would be a blast to hang out at The Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Ryan and I hope you go FAR little girl, and congrats again on your much deserved success! (((Hugs))) Coleen

    1. I miss you guys so much!! I would love to catch up and yes oh my goodness that sounds amazing! Thank you so much! Im very proud of Ryan as well! Lets definitely catch up soon!

  2. Congrats, Bayley! Your accomplishments are so awesome. Given your passion and sheer talent for acting, I know that you'll be incredibly successful wherever the future takes you!! :D

  3. Thank you so much!!!! My New York was awsome, I have to say it was the best days of my life!!! Next week I am off to Ca,I am so happy and excited about this as well!