BIOGRAPHY - the part where I talk about myself in third person.
Lana Young, an award-winning actress of stage and screen, has worked professionally since receiving her M.A. in Acting from the Arts Educational School London. Her work includes the recurring roles of Mrs. Douglas in The Vampire Diaries (CW), Dr. Jacinta Butler in Greenleaf (OWN), Gloria Ruiz in The Inspectors (CBS); Guest-star roles in Gone as Detective Michele Hodiak (NBC) and Linda in Kevin Can Wait, co-star roles in Jessica Jones, Blindspot, Satisfaction, Nashville, Law & Order, just to name a few. She’s had the absolute pleasure to work with some of the greats, performing with Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in the Oscar-winning film Beginners (her first feature film), playing Gloria the nanny opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams in the boxing drama Southpaw, playing a fertility doctor opposite Emily Blunt and Justin Theroux in the feature film The Girl on the Train and most recently opposite Cate Blanchett in Richard Linklater’s feature, Where’d You Go Bernadette. She just fulfilled a dream recently when she was cast as the lead in the title role of Bentley in the independent feature film, Bentley’s Will. The short film Old Soul, Lana’s directorial debut and the first film she’s produced, is currently on the festival circuit and was an official selection of the 2016 Richmond International Film Festival. Lana lives in New York City with her cats Monkey and Lennon. They do tricks.
My Story - from Island to Red Carpet!
I am living the American dream. I'm not kidding. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because what my life has become is only the stuff of dreams. So I can say with confidence, dreams do come true. And continue to. The little girl who grew up on 22 square miles of Island surrounded by the Atlantic ocean found her way to the United States and felt the universe aligning and her dreams unfolding.
I have always wanted to be an actor but on a tiny island, that just wasn't possible. As a hobby yes, but not as a career. So I went about pursuing a future that most do in Bermuda, a life in finance. Of course I did repertory theatre as much as possible just to keep my sanity and my creative juices flowing, but a hobby it remained. At 28 years old I fell in love with a Bostonian and left the trading desk in Bermuda to live in the United States for the first time. I joined a theatre group, and from that I was cast as Gabriella Mistral in a one woman show that would tour around Massachusetts. Then a commercial AND THEN…I got the guts up to audition for a movie and I booked it! A TV movie called Killer Flood with Bruce Boxleitner. Remember him from Scarecrow and Mrs. King? I was Janine Mackay, hospital administrator. A theme that has stayed with me. You know the phrase, “i’m not a Doctor but I play one on TV?” That’s me. Doctor, psychiatrist etc….
At this point, my marriage had dissolved and I found myself with a fresh new start. It took me a year but I finally realized I had the chance to do what I had always dreamed of. I could actually become a real actor if I wanted to and if I was going to become a real actor, I knew I was going to need training. I set my sights on the best training in the world in my opinion…LONDON!! The first nerve-racking step, an application to a drama conservatory called Arts Educational School London. Phew! I was invited for an audition and flew to London as nervous as I’d ever been. First obstacle conquered. Second step…the audition…nothing had ever felt so high stakes before. They auditioned all over the world and only accepted 20 students. The odds stacked against me but still I believed it was possible. Third step…WAIT! Something I have become very good at in this business. A week later, a big package arrived from Arts Ed. I had been accepted into drama school at 33. Life was about to change forever. That year, still remains one of the best years of my life.
After 2 glorious years in London, I spent 4 1/2 years in Los Angeles where I booked a few commercials and then my first feature film, Beginners. L.A. had been tough. Especially for a mixed race woman in her 30s. They didn’t know what to do with me back then. That coupled with a desire to be closer to home and surrounded by supportive people, I left with my then partner Jon, to move to a kinder gentler life in Charlottesville. I started an acting school there and at the time, there was nothing like it. I thrived as a teacher and business owner. And with the support of the community, my business grew quickly. I dabbled in local indie features and then in 2014, after my relationship with Jon had evolved into friendship, I decided to get back in the saddle in a real way. I submitted my materials to Susan Tolar Walters at STW Talent and within months I was booked as a recurring co-star on The Vampire Diaries, followed by Devious Maids and then Southpaw, which would change the course of my life, again!
I spent about 3 1/2 weeks in Pittsburgh working on Southpaw with the handsome Jake Gyllenhaal, the lovely Rachel McAdams and the talented young actress, Oona Laurence. Antoine Fuqua, our director, commented on a few occasions that I should be in New York, that I would do well in New York. It got me thinking. I spoke to a few other New York actors in the film, including Jake who shared with me that he felt there was more of a community in New York for actors compared to L.A. Well I listened. When we wrapped I went back to Charlottesville, rented my house and moved to New York City the very next month. I moved there with 3 TV shows on my resume and a handful of films. I took a leap of faith and I haven’t looked back since. That was 3 years ago. I believe it’s all about timing and the wonderful and not so wonderful people who were put in my path to take me to the next destination. I reflect on my life in Bermuda, that little Island girl watching the ocean flow persistently against the Island, never giving up, never stopping until it found it's way to the other side. I believe the ocean was my teacher. To never give up, to believe there is a always a way. It taught me to go with the flow of life and to conquer my obstacles. I have no idea what each day will bring, but I remain eager to watch it unfold. I do my work, I show up and I believe that anything is possible. The rest is up to the universe…and the producers. :-) #makeithappen