Joanna Wood always knew she wanted to be a star after her first visit to the Players’ Theatre for an acting class aged five.
Since then she has appeared in a music video with Diddy and Usher, acted in an award-winning movie shown on Film 4 and worked as a print model for international campaigns.
“Yes the shiny lights of tinseltown did seem a million miles away from the market town of Thame,” jokes Joanna, who now lives in Los Angeles.
“I am constantly auditioning for film, TV and commercials.
“It’s currently pilot season in LA so everything gets even busy with all the new shows casting, it’s an exciting time.
“Right now I am shooting an independent feature film, it’s a horror/thriller set in LA and Ireland.”
Her stage career started when she was 12 by performing in Aladdin at the Theatre Royal in Windsor.
Her big break came in Sam Holland’s gritty London-based gangland drama Zebra Crossing, which took the Audience Award at the 2008 Raindance Film Festival.
She has also worked for Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson, Honda, Three Mobile and Nokia in various print or TV commercials.
But Joanna has not forgotten her roots – citing a grant from the Friend’s Of Towersey Festival which helped her pursue a showbiz career.
Her parents still live in Thame and she jokes: “My family and friends often visit – you don’t need to twist anyone’s arm to come to sunny California.”
Despite her stateside success, Joanna remains down-to-earth and is happy to offer advice to others in the town hoping to follow in her footsteps.
She said: “It’s cliche, but hard work and dedication. Keep yourself inspired.
“Whether that’s surrounding yourself with inspirational people, immersing yourself in a play or watching a great movie.
“And always believe in yourself and get yourself into acting classes.”
Joanna decided to move to the US in 2008.
She said: “I feel there are amazing opportunities in Los Angeles, after all it’s the entertainment capital of the world and they love British actors here too.”
For more details visit www.joannaraneewood.com