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Monday, Aug. 12, 2019

Who’s That Girl?



Isabella Fowler is busy, but she loves it.

A little over two years ago, she got interested in local theatre. Then, she set her sights on a goal she first described to her mother, Dawn Fowler, when she was just 6.

“She told me she wanted to do Disney. I told her, ‘Honey, that’s in California. You won’t be on a show.’ She said, ‘Oh, no, I’m going to California, and I’m getting on Disney.’ I thought she was insane,” Dawn said.

Apparently, Isabella was not insane. Two years ago, when she was around 10, she studied at the Michael Turney Agency here in Shreveport. She won an acting showcase here, eventually going to California to compete in a showcase there. She did so well, she was signed by an agent and a manager.

Fast forward to today, and she’s back in Shreveport for a while to decompress from what her mother described as a very busy few months. She is currently on Amazon Prime in “Famous Little Girls” playing the young Coco Chanel, for which she won six awards in different film festivals in California.

Dawn Fowler added, “Her most recent win was The Young Entertainers Award. That’s one of the biggest awards for kids out there.”

According to their website, “The Young Entertainer Awards Foundation seeks to recognize outstanding performances of young entertainers in film, television, stage and music and to assist and encourage physically or financially challenged performers to keep their dreams alive through our scholarship program.”

Isabella also did a voice-over for the Disney Company called “Just Roll with It.” Dawn said the episode just aired and represents Isabella’s first co-starring role on a major network. But, that’s not all.

“She’s done pilots for Nickelodeon, and there’s a web series coming up for teens and tweens this fall,” Dawn said. “She was also in a show called ‘Annny Minute Now.’

She did virtual reality motion capture for a Sony videogame. She did a voice over for a movie called ‘Glass Jaw.’” Isabella and her mom journey to California twice a year for the chance to audition for producers, directors and casting agents in two special seasons for actors: the episodic and pilot seasons. At those times, the people in charge of creating television are casting for roles in shows that are already running and new shows that have been “pitched” to the networks. The lucky few who get seen then must wait for the prized “call back” to see if they get a role. Both Isabella and her mother agree, waiting for The Call is the hardest part of the acting life.

Dawn is proud of the progress Isabella’s made because it’s not typical. Hollywood scouts have seen something in Isabella, and she’s taken off fast. Dawn said it can take up to five years before an actor gets a role on a major network. “To me, it’s taken too long as it is,” she said, even though they’ve only been trekking to California for two years.

“I have no life, pretty much, but that’s OK,” Dawn laughed. “She’s our only child. We have a lot of family here. Of course, my husband, Clay Fowler, hates [the being separated]. But he knows she’s that good and that passionate about it.”

They’re in Shreveport this summer for some much-needed downtime, according to Dawn. “We come back [to Shreveport] for the summer because it’s slow, and we try and stay home and just get some chill time. But Disney called her twice, and Netflix called her once, so we had to fly back out three times [before August] already.”

When she’s basking in the sparkle of Tinseltown, when she’s not attending auditions or acting classes, Isabella finds time for equestrian horseback riding, but the reminders of what she might be missing in Shreveport tug at her. “Oh, yes. I miss it so much,” Isabella said. “I’ll get a little homesick sometimes because I miss all my friends, my family who lives here. I

miss my dogs and my cat and my bird.” Is it worth it? “It is worth it, for sure. I think it’s cool. I love the experience of going out to California and everything. A lot of people are really nice to me and stuff, so that’s fun.”

It also has some residual effects when she’s in Shreveport. “Every time I walk into a place and my Dad’s friends are there, they always call me Miss Hollywood. So, that’s pretty funny.”

Speaking of Shreveport, Isabella is no stranger to the local theatre scene. Her mom said she started at the age of 9. Recently, she was The Cat in the Hat for “Seussical” at Shreveport Little Theatre, and she still plans to take classes at the Turney Agency and Northwood Acting Studio.

But Hollywood beckons. According to Dawn, “There’s a lot of things coming up in pilot season because they have all these new network shows. Disney is going to have its own network. Paramount is going to have its own network. Warner Brothers. So, they’re needing a lot more content. Her pilot season is supposed to be really big.”

Pilot season generally starts the end of January, but the length can vary depending on the amount of new programming being produced. It’s during this time that new programs are submitted, actors audition for them, and pilots are shot. According to Dawn, some of those pilots have already been selected by a network to run on their schedule. “Sometimes you go out there and shoot [a pilot], and if it gets picked up, you have to go back and shoot the other 11 or 12, depending on how many they ordered,” according to Dawn. Isabella has already auditioned for some that have already been picked up by networks.

“One of the big ones she just did was ‘The Babysitters’ Club,’” Dawn said. “She got a producer session for that, that hasn’t started filming yet, but that’s on Netflix, and they already picked up 12 episodes.”

Up to now, Isabella’s favorite role was the Disney Channel, “Just Roll with It.” “That was my favorite so far because it was the biggest,” she admitted. “And it was just so cool to do that. Then, all those cameras being on you because it was a live audience. So, there was a ton of people watching me do it. So, it was really fun.”

How does television in front of a studio audience compare to live theatre? “I feel that it’s just a bit harder than live theatre. Theatre, you could mess up in the middle of the show, and you can’t redo it. But in TV you can mess up however many times because you get to keep redoing it.”

Now, according to both Fowlers, it’s waiting to see if there are callbacks and maybe an audition for a plum role, “that really big one,” Dawn called it.

In the meantime, Isabella and Dawn will be traveling back and forth because Isabella’s agents and managers think she has the “It” factor, according to Dawn. Isabella’s going to get that “really big one.”

“It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of time.”


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