Breanna Podlasly has stars in her eyes.
And for good reason – she’s starting to build a career in the film and TV industry while living out of a modest basement suite in Campbell River.
The 21-year-old has a recurring role on the Netflix series The 100 and she flies to and from Vancouver when she’s called for filming.
But on this particular afternoon, Podlasly is relaxing at home in Campbell River after just wrapping the season two finale.
She excitedly says the show just got picked up for a third season and she’s eager to get back on set, likely sometime in June or July.
“Everybody on that set is extremely hilarious,” says Podlasly of her co-stars. While in Vancouver for filming she stays with family; her father is a pilot so she’s fortunate enough to get good deals on flights.
Those connections have been a blessing for Podlasly whose rise through the ranks has been swift, considering she only started acting just over a year ago.
The Sointula native moved to Campbell River three years ago with her dad to attend North Island College with a goal to become a veterinarian.
“I had my schedule all lined up to go to North Island College to get a Bachelor of Science and I realized it was just not what I wanted to do,” Podlasly said.
As it turns out, acting was her true passion.
So, at the age of 19, Podlasly applied for a scholarship to Vancouver Film School. With the help of former city councillor and videographer Ryan Mennie, she starred in a dramatic film about growing up in Sointula and the opportunities that are hard to come by on the small island, which lies northeast of Port McNeill.
That film got Podlasly a partial scholarship to cover half the tuition, but unfortunately, as circumstances would dictate, she was forced to turn it down. Good things, however, were still to come her way.
“That video got me my agent,” Podlasly said. “If it wasn’t for (Ryan Mennie) I wouldn’t be where I am.”
As it is often said, making it in show business is typically all about who you know. And for Podlasly, that rang true.
While working at Starbucks in the Campbell River Target store, Podlasly was introduced to a co-worker’s relative who happened to be a talent agent. After seeing Podlasly’s video, the agent took her on as a client and the rest, as they say, is history.
“If I didn’t know the right people, I’d be doomed,” Podlasly says. “I’m so lucky.”
Her first job was a one-time role on the former CBC television series Arctic Air, which followed a family through the ups-and-downs of owning an airline.
“It was my first day on the job, and the director looked at me and said ‘you’re going to go somewhere.’ I was so excited,” Podlasly recalls. “I had no acting training and I’m from a small community.”
From there, Podlasly nabbed her role on The 100 and she’s even branched out to the big screen.
She appears in a wedding scene and in the crowd at a funeral in the 60s-era inspired film Age of Adaline, which stars Blake Lively that hit theatres in March.
And though she’s already garnering her own legion of fans, Podlasly admits to getting a little starstruck. During filming, she encountered actor Ryan Reynolds who was on set to visit wife Lively.
“I walked right by him and grazed his arm and I started freaking out,” Podlasly recalls. “Everyone was like ‘Breanna, calm down!’”
But Podlasly can be forgiven for getting a little excited, after all, big things are happening for the young star in the making.
Not only is she breaking in to the TV and film industry, but she’s also making a name for herself as an artist.
In her down time, Podlasly draws. It started as a hobby that she picked up from her grandma and her mom.
“When I was really young, and we were coming across on the ferry from Sointula, my mom would draw on her pad of paper, usually horses,” Podlasly says. “I would always say, ‘I can’t wait to draw like you when I grow up’ and I gradually picked it up.”
While she takes an interest in deviant art – there’s a drawing of a tiger wearing a top hat hanging on the wall of her living room – she often draws whatever the mood strikes her.
But no matter the drawing, whether it be a tiger, a wolf, dog, cat, or bear, they all start with graphite and some – but not all – evolve from there.
“I have pencil crayons if I feel it needs colour,” Podlasly says. “I just started using markers.”
The hobby took on a life of its own when Podlasly’s aunt asked if she could draw her a boat. “When I was done, she asked how much she could pay me. I said ‘nothing, you don’t have to pay me anything.’ But she insisted,” Podlasly says. “I went down to Impressions Gallery and they said it was worth $150. I had just been laid off for four months from work so I was like ‘wow, I can get paid money for something I love do?’ So I made a website and it took off from there.”
Since Christmas, Podlasly has sold a few drawings and taken commissions. She was also the featured artist of the month at the Campbell River Art Gallery in December.
“I had a couple of people come in and watch me do my art,” Podlasly says. “And I raised over $500 for the SPCA doing Christmas cards.”
But while she enjoys her art, it’s acting where her heart truly lies.
“I want to pursue acting; I want to get main roles,” Podlasly says.
“Art is great, it’s amazing. You have to have some kind of a creative outlet, but art is not something I’ll do forever, it’s more a temporary thing. I’ll keep drawing, but it’s not something I’m relying on.”
In the meantime, Podlasly has started a log scaling course at North Island College in hopes of getting her certificate this spring or summer. Her plan is to get a job with a steady stream of income to save up enough money to move to Vancouver and pursue bigger film roles.
“I don’t know when, I don’t know how,” Podlasly says. “But I will get there.”