Wisconsin's Laura Ramsey stars in "The Ruins"
Laura Ramsey has one of those fairytale Hollywood stories. At 19, she left Wisconsin for L.A. and was working in a restaurant when a talent agency propelled her into her first role. Six years later she is starring in blockbuster feature films and walking the red carpet. It's is a story that sounds almost too good to be true, but in fact, Ramsey knows just how lucky she is.
"It's pretty surreal even when I think about it now," says Ramsey, who is currently starring in "The Ruins."
"Growing up, you only hear about that in the movies -- that you go to Hollywood and you're waiting tables -- but it happened."
Ramsey grew up in Brandon, a south-central Wisconsin town with a population of about 800. She pursued acting while still in high school but immediately felt constrained by the limitations of a small-town theater community.
"Acting was always what I wanted to do. In my high school, I always did things when there was theater but I'm from such a small town that we didn't really have drama class and we only had a play only once a year," Ramsey explains.
Even just one play a year was enough to give Ramsey a taste of a career she knew she wanted to pursue. She told friends and family that she planned to move to Hollywood after high school and pursue a career in acting.
"When you are from a town of 800 people and you tell people that you want to go to Hollywood to be an actress they say that you probably need to set a more realistic goal. They tell you that you should probably just try to go to college."
Ramsey understood the point that her friends and family were trying to make. She, too, questioned her chances of making it big in city with four million people.
"I was working in a retirement home and I would sit and talk with these people because they would listen to me. They told me I had to go to L.A. because if I didn't, I would always be wondering what if. So, I told myself that when I was 19, I have to go."
Ramsey listened to the advice her elders gave her and moved to L.A. where she began waitressing. Within weeks, a talent scout spotted her, asked her for headshots and offered representation.
"This beautiful Russian woman asked if I had head shots or an agent and to be honest, I didn't know what either of those two things meant. I didn't know that you needed an agent or head shots -- I didn't know what either of those two things were."
She quickly learned. The following day she read a few scenes and was sent on her first audition.
Admittedly, the ease with which she broke into the business is a bit uncommon, and Ramsey knows how lucky she is.
"So many waitresses in L.A. are in the business and trying to act. I went back to waitressing after booking the role and people couldn't believe it. I didn't really realize that this doesn't really happen. I was just really lucky in my situation."
Ramsey currently heads a sound cast in "The Ruins," a horror flick about four American friends vacationing in Mexico who are pulled into a search and rescue effort near mysterious Mexican ruins. The unfolding tale is one of suspense, mystery and terror.
"I play Stacy in the film. She is your normal college girl -- she's fun, energetic, exciting -- and then through the events in the film she is faced with a life or death situation. In her attempt to help, the film takes her on a downward spiral of suspense and mayhem."
Horror films are not new to Ramsey's list of credits. She has also appeared in "Venom," "Lords of Dogtown," "She's the Man" and "The Covenant."
"When I first started out, I got a lot of horror film roles. I did them all because it was an opportunity to learn and to work and gain experience."
When asked about the future, Ramsey reflects on her past.
"I just hope to keep working. I'd like to keep working on good films with great directors and good actors and be creative and do some great work but as long as I'm working I'm happy. And, of course, I'd love it if there were a job in Wisconsin."
LAURA RAMSEY IS FROM BRANDON, WI NOT BROOKLYN, WI
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