From her favorite production at Woodinville High School, Noises Off, to her current role as the young Darlene Snell on the critically acclaimed original Netflix series, Ozark, Brooke Butler is paying her dues and getting noticed.
I caught up with Butler recently to see how she’s faring with her new role and living the Hollywood dream so to speak.
When I mentioned that things seem to be going really well and asked if she feels like she’s paid her dues, she said, “Never. I never stop working to improve. You never think you are good enough. I’m always in class, writing or performing.”
“It [acting] is extremely cut throat,” Butler said. She is grateful to have found a group of wonderfully supportive friends and colleagues but that has taken time and it isn’t easily found in the industry. They are genuinely happy for each other when someone lands a role. “It is a big enough industry and there is a place for everyone if they are willing to work hard,” she added.
Butler knew from a young age that she wanted to be an actor. She said growing up in a smaller town with a “sheltered childhood” with Christian values has given her the foundation to fall back on when things got crazy. She credits her parents for instilling strong values and letting her know that you have choices in life and the path you take will determine the end result. She also praised others in her life that have been her support system and said, “I am grateful for my upbringing.”
Part of that hard work growing up in Woodinville involved drama classes, voice lessons, and dance classes.
She complimented Hjalmer Anderson from Woodinville Repertory Theater as her first acting coach. “He always believed in me,” she said. Butler went on to say that he taught “the method” and that is how she prepares to this day.
Butler fondly remembers Larry Bridges as her first vocal coach. She had to sing Ave Maria during a recent audition and said that Larry would be so proud as to how far she’d come.
Since I wrote a story about Larry this summer, I reached out to him about Butler and he said, “I loved teaching Brooke. She was always open to growing as a singer and actor. She had the drive and discipline. I never doubted she would do something special with her life. I am so proud of her success and expect even greater things from her.”
At WHS, she remembered the play Princess and the Pea and that she was initially disappointed for being cast as the Evil Queen thinking she was more the princess type. Now in hindsight she said, “It really helped in my future
career and is making things more interesting.”
Following high school, Butler attended University of Southern California (USC) where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dramatic Arts and graduated with honors.
You might recognize her for her breakout role as the flesh-eating cheerleader, Tracy Bingham, in All Cheerleaders Die that premiered at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) and is currently a Top 5 on Netflix. The role was especially fitting since Butler was nominated as a Top 20 cheerleader in the nation while at USC.
She went on to gain attention in theaters starring opposite Todd Lowe (True Blood) in the haunted house tale, The Remains. Butler has also acted in several television movies and is currently filming the pilot Queen Fur for Showtime.
The role of Young Darlene Snell in Ozark is has been great for Butler. “I love taking someone who is misunderstood and make them relatable. I like playing those characters.”
As we wrapped up our conversation, I asked her if she had any advice for others wanting to become an actor and she said, “Be ready to work really hard. Believe in yourself. Be willing to give up everything for your dream.” Then she chuckled when she added, “Take back streets on the way to auditions to avoid traffic.”
For more about Brooke Butler visit www.BrookeSereneButler.com