Rosanna Pansino is a West Seattle High class of '03 grad who is making a big name for herself in Hollywood. "My drama teacher in high school was Andrew Finley, and he was very good to me," effervesced Pansino.
Rising Hollywood star credits West Seattle High School drama teacher
While Rosanna Pansino stands just 58-inches tall, her star is rising. The West Seattle High class of '03 grad starred in season-2 of the VH1 reality series Scream Queens, to begin airing Aug. 2, guest-starred both in the Emmy Award-winning musical comedy-drama, Glee, on Fox, and Warren the Ape on MTV. She portrayed a victim for a public service commercial for the United Nations about women trafficking, and plans to audition for the Twilight movie Breaking Dawn.
"My drama teacher in high school was Andrew Finley, and he was very good to me," effervesced Pansino, an Italian-American who said she gets mistaken in Hollywood for having Hispanic, Native American, Asian, or Jewish background, and sometimes a high school teen, which helps her get roles.
"I took a ton of classes from him and he was amazing," she recalled. "I was in the musical Grease my senior year. He had encouraged me to audition, although I didn't have any formal singing training. There was a photo of Dyan Cannon hanging in drama class and she's inspired me, too."
A dedicated Star Trek and Star Wars fan, she portrayed Ensign Kelly in Seattle's independent Star Trek Phoenix series. “I didn’t have any crazy make up like the Borg did, but loved playing a star fleet crew member.”
"I wasn't anything cool like a Borg," she said. "I was such a nerd in high school. I had braces and spent my time playing varsity soccer and gymnastics and loved being part of a team. My family meant the world to me. My world was very small. My family had dinner together every night and my younger sister Molly is my best friend."
Pansino went on to graduate from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma where she majored in communications and business, and continued with acting classes.
Scream Queens, a Lionsgate and Joke Production, premieres Monday, Aug. 2, at 10:00 p.m. According to its website, “Scream Queens 2 thrusts 10 aspiring actresses into a horror boot camp that will test their stomachs, stamina and acting chops. One young actress will earn a role in Saw 3D, the next film in the Lionsgate Saw franchise. The girls will learn from Hollywood’s toughest acting coach, John Homa, noted horror director Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs, Driftwood), and actress Jaime King (My Bloody Valentine, Sin City, The Tripper).
If you look up Rosanna Pansino on the Internet Movie Database, or IMDb, you will not see Scream Queens listed among her credits.
Pansino explained, "It already happened and we are sworn to secrecy about who won. If we were listed on IMDb you could figure out how many episodes each cast member was in which would give it away, so they wait until the last show to list it."
Pansino acknowledged that horror "has a little sexy element," and the girls wear revealing nighties as they pretend to get shot and axed. But it is not all acting, and sometimes they really get scared. While they are asleep a stuntman might swoop right over their beds on a cable howling, dripping in "blood." And yes, they scream. There is now a Scream Queen iPhone App.
"All 10 girls live in a creepy house in L.A., and we all sleep on cots in one room and share one bathroom. Now that's pretty scary."
Through Warren the Ape she said it was a thrill to meet actor Seth Green and said they did Yoda voices together. She said she was awe-struck when she briefly met Meryl Streep at the Golden Globe Awards.
"People have described me as refreshing, especially for Hollywood," said Pansino, who lives in Pomona, east of Los Angeles. "A lot of people I've met there carry a lot of emotional baggage because of all the rejection in show business. I've studied scenes so hard and put it all out there while auditioning, and then they say, 'Your not what we're looking for.' Instead of carrying that with me and letting that feeling get bigger I just let it go and say, 'Next.'"