Screaming on the job generally isn’t your ticket to the top.
But for Gabby West, a 2003 Century High School graduate, it may just be a career-making move.
West is a contestant on the second season of VH1’s “Scream Queens.” The show seeks to find the best undiscovered actress for the next film in the “Saw” saga, “Saw 3-D.”
“I think (“Scream Queens”) made me realize that acting is absolutely what I want to do with my life,” West said.
The show premieres tonight with West competing against nine other aspiring actresses.
In each episode, eight per season, the women take classes on new techniques before using these skills in a screen test. The show is basically “America’s Next Top Model” for actresses, West said.
“It basically was just an ongoing process of, like, who was constantly on their toes, who had the talent and who was willing to go the distance,” West said.
Three years ago, West had never acted. But after one semester at North Dakota State University as an English Literature major and a year at a university in Bozeman, Mont., West moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
“I literally woke up one day and knew that I needed to move to L.A. and become an actress,” West said.
West attended CHS for her entire high school career. But during her childhood, she attended 13 different schools and her family moved constantly, which kept her from pursuing acting.
“It was something I had always wanted to do, but I moved so much that I didn’t have enough self-confidence to do it,” West said.
After three years in Hollywood, West landed her spot, out of 36,000 hopefuls, on “Scream Queens.”
Shortly before West was chosen for the show, she’d hit her financial rock bottom.
“It just got, like, down to the wire for me,” West said. “There is a lot of struggling that is involved with acting until you really hit it big.”
At that time, West said she was working as a hotel waitress and couldn’t afford anything but food. She was forced to move in with her parents in New Mexico. While she was on her break from Los Angeles, she saw a casting call for “Scream Queens” and went for it.
While on “Scream Queens,” West shared a bedroom and one bathroom with the nine other actresses. She said they were really set apart from the outside world and there was a lot of drama. But for West, the opportunity was worth the additional stress.
“I really felt like ‘Scream Queens,’ at the time, was very make-it-or-break-it,” West said “When I first got there, I was very scared, but I knew that I needed to open up.”
While on the show, West worked with Hollywood directors and coaches and attended the 2010 Comic Con festival.
“It was a really amazing education,” West said. “It was like something you can’t buy. ‘Scream Queens’ was a pretty unforgettable experience that will continue to help me.”
Since being on the show, West has booked a part in the remake of the 1985 movie “Fright Night.” She also has hired a manager and entertainment lawyer and is looking for an agent.
As for the outcome of “Scream Queens,” only time will tell. The show airs at 9 p.m. on Monday nights on VH1.
“The thing about acting is that even though you may be playing a different character, it is a way for you to see yourself really clearly,” West said. “(Acting) is really in my blood and a calling for me.”
(Reach reporter Kay Kemmet at email@example.com or 250-2860.)