Quinceé Kaya Dill’s dream has always involved an audience. The Bermudian actor is determined to forge a career in America’s entertainment industry. So far she has appeared in short films and web series. She also wrote, produced and starred in the short film Scissors vs Ponytail.
Convinced she is at the beginning of a career, she does not have a Plan B.
“I don’t allow myself to think that way,” the 21-year-old said. “If I have a back-up plan it means I’ve already accepted failure — and that’s not an option.”
She started “writing skits and performing” as a child in Marietta, Georgia, but did not realise it was her life calling until after her parents, Patrika Dill and Quincey Santucci, moved the family here.
“I was 15 when I realised acting was a career and that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.
Her first stage appearance was in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s 2011 production of Animal Farm. “It was exciting when I found out they accepted me and gave me a role,” she said. “I think I was scared a bit, but I went on to perform with [local performance group] Troika, and doing as many production courses in high school as I could.”
She got a GCSE in drama and was accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood, California.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I learnt so much and I met great people who helped me understand more.”
Ms Dill also landed a spot with Los Angeles-based agency, Green and Green Talent Group.
“[In the entertainment industry] they have different agencies for different levels depending on what part of your career you’re in. For me, I went through a process where I sent out pictures and résumés to agencies. They contact you if they’re interested. That’s how I ended up going to Green and Green.
“They help me with finding auditions and sending me on them. When you have an agent you have access to larger markets. They have access to larger companies that are looking for actors.”
She appeared in the film Ho Molto Fame, which came second in the Italian-Thai short film competition in 2017.
“It means ‘I’m very hungry’,” she laughed. “I did the whole thing in Italian and no, I don’t speak Italian. But you know what you’re saying so you just create the emotion behind it.”
Scissors vs Ponytail screened at Canadian Film Fest in March, showcased in a category of movies that were 300 seconds or less.
At the moment, Ms Dill is in Bermuda working at an after-school programme to earn some money so she can return to the US. She is also waiting to hear whether she will be given a bit more latitude in applying for jobs.
“The visa process limits what you can actually work for,” said the actor, who does not have a Green Card and is not American. “It’s so difficult. I’m working on getting a visa that would allow me to do more within the industry. I’ve submitted a case with the help of a lawyer and am waiting to hear. I am looking at a range of things currently, commercials, television, short films ... web series is my latest target.
“I am interested in writing but it’s more of a hobby currently. I’m not the strongest writer but I have a lot of ideas. My goal is to work with other writers to help me format my ideas.”
She has not ruled out a move to the United Kingdom or Canada, where finding work might be easier. “I won’t give up. It’s my passion, my love.”
Her advice to any other Bermudians interested in becoming an actor: “Believe in yourself. Go for it and save your money because, while you’re waiting for your break, life is not cheap.” Having a healthy self-esteem also helps.
“You have to build immunity,” Ms Dill said. “I started at the end of primary school. Because I was moving around a lot, I had to suck it up and be ready to meet new people all the time, and then deal with bullying. You learn to lift yourself higher and walk away. My mom was pretty helpful in letting me know that was what to do: just walk away.
“But if you don’t get a role it’s not necessarily because you aren’t a good actor. It could be that you don’t have the look they’re looking for. You can be a fantastic actor, just not for what you’ve come in for.
“What I’ve learnt from some of my teachers is that when you finish an audition, forget about it. Then it’s not weighing down on you. Go in, have a good time and then it’s done.”
• Follow Quinceé Kaya Dill on Facebook and Instagram: @quinykdill