By Evan Wechman
Glen Rock native Gabriella Baldacchino is wise beyond her years. At the young age of 21, she carries herself with professionalism and maturity. She is a blossoming actress who has recently performed with such big stars as Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams.
This past November she starred as Morgan Philip in the hit movie Disenchanted, the sequel to the 2007 smash hit, Enchanted. This was a dream role for the young performer who grew up in Bergen County.
According to Baldacchino, she has been preparing for a major role like this one since she was a child who loved acting. “I fell in love with performing in the Montessori School. I went to the Young World Day School in Wyckoff, and I did the school plays there. There was something I absolutely just loved about being in front of friends and family up there and getting to play a character and just make people laugh. I think it was the first time that I got in front of an audience and saw people’s reactions and enjoying what we were doing that made me want to keep doing it. It kind of gave me the bug right then and there from the first time I stepped in front of an audience and ever since then, I knew I wanted to be an entertainer.”
This latest role for Baldacchino did not come without hard work and sacrifice. Though she attended Glen Rock’s public schools, she had to go to different parts of the country to follow her dreams. She graduated high school but was home schooled as she pursued her career.
She had her share of disappointments prior to her breakout role. “I had spent my whole childhood essentially growing up auditioning professionally and being in this (theatrical) world. And it really does take its toll on you because you are handed a lot of rejection from a young age. And I really did grow a thick skin from it because as many successes as I had, there were about 100 no’s for every yes.”
As a result, she looked closely at different careers at the same time she was contacted about auditioning for Disenchanted. Despite any fears, she auditioned and won the part.
Baldacchino says the doubts and the eventual role has all been a terrific learning experience for her. She even received some wonderful advice from Amy Adams. “I did get some really special moments with Amy and during one of our first days together, we had this heart to heart conversation that I will literally carry with me the rest of my life. I think that coming into this process I definitely felt a lot of pressure whether it be self-inflicted or just pressure from this being such a huge project. And instead of telling me to not feel the pressure, Amy said that any insecurity I was feeling I could just bring all those emotions to my character.”
Baldacchino is currently studying film at USC and is considering becoming a producer, in addition to an actress. She resides in L.A. most of the year, but still loves to come home to Glen Rock to see her parents, sister, and grandparents.
The talented star is looking forward to the future whether it is on stage or behind the camera. “The opportunity to audition for this movie came along at a time where I said I’m done with acting, but I took a chance on it and I did it anyway, and it has totally changed my life in ways that I never could have possibly imagined.”