Eye on the Pupil: Sophomore Tricia Cook

Former TV and Movie Actress Discusses Her Career

Instead of just spending your time at school, listening to ringing bells and the shuffling of students passing in the halls, imagine being on a movie or TV set all day with directors as teachers and script memorization as homework. For sophomore Tricia Cook, this used to be all in a day’s work.

Tricia, who recently moved here from Ashburn, Virginia, to be closer to her family, has been acting for television and movies since she was a little girl. She had “always wanted to be an actress,” and her first audition was for an Oscar Meyer Wiener commercial almost a decade ago. Scouts recognize her talent and from there her career took off.

Some shows on her resumé include “Meet the Parents,” where she played a young kindergarten student; “Law and Order: SVU,” on which she had a recurring role as one of the main detective’s twin daughters, and “Cut and Dry,” in which she co-starred, although it never made it to theaters.

“I love [acting] so much because you get to be someone else completely,” Tricia said. “It’s almost surreal.”

Although she has acted in productions from “Meet the Parents” to a Hallmark commercial, Tricia only gets recognized by fellow actors. However, when her friends find out about her past, she says that they get excited.

“People I just meet tend to freak out at little bit,” Tricia said. “But once I explain everything, people calm down and realize it’s not that big of a deal.”

Tricia’s cousin and sophomore Amanda NeSmith thinks that Tricia’s love for acting is great and is proud to have such a successful starring member.

“I like that Tricia does acting,” Amanda said. “It is a very interesting thing to to do.”

When she was acting, Tricia’s typical day involved leaving early in the morning with her mom, driving to New York City and either filming or going to 30 auditions in one day. Tricia would go from one audition to the next, spending five minutes acting and then quickly leaving to catch the next audition.

“If you were acting during the day, you couldn’t do anything else,” Tricia said. “It took up your whole day.”

Her family has always been a huge part of her life, and they always helped her get to her auditions. Since acting took up a lot of her time, her mom, dad and aunt worked out a schedule that allowed them to switch off taking her to New York while keeping the rest of her family happy.

“At first, it was hard to adjust to, but as a family we figured out how to work it all out,” Tricia said. “They have all always been willing to make adjustments and compromises to make the acting thing work.”

Though she was enrolled in a public school, she rarely had time to get all her work done, so she is now excited to be back in a regular high school environment. Because she was traveling to New York almost every day, she had to give up outside sports and spending time with friends and family. Tricia now enjoys running on the cross country team, playing club lacrosse and hanging out with her friends. Although Tricia has put acting on the back burner for now, it will always have been a part of her life.

“I sacrificed my entire life,” she said. “[But] it was worth it. And even though I don’t act anymore, it was a great experience.”