A South Shields actress is hoping she’s on the walk to fame after being signed by an agent in Los Angeles.
Gemma Clough has been picked up by American talent spotters Bohemia Management and could be auditioning in Hollywood in just a few months’ time.
The 34-year-old, from Whiteleas, was on holiday in LA when she was invited for a meeting with Bohemia Management’s Susan Ferris.
And after 10 minutes of chatting, Gemma was offered a deal.
The former Boldon Comprehensive pupil said: “There’s a UK casting service called Spotlight, and there was a podcast on there from Susan talking about how British actors can go to LA and I found it really interesting.
“She gave some really good advice and she just sounded so witty and brilliant. I emailed her asking if she had any advice for me and saying that it would be lovely to meet her.
Hopefully this time next year I’ll be doing a scene with Bradley Cooper.Gemma Clough
“She emailed back saying she’d asked her assistant to make an appointment for me to go into the office and I couldn’t believe it.
“I was really late as well because I completely underestimated how busy the traffic in LA would be and I thought I’d blown it and she wouldn’t want anything to do with me.
“She said she’d speak to me until her next client arrived and after about 10 minutes she said she liked me and offered to sign me – it was just crazy, I couldn’t believe it.”
Gemma, who studied drama at the University of Sunderland, has always had a passion for acting and regularly toured across the North East with the Northumberland Theatre Company, among others, and has been part of UK tours.
But she took a break from acting when her mum Alison tragically passed away, at the age of 50, in November 2010.
She said: “When my mam died I just kind of stopped. After a while, I really wanted to get back into it, but I felt like I’d been away for too long.
“And because I’d never been to drama school, I didn’t think I’d get anywhere.”
Gemma went back to drama school two years ago after landing one of just 15 places at the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in London, where former pupils include Dame Judi Dench.
She was awarded a part-scholarship by the school and the rest of her fees were made up by the Newcastle-based Sunday For Sammy Trust. She studied for a masters in classical acting.
Gemma says she owes a lot to much-loved theatre director Jackie Fielding, who sadly passed away earlier this year following a brain aneurysm.
She said: “Getting the Sunday For Sammy scholarship was all down to Jackie, she was amazing.
“When I got my place at the school I was so happy but then I suddenly realised I had no idea how I was going to pay for it.
“Jackie told me about the scholarship and helped me with my audition pieces and her direction definitely made an improvement.”
Now Gemma will be splitting her time between New York and LA as she auditions for new sitcoms and movies.
Gemma said: “Between January and March is when all the big American TV people make pilots for their new shows, and some become shows and some don’t.
“But the idea is that I’ll be going forward to audition for some pilots, and that’s just such an exciting time for an actors, going to all these different auditions.
“I think there used to be this idea that movies were where it’s at and TV was second place to that, but that’s not the case now.
“Box sets are a huge thing and a successful show can be massive, like Mad Men or Homeland. To be part of something like that, that has that kind of longevity, would just be amazing.
“I’m hoping this could be a dream come true but it just doesn’t quite seem real at the minute.
“If you’d told me four years ago that I’d be in this position now I would have just laughed.
“Hopefully this time next year I’ll be doing a scene with Bradley Cooper.”