Local actress already making her mark

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ORISKANY — She may be a young college student, but one Oriskany youth is reaching for the stars, making significant progress in her planned film, music and writing careers.

Gabrielle Eden is a film actress, singer, songwriter and published writer.

“I am a teen-ager in the entertainment industry and I’m proud of it,” she said. “I have been in the film industry for about six years now, and I am proud of the accomplishments that I have made. I also write articles and write songs.”

Eden said she has been singing since age 5 and loves to share her voice with local theater productions, cabarets and nursing homes, when she’s allowed. She’s also been playing piano since age 14.

“I also write songs on my piano, and I have one song published so far on YouTube,” said Eden. “My first song that I have released and performed live in concert is called, ‘I Can Touch The Sky,’ and is on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook for viewing.”

Her film career began at age 11 when she played the role of a sleeping daughter in a commercial for Syracuse University.

“I guess you can say that I slept on the job, but I was getting some money while doing it,” Eden quipped. “The next year, I got my first role in a movie called, ‘Twelve Days With God.’ I was a child that had to throw up. But upon seeing the film for the first time, it was sad to see my scene get cut. I believe during that same year, I had landed the role of another young child in a TV pilot that unfortunately never took off, ‘Tarot.’ That was the moment I met my film family with Richard Harlost, the writer, and Michelle DiBernardo, my agent and makeup artist.”

Eden recalled feeling an instant connection with Harlost and DiBernardo. A couple years later, when she was 14, she had become a lead in a Syracuse University thesis film called, ‘Wings of A Girl.’ It was her first lead in any film, which she said was not only a huge honor, but great responsibility.

“But my filming career had come to a sudden halt upon it when the infamous COVID-19 struck. I thought I was not going to film until I would graduate,” Eden said.

That was until the summer of 2021. This past summer, Eden had not just one, but two film jobs in two horror films, “Bloodfly” and “Z Dead End.”

“In the winter of 2020, I was asked by Richard Harlost if I would like to play a villain as a vampire named Ashley, the lead role. Well, how could I turn it down?,” said Eden. “I’ve been wanting to play a villain for so long, so I naturally agreed. I was so excited, I had prepared for months for this film. I even had a full photoshoot for posters in full costume in the cold basement of the set in the middle of March.”

She said, “Then May 26 and 27 came, and I had the time of my life. This was one of the very first roles that I felt like I was punched out of my body like Dr. Strange and became a new person — or monster. As we filmed, I had discovered so many things about myself that I had not known before. I was no longer myself when the camera rolled, I was Ashley. Even I had drawn inspiration for my character as Ashley. I drew from Eric, the phantom from The Phantom of The Opera, and Gollum from The Lord of The Rings, and that created Ashley. But once you get on film, months of rehearsing can either come handy, or be thrown out the window. Film rehearsal is not the same as theater rehearsal. I had met so many friendly faces and I made so many friends with the cast and crew. I felt like I was home.”

Eden said little did she know that she would see some of those cast and crew members again in Z Dead End.

“It was a little after I finished Bloodfly, Michelle had asked me to come down near Newburgh to film as an extra in a celebrity film called Z Dead End,” Eden recalled. “Zombies instead of vampires, why not? So I said, ‘Yes.’ If I’m going to be totally honest, the only thing I drew from for zombies was from the British film, ‘Shaun of The Dead.’ I had recently watched the film when I was asked to come down. All I did was watch the body movements and the noises they made.”

She continued, “But I was also told that I would go down to a warehouse that belonged to a man named Bill Diamond, who had a ton of actual props from films and TV programs and yes, The Phantom of The Opera masks from the 1990s. I was mostly excited to see the phantom masks since I’m a huge fan of The Phantom of The Opera. Knowing myself, I wanted to look my best since I was going to meet Bill Diamond, and a couple celebrities like Kane Hodder, Felissa Rose, Dave Sheridan, and Robert LaSardo. Even before I was in full costume, I wanted to look professional.”

Eden said she was then asked to come down to the warehouse a day early to help out with the crew and anything else that was needed for filming. Immediately her mother was asked to fix Kane Hodder’s shirt and another jacket for one of the actresses. But while “sitting around,” she was greeted by a couple named Todd and Hillary, the crew members from Bloodfly.

“I was even asked to be put to work as a crew by Hillary. I am so glad I did work as crew, because I got to learn more behind the camera and the magic that is put into making the actors look spectacular on the camera,” Eden said. “The very next day, I was in most of my costume and was working again as crew until it was my turn to transform into a zombie. While I worked as crew, I was so happy that I got to meet the cast members of the film. I remember talking to Felissa Rose right before she had to go to the set about theater, and how she wanted me to be into theater.”

It was during her makeup session that Eden really got to experience what it as like to be “zombified.”

“I love the process of the makeup, but I hated that my hair got stuck onto the blood on my neck. I even was ‘shot’ by blood so I could get my dress dirty,” she recalled. “Talk about unfair paintball! Finally, until 3 in the morning, I had become a full zombie. As I waited for the word, ‘action,’ I had to mentally prepare myself to become a zombie. I must have done so well, I got an extra scene with very few other actors and was asked to have breakfast with my agent, Michelle, and director, Robert Resto. ‘Z Dead End’ will definitely be an experience that I will never forget.”

In her near future, Eden hopes to attend an acting school in New York City. Her dream is to star in The Phantom of The Opera as Christine Daaé, “no matter how long it takes.” She also wants to continue her film career after college, and would love an opportunity to try voice acting in cartoons. And if that’s not enough, Eden also has a goal of writing a few musicals and films, “since I love creating worlds of my own.”

Eden is now attending Utica College part-time for theater classes and choir.

“I am currently writing a short film and writing the songs for the film,” she said. “This will be my first short film that I have ever written and I would wish to write more scripts.”

Eden said she continues taking voice and acting lessons, piano lessons, and dance classes in Utica and in Clinton, and will continue to perform in any live theater or live stream shows when she can.

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