Interview with Shelly Cole

Shelly Cole, of Gilmore Girls and Cold Case, shares how she got into acting – and coaching, her favorite books, and her favorite time of day. She also shares words of wisdom for aspiring actors!

Lauren — Travel and Write Today: How did you initially decide to go into acting? 

Shelly Cole: I discovered acting in my early 20’s, after a difficult young life spent in Texas. I moved to Seattle and auditioned for a play on a whim. I played a young grifter, and I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Prior to that I went to art school for photography, and worked at various child care centers, and I also worked as a nanny. I moved to LA and got my first job, and continued to work steadily for 10 years. 

Lauren: How did you decide to become an acting coach with PEAK Acting Studios? (I love that it is geared towards children and teens – I am a former educator!)

SC: I was tired of the industry – I decided to move to Denver to try my hand at coaching. Kids only, of course. And I discovered that I loved it. 

TWT: I know you were both in Texas, and you spent many years in LA before moving to Denver. What are some of your favorite spots to visit in LA and Denver? 

SC: In LA, I love the Farmer’s Market/Grove – I lived a block from there and spent lots of time there. Whenever I was sick I got matzo ball soup and pickles from Canter’s Jewish Deli on Fairfax. My favorite restaurant is Jar.

In Denver, I love the mountains and the fresh air. Humidity is the work of the devil, and that’s why I’ll never move back to Texas. 

TWT: What is your favorite book?

SC: I love psychological thrillers – The Last Mrs. Parrish (Liv Constantine), The Silent Patient (Alex Michaelides), etc. I also love Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse), The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), and On The Road (Jack Kerouac).

TWT: The Silent Patient is one of my favorite books! The Maidens is on my TBR List!

TWT: What is your go-to coffee or tea order? What is your favorite coffee shop?

SC: Tea over coffee — Iced green tea!!

TWT: Favorite time of day?

SC: Twilight/magic hour – watching from my porch, cozy with my monkey dog, and a glass of crisp French Rosé.

TWT: What advice would you give to other aspiring actors?

SC: This comes from a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who was told she’d amount to nothing: commit, show up (for yourself and for others), be a good friend, always take your wardrobe back to the wardrobe trailer, always leave your trailer clean, say “please” and “thank you”, know your lines, listen when a director gives you directions – many young actors forget to do that (especially in auditions), but don’t be afraid to tell a director you have ideas. Please know that auditioning and rejection are a huge part of the process.

Ask yourself: Is there something I’d rather be doing where I can make more money doing it successfully (and I’d be happy)? Then do it! Also study – study movies, tv, books, etc. Make strong choices – it’s better to be asked to do less than to leave them wanting more – we all fear looking foolish, but there is so much freedom on the other side of fear.

TWT: I know actors have been significantly impacted due to the pandemic — especially those teaching acting classes, as well as actors performing in live theater. How can we help?

SC: I thank the Universe that my classes continue to thrive during this pandemic, and I don’t take it for granted for a single second.